14 August 2007


Today is the last day of Carnival.
We have spent most of the holiday
at home and played a 'fast' mass
from the comfort of the veranda!

('Fast' here means when you're
minding other people's business)

We also went up to the 'other' garden where we lived for
almost a year and helped T's father bring down some fig.
This garden is outside the village, higher up from the waterfalls.

To get to it you leave the road and cross the river over the large stones.
When we lived there, about 5 years ago, the river used to come down
so heavily after the rain fell, that it wasn't always possible to cross but
these days there seems to be less water. I think Ivan brought down so much silt
and trees that the course has changed. Even so, after all the rain we have had
recently, there should be more water in the river, global warming maybe or,
perhaps the water authority are taking more water from the dam higher up,
to feed all the new development in the south of the island. Who knows.

We lived in a little shed or juppa that we originally built as a weekend retreat
weather shelter but, when the rent on where we were staying got too high
and knowing how much my 'husband to be', was missing his land, I suggested
that we try and live up there.
Now, I am blessed with a husband
who loves to please me,
I know,
I can't believe it either but it's true
and I didn't realise that people here
don't usually live in their gardens
but work in them and then go home,
so when I made this suggestion T
just went along with it and kept whatever
reservations he may have had, to himself!

So there we stayed in our little shed that
we built from ply and galvanise and whatever else we could beg or borrow.
It measured 8' x 6' and we cooked on a 3 stone fireside, bathed and washed in the river, entertained in the evenings by candlelight, yes, we even had visitors, left for work in business clothes and water boots and basically had the time of our lives.

Alll was brought to an abrupt end by this little monster,
and all trace is, almost, erased by
Suffice to say, our Carnival time
in this special place was spent with
knowing looks and secret smiles!

On our return to the village we
were just in time to see the
'shortknee' mass. I am not sure
of the origins of this mass
(and would love to hear from anyone who is),
but it is my favourite,
fabulously costumed
masqueraders chant and
stomp to make the bells around their
ankles jangle, the mirrors on their
costumes glitter, as they tell a story
within a story, a little scary,
but never threatening.
They carry talcum powder to
shower you with, in the event that you don't have any
food or drink to give them !

Carnival was nice this year.

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