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A Quiet Day in Paradise

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<strong>Day</strong> 1 – Saturday. Up at the crack of dawn, L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s parents give us a lift to<br />

the airport – two cars <strong>in</strong> view of the amount of luggage. L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s ticket still<br />

hasn’t arrived but we have been assured by Virg<strong>in</strong> (three times on the ‘phone<br />

and twice by e-mail) that it is not a problem. Don’t be surprised to f<strong>in</strong>d that the<br />

advice was entirely wrong. We arrive at check-<strong>in</strong> desk to be told we need to get<br />

a ticket, furthermore we are told that my open ticket is not appropriate to go to<br />

Antigua and that it has to have a six month limit (not true as it turned out). To<br />

sort these problems requires go<strong>in</strong>g to another desk. At the other desk I am<br />

<strong>in</strong>formed that L<strong>in</strong>dsay has only a one-way ticket whilst m<strong>in</strong>e is a return. I have<br />

to pay another £600 to convert hers to a return (fortunately refundable).<br />

Return<strong>in</strong>g to the check-<strong>in</strong> desk with our luggage we are then <strong>in</strong>formed that<br />

although we are just with<strong>in</strong> our 90 kilo each weight limit the rules have changed.<br />

No s<strong>in</strong>gle bag can be over 32 kilos. (We are us<strong>in</strong>g a bag <strong>in</strong> which I had taken a<br />

spare ma<strong>in</strong>sail to Antigua last year and then the bag weighed 39 kilos – It now<br />

weighs 49 kilos but it does conta<strong>in</strong> L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s clothes). Apparently, this is a<br />

Health & Safety Rule. Baggage handlers are no longer allowed to lift anyth<strong>in</strong>g<br />

over 32 kilos. If a 57 year old twelve and a half stone weakl<strong>in</strong>g - me - can lift<br />

49 kilos (with difficulty) why can’t a young, strapp<strong>in</strong>g and fit baggage handler.<br />

This must be a constant problem because conveniently nearby is a bag shop<br />

which meant we had the <strong>in</strong>dignity of unpack<strong>in</strong>g half of one bag and plac<strong>in</strong>g<br />

some of the contents <strong>in</strong>to the new one <strong>in</strong> the middle of the airport. L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

denies that they were all her clothes but, then, everyone knows what a woman’s<br />

wardrobe is like.<br />

Apart from the extra baggage weight limit, one of the advantages of not fly<strong>in</strong>g<br />

‘cattle class’ is that you get off the aircraft first and we are at the head of the<br />

queue at Immigration (only superseded for its lack of speed by US Immigration).<br />

Two of our bags are numbers one and three on the conveyor and the other two<br />

follow shortly. Hav<strong>in</strong>g landed at 2 (local time) we are <strong>in</strong>stalled <strong>in</strong> the Copper &<br />

Lumber by three. For those who don’t know the Copper & Lumber, it is a large<br />

stone, vaguely Georgian build<strong>in</strong>g formerly a copper and timber store converted<br />

<strong>in</strong>to a rather stately hotel which might have seemed appropriate <strong>in</strong> a Terrance<br />

Rattigan play or Graeme Green novel, now somewhat faded.<br />

Graeme Knott’s boat, a 43 foot catamaran, which replaced his Swan, is a<br />

stone’s throw from the quay so it is on board for a few glasses of w<strong>in</strong>e and then<br />

on to the Tot Club. (Aga<strong>in</strong> for those who are not aware – the Royal Naval Tot<br />

Club of Antigua & Barbuda is a club which meets at six every night for a tot of<br />

rum. I have been a member s<strong>in</strong>ce 2000. The Sunday Telegraph Magaz<strong>in</strong>e<br />

once rated the club as the world's second most prestigious). Tot members are<br />

then <strong>in</strong>vited to two parties at the north end of the island and a 14 seat m<strong>in</strong>i-bus<br />

is organised plus cars. L<strong>in</strong>dsay and I are unsure whether or not to go hav<strong>in</strong>g<br />

been up for 19 hours and with the certa<strong>in</strong>ty of another 5 ahead of us if we go to<br />

the parties. We are persuaded, which is f<strong>in</strong>e at the first party but at the second<br />

we are obviously not welcome. It appears to be <strong>in</strong>vitation only. Now stuck on<br />

the north end of the island with no means of gett<strong>in</strong>g back we just have to tough


it out and, as soon as the m<strong>in</strong>i-bus returned, we beat a hasty retreat and crash<br />

out on the back seat.<br />

BEFORE THE BEGINNING<br />

In May 2005 my wife and I sold up <strong>in</strong> the U.K. and moved to Antigua. Our<br />

connection with Antigua had gone back a number of years, <strong>in</strong> fact, some time<br />

before we ever visited the island. Shortly after our arrival on the island I started<br />

keep<strong>in</strong>g a diary.<br />

In 1992 I was approached by a charity for the bl<strong>in</strong>d, Sightseekers, and asked if I<br />

knew of anyone who would lend them a yacht for a bl<strong>in</strong>d helmsman to take part<br />

<strong>in</strong> the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC). As it happened a friend, Graeme Knott,<br />

had just bought Lord Olivier’s house <strong>in</strong> Brighton and it needed a lot of<br />

renovation. He laid up his yacht, a Sigma 38, for a year whilst he carried out<br />

the renovations. He readily agreed to lend the yacht to the charity. The ARC<br />

runs from the Canaries to St. Lucia. No fault of the bl<strong>in</strong>d helmsman but the<br />

yacht ended up <strong>in</strong> Antigua. The charity offered to have it shipped to the U.K. or<br />

fly people out to sail it back. Graeme’s crew suggested it be left <strong>in</strong> Antigua for<br />

the annual Antigua Sail<strong>in</strong>g Week regatta.<br />

Graeme subsequently did several Sail<strong>in</strong>g Weeks and was very successful. I<br />

was due to jo<strong>in</strong> him <strong>in</strong> 1996 but bus<strong>in</strong>ess commitments managed to get <strong>in</strong> the<br />

way. Eventually, I chartered a yacht, another Sigma 38, <strong>in</strong> 1998 and did Sail<strong>in</strong>g<br />

Week. My wife, L<strong>in</strong>dsay, accompanied me but didn’t take part <strong>in</strong> the sail<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

We returned to Antigua <strong>in</strong> 2000 for Sail<strong>in</strong>g Week and I crewed on Graeme’s<br />

new yacht, a Swan 43. Thereafter, L<strong>in</strong>dsay and I returned to Antigua every<br />

year for Christmas and New Year. In 2003 I was plann<strong>in</strong>g my yacht rac<strong>in</strong>g<br />

campaign for 2004 with my crew when one of them suggested we did Sail<strong>in</strong>g<br />

Week. I commented that the only way we would do well would be if we took my<br />

yacht, then a Sigma 400. I arranged for a friend and a crew to take the yacht on<br />

the ARC at the end of 2003 and L<strong>in</strong>dsay and I met the boat <strong>in</strong> Antigua on 19 th<br />

December. The boat was stored ashore until we were ready for it <strong>in</strong> April.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g taken part <strong>in</strong> Sail<strong>in</strong>g Week 2004 <strong>in</strong> which we did quite well, w<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g our<br />

class and Best British Boat overall, another crew returned to yacht to the U.K..<br />

In the latter part of 2004 I was trawl<strong>in</strong>g through the <strong>in</strong>ternet and saw a 43 foot<br />

yacht for sale <strong>in</strong> English Harbour, Antigua. It seemed like good value for money<br />

and I considered purchas<strong>in</strong>g it as someth<strong>in</strong>g I could use for Sail<strong>in</strong>g Week and<br />

stay on over Christmas and New Year. We were go<strong>in</strong>g to Antigua for Christmas<br />

so I arranged to view the boat. Co<strong>in</strong>cidentally, a couple of weeks before<br />

Christmas I received an approach from a company which wanted to buy my<br />

ma<strong>in</strong> U.K. bus<strong>in</strong>ess.


On arrival <strong>in</strong> Antigua we visited the boat only to discover that it was <strong>in</strong> a state of<br />

complete disrepair and was, <strong>in</strong> reality, worth noth<strong>in</strong>g. Talk<strong>in</strong>g with the broker,<br />

we spoke of our plans to move, one day, to Antigua. I mentioned that I did not<br />

want to do noth<strong>in</strong>g and be <strong>in</strong> danger of becom<strong>in</strong>g ‘a drunken beach bum’. I<br />

would like to buy a small bus<strong>in</strong>ess to keep myself occupied. This broker<br />

<strong>in</strong>troduced us to another broker who offered us a variety of bus<strong>in</strong>esses, all but<br />

two of which were <strong>in</strong> the leisure or cater<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>dustry and were of no <strong>in</strong>terest. I<br />

did not want to be work<strong>in</strong>g when others were ‘play<strong>in</strong>g’. Of the other two<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>esses, I preferred the mar<strong>in</strong>e electronics company. I ought to mention that<br />

my wife and I had discussed the possibility of ‘retir<strong>in</strong>g’ to Antigua. She called it<br />

our ‘5 year plan’. We were about ten m<strong>in</strong>utes <strong>in</strong>to it.<br />

On return<strong>in</strong>g to the U.K. I negotiated a sale of my ma<strong>in</strong> bus<strong>in</strong>ess and all other<br />

assets and made an offer of the ask<strong>in</strong>g price for the mar<strong>in</strong>e electronics<br />

company. Surpris<strong>in</strong>gly, I was turned down, not because of the price but<br />

because of my perceived lack of knowledge of mar<strong>in</strong>e electronics. I found this<br />

most perplex<strong>in</strong>g as that was, surely, my problem, not the vendors. I had a share<br />

<strong>in</strong> an electronics company <strong>in</strong> the U.K. and was quite 'hands on'. After over two<br />

months of negotiation I flew to Antigua for ten days to try to resolve the problem<br />

and, at the same time, rent a house. N<strong>in</strong>e days later I was no further ahead and<br />

on the tenth day I decided to look at the other bus<strong>in</strong>ess for sale, a publish<strong>in</strong>g<br />

company. I had started and published a newspaper and a magaz<strong>in</strong>e <strong>in</strong> the U.K.<br />

so the bus<strong>in</strong>ess was not unfamiliar to me. With<strong>in</strong> two hours I had tied up a deal<br />

but it meant I had to rent an office. An hour or so later I had achieved that as<br />

well and I was on the afternoon flight back to the U.K..<br />

May 7 th 2005 was the day we had picked to leave the U.K. and settle <strong>in</strong> Antigua.<br />

A few days later I started my diary which came about because L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

suggested it was about time we sent some e-mails and it seemed easier to type<br />

up a short diary of events to date, put it on disk and take it to the local Internet<br />

café to send to everyone. (As yet we didn’t have an Internet connection at<br />

home also, some of our e-mail addresses were stored on a PC which was<br />

somewhere <strong>in</strong> the middle of the Atlantic, so I asked friends and family to pass<br />

on my jott<strong>in</strong>gs to anyone who might be <strong>in</strong>terested).<br />

S<strong>in</strong>ce mov<strong>in</strong>g to Antigua many people have asked ‘Why?’ or have suggested it<br />

was a brave th<strong>in</strong>g to do. It was not brave and the reason ‘Why’ is easy, we<br />

wanted our freedom back, the freedom stolen by European Union regulations<br />

and the Labour Government then <strong>in</strong> power <strong>in</strong> the U.K..<br />

To be honest, it was more complicated. I had started my first bus<strong>in</strong>ess, an<br />

estate agency, <strong>in</strong> March 1973 and after nearly 32 years I was bored as well as<br />

fed up with <strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>g regulation and legislation. Also, despite hav<strong>in</strong>g<br />

weathered two previous recessions, the n<strong>in</strong>eties recession almost decimated<br />

me and after ten years of work<strong>in</strong>g to recover I’d had enough.


Really I should have sold out <strong>in</strong> the eighties when I had the chance. Then I was<br />

turn<strong>in</strong>g over £3.5 million per annum, had an offer for the estate agency of £1.75<br />

million which I refused. I had four other bus<strong>in</strong>esses, a newspaper<br />

(subsequently sold for nearly half a million but shared with others and the bank),<br />

a property company, an employment agency and a computer software<br />

company. Before the 90’s recession I employed over 40 people and after, only<br />

six. I did, unsuccessfully, have another go at publish<strong>in</strong>g and also <strong>in</strong>vested <strong>in</strong><br />

and managed a specialist computer firmware company which still owes me<br />

more money than I put <strong>in</strong>to it. After ten years of battl<strong>in</strong>g to get back to a<br />

reasonable standard I felt I had sufficient to retire especially with some annuities<br />

and other policies matur<strong>in</strong>g with<strong>in</strong> a few years. It was easy. The U.K. was<br />

strangl<strong>in</strong>g us and Antigua beckoned.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 2 – Sunday. The Police station is open and are able to get our temporary<br />

driv<strong>in</strong>g licences and, therefore, hire a car. John Burton will love this, it’s a<br />

Suzuki Jeep. Admittedly the long wheelbase, V6 version but still a Suzuki and it<br />

seems as thought it’s powered by two elastic bands one of which is broken.<br />

John Burton, who has sailed with me on and off for a number of years is a burly<br />

6’3 policeman who owns a Suzuki Jimny - highly <strong>in</strong>appropriate for his size. Not<br />

be<strong>in</strong>g able to do much on a Sunday we go for a bit of a drive and I show<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay where she will be liv<strong>in</strong>g for the next year or so. Despite my brilliant<br />

photography the house was not quite as she expected, be<strong>in</strong>g somewhat larger<br />

and she still can’t stop look<strong>in</strong>g at the breathtak<strong>in</strong>g views.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 3 – Monday and it’s a Bank Holiday. The Bank Holiday (Labour <strong>Day</strong>)<br />

should have been the previous weekend but it had been <strong>in</strong>terrupted by the<br />

cricket so they moved the Bank Holiday forward a weekend. It could only<br />

happen <strong>in</strong> Antigua. Next Monday is a Bank Holiday as well (Whit Monday). We<br />

move <strong>in</strong>to the house and, fortunately, the ma<strong>in</strong> supermarket <strong>in</strong> St John’s (half<br />

an hour drive away) is open. Be<strong>in</strong>g a new house everyth<strong>in</strong>g is covered <strong>in</strong><br />

builders dust so the whole house needs clean<strong>in</strong>g plus a few th<strong>in</strong>gs don’t work.<br />

Where we are situated there is no ma<strong>in</strong>s electricity so everyth<strong>in</strong>g runs on solar<br />

panels and batteries. You have to be a bit careful about your electricity use. All<br />

those sandal wear<strong>in</strong>g, green environmentalists would love me. I go around the<br />

house turn<strong>in</strong>g off lights, check<strong>in</strong>g that the ‘phone chargers are not plugged <strong>in</strong><br />

and the ‘fridge is stay<strong>in</strong>g cool on it’s lowest sett<strong>in</strong>g. Amaz<strong>in</strong>g what a little self<strong>in</strong>terest<br />

does. L<strong>in</strong>dsay is conv<strong>in</strong>ced the house is occupied by the 114 th<br />

Mosquito Squadron. She knows it’s the 114 th because that’s the number of<br />

bites she has.<br />

I’m asked if I would do the equivalent job at the Antigua Yacht Club as Rear<br />

Commodore Rac<strong>in</strong>g at Brighton (can’t remember the Antiguan title). Graeme is<br />

no help, tell<strong>in</strong>g them I am ideally suited to the job. I also receive an offer a race<br />

on a Swan 37 and agree to accept if I can helm. After some debate I am to be<br />

allowed some upw<strong>in</strong>d and all the downw<strong>in</strong>d helm<strong>in</strong>g.


