Friday 13 October 2017

Beach week.

It was a sunny day when we jumped into the car and went to the airport.  The plane touched down and just look and see who found us.  

Yes Reader its the Boat Sharers, this pair follow us from place to place.  We thought we'd given them the slip but here they are.  The plane landed, dumped the bags at the house and scooted down the beach. 

White sand, turquoise seas, flat waves and a sweet bar that sells really really good Pina coladas.  
Thank you "Julielynne" for your warning about their addictive quality.  Yes I think you are quite right.

So a fun packed week has gone very quickly with our chums mostly concerned with mornings of dawn swims for some, not me, then sort of chores with doggie feeding and brushing, pool hoovering, deck sweeping then the afternoons filled with beaches, swimming and rum punches.

David Lewis thought it was chilly in the water.

A different day, we were right in the south of the island near Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay, took a hurricane pounding but the bar owner said it was one of the top five beaches in the world.  I would not dispute that claim.

Another day this time down at Nelsons Dockyard.  The only Georgian boat yard in the word.  Restored a few decades ago now sailing boat central  

So very very hot here this day, but a breeze flows through these stone buildings cooling somewhat.

This is hard to photograph but its the two sides of the entrance to English Harbour where Nelsons Dockyard is located.  They built two forts one one each side for protection.  It must have worked as there weren't any attacks.

Part of the fortifications have been lost to the sea here. 

View the soldiers would have had.

Guardhouse built on the premonitory in the C18th, its been restored but....  

The shutters have long gone.

Did I say it was hot here?  Boat Sharers picking out their next holiday accommodation.

Another day and I spotted this through the undergrowth from the road near the house.  I don't believe its a recent casualty,  had the mast stripped, but its been abandoned here on a lovely beach.

Three fabulous Pina Coladas and one beer Julielynne!!

Turquoise seas turn silver.

Well, that's all for just now.  We'll check in again soon.  Only another ten days left for us now......

Saturday 7 October 2017

Sun, sea and forts.

So we had another dose of history, just a small one, drinks were associated with this visit.  To the Fort of St James which is situated at the harbour entrance to St Johns, the capital.

We had another motive, its lovely and breezy here on the headland and a tad cooler too.

The island has many forts but most are in ruins.  This fort is according to the guide, the best preserved.


It's overgrown and ruined but you can see the remains of the barracks which housed 75 men.  The cannons were never used in anger.

This house which is part of the Fort complex was restored in the 1980's, today its a fish restaurant and bar own by a beautiful young Canadian lady who's father had it before her.  We plan to return later in the holiday.

The view of the harbour into St James, hidden from the passing ships.

Not completely sure what initials these are but King George 3rd on the throne in 1805.


Facing out to sea

Maybe it was the Commanders House/

Very generous cannon emplacements.

I think this was the barracks......

A few other visitors, by that I mean one lady.  I can understand that Antiguans wouldn't be remotely interested in that part of their history for obvious reasons.  There is a restored sugar plantation at Betty's Hope here somewhere.  Even I don't know if I want to visit it, we'll see.

After this sweltering visit, we went swimming at the fab beach here the other side of the fort and after that we went to our host's favourite restaurant where we met the owner...

My first ever Pina Colada the other is an Old Fashioned Rum Punch.

Owner who's name I forgot to ask, but had spent three years living in our hometown!!

Partial view of the beach we swam on from the Fort

Very happy bunnies.

Oh my just look at those colours.  no jiggery pokery used on this photo either.

Rest assured Reader, that we do know how lucky we are to be here and yes we are making the most of every minute.

Thursday 5 October 2017

A quiet visit to town.

Who knows anything about Antigua?  Well not me for one.  So we went a snooping, in the car.  Did I say this job comes with a car?

So we headed to St Johns which is the capital.  Capital town I would say.  80,000 people live here on the Island, of which 32,000 live in St Johns.  About 300,000 live in our home town in the UK, by way of a comparison.  

So one thing I like about the grid system employed on St Johns roads is that the tiny centre has a one way system, it simple and fool proof.  We all go one way and on the next street we all go the other way.  This applies to the cross ways roads too.  David hates it as you are always stopping.  
I like it.  

Another thing I have learnt is that Antigua is poor. 
Very poor.  
Our hosts call it a Third World Country, they should know as they have lived here thirty odd years.  So its curious that the Caribbean in general is an expensive destination.  In the high season super yachts (Yogurt Pots)  and large sailing craft flock here, presumably owned by wealthy Americans.  None here currently as its the Off Season.   That is when a lots of restaurants and Resorts close for maintenance and repairs.  Lots of tidying up going on in the places that the storm winds hit badly.   But there are plenty open for us.  The peak season is December, January and February, when its a tad cooler and not humid.  Its been a bit humid today and 29 degrees, at night it drops to 28 degrees.

So then back to St Johns;

That's rainwater running there underneath the pavement. 

This is the old part of town, stone walls.

This could be a trip boat, harbour very quiet today.  No cruise ships in.

Cruise ships pull in here.

Another preserved building.  In better condition than most of the houses the people live in

Sorry about the cables and wires, the whole island is lined with them.

Today this former Court House is the Museum, Of course we went in.  Only took about 30 mins, Half of the history is  too ghastly to read all about Slavery.

