Walking To Bridgetown

On this drizzly day, Jackie did a great deal of planting and composting. We then carried off to the dump two more bags of the griselinia cuttings that Aaron and Robin had filled for us on Sunday. We only came back with a hoe.

After completing the scanning of the March 2004 colour slides of Barbados, i discovered some negative film I used when walking around the island before Sam arrived. The first dozen of these are of a ten mile walk from our first hotel at the southern tip to the capital, Bridgetown. It was a bit hot, and this was when I earned the epithet ‘the white man who walks’.

Street 3.04

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 1Chattel House and Car Bits 2

The gardens of some of these houses contained car wrecks.

Gardens

Other owners preferred shrubs,

Bougainvillea around doorway

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

Chicken

Chickens, some having been instructed in the art of deportment, strutted around with the apparent freedom of a New Forest pony.

Coconuts

Coconuts

Breadfruit

and breadfruit hung over the road which lacked a footpath,

Bus stop

and along which rampant buses tore. There were not many stops, but local people kept telling me I should use one.

Schoolchildren

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).

This evening we dined on Tesco’s fluffy fish pie; cauliflower, mushrooms, tomatoes,  and peas. Jackie drank lemon squash, and I drank merlot. Jackie is still carrying a cough from the virus, although I am not.

Pirates Of The Caribbean

Aaron finished painting the landing doors this rainy morning, whilst I, through the medium of scanning further colour slides from March 2004, took a virtual trip to sunny Barbados.

Beginning with a continuation of my perambulations along the sheltered coastline in the vicinity of Port St Charles,

Sandpipers 2Sandpipers 3

there was a fling of what I think we decided were some kind of sandpiper.

Gull

The golden shoreline blended well with the blue sea, over which a solitary gull flew low.

Tree trunk weathered 1Tree trunks on beach 1

Tree trunks on beach 2Tree trunks on beach 3

Penetrating the sands, levitating, long-dead, lizard-like limbs defied gravity.

The bridge at top left of the second and third of these pictures is one that Sam had navigated when he arrived in Barbados a few days earlier. I wish I could remember what the factory was. Perhaps a cane sugar plant?

Pirate ship 1Pirate ship 2

On a sailing trip on one of the race organisers’ yachts, we observed a shipload of piratical tourists. I rather hoped that all those in the water before the black flag set off for the open sea, had been picked up to enjoy the rest of their trip.

Jackie, over dinner, observed that the onions in the savoury rice that accompanied her delicious chili carne were very finely chopped. That made me feel rather chuffed. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the graves.

The Young Gun And The Old Grey Wolf

Prunus Subhirtella Autumnalis

Now that the prunus Subhirtella Autumnalis has shed virtually all its leaves, the blossom remains to clothe the branches, heavily pruned last year;

Bergenia

whilst on the other side of the front garden bergenia blooms.

Today was again warm, but the wind still blustered. I scanned more of the colour slides from the trip to Barbados in May 2004.

Road 5.04

Here is a typical road along which I walked for up to ten miles at a time. Chattel houses line the thoroughfares lacking footpaths, and requiring me to be very vigilant when traffic tore past.

Landscape with chattel houses 5.04

Palms punctuated the landscape, and

Shrubs 5.04

colourful shrubs, like the ubiquitous bougainvillea, bordered the gardens.

We stayed in Port St Charles for several days after Sam’s arrival at the island. This was  because we had had to guess at his arrival time. It was also helpful for us to see some of the other competitors into the harbour.

Sam, in particular, wanted to be at the docking area to welcome Pavel Rezvoy, who had become a friend. In the event, this meant a night-time vigil as the 65 year old Russian disembarked during the night. Sam had, in fact, stopped rowing before coming in, so that he could arrive in daylight.

Sam, the youngest, and Pavel, the oldest, had been almost neck and neck across the Atlantic. Because of the distances involved, they were unaware of each other’s progress, but we had been able to follow them on the internet. Suddenly, for two days, Pavel’s boat was stationary. His satellite phone was not working so the trackers could not even be sure he was still in his boat. This became quite a worry.