<strong>Day</strong> 4 – Tuesday, a work<strong>in</strong>g day, we can get some th<strong>in</strong>gs done, or so we th<strong>in</strong>k.<br />

We make a list and then another and then add th<strong>in</strong>gs we have forgotten.<br />

Possibly most important are a few pots and pans. Although the house is<br />

furnished, it is a bit sparse. Last night I cooked a curry us<strong>in</strong>g a saucepan not<br />

much bigger than a tea cup for the curry and a coffee pot for the rice.<br />

Our list comprises visit<strong>in</strong>g the bank (one and a half hours), gett<strong>in</strong>g contents<br />

<strong>in</strong>surance (unsuccessful at the first visit – they wanted photos of our goods and<br />

chattels), then buy<strong>in</strong>g all k<strong>in</strong>ds of bits a pieces (semi-successful), look<strong>in</strong>g for<br />

office furniture and car hunt<strong>in</strong>g. The new office is ready but the rest of the<br />

development is a bit of a build<strong>in</strong>g site and the office door has no lock so we<br />

purchase a nice, sophisticated lock except it will not fit. I reckon a little<br />

modification with a hacksaw and we will be okay. There are probably numerous<br />

other th<strong>in</strong>gs but I struggle to remember them all.<br />

One of the problems with produc<strong>in</strong>g a list when you don’t know St John’s<br />

<strong>in</strong>timately is that the list is <strong>in</strong> a different order from the order <strong>in</strong> which you<br />

encounter the shops/banks/garages, etc.. Unless you are very diligent th<strong>in</strong>gs<br />

get (did get) missed and a new list, with additions, gets written and you start the<br />

whole merry-go-round aga<strong>in</strong>.<br />

There is no po<strong>in</strong>t <strong>in</strong> try<strong>in</strong>g to drive around St John’s. You f<strong>in</strong>d a park<strong>in</strong>g space<br />

and walk. We always seem to get the same space. Obviously, no one else<br />

wants it as it is so far from everywhere and you end up walk<strong>in</strong>g miles. Even<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay is beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g to compla<strong>in</strong> her feet hurt so you can imag<strong>in</strong>e what it’s like<br />

for me who requires a taxi if I park more than two foot from the kerb. Hav<strong>in</strong>g<br />

brought our own mobile ‘phones we need local SIM cards. To cut a long story<br />

short, the third company we visit is able to help. A quick tour of the garages<br />

proves that it is almost impossible to buy anyth<strong>in</strong>g second hand unless it’s right<br />

at the bottom end of the market. I f<strong>in</strong>d the perfect car for me but it was about<br />

GB£10,000 more than I want to spend (maybe next year).<br />

By the end of the day we are ready for a few dr<strong>in</strong>ks. We are enterta<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g<br />

Graeme to d<strong>in</strong>ner (with new pots and pans) which is just as well as my ecofriendly<br />

approach to the ‘fridge means it had turned itself off and the meat needs<br />

to be eaten immediately. Fortunately they have no dr<strong>in</strong>k driv<strong>in</strong>g laws out here<br />

s<strong>in</strong>ce I am well over the limit by the time I drive Graeme back to his boat.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 5 – Wednesday. We meet up with an estate agent with a view to check<strong>in</strong>g<br />

out some land near where we are liv<strong>in</strong>g but like most th<strong>in</strong>gs here, it’s for sale<br />

but not just yet or it’s just been sold but the buyer hasn’t completed yet so if you<br />

want to put <strong>in</strong> a higher offer….<br />

Off to St. John’s aga<strong>in</strong> to arrange telephone l<strong>in</strong>es for the office but the<br />

telephone company don’t do broadband, we have to go elsewhere for that and<br />

the ‘phones may be <strong>in</strong> next week, or the week after or ???. Disaster, my mobile<br />

‘phone has run out of credit!!!!. It’s Pay As You Go <strong>in</strong> Antigua unless you have


a local credit card – someth<strong>in</strong>g else to be sorted with the bank. We horrify the<br />

guy <strong>in</strong> the ‘phone shop by ask<strong>in</strong>g for EC$500 for my ‘phone and EC$200 for<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s. He immediately gives us forms for credit accounts plus free T-Shirts<br />

and a calculator each.<br />

We look at more office furniture, buy a few more th<strong>in</strong>gs and then go back to<br />

English Harbour to pick up Graeme to take him to the airport (near St. John’s).<br />

Whilst there we check our post box. Three letters, one addressed to the person<br />

who has the post box next to ours, a receipt for our U.K. gas bill and a letter<br />

from my youngest sister who still hasn’t mastered e-mail.<br />

The local newspaper has three cars for sale, a Land Rover Discovery which I<br />

had already seen <strong>in</strong> March and which is silly money, a Toyota MR2, nice but<br />

would never get to the house and a Kia Sportage, a small 4 x 4 which might suit<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay. We have a look and are still consider<strong>in</strong>g it.<br />

Time for another dr<strong>in</strong>k and bed. We are fall<strong>in</strong>g asleep by about 9 which is f<strong>in</strong>e<br />

for L<strong>in</strong>dsay who can’t manage on about less than 12 hours a day but I am<br />

wak<strong>in</strong>g up with the dawn at about 5.30.<br />

Hot water – at last. I hate cold showers although L<strong>in</strong>dsay does wonder how I<br />

am the only person <strong>in</strong> the tropics who can steam up a bathroom.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 6 – Thursday. 9.30 appo<strong>in</strong>tment with the furniture shop and, hav<strong>in</strong>g<br />

negotiated a suitable discount, he wants cash. It doesn’t really matter s<strong>in</strong>ce we<br />

need to go to the bank aga<strong>in</strong> to collect cheque books, PIN numbers and<br />

applications for credit cards.<br />

Almost next door to the furniture shop is the Land Rover dealer where we have<br />

a 10 o’clock appo<strong>in</strong>tment for a test drive of a Freelander V6. Not impressed.<br />

On the way to the bank we stop at the <strong>in</strong>surance company with photos. The<br />

only problem is that they are on a digital camera and the bits to download the<br />

photos are on the high seas. The <strong>in</strong>surance company relent and give us cover<br />

anyway. I hand over my Barclays Premier card and it is rejected, three times.<br />

A call to Barclays (U.K.) us<strong>in</strong>g many of my precious Pay As You Go credits,<br />

reveals that as a result of an unusual spend<strong>in</strong>g pattern they suspect fraud and<br />

have blocked the card despite the fact that they are aware we have moved to<br />

Antigua and have our address and telephone numbers. Barclays tell me to wait<br />

fifteen m<strong>in</strong>utes and the card will be reactivated. It gives us time to go to the<br />

bank.<br />

After return<strong>in</strong>g to the <strong>in</strong>surance company, go<strong>in</strong>g to pay for the office furniture<br />

(be<strong>in</strong>g delivered Tuesday, hopefully) we set off car hunt<strong>in</strong>g aga<strong>in</strong>. The first test<br />

driv<strong>in</strong>g is a Kia Sorrento (I know – a KIA!!!). Very popular out here, a spacious<br />

3.5 litre off-roader. Not bad, marg<strong>in</strong>ally better than the Freelander and a lot<br />

cheaper. Next and last, a Nissan Pathf<strong>in</strong>der. On the way we stop at a


hardware store to get some more bits and where I have seen a advert for an<br />

Opel (Vauxhall) Corsa for L<strong>in</strong>dsay.<br />

The Pathf<strong>in</strong>der, first class – not quite as good as the Toyota I really want but<br />

after I have persuaded them to sell me the top of the range model for the<br />

bottom of the range price, the sav<strong>in</strong>g is over GB£11,000 on the Toyota and it<br />

has a 3.3 litre plus all the toys except reverse park. (No cars out here have<br />

reverse park so anyone com<strong>in</strong>g out please br<strong>in</strong>g me a kit from Halfords before<br />

run over some <strong>in</strong>nocent pedestrians. I had become so used to reverse park <strong>in</strong><br />

the U.K. that I never looked beh<strong>in</strong>d me).<br />

Back to the bank before they close at 2 to get a bankers draft to pay for the car<br />

then onto the <strong>in</strong>surance company for a cover note. I hand over my card aga<strong>in</strong><br />

with some trepidation particularly s<strong>in</strong>ce the amount is five times more than<br />

previously. Fortunately, it goes straight though. Whilst <strong>in</strong> the <strong>in</strong>surance<br />

company I receive a ‘phone call from someone want<strong>in</strong>g to sell a yacht, a Dehler<br />

34. A bit smaller than I am used to but superb condition, red hulled version<br />

which I have seen on previous visits to Antigua. I still have my Sigma 400 <strong>in</strong> the<br />

U.K. which can come out here later <strong>in</strong> the year therefore, I am not really <strong>in</strong> the<br />

market.<br />

Lunch calls so we wander down to the free trade area and have what appeared<br />

to be cheap lunch until I realise the bill is <strong>in</strong> US Dollars (I am sure that they do<br />

that sometimes to fleece the tourists).<br />

A call from the <strong>in</strong>surance company – I have left my credit card beh<strong>in</strong>d. L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

sets off on foot to collect it whilst I go for the car. St. John’s is a maze of oneway<br />

streets – easy when you are on foot but a nightmare <strong>in</strong> a car. I could see<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay 400 yards away but had to circle around various blocks to get to her<br />

with no way of tell<strong>in</strong>g her to stay where she was – she could see me and<br />

wanted to walk to me not know<strong>in</strong>g I couldn’t stop <strong>in</strong> the traffic. I can’t wait to get<br />

my hands free ‘phone <strong>in</strong>stalled.<br />

Back to the Nissan garage where the car is already be<strong>in</strong>g prepared and to pay<br />

and f<strong>in</strong>alise the paperwork. A snag – <strong>in</strong> order to register a car <strong>in</strong> Antigua you<br />

need an Antigua driv<strong>in</strong>g licence (ours are only temporary licences), <strong>in</strong> order to<br />

get a licence you need to be a resident or have a work permit or someth<strong>in</strong>g else<br />

I can’t remember. None fits us. Fortunately, the system here is not very<br />

sophisticated. I r<strong>in</strong>g a friend, ask for his driv<strong>in</strong>g licence number and put that on<br />

the form. I am assured it will work. We will f<strong>in</strong>d out tomorrow when we go to<br />

collect the car. I try to get a decent number plate but they just come up <strong>in</strong> order.<br />

It’s so unmemorable that I couldn’t remember it less than 24 hours later.<br />

5 o’clock appo<strong>in</strong>tment with an agent to look at more land. The agent, late as<br />

usual and although L<strong>in</strong>dsay liked the first one I am not keen. The second is<br />

superb, almost impossible to better and, although the road is good it’s almost


vertical and quite a long way out. Also, it is another one which has “just been<br />

sold but if you care to offer…..”<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay has just discovered a good reason not to walk round the house<br />

barefoot – a crunch underfoot reveals a squashed, 3 <strong>in</strong>ch millipede.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 7 – Friday. With the newly purchased hacksaw <strong>in</strong> hand we go to the office<br />

to make the modifications to the door. Everyth<strong>in</strong>g seems to go perfectly except<br />

the lock still doesn’t fit. Someth<strong>in</strong>g else is <strong>in</strong> the way and that can’t be modified.<br />

Back to the draw<strong>in</strong>g board. The purchase of another bit of kit should solve that<br />

problem. Tomorrow will tell.<br />

Alexis (the guy from whom we are buy<strong>in</strong>g the publish<strong>in</strong>g company which<br />

produces the Antigua Mar<strong>in</strong>e Guide) meets us at the office as does the builder.<br />

Hopefully, we shall move <strong>in</strong> on Wednesday. The good news is that the<br />

broadband connection is already fitted and work<strong>in</strong>g. I will take the laptop down<br />

and try it out.<br />

Driv<strong>in</strong>g to St. John’s the ‘phone r<strong>in</strong>gs. My car will be ready for collection at<br />

2.30. We have a look at the Opel (Vauxhall) Corsa for L<strong>in</strong>dsay – not bad. Back<br />

to the bank for cash for the rent and to collect my police report (you need it to<br />

do almost anyth<strong>in</strong>g legal). A quick visit to the solicitor’s office and then some<br />

lunch.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay wants to do the tourist bit and eat <strong>in</strong> Hemm<strong>in</strong>gway’s Café (full of<br />

ghastly, corpulent, elderly Yanks). I order Cajun fish soup. Three small pieces<br />

of fish and about two million vegetables. Needless to say, I do not have much<br />

lunch. L<strong>in</strong>dsay beg<strong>in</strong>s to make a pro/con list on the Corsa and the Kia.<br />

Emotion plays a larger part than logic and she chooses the Kia because it’s a 4<br />

x 4. We telephone the owner, make an offer which she accepts. Collection is<br />

tomorrow.<br />

On the way to collect my car we have a few chores at the hardware store,<br />

electrical store and supermarket (our list is gett<strong>in</strong>g shorter). As we walk <strong>in</strong>to<br />

the supermarket I am accosted by a security guard. Apparently, you are not<br />

allowed <strong>in</strong>to the supermarket carry<strong>in</strong>g any bags and I have our previously<br />

purchased goods with me. I send L<strong>in</strong>dsay on alone – good result. A quick visit<br />

to the post box – nobody loves us, not even the utility companies to whom we<br />

owe money.<br />

It’s now 2.30 but no confirmation from the garage and not want<strong>in</strong>g to appear to<br />

keen we decide to go for a little drive around the north of the island which<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay has not seen. A mile down the road the ‘phone r<strong>in</strong>gs, the car is ready.<br />

We arrive to be told by the salesman (woman) that she is wait<strong>in</strong>g for her boss to<br />

arrive. She wants to give us a full tank of petrol rather than the usual 4 gallons<br />

(did I overpay for the car?).


