Tag Archives: Mind

Caribbean Cruise: Part 5, The Finale

Caribbean Cruise: Part 5, The Finale

And about time too. This Blog has been going on for months and needs to conclude. Problem? There are 3 more islands to visit. But as one island is much the same as the next (Aruba notwithstanding), the final 3 shall be handled here with much the sameness. The only difference is St. Vincent, though it is much like St. Lucia except that its claim to fame is providing the Jamaican scenery from Pirates of the Caribbean. So, I guess apart from that, St. Vincent is St. Lucia.

Some might disagree. It’s all a matter of perspective. It’s also a matter of all those hills, or mountains of a sort and bendy, twisty roads and palm trees and banana groves and volcanoes and hot weather. Oh, and very nice, but ubiquitous beaches. The other exception to this is St. Kitts which has mountains but we didn’t drive through them, just around them. St. Kitts also is where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean in this part of the world and you can see the two collide.

And since all of the Caribbean islands were formed from volcanoes spilling land from their tops and sides, it is no wonder that the islands in this part of the world have so many similarities. The third of the last 3 we visited, Antigua, was another beach day. We didn’t see much of the island. The sea was rough and someone said there was a shark sighting. More shell gathering. Not so memorable.


Fryes beach, Antigua.

St. Kitts was another story. Our tour guide made the day. I called him Fancy Danman. He had a very dry sense of humour and loved to tell us at every turn that the British pretty well wiped out the indigenous people of St. Kitts. Never mind that everyone on the bus was British.  No one took the bait. We all acted like the polite British people we used to be. I say we because my family background goes back to William the Conqueror and Border Scots even though most of my life was lived in Canada. Mostly I am polite. I wanted to tell old Fancy Danman to blame the privileged classes of Britain for past misdemeanours, but my best friend gave me one of those looks and I kept quiet. That too is very British unless one is a Football/Soccer Hooligan.


Fancy Danman (aka Rastaman) our guide on St. Kitts.

Most of St. Kitts seems to be for Medical and Veterinary students from everywhere. Then there is the old sugar plantation with a Batik shop that is the real reason we were here. Lovely stuff….not cheap. We didn’t feel guilty because St. Kitts had been spared the worst of Hurricane Irma. We stopped where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea complete with a lady in a shack painting pictures for tourists. I went in and bought one of an island couple in traditional dress.


One of the medical colleges on St. Kitts.


Woman working on Batik.


Batik drying at old sugar plantation on St. Kitts.


Where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea.


The artist’s studio on St. Kitts.


The artist in her ramshackle studio on St. Kitts.

Back on the bus and off to a cliff that overlooked a lava rock beach. Quite a sight. But the best feature of this tourist spot was at the back of our bus. Our driver, not Fancy Danman, had lowered a ledge behind the bus and was supplying us with another very potent rum punch. I kept going back for refills, and though we were supposed to have only one, the driver obliged with a knowing wink. Tourism is thirsty work.

I felt no pain for the rest of the trip. When we got back to Bassetierre, we walked into town to find a bank to replenish our dwindling funds. In the middle of one garden square is the statue of a half-naked island girl. It was commissioned by the British government to stand atop the tall plinth in Trafalgar Square. But it was deemed too risqué for the sensibilities of Victorian England and so Admiral Horatio Nelson won the honoured spot. That’s how Fancy Danman told it anyway. I have been unsuccessful in finding any corroborating evidence to Danman’s story, but he would be the first to say it is a conspiracy of silence.


The clock tower in Bassetierre’s town centre.

So much for politics. On to St. Vincent. Our day began on a catamaran, the reverse of our day on St. Lucia. The sea was rough this day and we bobbed about like a cork. Some people were sick and the rest of us just hung on. We passed all the places used in the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean, including the bay that substituted for Nassau Town (Jamaica) where actor Johnny Depp was said to have been drunk for the entire 3 months of filming here. Apparently, it became impossible for Depp to stay at the resort nearby because of the damage he did to the place and so he was moved to a boat anchored in the bay with his own onboard chef and rowed to the day’s film shoot.


Rainbow from the bow of the catamaran.


Scene used in first Pirates of the Caribbean film.


Lava Beach where I snorkeled.

We anchored at a beach consisting of black lava sand. One of the film’s scenes was filmed here (the one with the big wheel for all those who know the movies) and we were told we could swim or snorkel. Problem is, the trip planners had not said we had a swimming break. I went in any way with mask and snorkel….and not much else (island fever had taken over). Lots of colourful fishies. But the current was strong and at one point I had to crawl up on to the lava beach to catch my breath. Ended up cleaning lava sand from every part of me for the rest of the day.

When I got back on the catamaran, the crew was handing out ….you guessed it….more of that potent rum punch. But before that, those of us who had braved the waves were asked if we would like to sample a special rum. I am a gamer. What I didn’t know was that this rum was 90% proof and I swallowed it all at once. Like lighted gasoline in the throat and belly. Forgot my pain. And washed it out of my system with a few rum punches.

We headed shoreside to the place where lunch was arranged, along with one free drink. But to get there, we ploughed through some of the roughest water yet. By this time, I was feeling no fear or pain and ended up on the bow of the catamaran, holding on to a guy wire, woohooing all the way to shore. No wonder sailors drank rum. Gets you through anything.

Once safely ashore, we had lunch at a restaurant by the water. I ate my chicken something or other and drank my locally brewed Hairoun beer as I watched little sand crabs moving about, disappearing down holes at the slightest sign of danger. They move very quickly. After a stop at another Botanical garden and waterfall, we drove the long, twisting, up and down road to our ship in Kingstown. Then it was off to Barbados and the flight back to cold, wet England.


