Sunday, December 2, 2012


 It's raining on land, but not at sea

 Guadeloupe in the distance


In my several years here in Dominica I have gone out many times to fish with Sono.  I enjoy the boat ride along the coast, watching the sky, waving to the other fishermen out there, seeing the yachts in full sail, watching the frigate birds, but I do not understand the excitement of actually snagging a fish.  Take today for example. The weather was fine, the sea was calm.  We went way out, and after 2 hours bouncing up and down on the waves, we caught 2 little 2 pound tuna. Sono was thrilled.  Frankly, I would have preferred that they stayed in the sea where they belong.    We ate one for supper. 

The afternoon was well worth the price of the tank of gas. 

Coming in at sunset

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Moving and 'Flu

We are going to move. Sono was varnishing 10 chairs on the veranda and Mr. Pedro, the landlord who lives in the basement, had a hissy fit and told us we had to ‘get out’ by month’s end. This came as a surprise to me, but not to Sono. It is true that Pedro has been hostile for the last couple of weeks, but I was overlooking it. It turns out that Pedro has made enemies with everyone around him, no one will deal with him, everyone has banned him. The news traveled fast and our neighbours came with all kind of horror stories. “If he fall down in the street, no man would pick him up.”

However, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining, every misfortune is a blessing in disguise. We found a fantastic place, just down the road, on a side road. It is huge, bright, veranda all around, and NEW. 2 bathrooms and a second really nice big bedroom for visitors. Yes, it is more expensive, but still within my range. The view is great and there are grapefruit trees that reach up to the veranda. You just have to reach out and pick one.

Meanwhile I have had the ‘flu and it has settled in my chest. It has been a long hot couple of weeks (32 degrees C today) to spend with coughing fits and aching bones. Tylenol 3 and trips to the sea have made it tolerable. I think I am getting better.

I’ll have photos of the new dwelling and surroundings after we move at the end of the month. Here are some if the tables Sono made for a bar in Marigot, near the airport.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

African Descendents

It is well known and documented that the Carib and Arawak Indians are the indigenous aboriginal people of Dominica, but it is not as widely known where the black population come from. Relatively few are the descendants of British owned slaves. Columbus found a black population on Dominica. During his second voyage in 1493, Columbus was told by the Indians of Espanola (Haiti), that Black people had been to the island before his arrival. Where did they come from? How did they get here? They came on rafts powered by the trade winds and the main stream current. Coming from West Africa they simply sailed directly across; coming from East African they came around Cape Horn and caught the trade winds taking them to the Caribbean Ocean and Islands. There is also a population with very deep French roots. These people came to France from French Africa, and from France they emigrated to the French owned islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique as Frenchmen. Guadeloupe and Martinique are within easy reach of Dominica. French surnames are prevalent in Dominica. Dominicans proudly identify themselves as “African Descendants”.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Garbage Truck

Do you take your garbage pick up for granted? I never will again. It is frightening, anxiety provoking, nervous making when it is 80+F degrees for 10 days and the garbage truck hasn't come to your neighbourhood. It's been seen elsewhere, but not up here.

Anyhow it came today, much to my astonishment because it is "Good Friday" and Dominica closes down for the long Easter holiday. I was so sure it would sit there in the 80+F sun for another 10 days,feeding all the stray dogs and chickens.

The truck couldn't (wouldn't?) turn down to my house. When I heard it I went out and stood over it, hands on hips glaring at the poor over loaded truck. The man came and said he would take mine, he was doing me a favour and would find room. HURRAH! He didn't take Ma Pinney's from across the street. Sometimes it pays to be a white woman!

Saturday, March 3, 2012


It's early March, and I know some of you are planning your gardens,ordering seeds, and starting plants indoors.

Here in Dominica there are no real seasons. There are cycles, but you can plant anything any time - as long as it is "in the right moon". You can also plant in anything! Old fridges and plastic pails are often used. Here is a photo of my lettuce bed in a fridge; there are 30 heads of lettuce in this fridge. one cabbage, 2 bunches of parsley and 2 little seasoning pepper trees. The soil is sandy and dark, but it can also be sandy, gravelly and red and is like cement when it dries out. It doesn't seem to matter. 'T-nom is carrying my next bed destined for tomatoes.