Half an hour later we are ready to go except that I have to collect the petrol<br />

myself from a garage half a mile down the road. I pull up at the pump. How on<br />

earth do you open the petrol cap? Three garage attendants and I spend ten<br />

m<strong>in</strong>utes try<strong>in</strong>g to f<strong>in</strong>d the release. I want to r<strong>in</strong>g the supplier but they won’t hear<br />

of it. The users handbook is <strong>in</strong> the glove compartment but to get at it means<br />

remov<strong>in</strong>g at least one of these enthusiastic attendants. Eventually the release<br />

is discovered under the armrest on the driver’s door.<br />

This car is a novel driv<strong>in</strong>g experience. The leather and wood (simulated)<br />

<strong>in</strong>terior would do justice to any Jaguar but sitt<strong>in</strong>g six feet above the road is a bit<br />

unnerv<strong>in</strong>g and I could do with another litre or two under the bonnet.<br />

A couple of dr<strong>in</strong>ks at the Tot Club and home to d<strong>in</strong>ner. My turn to cook aga<strong>in</strong><br />

(this could become a bad habit). L<strong>in</strong>dsay suggests spaghetti cheese. No<br />

grater. L<strong>in</strong>dsay says I should slice the cheese th<strong>in</strong>ly. Inspiration – the potato<br />

peeler.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 8 – Saturday. Know<strong>in</strong>g most places will be closed we stay <strong>in</strong> bed late and<br />

rise at about seven. We read books for an hour or so (it’s amaz<strong>in</strong>g how easy it<br />

is to do without breakfast television) – me avoid<strong>in</strong>g do<strong>in</strong>g someth<strong>in</strong>g I know will<br />

take me a few hours – <strong>in</strong>stall<strong>in</strong>g the hands free ‘phone kit <strong>in</strong> the car.<br />

At about eleven we wander down to English Harbour with a view to check<strong>in</strong>g<br />

out the <strong>in</strong>ternet connection at the office and stop at an estate agents office on<br />

the way. As expected – closed, but the owner, Geoff Pidduck (who I first met <strong>in</strong><br />

London 5 years ago and whose boat I nearly T-boned when he tacked right <strong>in</strong><br />

front of me dur<strong>in</strong>g Sail<strong>in</strong>g Week last year) is at his desk. He unlocks the door<br />

and lets us <strong>in</strong> tell<strong>in</strong>g us we have three m<strong>in</strong>utes. Half an hour later we escape.<br />

Pass<strong>in</strong>g the next estate agent we see his car outside. He is hav<strong>in</strong>g a leisurely<br />

coffee on the veranda of his office but s<strong>in</strong>ce he is await<strong>in</strong>g commission from the<br />

vendor of the company we are purchas<strong>in</strong>g, we are made very welcome. In the<br />

course of our conversation he mentions a house which has just come on the<br />

market. The details are quickly pr<strong>in</strong>ted off the computer but the file conta<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g<br />

the view<strong>in</strong>g arrangements is nowhere to be seen. On paper the house looks<br />

great but experience has taught me to mistrust estate agents and, later, when<br />

we look at the outside of the house, my suspicions prove to be correct.<br />

However, the build<strong>in</strong>g plot he offered is much more <strong>in</strong>terest<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

Surpris<strong>in</strong>gly, another estate agent who happens to see us look<strong>in</strong>g at the plot<br />

and who, only the day before, had noth<strong>in</strong>g for sale (except someth<strong>in</strong>g he owned<br />

himself) comes up with a few more properties.<br />

Driv<strong>in</strong>g away from the plot and my ‘phone r<strong>in</strong>gs <strong>in</strong> my pocket (mistake not<br />

hav<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>stalled the hands free kit plus I have just put the car <strong>in</strong>to automatic 4<br />

wheel drive due to the roughness of the terra<strong>in</strong> and steepness of the <strong>in</strong>cl<strong>in</strong>e).<br />

Hand<strong>in</strong>g the ‘phone to L<strong>in</strong>dsay to answer, she has no idea who’s r<strong>in</strong>g<strong>in</strong>g and


hands it back to me. Why did she th<strong>in</strong>k I gave it to her <strong>in</strong> the first place? I am<br />

concentrat<strong>in</strong>g on not driv<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>to the nearest rav<strong>in</strong>e. It is a U.K. friend, Mike<br />

Ormiston, r<strong>in</strong>g<strong>in</strong>g to give us the name of a local car dealer he happens to know.<br />

Prior to our property visits we went to the office to try the <strong>in</strong>ternet connection.<br />

Please don’t be surprised if I tell you it didn’t work. The builder was mystified<br />

but promised to get it sorted by Tuesday.<br />

One o’clock, time to meet the vendor of L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s car except that she now<br />

wants to deliver it on Tuesday. She’s Italian so that must be about the<br />

European equivalent of Antiguan.<br />

On the way home to have lunch we stop at a local ‘supermarket’ (the nearest<br />

shop to where we live and a bit of a shack) to collect some milk. With<strong>in</strong> this<br />

‘tardis’ is every conceivable item <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g pots and pans (and a cheese grater).<br />

The time has eventually come where I have to steel myself to <strong>in</strong>stall the hands<br />

free ‘phone kit. To beg<strong>in</strong> with, everyth<strong>in</strong>g goes relatively smoothly. In fact, it is<br />

surpris<strong>in</strong>gly easy although <strong>in</strong> the afternoon sun I am dehydrat<strong>in</strong>g faster than<br />

freeze dried coffee. Everyth<strong>in</strong>g is <strong>in</strong>stalled with only the power supply<br />

rema<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g to be connected. Unlike cars I used to work on <strong>in</strong> my teenage, there<br />

are no obvious orifices between the eng<strong>in</strong>e compartment (battery) and cab<strong>in</strong>.<br />

Fruitless search<strong>in</strong>g reveals noth<strong>in</strong>g. If all else fails read <strong>in</strong>structions. I had<br />

notice <strong>in</strong> the publicity blurb before buy<strong>in</strong>g the car it talked about ‘power outlets’.<br />

Anyway, I need a rest and some rehydrat<strong>in</strong>g fluid. Out comes the handbook.<br />

There is a power outlet between the front seats, fac<strong>in</strong>g backwards (presumably<br />

so that rear seat passengers can use their laptops on the move). Brilliant, I<br />

could tap <strong>in</strong>to the back of the socket. The only way to get to the back of the<br />

socket was by releas<strong>in</strong>g a couple of screws which necessitated the driver’s seat<br />

be<strong>in</strong>g moved forward. Guess what was <strong>in</strong> the way? - the newly <strong>in</strong>stalled<br />

‘phone. Okay for me but L<strong>in</strong>dsay, despite be<strong>in</strong>g the same height as me, is a<br />

woman, and therefore likes to drive 6 <strong>in</strong>ches closer to the steer<strong>in</strong>g wheel. Back<br />

to square one. I will admit, the new position for the ‘phone is better so women<br />

do have some uses.<br />

Mad rush to get to the Tot Club which is be<strong>in</strong>g held at the Antigua Yacht Club<br />

giv<strong>in</strong>g me the opportunity to collect our membership forms. F<strong>in</strong>ally, to the<br />

Admiral’s Inn for d<strong>in</strong>ner, paid for by Paul & Val <strong>in</strong> the U.K.. We try not to abuse<br />

their hospitality by pick<strong>in</strong>g the second most expensive items on the menu and<br />

only one bottle of w<strong>in</strong>e.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay is entirely wrong, it’s not the 114 th Mosquito Squadron. Mosquitoes<br />

were a second world war, tw<strong>in</strong> eng<strong>in</strong>ed, two seater, fighter/bombers made of<br />

plywood. The th<strong>in</strong>gs attack<strong>in</strong>g my ankles at the Admiral’s Inn are s<strong>in</strong>gle seater,<br />

highly manoeuvrable fighters with at least eight mach<strong>in</strong>e guns and, possibly, a<br />

couple of 50mm cannon. I ask the waitress for a can of OFF – the equivalent of<br />

mosquito mace. It works, I am unmolested for the rest of the meal.


On the way home we come across a very large crab attempt<strong>in</strong>g to cross the<br />

road. It rem<strong>in</strong>ds me of the startled deer I came across <strong>in</strong> the middle of a<br />

deserted motorway as some of the crew and I headed down to Plymouth (U.K.)<br />

a few years ago at about 100mph <strong>in</strong> a hired Vauxhall Vectra to jo<strong>in</strong> the boat for<br />

a race to Spa<strong>in</strong>. A few of the crew hav<strong>in</strong>g done the delivery of the yacht to<br />

Plymouth for me. I recollect the problems I had decid<strong>in</strong>g which way to go (as did<br />

the deer). At one po<strong>in</strong>t it looked as though we might be hav<strong>in</strong>g venison on the<br />

menu for the trip from Plymouth to Spa<strong>in</strong>. As for the crab, a loud crunch<br />

<strong>in</strong>dicates that both he and I make the wrong decision.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 9 - Sunday. Noth<strong>in</strong>g planned, well, not quite. We are up reasonably early,<br />

7, but only because I want to f<strong>in</strong>ish <strong>in</strong>stall<strong>in</strong>g the car kit. F<strong>in</strong>ally, f<strong>in</strong>ally, f<strong>in</strong>ally, I<br />

f<strong>in</strong>d a route to run the power cable by which time breakfast is cold (even <strong>in</strong> this<br />

climate). I never did manage to connect to the rear power socket. These<br />

damned <strong>in</strong>scrutable Japanese make tak<strong>in</strong>g anyth<strong>in</strong>g apart impossible. In the<br />

end the route is between the <strong>in</strong>ner and outer front w<strong>in</strong>gs to the battery and<br />

follow<strong>in</strong>g the door electrics cable <strong>in</strong>to the cab<strong>in</strong>. Gett<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>to the car an hour<br />

later L<strong>in</strong>dsay asks if I could engage first gear with the ‘phone situated where I<br />

had positioned it. If you don’t know the answer to that question then you<br />

haven’t been read<strong>in</strong>g what has gone on so far. I will resolve that tomorrow.<br />

Tot Club keep fit starts at 10 on a Sunday. KEEP FIT!!! That <strong>in</strong>volves exercise.<br />

I have done it <strong>in</strong> the past (Tot Club Keep Fit, I mean, not exercise.) The Tot<br />

Club clears historic paths, exposes old build<strong>in</strong>gs, f<strong>in</strong>ds long forgotten graves,<br />

etc.. If you imag<strong>in</strong>e Tarzan with a machete carv<strong>in</strong>g a path through the jungle –<br />

that’s me. When I last did it <strong>in</strong> March I forgot to take any water. This time, well<br />

prepared, we take a bottle each. Insufficient. By the time we return to the<br />

Galley Bar I look as though I have walked though a tropical thunderstorm. If<br />

any part of me is not soaked with perspiration I defy anyone to f<strong>in</strong>d it.<br />

I discover L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s 114 th Mosquito Squadron except that they are flies. A<br />

couple of mat<strong>in</strong>g flies nose-dive <strong>in</strong>to my beer, lack of concentration on the part<br />

of the pilot, I guess. Def<strong>in</strong>itely a tw<strong>in</strong> eng<strong>in</strong>ed fly<strong>in</strong>g mach<strong>in</strong>e.<br />

A quick lunch and a couple of hour’s kip. (10 would have been more suitable but<br />

we are committed to meet someone on Pigeon Beach where a party is go<strong>in</strong>g on<br />

follow<strong>in</strong>g a fish<strong>in</strong>g competition). The first person we run <strong>in</strong>to is Geoff Pidduck.<br />

His persuasive skills must be greater than m<strong>in</strong>e. Next Saturday L<strong>in</strong>dsay is<br />

go<strong>in</strong>g rac<strong>in</strong>g on his boat. The last time L<strong>in</strong>dsay went sail<strong>in</strong>g was when I<br />

persuaded her to come with me across the English Channel from St. Malo to<br />

Brighton. Even I will admit it was a horrible trip. She swore she would never set<br />

foot on a yacht aga<strong>in</strong>.<br />

Not unsurpris<strong>in</strong>gly, the person we are due to meet doesn’t turn up but we do<br />

see a few other people <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g a girl called Roz who I thought I recognised<br />

from somewhere. She eventually approaches us and it transpires she used to


sail out of Brighton on a boat called Miraggio with Nick Platt. It also seems that<br />

Nick is a friend of our landlord, Sandy Mair.<br />

I spot another guy I’d had a brief conversation with <strong>in</strong> March about a plot<br />

overlook<strong>in</strong>g English Harbour. We have a chat and, he giv<strong>in</strong>g me his card, he<br />

suggests I r<strong>in</strong>g him when he is a little more sober.<br />

The party hold<strong>in</strong>g noth<strong>in</strong>g more for us and <strong>in</strong> danger of gett<strong>in</strong>g really drunk on<br />

the size of dr<strong>in</strong>ks be<strong>in</strong>g poured (only had two and already feel worse for wear),<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay and I go for a drive to look at the various plots we know might be<br />

available around English Harbour. We still like our orig<strong>in</strong>al choice and propose<br />

to ask the agent if the vendor will reconsider his decision to take it off the<br />

market.<br />

Just time for the Tot Club and a roast d<strong>in</strong>ner at ‘Life’ (a bar/restaurant which is<br />

built over the water <strong>in</strong> English Harbour). Connie and Terry (an extremely nice<br />

couple we have known s<strong>in</strong>ce 2000) ask us to jo<strong>in</strong> them for the roast d<strong>in</strong>ner. It<br />

makes for a very pleasant end to a more relaxed day and, I never thought I’d<br />

hear myself say<strong>in</strong>g this, thank God tomorrow is a Bank Holiday.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 10 – Bank Holiday Monday, aga<strong>in</strong>. A very lazy start to the day, not gett<strong>in</strong>g<br />

up until after eight. I reposition the car ‘phone to enable me to select first gear.<br />

