Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Picking up The Barrel

SO, big day.  left Portsmouth at 8:30 am and everything went so well that we were home by 2.  Our agenda was to pick up 15 pink grapefruit trees at the Botanical Garden, Department of Agriculture to plant at McDowell's farm in Destiny, go to shipping agent in  Roseau, go to McD's lawyer to pick up some papers  and deliver some papers, go to 4D, the agriculture superstore (I love it there),  then to the Port to pick up the barrel which had set sail 4 weeks ago. 

We  were in a rickety pick up truck driven by a man called Stalin. I asked McD about the name and  told him that Stalin was a tyrant, McD said he guessed his mother didn't know that! But Stalin, a quiet, gentle man and was only  going to charge $150 ec for the day, and he is a friend of McD's, so why not!.  He drove slowly and well.  McD jammed himself in the back of the cab.  He slept the whole way there (and back). I, as usual, white knuckled it the whole way.

Our first Stop was at the Botanical Garden, Department of Ag. Of course we couldn't get the trees because the quarantine  officer wasn't there to release them.  That's OK, we ordered 5 tangerine and 5 lime along with the 15 pink grapefruit,  and they will call us when they are ready. 

Next stop - the shipping agent -  on a very busy one way street.  We found a good parking spot.  We were quickly in and out and it only cost $35ec.  Next stop was 4D, the Agriculture Superstore.  They had everything except a hanging scale McD wanted to weigh his bunches of plantain and  bananas. We bought fertilizer for the trees we didn't have, and ant poison for the invasion in my apartment.

Finally, the Port to pick up the barrel . No problem. All went smoothly.  But here's the story of the day. 

Anthony had packed the barrel in Ottawa, and he did a smart job.  It is a big deep barrel.  Art supplies and pots and pans were immediately visible as soon as the customs officer opened the barrel and peered inside.  What he saw next was a box that said ROLAND GUITAR AMPLIFIER and he dove for it, probably thinking he hit the jack pot. He  opened it and found more art paint, little canvasses, brushes and crocheting.  He snorted in disgust, closed the barrel without going any further and only charged me $85ec for the lot.  

Yes, indeed the lovely little Roland amplifier was in there, hidden in a doudy, brown cardboard box at the bottom of the barrel.

MCD thinks Anthony is a genius and laughed out loud when I brought the amplifier out.  He is bragging to all about how Anthony fooled the customs  and cheated them out of who knows what they would have charged! He plugged the amplifier in right away and it burst into song!  Wonderful.

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Little Old House on Bay Street

During these last months I have been preoccupied with McDowell, the Bar Patio and mostly getting the old house ready to open as an art gallery, gift shop.  Loni Costello, Lene Larsen and Mait Kangasmaa and I have collaborated on this cooperative project.  Loni does beautiful, detailed bags and beach fashion, Lene has her photographs, place mats and cards, and I have my water colour paintings.  Mait is our stand by/stand in and encourager and enabler.  The shop is not quite open yet, although we have had a good deal of interest. Most of us will  be away off  and on throughout April and May, so we will have our official opening in June when we are all together.

It is the old house that moved me.  It has been empty for years and was falling apart.  The ginger bread trimmings and the wooden louvers were disintegrating. It is the oldest standing house in Portsmouth and is a well known landmark.  Here is its story.

THE PETER HOUSE
1115 Bay Street, Portsmouth, Dominica
The origin of this house is lost in history, but what is known is that Miss Marion Peter's father (John) bequeathed the house and property to his five lawful children.  All were raised in this house. To support his gambling debts, William Harrison (the eldest son) mortgaged the house and subsequently lost it. In 1958, Miss Marion, the eldest daughter and William's sister, bought the house and property at public auction in Roseau and she continued to live here, with her sister, Miss Henrietta Kitzia, and her niece Gwendolyn.

Miss Marion, who was born in 1893, was a pillar of the Portsmouth community.  She was postmistress and town clerk and a formidable woman.

Not much is known about Miss Kitzie.  She is said to have been "a little off" and rarely went out.

In 1914, Gwendolyn Christophine Peter, Miss Marion's niece, was brought into the house hold after her mother, Sarah Peter, died. She was five years old.  Miss Marion's brother, William Harrison was Miss Gwendolyn's father (yes, the same William Harrison who lost the property). Miss Gwendolyn was fond of saying that she "was a rock Peter" since both her mother and her father were Peter! She too, like her Aunt, became a prominent Portsmouth figure, and is still remembered.  She supported herself as a seamstress, and as a crafts woman making baskets, painting postcards, and selling small souvenirs in her shop. Miss Marion came to rely on her and she became her Aunt's sole care taker.

All three ladies were spinsters and died at an advanced age and are buried in the Catholic cemetery, side by side.

McDowell Magloire is now the owner of this house and property.  He grew up just down the street, next to what is now Joe Duvergny's grocery store (that wooden house is gone and a new 5 story building has just gone up in its place). When he was very young, McDowell's first paying job was to deliver newspapers in Zikac for Miss Marion.  As he grew he became the 'man in the yard' for the Misses Peter. Eventually, he went away to sea, as many Dominican young men do, but kept in constant contact with them and always saw them in his comings and goings to Dominica. After Miss Marion and Miss Kitzie died, Miss Gwenny began to lose her eye sight.  Eventually, as she became blind, McDowell became Miss Gwenny's sole caretaker. He looked after her until her death in 2012.   Miss Gwenny bequeathed the house, the property and the building that is the shop and Sagittarius Bar to him.
 
          Miss Marion Nethalia Peter born September 28, 1893, died 1988
                Miss Kitzie died soon after
                Miss Gwendolyn Christophine Peter born October 8, 1909, Died March 6, 2012 at 102    

THIS LITTLE OLD HOUSE IS DEDICATED TO THEIR MEMORY
And continues as a gift shop and art gallery























Tuesday, January 31, 2017

NOTES FROM THE FIELD

NOTES FROM THE FIELD

I went to the local grocery store to pick up something they usually have.   It wasn't there.  I asked when they expected to get some in and was told that they are not going to get it again because it sells too fast and they can't keep enough on the shelf.

So last week my friend's purse was stolen.  She knew who the thief was and went to the police immediately to report the theft and the thief.  She was told that they couldn't go and get the man right now because they knew that he wasn't feeling well.

Yesterday I saw some nasty huge black and yellow caterpillars on a pretty tree with white flowers.  I put on my gloves and filled a bucket with water and detergent and went out to pick them off.  The cleaning lady from next door came out and told me to cut the tree down to deal with them.  No. The tree stands today, wormless and pretty.

Overheard at the Bar, "She's a hard worker and has her ear to the grindstone".