In fact, my son completed his journey two days before his friend. Pavel, a most resourceful gentleman, had lost his rudder, and spent two days making a new one out of bits of his boat.

The pair came in first and second places of the solo rowers. Each evening, fuelled with with rum punches that certainly packed one, we joined the Ocean Rowing Society’s administrative team celebrating in the hotel bar.

Tatiania, Pavel’s ex-wife, had kept the Russian Press supplied with reports on the race. Their take on the story was a contest between The Young Gun and The Old Grey Wolf. The rowers themselves hadn’t even known they were competing. They were just happy to complete the challenge.

Sam and Pavel 1 5.04Sam and Pavel 2 5.04Sam, Pavel and Tatiana 5.04 1Sam, Pavel and Tatiana 2 5.04Sam, Pavel and Tatiana 3 5.04Tatiana, Sam, Micha, and Pavel 5.04

Here they are with Tatania and another man called Micha, whose role I cannot remember.

An interesting fact which should be apparent from these photographs is that these two rowers, both in very good shape, were the only ones who had allowed themselves a full night’s sleep. All the others, who arrived in pretty sore, tired, condition, had operated on a two hours on, two hours basis, thus, I imagine, ensuring that they were always tired.

Mr Pink’s fish chips and pea fritters were accompanied by pickled cornichons and onions for our dinner tonight, with which I finished the merlot.

Sir Clive Woodward In Holetown

We shared an ironing project this morning. This had become rather pressing because we hadn’t done any for the last three weeks.

This afternoon I continued scanning the colour slides from the Barbados trip of May 2004.

Incidentally, one Barbados story celebrating Sam’s epic row is told in ‘Crossword Setters’ Pseudonyms’.

Sugar Cane Club 5.04159

We were staying at the friendly and hospitable Sugar Cane Club, nestling on palm-girt hills above the sea.

Sugar Cane Club grounds 5.04156

 the lush hotel grounds

Green monkey 5.04160Green monkey 5.04163

were invaded each evening by thieving green monkeys,

Cane toad 5.04155Cane toad 5.04162

while enormous cane toads lurked in the grasses.

Sam and Dixie watching England v Wales rugby 5.04166Crowd watching England v Wales rugby match 5.04165Crowd watching England v Wales 5.04168

Soon after Sam’s arrival, he, Dixie, and I took a bus to Holetown, where, in a crowded bar we watched, on an overhead screen, a rugby match between England and Wales. I think this must have been a recording of that year’s March Six Nations match which was won by England 31 – 21.

Sir Clive Woodward 5.04167

Sir Clive Woodward, England’s knighted coach, appeared on the wavering screen.

Whilst I was writing this post, our Broadband connection disappeared. Three hours were then occupied waiting to be answered, in conversations with two women in India, then in waiting for calls back. Obviously we are back on line now. I won’t bore you with the details.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic sausage casserole. new potatoes, cauliflower, and broccoli, followed by Cornish dairy ice cream and jam tart. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Lidl Cote du Rhone 2014.

 

The Official Welcome

It is clear that William Shakespeare was an Englishman if only because of his song, ‘When That I Was And a Little Tiny Boy’ from ‘Twelfth Night’, the refrain of which is: ‘For the rain it raineth every day’. He knew our weather.

Becky and Ian returned home this afternoon, managing safely to negotiate the still disrupted A27.

Afterwards I scanned more slides from Barbados, March 2004.

Sam docking 5.04136Sam docking5.04140

Sam successfully brings his boat into dock.

Sam in dock 5.04137

He sits aboard for a while, preparing himself for his first touch of land for two months.

Sam, Dixie, Ken Crutchlow, Louisa5.04138

Then comes the official welcome of Ken Crutchlow, Secretary of the Ocean Rowing Society, filmed by Dixie,

Before doing anything else Sam was required to report to border control. This involved walking along a narrow quayside to present his passport to a man in a little office. As he was rather wobbly, he needed my assistance to reach this point. It was, of course, a great privilege to be selected to provide such support.

Jessica, Louisa, Sam, Ken Crutchlow and Derrick 5.04146 After this we lined up for group photographs. Here Jessica, Louisa, and I join Sam and Ken.