Everyth<strong>in</strong>g is clearer and easier after a good night’s sleep. It only took about 30<br />

seconds by just alter<strong>in</strong>g the angle of the cradle. Mid-morn<strong>in</strong>g we made our way<br />

to the car hire company <strong>in</strong> Falmouth to arrange the return of the Suzuki and to<br />

try to persuade the owner to take an advert <strong>in</strong> the Antigua Mar<strong>in</strong>e Guide. He’s<br />

not <strong>in</strong>.<br />

The only <strong>in</strong>ternet café <strong>in</strong> Falmouth has all its term<strong>in</strong>als occupied so we stop for<br />

a coffee and try to sort out my U.K. ‘phone which <strong>in</strong>sists on connect<strong>in</strong>g to my<br />

answer<strong>in</strong>g service rather than my message service. Eventually, connected<br />

there are three messages, one from me try<strong>in</strong>g to sort my ‘phone out, one from<br />

O2, rather puzzled by my new bill<strong>in</strong>g address <strong>in</strong> Antigua and one from<br />

Boatscrubber <strong>in</strong> the U.K. tell<strong>in</strong>g me my yacht is booked <strong>in</strong> for a hull scrub. I r<strong>in</strong>g<br />

John Burton who has agreed to look after the boat <strong>in</strong> my absence and ask him<br />

to contact Boatscrubber.<br />

I also take the opportunity to r<strong>in</strong>g our solicitor <strong>in</strong> the U.K. to f<strong>in</strong>d out how the sale<br />

is go<strong>in</strong>g on the only rema<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g property we have <strong>in</strong> the U.K., the others hav<strong>in</strong>g<br />

been sold before we left. We don’t need the money yet but it would be nice to<br />

know it has completed.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g had a conversation a few days ago with Mike Briggs, the new owner of<br />

the restaurant, Calabash, on Galleon Beach, regard<strong>in</strong>g advertis<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the Mar<strong>in</strong>e<br />

Guide, we decide to try for our first sale and succeed.


With not much else to do we head back to the house for lunch to f<strong>in</strong>d our<br />

landlord connect<strong>in</strong>g up a generator to our power supply. The day has been<br />

pretty overcast so he is concerned that our solar panels will not be topp<strong>in</strong>g up<br />

the batteries. Time for a siesta but first I move the laptop to the veranda for<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay to check out the <strong>in</strong>structions for her new camera. I awake two hours<br />

later to discover L<strong>in</strong>dsay has slept on the veranda and not yet looked at the CD.<br />

We decide we can’t be bothered to go to the Tot and have a quiet even<strong>in</strong>g at<br />

home.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g f<strong>in</strong>ished my book and the rema<strong>in</strong>der still <strong>in</strong> pack<strong>in</strong>g cases at sea, I am<br />

forced to resort to read<strong>in</strong>g one of L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s. It’s by Patricia Cornwell. After 10<br />

pages I put it down <strong>in</strong> disgust. There must be some skill to becom<strong>in</strong>g a<br />

successful author that has absolutely noth<strong>in</strong>g to do with writ<strong>in</strong>g ability.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 11 – Tuesday. The day really started <strong>in</strong> the early hours of the morn<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

Ra<strong>in</strong> had been fairly persistent dur<strong>in</strong>g the previous even<strong>in</strong>g and night which<br />

brought out the mossies <strong>in</strong> force. For the first few days I had given the bedroom<br />

a good spray<strong>in</strong>g with <strong>in</strong>sect killer before go<strong>in</strong>g to bed. L<strong>in</strong>dsay rather objected<br />

to the smell so I stopped, leav<strong>in</strong>g her to give the room a few <strong>in</strong>effectual squirts.<br />

Wak<strong>in</strong>g up <strong>in</strong> the night to an air armada of bit<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>sects I had visions of the<br />

vicious little creatures swerv<strong>in</strong>g their way through an <strong>in</strong>adequate number of<br />

molecules of anti-<strong>in</strong>sect spray rather like fighters avoid<strong>in</strong>g anti-aircraft fire.<br />

What they really need is a good blast like the radiation from a nuclear bomb.<br />

Look<strong>in</strong>g out of the w<strong>in</strong>dow I see one advantage to the ra<strong>in</strong> (apart from fill<strong>in</strong>g our<br />

water storage tanks). It has cleaned my car. Part of the roadway to the house<br />

is unmade but relatively smooth. The dry weather has created large amounts of<br />

dust and the car had begun to look far from new. It now sparkles and sh<strong>in</strong>es<br />

aga<strong>in</strong> although, I suspect, with<strong>in</strong> a few hours it will be covered <strong>in</strong> mud.<br />

First call, to return the Suzuki. The hire car company owner, Titi, is ‘off island’<br />

for a few days. Despite the fact we are return<strong>in</strong>g the car early and are not<br />

ask<strong>in</strong>g for a refund on our hire charge, the girl beh<strong>in</strong>d the desk wants us to fill<br />

the car with petrol. A trip to Slipway (the boat fuell<strong>in</strong>g dock) completes the task.<br />

Back at the office we try the <strong>in</strong>ternet connection and can’t get it to work. Simple<br />

solution, I am us<strong>in</strong>g a telephone cable rather than an Ethernet cable. The office<br />

furniture has still not arrived so we got to Calabash for lunch. Telephone the<br />

furniture shop at 2 and I am told the furniture will be arriv<strong>in</strong>g at 3.30. With<br />

noth<strong>in</strong>g better to do, we go to try aga<strong>in</strong> to get a key to the rubbish compound.<br />

No success.<br />

We have been hav<strong>in</strong>g problems with our ‘phones all day and have had to use<br />

the U.K. ‘phones to make contact with anyone. Apparently, when it ra<strong>in</strong>s, the<br />

network sometimes goes down. The answer is to have two ‘phones on different<br />

networks. I might try that.


On to Skullduggery, a coffee shop, to waste an hour. At three I r<strong>in</strong>g Alexis who<br />

is go<strong>in</strong>g to be work<strong>in</strong>g with us for the first three months to tell him the furniture is<br />

due <strong>in</strong> half an hour. He is <strong>in</strong> the Dockyard await<strong>in</strong>g the arrival of a trans-Atlantic<br />

rower. We wander down and the rower is about 100 yards off the quay with a<br />

large crowd and a myriad of d<strong>in</strong>ghies and yachts to meet him. The rower ships<br />

his oars about 10 yards off the dock and the w<strong>in</strong>d beg<strong>in</strong>s to drift him away<br />

aga<strong>in</strong>. A helpful shove from a RIB. brought him alongside. I doubt a little help<br />

over the last 10 yards disqualifies him.<br />

Back to the office to meet the furnish<strong>in</strong>g suppliers. 4.30, still no-one. A call to<br />

the shop elicits an assurance that they have left and are on their way. Just after<br />

5 they arrive. Two of them rema<strong>in</strong> to assemble the furniture. I manage to<br />

construct one of the desk chairs without <strong>in</strong>structions faster than two of them<br />

us<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>structions. To be fair, the men are French and the <strong>in</strong>structions are <strong>in</strong><br />

English, well sort of English – American English pr<strong>in</strong>ted <strong>in</strong> Ch<strong>in</strong>a.<br />

By seven we have f<strong>in</strong>ished construct<strong>in</strong>g everyth<strong>in</strong>g and head for home, stopp<strong>in</strong>g<br />

by a local supermarket for a few provisions (and a, f<strong>in</strong>ally, cheese grater). I pick<br />

up a packet of what appeared to be kippers or a local version, nice for<br />

breakfast. L<strong>in</strong>dsay tells me they are smoked eels. Not so sure about breakfast.<br />

I came up with a good idea today, after wash<strong>in</strong>g the glasses don’t dry them,<br />

place them <strong>in</strong> the freezer. They come out frosted with ice crystals.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 12 – Wednesday. I wake up with a sore throat, a cough and the sniffles.<br />

Feel really rough. Wouldn’t m<strong>in</strong>d too much if I’d been out on the razzle all night<br />

but I haven’t had a dr<strong>in</strong>k for 48 hours. I’ve been smok<strong>in</strong>g too many cigars (the<br />

only th<strong>in</strong>g to do while you wait around for others to get activated). It must be<br />

around twenty years s<strong>in</strong>ce I’ve had a cough or cold <strong>in</strong> that was <strong>in</strong> the miserable<br />

U.K. climate. Here, <strong>in</strong> 30 degrees (95 <strong>in</strong> old fashioned money), I’ve got ‘flu!!!<br />

Put a brave face on it, don’t believe any of those stories that men make bad<br />

patients (don’t even tell L<strong>in</strong>dsay how I feel) and am <strong>in</strong> the office by 7.50 to get<br />

th<strong>in</strong>gs set up.<br />

We need a few bits and pieces. A vague possibility I might get some of them<br />

from local shops. I leave L<strong>in</strong>dsay with a mop and bucket, cloths, polish etc. to<br />

give the office a good clean (woman’s work) and head off for the nearest store.<br />

Closed. Who said the Antiguans started the day early? The second shop had<br />

one item I wanted but no money <strong>in</strong> the till because they don’t open until n<strong>in</strong>e.<br />

What were they do<strong>in</strong>g serv<strong>in</strong>g me at 8.20?<br />

I run <strong>in</strong>to Alexis (I had been plann<strong>in</strong>g to r<strong>in</strong>g him but didn’t know what time<br />

would be too early). ‘Phones are work<strong>in</strong>g aga<strong>in</strong> and L<strong>in</strong>dsay had been quite<br />

excited earlier when she came out of the shower and noticed a ‘missed call’. It<br />

was only me test<strong>in</strong>g the ‘phones. She did receive a call a short while later, from<br />

the Italian woman from whom we were supposed to collect the car. She had<br />

decided to wash the eng<strong>in</strong>e and blown all the electrics. L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s dream of


<strong>in</strong>dependence from be<strong>in</strong>g driven around by me, shattered <strong>in</strong> a few seconds (and<br />

vice-versa) – L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s navigation is not great and her sense of direction leaves<br />

more than a little to be desired coupled with her poor long distance eyesight.<br />

Frequently I can read a street sign 200 or 300 yards ahead and she’s yell<strong>in</strong>g<br />

“Left” or “Right”. Mostly, I ignore her and quietly po<strong>in</strong>t out when I’m correct.<br />

She did get her own back today. I commented on how courteous are many of<br />

the Antiguan drivers but I was f<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g it somewhat confus<strong>in</strong>g as they didn’t flash<br />

their lights, just stopped and waved. L<strong>in</strong>dsay po<strong>in</strong>ted out that I am no better<br />

s<strong>in</strong>ce every time I let someone out I wash my w<strong>in</strong>dscreen rather than flash my<br />

lights. I’m not sure whether it needs expla<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g but I will do it for the women<br />

drivers. The wipers and <strong>in</strong>dicators on cars <strong>in</strong> Antigua are on the opposite sides<br />

from cars <strong>in</strong> the U.K. despite the fact that we drive on the right (by that I mean<br />

correct and, therefore, left) side of the road.<br />

The morn<strong>in</strong>g is taken up by transferr<strong>in</strong>g data from one computer to another,<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay mak<strong>in</strong>g sense of the account<strong>in</strong>g system and me, try<strong>in</strong>g to establish<br />

what sort of sales plan the company operates under and, f<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g none, try<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

construct one. By twelve Alexis wants to go for lunch. He is also try<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

organise a photo shoot of a mega-yacht from a helicopter but the weather isn’t<br />

play<strong>in</strong>g ball.<br />

Rather later than I would have liked, we head off to St. John’s to pick up the<br />

office supplies we need. Relatively pa<strong>in</strong>less. We also call <strong>in</strong>to APUA, the<br />

telephone company supply<strong>in</strong>g us with land l<strong>in</strong>e ‘phones, to enquire when our<br />

office ‘phones might be connected. Noth<strong>in</strong>g on their computer but, fortunately,<br />

the have a hand written note. The end of this week or, maybe, next week. A<br />

request for a telephone directory sends us <strong>in</strong> the direction of a pile delivered<br />

that day. I p<strong>in</strong>ch two. In retrospect, I wish I had taken three.<br />

We have Meet<strong>in</strong>g with the solicitor at four and are kept wait<strong>in</strong>g half an hour.<br />

Not bad by Antiguan standards but not her fault. The previous clients leave with<br />

long faces, separately. My guess is a divorce, later confirmed when we see him<br />

<strong>in</strong> a bar with another woman.<br />

All the e-mails I had sent from the U.K., the occasional telephone call and my<br />

visit <strong>in</strong> March were to no avail. Noth<strong>in</strong>g had been done to conclude the<br />

purchase of the company. I do wonder whether anyone has taken us seriously<br />

even though I had paid a US$10,000 deposit, much to the solicitor’s surprise.<br />

Once our <strong>in</strong>tentions becomes clear th<strong>in</strong>gs move on apace. Work Permits are<br />

put <strong>in</strong> hand, contact is made with the other side’s solicitors, advice on health<br />

<strong>in</strong>surance, property purchase, etc. etc..<br />

Leav<strong>in</strong>g the office we check our mail box. Brighton Council loves us as does<br />

