Sunday, June 30, 2013

Under the cocotiers

For some time now I have been thinking of visiting Martinique and reconnecting with old friends whom I hadn't seen for over 20 plus years.
Last week the local airline had a two for one sale so my sister and I took advantage of this deal.
In order to enter Martinique I needed to have a reservation at a hotel or guest house, travel insurance and if I am staying with friends a certificate from the Town hall giving permission to my friends to host me. Now I thought that was really ridiculous because they have waived the visa requirements for my country but they insist on making it very difficult for us to visit. Not only must I send a photocopy of my passport  but my friends must also pay a ridiculous fee to the local authorities, it is the same as applying for a visa. So I decided to get around it by reserving a room at a local Bed and Breakfast for a few nights and then leave to stay at my friend's house. Mind you the French can visit my country with very few restrictions. All they have to do is to give the name and the address of the person  they are staying  with and have a return ticket. We do not have to ask the state permission to host someone at our homes.
I went on line to find a Chambre D’hôte /Bed and Breakfast and found  this delightful place on the eastern side of the island called Les Bougainvillers  located in the suburbs of Francois on a site called sous les cocotiers. It is run by a charming young lady by the name of Véronique.
I made reservations for two, included was my sister who had never been to Martinique before.
We were met by Veronique at the airport and taken to our home away from home. It was exactly that, a home away from home. The island was lush from the recent rains and fruits like mangoes and carambolas were falling off the trees.
 le petit déjeuner chez les bougainvilliers
The five nights we spent there were very enjoyable. The views were breathtaking. Breakfast and dinner time were most entertaining. We got around by taking the local bus which we found it quite expensive. Apart from that we were able to mingle with the local population.
New church being constructed at Francois.

Town Hall in Francois

Beach at Marin
We met a wonderful Frenchman by the name of Jose who was  staying at the same Bed and Breakfast and was on a working holiday. He took us under his wing and took us to visit many of the Rum Distilleries that were on his work schedule.  He loved the beach so we were invited to accompany him to  the beach in Marin.

 To be continued

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Lucky Sandy

 Pink Lagerstromeia speciosa in all her glory
 My purple Lagerstromeia  speciosa blooming for the first time.

I am introducing the newest member of the family. He was found wandering on the road late one night by my daughter who called me to come and help her. She had just left my house to go home and she saw this little baby in the middle of the road  trying to cross to the beach side. I quickly grabbed a box and mat and headed toward the location about 3 mins away by car. When I got there daughter asked if I brought a torchlight and I replied no. So we still went ahead looking for this little one on the beach with the tiny light from daughter's phone. We searched for a while and couldn't find him. I told Lauren to go home and let us hope that he doesn't get run over. She left and I returned home only to find my hubby in the kitchen preparing some hot dog sausages for the little one. I told him that I had forgotten the torch and will go back and try to find this precious bundle. Well I returned with my bright torch, a bowl with the hot dogs and found him hunkered down for the night on the beach between some tall grass. I bundled him up and brought him home. I placed him in my new shed with some water and the hot dogs and his box for sleeping. 
I am happy to say he is settling in trying to make friends with my other dogs who want nothing to do with him for now. I think they are jealous because now some attention is being paid to this newcomer. He  has already bitten through a computer USB wire, I have cleaned up four sets of stool and mopped up several puddles. I had forgotten what it was like to have a baby in the house.  Daughter wants to call him Lucky and I like the name Sandy. So I mentioned this on FB and many friend liked Sandy and Lucky Sandy, I will name him Sandy.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

House renos update

Old plaster was removed and the beautiful limestone exposed.
I loved the look but unfortunately it couldn't stay like that because of the elements.

A gray cement scratch coat was applied  and afterwards coral stone finish.

Sunburst design on the front patio.

House renos are still continuing at the rustic bajan gardener's homestead. I am exhausted from trying to get quality work from the workmen. Medocrity seems to be the standard and I do have a big problem with that.  
 There was drama after drama trying to get my windows built. I contacted several firms to come and measure to give a quote. After a week I heard nothing so I called many told me that they hadn't even started my quote as yet and told me that when they are finished they will let me know. I told them not to bother, if they cannot give me a quote in a week's time then they have too much business on their plate. One told me that I would have to wait five weeks for the windows while several others never sent in a quote. 

Doing business on this island is pure frustration.  I then found a firm with whom I gave a sizable deposit to and asked for a contract on what they will be doing for me. Well The cheque was cashed the next day  and after a week of begging for a contract I gave up and demanded my money back. The contract came after I demanded my money but I told them that I had lost faith in them and I no longer wanted to do business with them. I finally contacted a firm who no showed on me many years ago but I decided to give them another try since I was running out of firms. They came out the next day measured up and sent me a quote two days later. I went in to pay a deposit. I got a phone call later saying that the quote was wrong and it was more money.  I nearly had a seizure so I went in to see them again and we finally decided on cedar wood windows. I paid the deposit and was told the windows will be ready in three weeks. They have been very helpful and have consulted me on several occasions regarding the finish on the wood I wanted.  So at this time I have no windows upstairs and had to make do some temporary  plywood shutters on the windward side  to stop the rain from coming in. I am keeping my finger crossed.  More photos to come so stay tuned.