A Knight’s Tale (130: Bridgetown Part 1)

One morning I walked the ten miles from our hotel to Bridgetown along what passed for a main road.  Whenever I checked directions I was told I should be on a bus.  Not that there appeared to be many bus stops.  If you wanted a ride you leapt into the road and gesticulated.  It may have been marginally safer to have been riding on one of these ramshackle vehicles which went careering along the winding roads than to have spent my time jumping into bushes to avoid them.  I am not sure.  If there was a speed limit no-one adhered to it.  Actually I did ride back and the journey was remarkably comfortable.  Unfortunately I had wasted valuable time standing in the wrong queue.  A certain amount of local knowledge was required to station oneself correctly.

Chattel houses003
Chattel houses002
Chattel houses001

Along these roads people lived in chattel houses.  These are portable homes, stout, and some very old. Although people didn’t seem to worry about outside maintenance, the insides looked spotless and the adults and schoolchildren who emerged from them were beautifully turned out; womens’ dresses and children’s uniforms vying with the display of the ubiquitous

bougainvillea, frangipani, and hibiscus. 

This street scene shows the sign for a roadside bar; a well cared-for church, and typical chattel houses,

Corrugated iron wall

one with some kind of lean-to constructed of weathered corrugated iron, which was a common roofing material.

Chattel House and car bits 1
Chattel House and Car Bits 2

The gardens of some of these houses contained car wrecks.


Other occupants preferred shrubs,

Bougainvillea around doorway

such as this bougainvillea trained around a porch behind a little picket fence.

Bus stop

and along which rampant buses tore.

The children who emerged from these simply constructed homes were clad in crisp, clean, uniforms and certainly were not ‘creeping like snail, unwillingly to school’ (William Shakespeare).


      1. Thank you, Derrick. I once had a friend from Barbados but that’s as near as I’ve been I’m afraid.

  1. Thanks for sharing, Derrick. Did anyone question you taking photos of their houses? I looked up chattel house, and I discovered it’s a Barbados term. I had wondered. 😊 The children going to school look very happy.

  2. Hi Derrick – thanks for sharing these pictures from Barbados and your experiences there. I’d heard of the word chattel house, but didn’t understand its meaning. Those children do look happy.

  3. I visited Barbados in 1987 and was amazed at the ramshackle nature of the housing. It’s clearly not much improved.

  4. I am also thankful for your posting a glimpse of life in Barbados during this time. The junked vehicles probably served as a stash of spare car parts for people in the area.

  5. Derrick, what year did you visit Barbados? Were these photos taken in the capital, Bridgetown? When exploring a neighborhood on foot, the visitor has the opportunity of seeing the other side of life not depicted in tourist guides.

      1. Thanks for the info, Derrick. As you may have read, Barbados became a republic in November 2021. Queen Elizabeth II is no longer the island nation’s Head of State.

  6. Thank you for the morning drive-by. We sometimes judge a book by it’s cover, the inside and residents by the look of their houses on the outside. These people obvious treasure the homes they have….the roof over their heads.

  7. What beautiful genuine smiles on those handsome boys faces! 🙂 They are looking dapper! 🙂
    You’ve captured realness, beauty, interesting textures, and happy faces in your photos!
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

  8. Such an interesting place with its own special charm. I chuckled at imagining you leaping into the road and gesticulating for a ride.

  9. I learned something new as I thought hibiscus always grew by the water. Great photo journal. I enjoy your stories about places that I have never been

  10. Loved this post.. and like you said while the Outside may look dishevelled.. Its what is INSIDE that counts.. 🙂 and Smiles on the last photo says it all 🙂

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