Seeboard. Both have sent us bills. Will we make it back to English Harbour for<br />

the Tot? I decide we will wait until we are half way back before r<strong>in</strong>g<strong>in</strong>g to f<strong>in</strong>d<br />

tonight’s location. Hav<strong>in</strong>g missed the last two Tots we do not know tonight’s


venue. We make it <strong>in</strong> plenty of time ma<strong>in</strong>ly due to the fact that the s<strong>in</strong>gle<br />

handed Atlantic rower is a guest and has rowed across English Harbour and is<br />

late.<br />

I decide it was kill or cure and down several dr<strong>in</strong>ks <strong>in</strong> quick succession to try to<br />

knock the ‘flu on the head. I will probably wake up with a hangover tomorrow,<br />

as to the ’flu, time will tell. And the fish. Whilst it smelt great the bag, it is so<br />

powerful, L<strong>in</strong>dsay reckons it is animal food. S<strong>in</strong>ce she had been throw<strong>in</strong>g bread<br />

out for the birds which is be<strong>in</strong>g eaten by the mongooses (or is it mongeese, I<br />

never know) I suggest the mongooses might like a change of diet. I th<strong>in</strong>k her<br />

response was unpr<strong>in</strong>table but I can’t remember because the ‘flu cure (alcohol)<br />

is beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g to kick <strong>in</strong>.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 13 – Thursday. Life has become a whole series of forgett<strong>in</strong>g th<strong>in</strong>gs.<br />

Because the way we lead our life is so different, no longer hav<strong>in</strong>g the type of<br />

office set-up I am used to, we have to remember all the bits we have to load<br />

<strong>in</strong>to the car each day to take to the office. It must be a bit like do<strong>in</strong>g the school<br />

run. We’ve even got the 4 x 4.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay, be<strong>in</strong>g a former civil servant, doesn’t yet understand the necessity of<br />

start<strong>in</strong>g early <strong>in</strong> private enterprise and although 8 am is equivalent of 10am <strong>in</strong><br />

the U.K., we still arrive at the office later than is normal for me.<br />

The ‘kill or cure’ from last night seems to have worked. I’m still alive, slept 10<br />

hours and feel almost normal. I am sure rum has special curative powers.<br />

Into the office with its three double shuttered w<strong>in</strong>dows, two s<strong>in</strong>gle shuttered<br />

w<strong>in</strong>dows and double shuttered doors which takes us about ten m<strong>in</strong>utes to open<br />

up. We have developed a system. One on the outside and one <strong>in</strong>side. It cuts<br />

the time <strong>in</strong> half. This is day 2 of try<strong>in</strong>g to <strong>in</strong>terest advertisers <strong>in</strong> our product. I<br />

remember when I was a recipient of cold callers. I just put the ‘phone down<br />

without talk<strong>in</strong>g to them. I am now one of those dreadful people. Fortunately,<br />

the people <strong>in</strong> Antigua are much more polite and I succeed <strong>in</strong> mak<strong>in</strong>g a number<br />

of appo<strong>in</strong>tments to see people. A particular sailmaker with whom I spent a lot of<br />

money <strong>in</strong> 2004 is quite amused when I tell him I need to earn back some of my<br />

cash. We will see if that converts to revenue.<br />

Work<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the same office as L<strong>in</strong>dsay is prov<strong>in</strong>g a bit of a trial for both of us.<br />

The ma<strong>in</strong> problem is that we have only one computer and we both want to use it<br />

at the same time. Tomorrow is her birthday so guess what she’s gett<strong>in</strong>g for a<br />

present.<br />

The broadband goes down <strong>in</strong> the afternoon and copious calls to Cable &<br />

Wireless elicits some semi-helpful <strong>in</strong>formation such as “unplug the ma<strong>in</strong> power<br />

socket” but to no avail. An eng<strong>in</strong>eer may arrive tomorrow but more likely<br />

Monday. The landlord has been <strong>in</strong> Antigua too long. He just shrugs his<br />

shoulders. Alexis appears on and off dur<strong>in</strong>g the day and is very surprised when


we decl<strong>in</strong>e his <strong>in</strong>vitation to lunch at twelve. I am happy to work through but the<br />

rumbl<strong>in</strong>gs from the opposite corner of the office, both verbal and gastronomic,<br />

<strong>in</strong>dicated a need for sustenance. Jackees Kwik Stop seemed an ideal solution.<br />

Even by Antiguan standards ‘quick’ is a complete aberration.<br />

We decide to come to an arrangement with a local restaurant, Cloggies, (run by<br />

a Dutchman), who do very nice range of baguettes. They agree to ‘take aways’.<br />

Clos<strong>in</strong>g the office at about 5.30 we proceed to the Antigua Yacht Club.<br />

I try to tender my membership to the yacht club for the second time and have it<br />

rejected aga<strong>in</strong>. They don’t seem to want to take my money. The reason is,<br />

apparently, if I submit it <strong>in</strong> on Saturday, I get half price. The yacht club<br />

President sees what is happen<strong>in</strong>g and offers to sponsor the application which is<br />

rather embarrass<strong>in</strong>g s<strong>in</strong>ce the Social Secretary has offered to do likewise.<br />

We meet a few new people <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g a couple who have been here for thirty five<br />

years (not sure about him as he is her third husband). Driv<strong>in</strong>g back L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

comments that rum does not seem to have the alcoholic affect of dr<strong>in</strong>ks <strong>in</strong> the<br />

U.K.. She calculates that based on their measures she has had about the<br />

equivalent of 16 U.K. measures (half a bottle) but still feels f<strong>in</strong>e. See<strong>in</strong>g her<br />

cook<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the kitchen a bit later <strong>in</strong> bra and knickers, I am not so sure. (Her<br />

comment – “I’m not pissed, just hot.”)<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 14 – Friday. In the office before eight to f<strong>in</strong>d the <strong>in</strong>ternet is still down. The<br />

landlord tells us an eng<strong>in</strong>eer will be arriv<strong>in</strong>g at 9. By 9 the <strong>in</strong>ternet is work<strong>in</strong>g<br />

aga<strong>in</strong> but no sign of the eng<strong>in</strong>eer. He must have some supernatural powers<br />

which enable him to carry out repairs from afar. Unfortunately, not true. Around<br />

3 he appears and the <strong>in</strong>ternet is not work<strong>in</strong>g aga<strong>in</strong>. An hour later I see him<br />

wander<strong>in</strong>g around on the roof shak<strong>in</strong>g his head. At 5 he appears <strong>in</strong> the office<br />

with two large plastic boxes under his arm trail<strong>in</strong>g cables and asks which we<br />

want first, the good news or the bad news. We go for the bad. He tells us the<br />

<strong>in</strong>ternet is not work<strong>in</strong>g. We already knew that so what’s the good news? It will<br />

be work<strong>in</strong>g by Monday. That’s good news? I suppose that to get anyth<strong>in</strong>g<br />

work<strong>in</strong>g with<strong>in</strong> three days <strong>in</strong> Antigua is good news particularly over a weekend.<br />

My first appo<strong>in</strong>tment of the day is at 10 with an importer of f<strong>in</strong>e w<strong>in</strong>es and good<br />

quality food products. Not be<strong>in</strong>g 100% sure of the whereabouts of his office I<br />

leave <strong>in</strong> plenty of time and arrive 20 m<strong>in</strong>utes early. Must be a first for Antigua.<br />

Rather than sit <strong>in</strong> the car I go <strong>in</strong>to his office and he expresses no surprise at my<br />

early arrival. It must be that all tim<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> Antigua is approximate. His name is<br />

Didier and he is French. We have a discussion about the Mar<strong>in</strong>e Guide and the<br />

products he imports. I suggest that he could do well to add a few English beers<br />

to his range. He tells me he already has some, Gu<strong>in</strong>ness, Worth<strong>in</strong>gton<br />

Smoothflow and Idris G<strong>in</strong>ger Beer. Well, he is French and this is Antigua. I<br />

might take a little time to educate him.


Whilst at the north end of the island I decide to nip <strong>in</strong>to St. John’s to go to the<br />

bank and also see if I can pick up another computer. Nowhere to park so I<br />

revert to my English habit of park<strong>in</strong>g on yellow l<strong>in</strong>es. Several people have<br />

suggested that a smaller 4 x 4 may be more appropriate to Antigua and, driv<strong>in</strong>g<br />

around St. John’s, I appreciate what they mean but this car is def<strong>in</strong>itely grow<strong>in</strong>g<br />

on me although it still has a habit of confus<strong>in</strong>g me from time to time. Yesterday<br />

a light appeared on the dash say<strong>in</strong>g ‘O/D OFF’. I didn’t know I had turned ‘O/D’<br />

on let alone what ‘O/D’ did. Logic dictated ‘O/D’ stands for overdrive, somewhat<br />

unusual on an automatic and, anyway, when would you use overdrive <strong>in</strong><br />

Antigua. It has to rank alongside the cruise control as one of the more useless<br />

th<strong>in</strong>gs on the car. Much search<strong>in</strong>g reveals a little button on the side of the gear<br />

lever which, when pushed, ext<strong>in</strong>guishes ‘O/D OFF”.<br />

No luck with buy<strong>in</strong>g another computer. They don’t sell Macs <strong>in</strong> Antigua, you<br />

have to order them from the U.S..<br />

Next appo<strong>in</strong>tment is with the sailmaker who had carried out all my repairs<br />

dur<strong>in</strong>g Sail<strong>in</strong>g Week 2004. He is a little harder to crack but promises me a reply<br />

with<strong>in</strong> a week which probably means ‘No’.<br />

Back to the office where you can cut the atmosphere with a knife. L<strong>in</strong>dsay is<br />

exud<strong>in</strong>g frustration with the account<strong>in</strong>g system. Every time she pr<strong>in</strong>ts an<br />

<strong>in</strong>voice which should be <strong>in</strong> Dollars the <strong>in</strong>voice automatically produces it <strong>in</strong><br />

Pounds Sterl<strong>in</strong>g. Although no £ sign appears on the screen it appears on the<br />

paper.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g only two desks Alexis is sitt<strong>in</strong>g at one and L<strong>in</strong>dsay the other leav<strong>in</strong>g me<br />

nowhere to work also, although there are three computers, one is very<br />

temperamental, another Alexis uses for his work and on the third L<strong>in</strong>dsay is<br />

do<strong>in</strong>g accounts. Much of the organisation is somewhat haphazard and I try to<br />

extract from Alexis some form of <strong>in</strong>formation sheet on current advertisers, past<br />

advertisers and potential advertisers. The lists are woefully short of <strong>in</strong>formation<br />

and I can’t get to a computer to try to formulate some form of useable list from<br />

which to work. I th<strong>in</strong>k my frustration is also beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g to show.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay is still struggl<strong>in</strong>g with the £ sign and <strong>in</strong> the end she, reluctantly, agrees<br />

to let me have a look comment<strong>in</strong>g that s<strong>in</strong>ce I know noth<strong>in</strong>g about the accounts<br />

package (true) she doesn’t understand how I will be able to f<strong>in</strong>d someth<strong>in</strong>g she<br />

can’t. Initially, she proves to be correct. There is noth<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the accounts<br />

package which allows for this aberration. A bit of lateral th<strong>in</strong>k<strong>in</strong>g. It must be the<br />

basic set up <strong>in</strong> the computer and I quickly f<strong>in</strong>d the sett<strong>in</strong>gs and change them.<br />

The feel<strong>in</strong>g of achievement is rapidly followed by one of disappo<strong>in</strong>tment when<br />

the £ sign still appears on the <strong>in</strong>voices. Maybe the computer needs shutt<strong>in</strong>g<br />

down and restart<strong>in</strong>g before it recognises changes to sett<strong>in</strong>gs. Thankfully, that<br />

works.


The rest of the day is taken up with telephone calls to prospective advertisers,<br />

mak<strong>in</strong>g semi-sensible lists and mak<strong>in</strong>g appo<strong>in</strong>tments to see people. A<br />

reasonably successful end to the day and I’m quite grateful when at 5 L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

suggests we load our e-mails onto disk and go to a local <strong>in</strong>ternet café to send<br />

them. For reasons I won’t go <strong>in</strong>to, the disk is still <strong>in</strong> the car and the e-mails<br />

unsent. We sit <strong>in</strong> the car with the air condition<strong>in</strong>g on and eat ice creams from<br />

tubs (without spoons).<br />

A brief visit to the Tot Club where Terry, whose birthday it was yesterday, is<br />

buy<strong>in</strong>g dr<strong>in</strong>ks for everyone and I get collared to do Rum Steward next week.<br />

S<strong>in</strong>ce it’s L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s birthday today we slip off to Calabash for d<strong>in</strong>ner only to f<strong>in</strong>d<br />

a large party just sitt<strong>in</strong>g down to eat. We wait at the bar for about an hour then<br />

sit down to a well prepared and well presented d<strong>in</strong>ner. Mike jo<strong>in</strong>s us and offers<br />

us a free dr<strong>in</strong>k for L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s birthday. She chooses a Baileys and ice and I go<br />

for a port. No port so I settle for the Baileys and ice.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 15 – Saturday, a day of rest, supposedly. Into Falmouth to get the e-mails<br />

sent and deliver a few packages. Also, we try to deposit our rubbish <strong>in</strong> the<br />

locked compound hav<strong>in</strong>g eventually obta<strong>in</strong>ed a key. Four padlocks and the key<br />

will open none of them.<br />

Petrol is gett<strong>in</strong>g a bit low and the nearest place to fill up is at the boat fuel dock<br />

at Slipway. As we arrive a motor boat is fill<strong>in</strong>g with petrol, very slowly, or so I<br />

th<strong>in</strong>k. It seems to be tak<strong>in</strong>g petrol at about a gallon a m<strong>in</strong>ute. Even the pump<br />

attendant is gett<strong>in</strong>g impatient and a queue of cars is beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g to grow. I<br />

comment to the pump attendant that the boat has only taken on 16.5 gallons <strong>in</strong><br />

about ten m<strong>in</strong>utes. He po<strong>in</strong>ts out that it is 165 gallons and the boat still has<br />

another tank to fill. Fortunately the other tank is not empty and the boat only<br />

takes just over 200 gallons, and this is only a 27 foot motor launch with tw<strong>in</strong><br />

outboards. I fill up for about GB£20. In the U.K. I was used to putt<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> GB£80<br />

on each fill-up.<br />

On the way back home we call <strong>in</strong> at Crabhole Liquors for a couple of bottles of<br />

w<strong>in</strong>e and a bottle of port. Roger, who is look<strong>in</strong>g after Graeme’s boat whilst he is<br />

<strong>in</strong> the U.K., has bought a huge strip lo<strong>in</strong> of beef (at EC$10 per pound, that’s<br />

about GB£2 per pound) and has <strong>in</strong>vited us and a few others on board for<br />

d<strong>in</strong>ner.<br />

Geoffrey Pidduck has not forgotten he persuaded L<strong>in</strong>dsay to go sail<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the<br />

afternoon and we have agree to meet him for lunch at noon <strong>in</strong> Jolly Harbour. In<br />

conversation he mentions the name of one of his irregular crew which turns out<br />

to be a local Antiguan who sailed with me <strong>in</strong> Race Week <strong>in</strong> 1998 and, on a visit<br />

to the U.K., came out for a race with me off Brighton. We have tried,<br />

unsuccessfully, to meet up with him on several subsequent occasions. I gather<br />

he has one family <strong>in</strong> Antigua and another <strong>in</strong> Mart<strong>in</strong>ique and, therefore, is a bit<br />

elusive.


