Another Wednesday was spent down at the Hope sanctuary, and Leila, one of the pups brought in after being found tied to a tree for several days, had finally overcome her physical injuries and was able to join the rest of the pups in the quarantine area. You wouldn’t even know that she was a rescue pup, though her inner psyche probably tells a different story, and she looked in great health. It was heart warming to see her running around with the other pups, but the greatest part was her remembering me from the first week and bounding over for some good old fashioned, face licking, ear chewing, puppy love. If I could take any dog, she would be it. So if she goes missing, my bag would probably be a good place to start the search.
All the dogs at the sanctuary are good to handle and very gentle, which is surprising given their history with people . You naturally have to tread carefully as human hands, although noble at the sanctuary, are ultimately also the reason the animals are here in the first place; but the dogs are nonetheless incredibly friendly and many want little more than a decent cuddle.
It is hard not to be affected when an animal dies and no more so for its kennel companion; and where there is life, inevitably, there is death. One of the older dogs recently lost her sister from the little kennel in which the two had shared their lives together at the Hope. The death has clearly been a devastating loss to the dog and has seen her retreat to a corner of her kennel, barely even coming out for food. It’s hard to watch anything consumed by such heartache, and is a stark reminder of how life can change so very quickly. Watching her grieve alone is heart-breaking, so the crew at the Hope are working hard to find her a new suitable kennel companion to share her time with and give her many more happy years to come. I am very much looking forward to the day that happens.
Casper, pictured below, is one of my favourite dogs. He is a big old fellow that lumbers clumsily but happily around your legs. The team at the Hope suspect his walking difficulties are caused by a motor-neurone disease. Casper, however, doesn’t appear to have a care in the world and certainly doesn’t let his illness get in the way of him getting in the way of me during feeding time.
One of the pups will be off to a new home soon, which is really exciting news for her and the Hope. Once the animals are rehomed, they will have several follow up visits and checks to make sure that their new owners meet the standard of living that the sanctuary requires of them. It will be an incredible journey to follow her progress and watch her find a new life with a new family.
The folks at the sanctuary are like an extended family to Dan and me, and have become a firm fixture on our social calendar and thinking about it, mostly are our social calendar. They take us out, introduce us to new friends and get us good and drunk, last night being no exception and hopefully someone will invite us round for chrimbo…
On Thursday, I could not sleep. I could not sleep because I had done all my work on time, which not only came as a massive surprise to both Dan and myself, but would also allow me to take the next day off and make like a baker and cake myself up. I realise that sounds pretty dull, getting all excited about baking, but I like to bake and feel that it nicely offsets the going out and getting wasted.
So to try and kill some time before the Friday bake off and and to potentially help me drift off, I decide to write up some of my blog because 1. If it turns out to be a bit on the dry side it will work nicely as a sleep aid and 2. There are fewer things more irritating than lying next to someone when you can’t sleep, who, if sleeping were a profession, could make a decent living out of it.
Outside I could hear the eclectic mix of island life roaming around. I would have gone outside to discover the wonders for myself if I wasn’t such a wuss, but I am so there you have it. The two most obvious noises (observed from the safety of the living room) were that of the Barbadian whistling frog and a cockerel, whose frantic and ill-judged crowing just about sums up Bajan time keeping. Make no mistake; he wasn’t very early, just very, very late.
Time is one thing that I’m slowly (which is exactly the correct Bajan pace) starting to understand, and it’s only through being here that I realise just what a punctual little Brit I am.
Bajan time runs on a totally different zone, and I don’t just mean AST. It’s very much like living in the old Malibu TV adverts, which at the time might have seemed to be a bit stereotypical, but turns out they were bang on the money. Planning anything that involves people needing to arrive on time really isn’t a good idea and, as I learned, having a dinner party is one of those misguided ideas. That is unless you remember to set the time of arrival to Bajan time. So for example, if you are planning a dinner party for 7pm, send invites confirming the start time as around 4pm. That should just about do the trick.
Another learning about the lack of needing to clock watch was when our good pal, Jewell, invited us to a boat party shortly after our arrival onto the island. The Jolly Roger was due to set sail at 6pm on a cruise along the west coast to herald the end of summer. We arrived promptly at 5, expecting boarding to commence at approximately 5.30 making for a prompt getaway at 6.
What actually transpired was us being met with laughter by the Bajan folk loading up the boat cheerily advising “It doesn’t leave for a bit, you know.” We responded with “Ok, so boarding at 5.30ish?” They laughed again. “Go get yourselves a drink or something and come back for 6.” We came back at 5.30, (because we felt that really 30 minutes is roughly how long you need to board 50 odd people and a few barrels of rum) but when we arrived back after hiding just around the corner, it was just us. Finally people rolled up at 6.30, and the boat eventually set sail at 7.30. This wasn’t at all bad by Bajan standards and actually they probably thought they had set off early.
I’m not complaining mind and there is little wrong with Bajan time; no one is trying to be rude, it’s how they roll here, and you just have to shake free from the British shackles of good time keeping.
The thought of baking cakes the next day (and being hungry in general) had me reminisce about foods I miss back home. Not that if I were back home I would necessarily bother with them, but when you can’t have something, you sure as hell want it.
I would happily sell a decent pair of shoes right now for a bag of salt and vinegar Discos: the daddy mac of the crisp world. Besides, shoes are probably cheaper to buy here than Discos. Back home, if I went out on any long journeys I would always take them as part of my staple traveling lunchbox which would also comprise a tuna sandwich, a packet of Discos and coffee. I always drink coffee when I’m traveling around as it makes me feel dreadfully important and gives me a real sense of purpose for absolutely no apparent reason whatsoever. Well, while there may be plenty of parties here, there sure aren’t any Discos! Even if I could find someone to import them, they would probably cost about £15 a bag, which is most certainly not in the water-tight-tight-ass budget. Speaking of outrageous costings, my new pal Vicky tried buying some imported cherry tomatoes. They cost $50, which equates to about £20 for a small punnet. Jesus wept, I thought. Or at least he would have done if he had wanted to buy cherry tomatoes for his beach picnic. He would have really had to stretch his fishes and loaves a bit further that week.
I am now digressing into mindless waffle, which is always a good place to end things. Or in my case, begin and end things. I hope that you have enjoyed another bite size chunk into the feverishly exciting life that is ours in the tropics and leave you in the grace and favour of the lord.
The week in pictures.