Entering Bridgetown

When you have been a townie all your life and you take up residence in an area that has none of the mains services that you have taken for granted, you tend to forget things. Like oil for the central heating. Because there is no gas. Then you tend to run out at a Bank Holiday weekend. And, being Easter, it is still chilly.


Fortunately we have a wood-burning stove. We have never before used it, but did have the chimney swept last autumn. And did have logs from the many pruning jobs we’ve carried out. All I had to do was get my head round operating it. Probably, if I had moved the church candle a bit further away from the heat it would not have melted. Hopefully we are not roasting the jackdaws that clatter the metal plate above the stove with nesting materials and, no doubt, a few jewels they have nicked. And no, I’m not going up there to find out.

Today was the first of a typical British Bank Holiday weekend, cold, wet, and windy. Just not the job for all those Egg Hunts. It was suitable for what Paul Clarke calls a ‘rainy day post’. Consequently I travelled back in my archives to a rather different day in March 2004 in Barbados, and scanned the next batch of the Bridgetown walk negatives.

bougainvillea 1bougainvillea 2

Bougainvillea continued to spread its various shades of magenta and pink along the roadsides. In the first of these two pictures, the rambling plant seeks the protection of the thorns of the plant to which it clings.

Wall collapsingBougainvillea and building

Others ramble around buildings that have seen better days.


I passed a slender schoolgirl complete with backpack on her way to her classes. Her hair had received the typical close attention that the turn-out of all these young people displayed.

Fencing in undergrowth

Although some of the roadside buildings remained rather unkempt,

Tree by roadsideHouses by roadside

others were smarter,


and even grander.


Those steps, and the increasing traffic informed me that I was nearing the Bajan capital. Was the young woman with her arms folded pondering boarding the taxi/bus?

Traffic policeman

Had she done so, she would probably know what offence the hapless driver went on to commit.


Other flowers in the hedgerows and gardens were frangipanis


and hibiscuses.

This evening we dined on a rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce, prawn gyazas, and vegetable fried rice topped with omelette. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I drank more of the madiran.






  1. I was in BBdos in 1988 and likewise my photos are filled with bougainvillea. And rum punch drinks.And steel drum musicians. Loving your stroll down memory lane.

  2. I learnt to build my first fire in one of those wood stoves when I was a resident writer at Hedgebrook in 2008. It’s addictive.

    Every part of the oleander is poisonous. Australians like to use them as street trees when they are not planting giant liquid ambers that root up the foot paths, drop seed pods that are treacherous to step on and grow a canopy that requires lopping as they tangle with the power lines.

  3. Stay warm! Nothing cozier than a wood fire. That’s how we heat our home during the winter.

  4. I see (I think) you can cook on your stove top. I think you should forget the oil altogether next winter, and get warmth and cooking done in your wonderful machine. It’s all we ever use from April to October and it’s marvellous!

  5. What a great stove, Derrick! I would love to have a real wood burning stove to stay warm.
    I loved your photos, especially the contrast of the run down homes with the beautiful flowers. Happy Easter!

  6. We have a wood fire here- I can’t wait for a chance to start using it again- it is so nice to focus on getting it going and making sure to keep it stoked , and then of course, just watching it go. I’ll be sure to have marshmallows on hand, to toast for it’s first use of the year 🙂 I love the story you have captured, with the bus driver getting pulled over.

  7. Exotic and beautiful ! Sadly, we will never know the beauty of Hibiscus or Bougainvillea in Edmonton. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful destination.

  8. Derrick, I can remember as a child having bougainvillea growing on our back fence – I always enjoyed its bloom. Thanks for the wonderful pictures and have a happy day! 🙂

  9. This is great, Derrick! Thank-you. These houses remind me, strangely enough, of old houses along the California coast. And the care to the child’s hair – it’s beautifully reproduced all over the world. XO

    1. Many thanks, Claire. Those schoolchildren were an example to the world. It is one of those pictures I’d love to think the subject would see and recognise

  10. Lol @ Probably, if I had moved the church candle a bit further away from the heat it would not have melted 🙂

    Your photos reminds me of Nigeria. Hibiscus, frangipanis, and bougainvillea are popular. The style of the houses are different though.

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