Here is a neighbour's back yard garden. The gardens always (to my eyes) look ill kept and haphazard, but they are highly productive! Everything germinates,and grows must be the heat, rain and fertile volcanic soil.

Flowers, herbs and animals at my front door

Saturday, January 14, 2012



Commonly practiced: When you want to build a new house on your lot, you construct it over the existing house thus avoiding the building code, moving out while you build and buying all new material.
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Monday, January 9, 2012


2011 ended with everything I owned broken and/or malfunctioning…refrigerator, car, camera, computer… now I am broke!

CAR: With the money I made at Ararat this summer I bought an old Mitsubishi sedan when I returned to D/ca. It needed a few adjustments and a tune up! Fine, but it took 2 months of lies, surprises, misunderstandings, and threats to finally get it in satisfactory running order. One small story– just when I thought it was ready to come home (mid December), it turned out that it needed a new gasket (I won’t go into all that led up to this). OK. The mechanic was to order this...days go by...then 2 weeks go by. When I checked on him he assured me that it had been ordered and was on its way. Another week went by and I could see that the car was still in the same place in his yard and had not been moved. Hysterics and yelling ensued, whereupon he confessed that he had not ordered the gasket – from Japan yet! It gets ordered and arrives within the week thanks to Fed Ex. He promised that I would have the car in a couple of days. However, now the timing is off and it is Christmas. The only guy in all of Portsmouth who has the testing gizmo and who can adjust the timing is drunk, and I know that he will stay that way well into New Year’s week. I tell the mechanic that he has ruined my entire Christmas holiday. Does he care? He tells me that his wife left him because he is such a nice guy (honest!). He has me completely at his mercy, but he knows he has done me wrong and he is a little scared because he knows I am ready to sue. Ergo…the car was delivered this morning and is good to go.

‘FRIDGE: I had to buy a fridge. Appliances are very expensive here, so I found a nice, clean one that had been repossessed and that I could easily afford. In the shop it ran nicely and quietly. Within weeks it began to make a serious noise. Mr. Prince, the repair man, came quickly and said the computerized regulator is malfunctioning and ice was building up. I decided to simply defrost it every couple of weeks. This method worked for just that long i.e. a couple of weeks. Then the freezer compartment got too cold and the ‘fridge part did not get cold at all. Mr. Prince came and got it, did his magic, and returned it within 36 hours and it works perfectly, if somewhat more noisily. This, of course, was not free.

CAMERA: Suddenly the lens would not extend. I love this camera – a Canon. I cried. It is once again working well.

COMPUTER: I have a two year old MacBook. I love it. Some weeks ago, in the middle of working on it, it shut down – just like that. I started it up again, but it kept shutting itself down and displaying other bizarre behaviour. I could see that nothing was lost, everything (music, photos, programs, documents etc.) were still there. I also discovered that by holding down the ‘D’ key it would stay on (?), but really it was not functioning at all. Desperate emails to my brother Peter to no avail, so I prepared myself to do without it, put it away and take it back to Ottawa in June and make do with an old, but working PC I had (again, thanks to Peter). Last night January 7, 2012, we went to one of our favourite bars. Just behind the bar was a man working on a computer mixing some music. I asked him if he was working on an Apple by any chance. Yes. After some discussion it turns out that he is a radio DJ/Technician /music producer, in the UK, and he would be happy to look at my MacBook. So I took my Apple computer to him today and watched him investigate it. Clearly he knows what he is doing, and is puzzled and intrigued. He thinks that there was a power surge that scrambled it. Domlec, the Dominican power supply people, apparently have sudden, huge, destroying, unpredictable surges. He talked about equipment he has had destroyed as result of these surges. I left it with him. To be continued

I must look up to see what constellation the moon was in December. There can be no other explanation.