Geoffrey’s boat, or at least the one we are sail<strong>in</strong>g on (he has three), is an old 6<br />

metre modified for short handed sail<strong>in</strong>g which is just as well s<strong>in</strong>ce it appears it is<br />

only the three of us. The boat is suspended <strong>in</strong> a cradle and is lowered on two<br />

electric w<strong>in</strong>ches <strong>in</strong>to the water. Rather neat.<br />

The ma<strong>in</strong> sail has been away for repair and needs to be bent on. It’s a bit of a<br />

guess as to which batten fits which pocket and, not<strong>in</strong>g Geoffrey attach<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

clew to the outhaul I ask if it’s a loose footed ma<strong>in</strong>. He confirms it is. It doesn’t<br />

look that way to me but I refra<strong>in</strong> from contradict<strong>in</strong>g him. We hoist the ma<strong>in</strong> and<br />

sail away. Geoffrey suddenly has a change of heart. It’s not a loose footed<br />

ma<strong>in</strong> and we drop it and feed the foot along the boom. Someth<strong>in</strong>g is wrong with<br />

the upper batten. It keeps catch<strong>in</strong>g on the backstay and, on starboard tack, will<br />

not come free. Only by climb<strong>in</strong>g out over the stern and giv<strong>in</strong>g the backstay<br />

several vicious shakes can I free it. In the confusion of try<strong>in</strong>g to sort it out we<br />

loose track of the start time and are badly positioned on the l<strong>in</strong>e. Not that it<br />

matters too much. There are only three boats <strong>in</strong> this fleet. To make matters<br />

worse, we are not us<strong>in</strong>g sp<strong>in</strong>nakers and the course and the legs are very long.<br />

To top it all, the w<strong>in</strong>ds are very light. L<strong>in</strong>dsay is not enjoy<strong>in</strong>g herself.<br />

Com<strong>in</strong>g toward the end of a long downw<strong>in</strong>d leg, Geoffrey suggests we will<br />

never f<strong>in</strong>ish <strong>in</strong> time for us to get back to the Antigua Yacht Club <strong>in</strong> Falmouth<br />

where we are due at 6. He wants to retire. I po<strong>in</strong>t out that once we go around<br />

the next mark, about 100 yards ahead, we will be go<strong>in</strong>g upw<strong>in</strong>d and, therefore,<br />

a lot faster. This proves to be the case but, unbeknown to me, rather than the<br />

course tak<strong>in</strong>g us back <strong>in</strong>to Jolly Harbour, we have several more buoys to go<br />

around and quite a distance left <strong>in</strong> the race. We retire and motor back <strong>in</strong>.<br />

Hoist<strong>in</strong>g the boat back out of the water, we leave Geoffrey to tidy up a few<br />

rema<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g items and head home for a quick shower and on to the Antigua Yacht<br />

Club where we are f<strong>in</strong>ally allowed to jo<strong>in</strong>. The Tot is also be<strong>in</strong>g held at the club<br />

so after jo<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> we set off to meet Roger at the Galley Bar at the pre-arranged<br />

time of 7. No sign of Roger or any of the other guests. About 10 m<strong>in</strong>utes later<br />

a d<strong>in</strong>ghy slowly weaves its way out of the dark and up to the dock. Roger has<br />

obviously been us<strong>in</strong>g one hand to cook with and the other to sample the various<br />

w<strong>in</strong>es he has on board. The other guests jo<strong>in</strong> us with one exception who is<br />

delayed.<br />

Roger has agreed to borrow at couple of chairs from the Galley Bar but forgets<br />

them. I am not sure how we would have all fitted <strong>in</strong> the d<strong>in</strong>ghy plus the chairs.<br />

Dropp<strong>in</strong>g us off at the boat Roger sets off to collect the chairs. On his return we<br />

tell him the f<strong>in</strong>al guest is await<strong>in</strong>g collection from the dock. Roger sets off aga<strong>in</strong><br />

but gets no more than 50 yards when he runs out of petrol. Fortunately,<br />

Graeme’s boat has two d<strong>in</strong>ghies. We lower the other one from the davits and<br />

one of the guests sets off on a rescue mission.<br />

Roger is obviously a consummate cook. The food is very good and the beef<br />

superb. The even<strong>in</strong>g, the w<strong>in</strong>e and the port flows by rather swiftly and all too


soon it’s midnight. Roger refuses any assistance clear<strong>in</strong>g up and we prepare to<br />

embark on the work<strong>in</strong>g d<strong>in</strong>ghy to go ashore. It’s full of water. I had completely<br />

forgotten that Graeme suspends it at an angle on the davits with the bung taken<br />

out so ra<strong>in</strong>water will dra<strong>in</strong> out. Fortunately, we had re-attached the boat to the<br />

davits so it hadn’t sunk.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 16 – Sunday. Def<strong>in</strong>itely a day of rest. We don’t get up until late.<br />

Provisions are a bit short so we drive to the local shop for some bacon and<br />

eggs. L<strong>in</strong>dsay forgets the eggs so it’s bacon sandwiches. The little cricket<br />

ground at the end of our roadway, dormant until yesterday, is active aga<strong>in</strong> today<br />

with more players than spectators. If it wasn’t for the temperature, one could be<br />

<strong>in</strong>cl<strong>in</strong>ed to liken it to an English village team. I’m almost tempted to go and sit <strong>in</strong><br />

the m<strong>in</strong>iature stand and watch a few overs. It will have to be done one day.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g promised to go sail<strong>in</strong>g on the Swan 37 <strong>in</strong> the afternoon there is not<br />

enough time to do Tot Keep Fit and sail. I feel a bit guilty but also a bit relieved.<br />

I turn up on the dockside at the appo<strong>in</strong>ted time to f<strong>in</strong>d all the boats tied up and<br />

not a soul <strong>in</strong> sight. L<strong>in</strong>dsay takes the car to Pigeon Beach, just around the<br />

corner, amidst a scrabbl<strong>in</strong>g of tyres as she applies her right foot rather too<br />

heavily. Fortunately, we both have our ‘phones and they are gett<strong>in</strong>g a signal. I<br />

wait half an hour and decide the race must have been cancelled.<br />

Alexis is just ty<strong>in</strong>g up his new boat. It looks rather like a Thames sail<strong>in</strong>g barge<br />

with about as much grace but does have a certa<strong>in</strong> primitive style. Apparently, it<br />

is a local design known as a Carriacou.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay has just about settled down on the beach when she receives my call.<br />

Although the beach looks deserted from the house, L<strong>in</strong>dsay says it’s rather<br />

crowded. The sand is completely clear as it is too hot to walk on but under the<br />

palm trees and <strong>in</strong> the water there is hardly a square <strong>in</strong>ch. Beaches not be<strong>in</strong>g<br />

my scene, we return home.<br />

Park<strong>in</strong>g the car I experimentally push another button the symbol on which<br />

means absolutely noth<strong>in</strong>g. The door mirrors fold <strong>in</strong>. Very useful when parked <strong>in</strong><br />

St, John’s. At least they won’t be knocked off but there could be a downside,<br />

without the door mirrors stick<strong>in</strong>g out, other drivers could be tempted to drive<br />

closer. A new pa<strong>in</strong>t job could be more expensive than a new door mirror.<br />

As I am to be Rum Steward next week, we decide to go down to the Tot. I<br />

apologise to Terry for not mak<strong>in</strong>g Keep Fit and po<strong>in</strong>t out that it was a<br />

comb<strong>in</strong>ation of Roger’s hospitality the night before and my commitment to go<br />

sail<strong>in</strong>g. My comment on Roger’s hospitality was really an aside to further thank<br />

Roger for enterta<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g us and I wish had not mentioned it as it appeared I<br />

avoided Keep Fit due to a hangover. Quite the reverse. Keep Fit would have<br />

been a hangover cure. To make matters worse, Terry and Connie, expect<strong>in</strong>g<br />

us at Keep Fit, had laid on lunch. Not that I could have stayed had I been


fulfill<strong>in</strong>g my sail<strong>in</strong>g commitment. I could kill the Swan owner for not tell<strong>in</strong>g me<br />

sail<strong>in</strong>g was cancelled.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 17 – Monday. Perhaps the Cable & Wireless eng<strong>in</strong>eer should have said I<br />

have ‘bad news and bad news’. We still do not have an <strong>in</strong>ternet connection and<br />

Cable & Wireless have lost track of the eng<strong>in</strong>eer who took our aerials away.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay asks them if he really was one of their eng<strong>in</strong>eers. I am not sure they<br />

appreciated the subtlety of the question.<br />

I am off the St. John’s aga<strong>in</strong> to meet the Market<strong>in</strong>g Manager of Wadadli Beer<br />

(Antigua’s own brew). I decide to be blunt and tell him that <strong>in</strong> the eight years I<br />

have been com<strong>in</strong>g to Antigua I have noticed Wadadli’s market share fall to the<br />

competitor beer, Carib. He agrees that Carib now has a greater market<br />

presence but feels Wadadli is still hold<strong>in</strong>g onto its market share. I offer him<br />

advertis<strong>in</strong>g space and he wants a prime position, all of which have gone. A bit<br />

of juggl<strong>in</strong>g and I can offer him someth<strong>in</strong>g pretty good.<br />

I have had another idea I want to put to him. One of the th<strong>in</strong>gs that concerns me<br />

about this publication is that there is no <strong>in</strong>centive for stockists to r<strong>in</strong>g up when<br />

they run out of copies. We have about 80 stands. My idea is to have a label <strong>in</strong><br />

the back of the stand request<strong>in</strong>g stockists to r<strong>in</strong>g for extra copies and enter a<br />

free draw for a year’s supply of Wadadli beer. The Market<strong>in</strong>g Manager really<br />

likes this idea and asks “How much?” I reply, “Just the cost of the beer, plus, of<br />

course, an advert.” It has to go to his Board but I will be surprised if they don’t<br />

do it.<br />

Next call is just on the off-chance. The garage where I bought my car. I could<br />

anticipate their argument. How do you sell cars to sailor? I decide to pre-empt<br />

this by say<strong>in</strong>g that many people who first come to Antigua as sailors end up<br />

stay<strong>in</strong>g, probably more than through any other source. I must be right because<br />

he starts referr<strong>in</strong>g to the number of sailors to whom he has sold cars,<br />

particularly those from Jolly Harbour. I don’t disillusion him, most people from<br />

Jolly harbour are not sailors. Anyway, he seems so impressed he asks for<br />

more copies of the Guide and I give him all I have <strong>in</strong> the car which creates me<br />

the difficulty of not hav<strong>in</strong>g any copies for my next appo<strong>in</strong>tments.<br />

No problem. I r<strong>in</strong>g Alexis and ask where I can pick up a few copies <strong>in</strong> St.<br />

John’s. The Tourist Office. He gives me the address which is <strong>in</strong> the same<br />

street as the solicitor. I even manage to park, legally, almost outside only it’s no<br />

longer the Tourist Office, it’s now the Work Permits Office. At least I know<br />

where that is for future reference (but for how long? I ask myself). I obta<strong>in</strong><br />

directions to the new Tourist Office. Why does it surprise me that it is located<br />

well out of town <strong>in</strong> amongst a collection of large Government office build<strong>in</strong>gs all<br />

with signs on the gates say<strong>in</strong>g ‘No entry except Government vehicles’.<br />

Only one of the five build<strong>in</strong>gs has any <strong>in</strong>dication as to its purpose. The<br />

Immigration Office. I decide to start there. Tourism is noth<strong>in</strong>g to do with them.