Enjoying a Hairoun brewski on St. Vincent.


Waterfall at the Botanical Garden on St.Vincent.


Crossing the rickety bridge in the Botanical Garden on St. Vincent.

Ciao Caribbean Cruise. Like a distant memory as I write this. Will I ever go back? Most of me says ‘Been there, done that’ but you never know. If I ever do, it won’t be to Grenada. I’ll probably stick to Majorca….closer and cheaper….so far.


And it’s goodbye from the Caribbean.

Caution Horses


First, let me say this Blog has nothing to do with horses….not much anyway. Nor does it have to do with narrow canal boats….well, maybe a little. I am going to Blog about my brain….how it works, or doesn’t as the case may be. Don’t ask me what the affliction may be. I’ve had it all my life. Some of it has to do with an attention deficit. Every 3 seconds my mind switches subjects. I’ll walk away from this Bog a hundred times, doing this and that, before I return to it. I mix things up and interpret data in peculiar ways. My ridiculously furtive imagination invents facts and turns real facts into flights of fancy. Am I a dreamer? I suppose. Who knows? All I can say is I’m not unique.

Now, before all you experts out there start labelling me as having ADD or being dyslexic or with some other brain disorder, let me be blunt. Shut it. I was once diagnosed by 7 different experts regarding my behaviour. Took them a week to come up with a profile of yours truly. The result? They could have kept me around for 6 months to find the right medicated cocktail to ‘balance’ me, but the head psychiatrist said I was extremely creative with an IQ of 148 and something in me needs the highs and lows to function fully and, well, creatively. If I weren’t so damned lazy, who knows what I could accomplish. My best friend says it’s not laziness, just boredom and lack of stimulation.

I guess she has a point. I’m writing my 3rd book and have trouble focusing. Not that I’m not motivated and I have stretches of writing that last for hours. But I also have about 20 different TV series on the go from Netflix and Amazon Prime at the moment and jump from one to the other then I go back to writing. My mind mixes up series and I invent new ones where Crystal Meth producers are serial killer killers who spy for an agency known as K2. Among these activities are random conversations with marina neighbours and playing my guitars or banjo and reading a page or two from one of the 14 books I have on the go. You see what I mean. I am absolutely knackered by the end of the day. Living in my mind is an exhausting experience.

My brain slow chews. I read like I talk, even slower. I go back over paragraphs either to figure out what they mean or because my mind wandered when I was reading something that caught my imagination and I run with it. I can be 3 or 4 pages ahead before I realize that I’m not absorbing anything. In conversation, I only speak if I really know the subject and even then I wonder if I’m mixing up facts, making them up or it’s a different subject I’m thinking about altogether. Can’t be too careful. I know I’m not unique. I think my generation was subject to so many mind experiments (not to mention ingested hallucinogenic substances) that came in the form of food additives, aerosol sprays and so on. There I go again. More of us are loose canons than we care to admit, even the most successful and stable of us. The child in us.

I really worried when we moved from a house to a boat. You really have to have your wits about you and focus intently. I can do it but at a cost. I worry all the time I’ll grab the wrong instrument. I mean to put the boat into forward and end up in reverse. But I do recover quickly and am happy to report that not much has gone wrong. If you are a fellow boater reading this, just stay clear when you see us coming. Fortunately, we are moored in a marina now and probably won’t be cruising until next Spring. Set your calendars now. I am very careful with the gas on the boat and do everything slowly, talking to myself as I go to make sure all goes according to plan. So far so good.

And now for the horses. This story epitomizes the way this strange mind of mine works. I am a big fan of the Canadian music group Cowboy Junkies. In 1990 they released an album titled, ‘The Caution Horses’. For over a decade I tried to figure out what kind of horse that was….a caution horse. I just let it play in my brain, never thinking to look it up on the internet. I knew there had to be some hidden meaning here but couldn’t figure it out. Must be an inner band thing. The cover offered no clue, just a group of people walking past what looks like the Sharon Temple north of Toronto. What has it to do with horses?

Then one day, a dozen years or so later, I was following a trailer on the road that contained horses. Written on the back of the trailer were the words ‘Caution Horses’. Ah, I thought, look, Cowboy Junkies fans. Maybe they were caution horses on board. They looked ordinary from what I could see, black tails, brown bodies. Couldn’t see all of them, being in a trailer. Maybe it has to do with the head or the legs? I looked at the sign once again. ‘Caution’ printed on one door and ‘Caution’ on the other. Then it hit me….oh, caution, there are horses on board. Don’t get too close. Duh.

I laughed out loud. I was on my own. I laugh out loud about myself in such moments even when I’m not alone. My best friend asks, ‘What are you laughing at?” Then she adds (because she knows me now), “Oh, laughing at yourself again are you?” I’ve given up telling her what I’m laughing at myself about because she just says, “That’s not funny” if I do. We do not have the same sense of humour. I am a Goon Show, Monty Python type of person. My best friend is not. She is a realist. I’m just mad….as in crazy. No medication is going to change that.

As I finished that last paragraph, I thought, why not look up the album title and band to see what I can learn. Turns out they did take the album cover photo at Sharon Temple where they also recorded the album. The people walking by are the band. Never knew. But that’s because my brain would rather imagine stuff than know the facts. And….no explanation could be found as to the meaning. No horses appear on the cover. If you know, don’t tell me. It would spoil everything.