Jessica, Sam and Louisa5.04151

Before repairing to the bar, Sam caught up with me, his mother and his sister.

Sam 5.04152

Here he is in the beach bar.

Each evening for the rest of our stay, we began with potent rum punches in the main dining area upstairs. After a few of these, Ken would always cry: ‘Samson Knight. Who named that boy?’

This evening there was plenty of last night’s Spice of India takeaway left over to feed Jackie and me. I finished the cabernet sauvignon, and Jackie abstained.

 

 

Landfall In Sight

Today’s weather was slightly less wet than yesterday. Scanning was still in order, so I returned to my colour slides from May 2004 in Barbados.

Two days ago, we left Sam coming into sight of the watchers on the yacht. He was soon to experience his first land for 59 days on the wide, dark, deep, Atlantic Ocean. Jessica, Louisa, Chris, Frances, Fiona, and I were privileged to be there to share the moments.Sam coming in 5.04108

Sam coming in 5.04.04103

Sam coming in 5..04105

Sam coming in 5.04106

We watched him make his way from the calmer, but still choppy, Caribbean Sea to the more sheltered Western side of Barbados.

Sam coming in 5.04107

He paused to film us,

Sam coming in 5.04110Sam coming in 5.04112Sam coming in 5.04115

before taking in the surrounding buildings and vegetation, and navigating these pier struts.

Louisa, Jessica, and Dixie 5.04114

Louisa, Jessica, and Dixie, were making their own record.

Louisa 5.04118

Louisa seems to have spotted something overhead.

Sam coming in 5.04116

Sam coming in 5.04119

Sam coming in 5.04121

Sam coming in 5.04120

Sam continues on his way,

Barbados 4.04117

encouraged by local residents,

Sam coming in 5.04122

until he nears the windsock which marks the finish line.

Excitement mounted.

Meanwhile, on 27th August 2015, we enjoyed Jackie’s scrumptious cottage pie, Becky’s pasta bake, and crisp carrots, with which Ian drank San Miguel; Jackie, Hoegaarden; and Becky and I finished the Teroldego Rotaliano.

Around The Island

On yet another rain-slashed August day, I spared a thought for those holidaymakers who had come to the forest and the seaside for their long-awaited summer break. The last ten days hasn’t bothered me, because my chest infection has kept me indoors anyway, but they can’t have had much fun.

Needless to say this was another day for scanning colour slides, this time from Barbados in May 2004. If nothing else they remind me of sunshine. This set of photographs was made a day or two before Sam was expected to reach the island, having rowed The Atlantic solo from the Canaries.

Unknown plant 5.04

Both Jackie and I think we ought to recognise this plant, but we don’t. Fortunately Mary Tang has identified it as frangipani.

Bougainevillea 5.04

Bougainvillea brightens every landscape.

Sunset 5.04 1Sunset 5.04 2Sunset 5.04 3

A golden sunset is almost a cliche. Not in Port St Charles.

Jessica, Louisa & friend 5.04

Jessica watches as Louisa shows her photographs to another member of the waiting group.

Sunbury bird 5.04

Birds like the Yellow breasted Sunbury,

Barbados bullfinch 5.04

and the Barbados Bullfinch, the only indigenous species, which is found nowhere else, take advantage of nature’s camouflage,

Barbados Land crab 5.04

as does the land crab.

Grackle 5.04 002

The grackle

Sanderling 5.04

and the sanderling don’t seem to need it.

Coconut cutting 5.04

This gentleman demonstrates the method of releasing milk from a coconut.

Caribbean Sea

Just before the expected arrival time even the previously bright blue Caribbean Sea darkened,

Rainbow 5.04

and a rainbow arced over Port St Charles.

I was regularly in touch with Radio Nottingham to deliver live updates from my mobile phone. That night, I opened our balcony doors so that listeners could hear the deafening waves crashing in from the Atlantic.

This evening we dined on barbecue pork ribs, savoury rice, and green beans. Jam tart and custard was to follow. Ian drank Heritage de Calvet cotes du Rhone 2014; Becky drank lime cordial; Jackie, sparkling water; and I, another glass of the pinot noir.