Try the second build<strong>in</strong>g. At least they have heard of the Tourism Office but<br />

don’t th<strong>in</strong>k it’s <strong>in</strong> their build<strong>in</strong>g. Try the one next door. They also have heard of<br />

the Tourism Office, two out of three is not bad, but it’s def<strong>in</strong>itely not <strong>in</strong> their<br />

build<strong>in</strong>g. They suggest I try the one I have just left. I debate with myself. Do I<br />

try the two rema<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g build<strong>in</strong>gs or drive back to English Harbour and collect<br />

some more copies from the office? It’s a no bra<strong>in</strong>er, I have walked too far<br />

already.<br />

Back at the office I make a few ‘phone calls and nip out to get a couple of<br />

sandwiches for lunch. On my return, Alexis suggests I wait around to meet a<br />

client who is just <strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>g his advertis<strong>in</strong>g. We are <strong>in</strong>troduced and he says he<br />

knows me, or at least my boat. I had a chat with him when Jagga (my yacht)<br />

was <strong>in</strong> the boatyard at Slipway last year. He obviously has a very good memory<br />

for faces because I have no recollection of him other than I remember<br />

compliment<strong>in</strong>g him on the pa<strong>in</strong>t f<strong>in</strong>ish he was putt<strong>in</strong>g to the hull of a boat.<br />

Back to St. John’s for my next appo<strong>in</strong>tment. She isn’t <strong>in</strong> so I see her assistant.<br />

Doesn’t really matter s<strong>in</strong>ce they are exist<strong>in</strong>g clients and this is just a PR<br />

exercise. This makes me rather early for my next appo<strong>in</strong>tment so I pop <strong>in</strong>to the<br />

‘Sticky Wicket’, a bar/restaurant at the airport for a quick dr<strong>in</strong>k (non-alcoholic).<br />

Consider<strong>in</strong>g what everyone has said about the Sticky Wicket, I am a bit<br />

disappo<strong>in</strong>ted. It rem<strong>in</strong>ds me of a Harvester pub <strong>in</strong> the U.K..<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g bought two desks for the office it has become all too apparent that on<br />

too many occasions there were three of us <strong>in</strong> the office and s<strong>in</strong>ce I am the one<br />

who is out most of the time I come back with nowhere to work. I call <strong>in</strong>to the<br />

furniture shop and buy another desk but only on the condition I can take the one<br />

already assembled and it will fit <strong>in</strong> the back of the car. He laughs at me until I<br />

po<strong>in</strong>t to the car. These 4 x 4s are hav<strong>in</strong>g more and more uses.<br />

Back at the office, L<strong>in</strong>dsay has had enough. She has not even had time to read<br />

her book. We shut up at ten to five. The Tot is at 6 and as Rum Steward I am<br />

obliged to be there. We don’t stay long and drive around to Calabash to use<br />

Mike Briggs <strong>in</strong>ternet connection. It won’t work with a Mac.<br />

Mike is rambl<strong>in</strong>g on about teach<strong>in</strong>g one of his local bar staff Cockney English<br />

and has a book with all k<strong>in</strong>ds of th<strong>in</strong>gs <strong>in</strong> it which seem noth<strong>in</strong>g to do with<br />

Cockney slang. He is check<strong>in</strong>g on collective nouns and asks the assembled<br />

company for the collective noun for ‘Peddlers’. I suggest ‘Cyclists’. L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

nearly falls off her stool laugh<strong>in</strong>g but everyone else just looks mystified.<br />

Presumably L<strong>in</strong>dsay and I have a similar sense of humour which isn’t shared by<br />

the others. L<strong>in</strong>dsay is still chuckl<strong>in</strong>g as we drive home. It wasn’t that funny.<br />

Just as we are about to leave, the Swan owner appears, full of apologies. She<br />

has heard about my lonesome wait on the dockside yesterday. I am asked if I<br />

will sail next Sunday but I po<strong>in</strong>t out that I cannot do ‘keep fit’ and sail. She


offers to have the start of the race delayed until I can get there. No one has<br />

ever done that for me before so I’d better turn up.<br />

Back home our nightly visit<strong>in</strong>g beetle returns aga<strong>in</strong>. We are sure it’s the same<br />

one because it’s behaviour pattern is unique and always the same. L<strong>in</strong>dsay has<br />

christened it Val because it batters its way around the veranda, bump<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>to<br />

everyth<strong>in</strong>g then falls flat on its back, wav<strong>in</strong>g its legs <strong>in</strong> the air, rather like<br />

someone we know from the yacht club <strong>in</strong> Brighton after a few dr<strong>in</strong>ks.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 18 – Tuesday. On the way to work we encounter the most enormous bull<br />

stand<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the middle of the road. Normally it is tethered safely to one side of<br />

the road. Obviously, it has pulled its tether from the ground. Com<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the<br />

opposite direction is another vehicle which has come to a standstill, wait<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

see how we deal with the bull. Fortunately, it’s an Antiguan bull and its<br />

movements are rather laconic.<br />

We arrive at the office to be told that the water’s off. It’s taken two weeks to get<br />

the toilet connected, we have had one day of use and now we have no water.<br />

The good news is the man from the <strong>in</strong>ternet is due at half n<strong>in</strong>e. S<strong>in</strong>ce he was<br />

due on Friday at 9 and arrived at 3, I did ask if this meant 3.30 today. I was<br />

wrong.<br />

Whilst meet<strong>in</strong>g with our new account manager at the Premium Accounts Branch<br />

(very plush, no queues and you can make appo<strong>in</strong>tments) my ‘phone r<strong>in</strong>gs. It is<br />

APUA, our land l<strong>in</strong>e supplier. The eng<strong>in</strong>eer tells me he is outside a basketball<br />

court which is about was 100 yards from the office. I give him directions and tell<br />

him I will send L<strong>in</strong>dsay outside to meet him. In retrospect, there was a slight<br />

note of panic <strong>in</strong> his voice at my suggestion and he advises she should wait a<br />

m<strong>in</strong>ute. Five m<strong>in</strong>utes later, L<strong>in</strong>dsay r<strong>in</strong>gs, no APUA but the <strong>in</strong>ternet eng<strong>in</strong>eer<br />

has arrived. APUA arrived three quarters of an hour later. A tortoise could<br />

have covered the distance <strong>in</strong> less time, even an Antiguan tortoise.<br />

Bank sorted, I go to collect the post. Lots of it, ma<strong>in</strong>ly cards for L<strong>in</strong>dsay. The<br />

only th<strong>in</strong>g for me is a slightly snotty note from Barclaycard. I have been a day<br />

late with my payment. Not my fault but Barclays. Without tell<strong>in</strong>g me they have<br />

<strong>in</strong>troduced a 24 hour delay <strong>in</strong> Barclays to Barclays transactions and I am<br />

charged £20 for the benefit of not know<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay r<strong>in</strong>gs aga<strong>in</strong>. The l<strong>in</strong>es were <strong>in</strong> but APUA are out of ‘phones so I will<br />

have to buy one plus a l<strong>in</strong>e splitter. Both the ‘phone and the fax l<strong>in</strong>es come<br />

down the same cable so you need a splitter to differentiate between the two. I<br />

buy a splitter but have a nasty feel<strong>in</strong>g from the way it is constructed we are<br />

go<strong>in</strong>g to have two fax l<strong>in</strong>es and one telephone l<strong>in</strong>e. You know how I hate be<strong>in</strong>g<br />

right all the time.<br />

Whilst at the post office I check a nearby notice board for cars for sale and three<br />

catch my attention, <strong>in</strong> particular, a two door Opel Astra. I make an arrangement


to see it on my way back to the office. It is <strong>in</strong> Jolly Harbour, an almost<br />

impossible place to get to, particularly from St. John’s. At one po<strong>in</strong>t I almost<br />

have to refer to the map. The car is a bit ‘boy-racerish’ and a little low for the<br />

road conditions although fairly smart. Even I am beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g to become practical<br />

as far as cars are concerned.<br />

The last mile or so to the house is more or less a private driveway, part tarmac,<br />

part unsurfaced and part concrete. On the concrete bit it is s<strong>in</strong>gle track and,<br />

go<strong>in</strong>g to the house, only the right hand side of the road is surfaced. Everyone<br />

uses the concrete surfaced bit whether or not it’s his or her right of way, me<br />

<strong>in</strong>cluded. Unfortunately, <strong>in</strong> the middle of this concrete section is a steep hill and<br />

I tend to approach the crest rather slowly, regardless of whether or not it is my<br />

right of way. If I have no rights I also sound my horn (only dur<strong>in</strong>g daylight<br />

hours, not out of consideration for any neighbours but because I presume I will<br />

see oncom<strong>in</strong>g lights at night). Until today, I have never met a vehicle com<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the other way on the crest of the hill. Today, when it’s my right of way, I<br />

encounter two. Both Jeeps, both left hand drive, both be<strong>in</strong>g driven at high<br />

speed by women. The only difference between the first and the second is the<br />

first is also talk<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>to her mobile ‘phone and has a child strapped <strong>in</strong> the back<br />

seat, no doubt, with a sticker <strong>in</strong> the rear w<strong>in</strong>dow say<strong>in</strong>g ‘Child on Board’.<br />

Amidst clouds of dust they swerve off the road and glare at me as though I am<br />

<strong>in</strong> the wrong as only women drivers can do.<br />

After last night when the midges at Calabash even managed to bite my ankles<br />

through my socks (no, I am not wear<strong>in</strong>g shorts and socks but proper shoes and<br />

trousers hav<strong>in</strong>g come from the office), I spray my socks with OFF <strong>in</strong> the hope of<br />

discourag<strong>in</strong>g the little blighters. It works.<br />

Tonight I am cook<strong>in</strong>g mashed potatoes with d<strong>in</strong>ner. What did people do before<br />

potato mashers? I seem to recollect my mother used a fork but not <strong>in</strong> a nonstick<br />

pan.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s quote of the day – “Even the birds here fly slowly.”<br />

Val br<strong>in</strong>gs her cous<strong>in</strong> to visit us. It can’t be her sister s<strong>in</strong>ce Val is black and<br />

‘cous<strong>in</strong>’ is brown. They must be related though s<strong>in</strong>ce they behave <strong>in</strong> exactly the<br />

same manner, bash<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>to everyth<strong>in</strong>g and end<strong>in</strong>g up flat on their backs on the<br />

floor. Either that or they have been dr<strong>in</strong>k<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the same bar.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 19 – Wednesday. When I first met L<strong>in</strong>dsay she didn’t strike me as the sort<br />

of person who would be frightened by spiders or mice. In fact, she is frightened<br />

of someth<strong>in</strong>g which would never have occurred to me had I not had a member<br />

of staff, some years ago, who was frightened of the same th<strong>in</strong>g – bird feathers<br />

and, therefore, also birds. Most of these th<strong>in</strong>gs do not exist <strong>in</strong> any quantity <strong>in</strong><br />

Antigua but a replacement has occurred, although, to be fair, not to the extent of<br />

spiders or mice. They are lizards and/or geckos.


One <strong>in</strong>vaded our bedroom. It is too fast to catch and I chase it out. In the<br />

morn<strong>in</strong>g I wander <strong>in</strong>to the spare bedroom (there are two bedrooms on our floor<br />

and another below) and sitt<strong>in</strong>g on the floor is this poor, lost, helpless gecko.<br />

Initially, I try to chase it out of the house without success. It runs up the walls,<br />

<strong>in</strong>to the bathroom, over the open w<strong>in</strong>dow (the mosquito screen prevented its<br />

ultimate escape) and back down onto the floor.<br />

If noth<strong>in</strong>g else, I am becom<strong>in</strong>g resourceful. I grab the broom, which is more like<br />

a dustpan brush with a long handle. Chas<strong>in</strong>g the gecko around the room it<br />

eventually jumped onto the broom. F<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g someth<strong>in</strong>g that is no longer chas<strong>in</strong>g<br />

it, it settles down, lungs pulsat<strong>in</strong>g and heart beat<strong>in</strong>g madly. Gently, I carry it<br />

towards the veranda door. Maybe it recovered too quickly. Halfway there the<br />

gecko heads for freedom, only it goes the wrong way, back to the bedroom. My<br />

second attempt is more successful. Maybe, by now, he knows who’s master.<br />

We have appo<strong>in</strong>tments <strong>in</strong> St. John’s with accountants and solicitors so today is<br />

not go<strong>in</strong>g to be much of a work<strong>in</strong>g day. We call <strong>in</strong>to the office to check e-mails,<br />

etc. and Alexis arrives with a copy of a magaz<strong>in</strong>e <strong>in</strong> “Italian” pr<strong>in</strong>ted <strong>in</strong> Antigua (I<br />

didn’t know there was that much of a market for Italian <strong>in</strong> Antigua) with an<br />

advertisement with<strong>in</strong> it for Breitl<strong>in</strong>g Watches. I have had a long stand<strong>in</strong>g<br />

relationship with Breitl<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the U.K. and had approached them to advertise<br />

with<strong>in</strong> the Mar<strong>in</strong>e Guide but without success.<br />

I reach for our newly <strong>in</strong>stalled ‘phone to r<strong>in</strong>g my contact <strong>in</strong> the U.K.. Alexis<br />

immediately enquires whether we were set up for <strong>in</strong>ternational calls. Once you<br />

have a telephone, can’t you call anywhere <strong>in</strong> the world? Apparently not <strong>in</strong><br />

Antigua. In order to make <strong>in</strong>ternational calls you have to sign up with a different<br />

company, Cable & Wireless. They have a monopoly on <strong>in</strong>ternational calls.<br />

Cable & Wireless told us we would be connected the same day. Time will tell.<br />

The visit to the accountant doesn’t really tell us anyth<strong>in</strong>g we didn’t already know<br />

and, probably, raises more questions than answers. The solicitor is more<br />

productive but from the number of people <strong>in</strong>volved I suspect the bill will not be<br />

small.<br />

We do have one bus<strong>in</strong>ess appo<strong>in</strong>tment which was at a very remote restaurant.<br />

We are early so decide to have lunch before discuss<strong>in</strong>g bus<strong>in</strong>ess. The food is<br />

very good but expensive and, due to the remoteness of the location, I am not<br />

surprised they are struggl<strong>in</strong>g for custom. I feel a bit sorry for them but it teaches<br />

me a lesson which, I th<strong>in</strong>k, I had already learnt. It’s a waste of time chas<strong>in</strong>g<br />

small bus<strong>in</strong>esses but it does reveal other opportunities, a simple, cheap<br />

directory for small companies.<br />

We drive back <strong>in</strong>to St. John’s to do a little food shopp<strong>in</strong>g, collect my car<br />

documents from the dealer and pop <strong>in</strong>to the bank for L<strong>in</strong>dsay to sign some<br />

documents.