How it looked in the day
 Now I like a good church, lots to learn in churches.  This is the Cathedral of St John.  No its not been battered by a hurricane, but it is under going its first ever restoration since being build in 1848 I think the man who came up to us and saw us peering at it.  He explained all about the diocese and the works.  He happened to be on the Restoration Committee and had the keys to the padlocked door and showed us the work so far.  I think he said six years worth...

Did look a bit like a bomb had gone off but no.  The exterior stone will be restored after the wooden framed interior is completed.

Hold two thousand, the flexible wooden frame allows for movement when earthquakes hit (Seems to work), yes they get earthquakes here too!!!! 

An interesting visit, if you are a history nerd.  If you are not, sorry, but there's lots of shopping to be had down in the Quay areas for the cruisers when they flock in droves.
But I haven't come here to shop.

Wednesday 4 October 2017

A working life for me

Dear Reader, 
You may remember that last time I said we had a job to do?  Well we have begun and so far it's going pretty well even if it is unpaid.
So we are house sitting for two sweet doggies and a parrot named Molly.  

She is hilarious and says "Come on then!" when she's waiting for her food and "Bloody dogs".  She has long whistling conversations with David as he is her main carer and feeds her twice a day.  Ungratefully she tries hard to peck him.  But allows me to stroke her head and neck.

The Doggies are two middle aged Jack Russells and both have been a bit poorly recently but they have sparked up and I think they are happy in our care.  

We used to have a Saint Bernard when our children were young, so we do know all about dogs.

Oh didn't I say where we were.....?  Well we're in the Caribbean for a month, Antigua to be precise.

We had been very much looking forward to this but as you will remember hurricane Irma appeared out of a clear blue sky hotly followed by Maria.  The colly wobbles set in a bit, not knowing quite what would be here if anything.   

Irma has wiped out almost every house on Antigua's twin island Barbuda,  which is only about 27 miles away to the north and Maria passed by about the same distance to the south causing much damage but leaving Antigua pretty well unscathed.

So if you are considering coming to the Caribbean do so.  
Not only is much of the Caribbean undamaged and strikingly beautiful but the region needs all the tourists available, plus the beaches are rather special.

Like to see a few photos?  Okay then if you twist my arm.

Early morning exercise class 

A bit of zoom, but the view from the front porch #nofilter

Doggies Monty and Puddles.

This tree in the garden has Humming Birds all day, far too zippy for me to catch so far on film.

So below I am pretty sure is a Frigate Bird.  Amazingly they fly between here (Barbuda)    HERE     and the Galapagos Islands so I don't know what your geography is like but that means flying over South America and a fair chunk of ocean.

Frigate Bird, a wildlife first for me

So this was today's beach

We went to this beach today.  There's a fair choice of one a day, not just for the almost month that we'll be here but for the year, yes 365 beaches.....    HERE   Swimming is a bit of an over statement, its a bit more like bobbing, yes we bobbed about for an hour or so and then went to have a very leisurely lunch which included rum punches, actually I think they are obligatory.

Lunch was chicken caesar salad then creole shrimps (That prawns to me).

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Lots of favourites

Have you ever caught your husband doing something which alarms you?  

Well I did today, see the photo below.  See he has the instruction book out?  Goodness only knows where he found that.  The next photo was of him standing on a white box with DO NOT STAND written on it.  Thankfully David Lewis is going to check over everything in the winter......  

Danger man at work

So we left my favourite mooring and pushed on, suddenly there was that unmistakeable sound of a vintage engine, then another and another.
Finally the penny dropped, it was the Monday after the Foxton Boat Festival and they were all making their way home afterwards.

So here they come, thick and fast.... 
(some shots are fuzzy phone shots)

So Frequently Flyers to this blog may remember that we stop and talk to Peter every time we see him.  Peter is 86 now, is out on his boat every week in a long season only going back home to his daughter for the winter months.  He's an avid reader, plane and bird spotter... If you see him stop by and say hello.

Very youthful Peter

I've been looking at trad back boats this summer and I have to say that I'm not super impressed with the co-pilots seat

We usually stay out a few weeks longer but this year we have a job of work to do so WaL goes to bed early.  (More of the job later) But usually we see tremendous autumn colours but this year they haven't really started.  But here are the best of what I saw.

Did you see that water displacement?

I think these are sloes.  One year David and I made about six litres of sloe gin, nurtured it, stirred it and finally tasted it after about four months and hated it....  

Pretty good reflection.

Only spot along here with a clear view across Leicestershire.

Rookie Lockie, here he is winding up the wrong paddle!

The correct paddle.

Love this shot but its fuzzy.

 Our mooring this afternoon.  

Bish Bash Bosh off to our favourite Italian restaurant Boboli in Kibworth Harcourt, a short car ride away

Afternoon mooring a short hop from the bottom of Foxton Locks

Menu study in the last gasp of sunshine.

Supper was simply wonderful;

OMG prawns, broccoli, roasted tomatoes and chilli starter

The owners mother's lasagna, layers of thin ham.  Divine.

TiramisĂș and a glass of white port!!

WaL when we got home.

So the next morning bright and early we popped WaL into Debdale Marina and only two and a half hours later drove home where we have been a few days now.

So that's all for boating this year I think at the moment, but we do have a job to do.....  We arrive at a house in 48hrs time to care for two wee dogs.  I have to say I have had many thoughts on this from joy to heartbreak but we are going.   

It was me that convinced David to do this way back in March. He was unsure but the day is almost here so I'll tell you all about it very soon.