On the notice board <strong>in</strong> the supermarket a car is advertised which will suit<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay. We r<strong>in</strong>g the owner who has moved to Miami. He gives us a number <strong>in</strong><br />

Antigua of someone who is sell<strong>in</strong>g the car for him. They tell me to r<strong>in</strong>g back.<br />

They are sell<strong>in</strong>g the car so I tell them to r<strong>in</strong>g me but they don’t. Tomorrow I may<br />

r<strong>in</strong>g the owner and suggest he gets someone else to sell the car for him.<br />

At the checkout <strong>in</strong> the supermarket someone tries to put our purchases <strong>in</strong>to<br />

bags. I stop him. Last time we were here the same th<strong>in</strong>g happened and our<br />

groceries were wheeled out to the car. I gave the guy a EC$5 tip. He gave me<br />

such a filthy look (obviously not a big enough tip) that I thought that this time I<br />

would do it myself. As soon as I turn my back our bags are be<strong>in</strong>g loaded <strong>in</strong>to a<br />

trolley. The trolley ‘driver’ even stops for a conversation with a friend on the<br />

way to the car park, only ceas<strong>in</strong>g it when I try to take the trolley away from him.<br />

At the door, him lead<strong>in</strong>g, he heads off <strong>in</strong> the wrong direction at which po<strong>in</strong>t my<br />

patience fails me and I grab our bags from the trolley and tell him we don’t need<br />

his services.<br />

Prior to this and back at the checkout desk, I produced my American Express<br />

Card. It’s the black, Centurion, all s<strong>in</strong>g<strong>in</strong>g, all danc<strong>in</strong>g card, acceptable the<br />

world over. It was rejected. I had visions of my problems at the <strong>in</strong>surance<br />

company. The checkout girl went to f<strong>in</strong>d her supervisor. Fortunately, it was<br />

their mach<strong>in</strong>e which was at fault not my card.<br />

Next visit is to the bank. It is ten to four and even the Premier division of the<br />

bank is closed. The car dealer is <strong>in</strong> the same road so we go to collect the car’s<br />

registration documents. They are ready for us except we now have to take<br />

them to some k<strong>in</strong>d of vehicle centre which, of course, is closed. Tomorrow is<br />

another day.<br />

Rum Steward duty at the Tot Club and then on to a party except we don’t have<br />

a bottle to take with us. I ask Mike at Calabash to sell us a bottle of w<strong>in</strong>e.<br />

EC$10, that’s £2. Even Tesco can’t do it that cheap.<br />

I am beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g to th<strong>in</strong>k Mike is an <strong>in</strong>cipient Peter Whittle (for those who don’t<br />

know Peter, otherwise known as ‘Mad Peter’, he is a member of the yacht club<br />

<strong>in</strong> Brighton. He talks <strong>in</strong>cessantly, never listens to anyone and has a vast<br />

repertoire of bad jokes which he <strong>in</strong>sists on repeat<strong>in</strong>g). Mike has developed the<br />

first two ‘attributes’ and, today, tells us a bad joke. Whilst I miss Peter’s<br />

irrepressible good nature I am not sure I want to meet his clone.<br />

The party is held on the dockside adjacent to a boat. It’s dark and although we<br />

recognise a few faces it’s quite difficult to m<strong>in</strong>gle. We have a couple of dr<strong>in</strong>ks<br />

and leave.<br />

Our first spider greets us at home. Unlike anyth<strong>in</strong>g else <strong>in</strong> Antigua, this moves<br />

extremely quickly. It also has a sense of self-preservation and is out of the door<br />

before I can catch it.


<strong>Day</strong> 20 – Thursday. We have a few th<strong>in</strong>gs to do and decide to go <strong>in</strong>to St.<br />

John’s before the office. Alexis catches us just as we leave and asks us to take<br />

a laptop to his accountant who happens to be <strong>in</strong> the same road as our first<br />

appo<strong>in</strong>tment. This laptop is term<strong>in</strong>ally ill but conta<strong>in</strong>s all Alexis’s accounts. He<br />

had attempted to send them by e-mail but the laptop wasn’t talk<strong>in</strong>g. Hopefully,<br />

the accountant can get what he needs before it f<strong>in</strong>ally dies.<br />

Next call is at the bank for L<strong>in</strong>dsay to sign some documents (I’ve never had a<br />

jo<strong>in</strong>t account before and although we have set it up as either to sign they keep<br />

<strong>in</strong>sist<strong>in</strong>g we both sign th<strong>in</strong>gs). Then on to the vehicle registration department to<br />

collect our ‘sticker’ for the w<strong>in</strong>dscreen. Similar to a U.K. tax disc.<br />

The M<strong>in</strong>istry of Transport’s offices are rather remote and we ask directions from<br />

the bank manager. Driv<strong>in</strong>g towards the offices I see a sign say<strong>in</strong>g Vehicle<br />

Licens<strong>in</strong>g Inspection Unit and turn <strong>in</strong>to the road. L<strong>in</strong>dsay <strong>in</strong>sists I am go<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

the wrong place but, from memory, I am sure this is where the garage told me<br />

to go. Rather than argue I turn around <strong>in</strong> a small, unmade road and follow<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s directions to the M<strong>in</strong>istry of Transport. They redirect us to the Vehicle<br />

Licens<strong>in</strong>g Inspection Unit which is down the small, unmade road where I had<br />

turned around. L<strong>in</strong>dsay is forced to comment that I am right, yet aga<strong>in</strong>.<br />

Driv<strong>in</strong>g down this unmade road it occurs to me that any vehicle which manages<br />

to negotiate this road to the Inspection Centre must be roadworthy. The Centre<br />

carries out the equivalent of the U.K. MOT test and from my observations of the<br />

<strong>in</strong>spections the toughest part of the test is the road. Maybe there is method <strong>in</strong><br />

their madness.<br />

Not entirely unsurpris<strong>in</strong>gly, the Vehicle Licens<strong>in</strong>g Inspection Unit is directly<br />

beh<strong>in</strong>d the M<strong>in</strong>istry of Transport office and we now parked about 20 feet from<br />

where we parked earlier. Although this bit of park<strong>in</strong>g is not without its drama.<br />

There is a clearly marked entrance and exit with plenty of spare space. As we<br />

enter one of the Inspectors starts wav<strong>in</strong>g his clipboard, semaphore fashion. I<br />

presume he doesn’t want me to park where I am head<strong>in</strong>g. Chang<strong>in</strong>g my<br />

direction only results <strong>in</strong> more semaphore. By now, thoroughly confused, I head<br />

for an empty corner accompanied by even more vigorous semaphore.<br />

Approach<strong>in</strong>g the Inspector on foot I ask where he wished me to park. At first he<br />

studiously ignores me then says that he had been try<strong>in</strong>g to direct me where to<br />

park but that I decided I would park where I wanted. I tell him my purpose <strong>in</strong><br />

com<strong>in</strong>g and he po<strong>in</strong>ts to an office. The sticker and my registration document<br />

are forthcom<strong>in</strong>g and I walk back towards the car. A loud voice from beh<strong>in</strong>d<br />

call<strong>in</strong>g ‘Sir’ several times makes me turn around. It is the Inspector.<br />

Apparently, he has to place the sticker on the w<strong>in</strong>dscreen.<br />

The Inspector is somewhat confused by my mobile ‘phone aerial which looks<br />

like a U.K. licence disc holder and is stuck to the lower left hand corner of the


w<strong>in</strong>dscreen, just where he wants to put his sticker. Once its purpose is<br />

expla<strong>in</strong>ed, he is somewhat impressed by the hands free ‘phone kit and I ask<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay to give him a little demonstration. He tells us the message he has on<br />

his mobile when driv<strong>in</strong>g which is “ I am driv<strong>in</strong>g and have better th<strong>in</strong>gs to do with<br />

my hands than talk to you.” He then shakes my hand and we part company on<br />

better terms than when we arrived.<br />

Someth<strong>in</strong>g which has slightly surprised us, pleasantly so, is the way shop<br />

assistants will tell you <strong>in</strong> which other stores you can f<strong>in</strong>d the th<strong>in</strong>gs they don’t<br />

currently have <strong>in</strong> stock. Also, when you do f<strong>in</strong>d what you want, they tell you if<br />

they have someth<strong>in</strong>g which is better value for money.<br />

We are <strong>in</strong> desperate need of a fax mach<strong>in</strong>e but with one on its way to us we<br />

don’t want spend too much money. The first shop doesn’t have what we want<br />

and they direct us to another. We f<strong>in</strong>d a mach<strong>in</strong>e which really does a lot more<br />

than we want. The shop assistant tells us that they have someth<strong>in</strong>g more<br />

suited to our needs and at half the price <strong>in</strong> their other branch which is <strong>in</strong> the<br />

middle of town. We are able to pay for the mach<strong>in</strong>e at the branch we are <strong>in</strong> and<br />

it will be ready to collect at the other branch as soon as we get there. This<br />

enables me to double park for a few m<strong>in</strong>utes, caus<strong>in</strong>g havoc <strong>in</strong> the narrow<br />

streets whilst L<strong>in</strong>dsay collects the package.<br />

On our way back we call <strong>in</strong> at the shippers receiv<strong>in</strong>g our furniture, a visit we had<br />

been plann<strong>in</strong>g for some time but hadn’t managed to get around to do<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

Almost <strong>in</strong>stantly, they have our file open and on the top page are copies of our<br />

passports. Our furniture is arriv<strong>in</strong>g on Monday. How long it will take to get<br />

through customs we have yet to see.<br />

It’s only 10 o’clock and we are feel<strong>in</strong>g quite pleased with ourselves. We have<br />

achieved quite a lot. Pride before the fall comes to m<strong>in</strong>d. Sett<strong>in</strong>g up the fax<br />

mach<strong>in</strong>e we try an <strong>in</strong>ternational call. A disembodied voice tells us we can’t<br />

make <strong>in</strong>ternational calls on this number. A call to Cable & Wireless elicits the<br />

<strong>in</strong>formation that we have been connected s<strong>in</strong>ce 10.20. I leave it half an hour<br />

and try aga<strong>in</strong>. This time the voice cuts <strong>in</strong> a soon as I start diall<strong>in</strong>g. I call Cable<br />

& Wireless aga<strong>in</strong>. I have been us<strong>in</strong>g the wrong code. It still doesn’t work. I<br />

decided to leave it until after lunch. A further call to Cable & Wireless and I<br />

discover either he has given me the wrong code or I have been dyslexic.<br />

Now work<strong>in</strong>g, L<strong>in</strong>dsay tries it out with a 15 to 20 m<strong>in</strong>ute call to her father,<br />

blissfully unaware this is cost<strong>in</strong>g us 91p per m<strong>in</strong>ute.<br />

Graeme e-mailed me earlier from the U.K. say<strong>in</strong>g it was as cold as January. He<br />

is not envy<strong>in</strong>g the crews who will start on the Royal Escape Race to France<br />

tomorrow (a race I have done frequently and from which I have even been<br />

banned but f<strong>in</strong>ally w<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g at my last attempt <strong>in</strong> 2003, fortunately not be<strong>in</strong>g<br />

forced to defend my title <strong>in</strong> 2004 as the boat was <strong>in</strong> Antigua). Before leav<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the U.K. a friend remarked that I would miss the cold, crisp morn<strong>in</strong>gs. I denied


it vehemently. Every time I open the ‘fridge door my denial comes back to<br />

haunt me, but only for a few seconds.<br />

Sitt<strong>in</strong>g at a table <strong>in</strong> the ‘Life’ bar do<strong>in</strong>g my duty as Rum Steward I watch a rower<br />

climb aboard his yacht which is moored about 100 yards away. Once aboard<br />

the rower proceeds to strip to noth<strong>in</strong>g but a small T-shirt. Fortunately, L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

is short-sighted and can’t see what I can.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 21 – Friday. By the end of the day we will have spent more time <strong>in</strong> Antigua<br />

on a s<strong>in</strong>gle occasion than at any time <strong>in</strong> the past and it is a day best forgotten.<br />

If I was ever go<strong>in</strong>g to turn around and go back to the U.K. it will have been day<br />

21.<br />

My morn<strong>in</strong>g is well planned with a series of tasks to do at the office. We arrive<br />

a little before 8 and download the e-mails. There is a long one from the<br />

solicitors. It appears that Alexis has not complied with a variety of legal<br />

obligations to do with the company. A short while later, Alexis arrived. He has<br />

received a copy of the e-mail and is not happy. He has receipts from his<br />

solicitor for the required fil<strong>in</strong>g of documents. Either his solicitor has charged him<br />

and not done the work or the Company Registry has slipped up. We all hope<br />

it’s the latter but the first hour has been wasted<br />

Also <strong>in</strong> the solicitor’s e-mail is the <strong>in</strong>formation that we can’t get our Work<br />

Permits because Alexis doesn’t have a Company Stamp which needs to be on<br />

the form. Alexis r<strong>in</strong>gs a stationary shop which produces stamps and one part<br />

will be here on Monday the other on Thursday which means we won’t get our<br />

Work Permits before our temporary visas expire, someth<strong>in</strong>g I was hop<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

avoid.<br />

To renew our visas means queu<strong>in</strong>g up at the Immigration Department and<br />

expla<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g why we want to stay. I am slightly tempted to take a weekend break<br />

at one of the other islands and renew the visas by com<strong>in</strong>g back through the<br />

airport. Alexis then proceeds to go through all the potential advertisers with me<br />

and various other aspects of the publication, all of which I had done the<br />

previous day and formed part of my plann<strong>in</strong>g for the morn<strong>in</strong>gs work. The<br />

morn<strong>in</strong>g now gone, I feel I have just wasted 4 hours and we still have only one<br />

computer to which I can’t get access. My patience fails me and I tell L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

that I can no longer carry on work<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> this disorganised fashion. I have had a<br />

computer on my desk s<strong>in</strong>ce 1985 and always had immediate access. Wait<strong>in</strong>g<br />

for L<strong>in</strong>dsay to f<strong>in</strong>ish what she is do<strong>in</strong>g and then try<strong>in</strong>g to do what I want as<br />

quickly as possible so that she can get back to her work was driv<strong>in</strong>g us both<br />

mad. The solution might seem quite simple but, of course, it isn’t.<br />

Because we are a publish<strong>in</strong>g company we use Apple Mac computers which are<br />

not for sale on the island. I have already tried to buy and also gone on l<strong>in</strong>e to<br />

the Apple site <strong>in</strong> the U.S.. U.S. should stand for useless. My experience of<br />

deal<strong>in</strong>g with Americans <strong>in</strong> bus<strong>in</strong>ess has always led me to believe that their


apparent efficiency is a self-generated myth. Today only served to prove my<br />

presumption. The Apple site makes no provision for order<strong>in</strong>g from outside the<br />

United States. Alexis gives me the name of another company which provides<br />

the same products but at least they have a telephone number I can access.<br />

What seems to be a good idea can easily turn <strong>in</strong>to a bad one. I spend ten<br />

m<strong>in</strong>utes on the ‘phone to the U.S. (after hav<strong>in</strong>g had to choose between about<br />

27 options) be<strong>in</strong>g told by a recorded voice the “Your call is important to us,<br />

please stay on the l<strong>in</strong>e and someone will be with you as soon as possible”. At<br />

one stage the voice tells me that s<strong>in</strong>ce I have been wait<strong>in</strong>g so long I am be<strong>in</strong>g<br />

transferred to a Supervisor but all that does is re-<strong>in</strong>troduce the recorded voice<br />

tell<strong>in</strong>g me how important I am to them. I give up.<br />

To top th<strong>in</strong>gs off, Cable & Wireless have connected our fax l<strong>in</strong>e for <strong>in</strong>ternational<br />

calls but not our telephone l<strong>in</strong>e. It is still not connected by the time we leave the<br />

office. L<strong>in</strong>dsay can see I am at the end of my tether and asks what I want done<br />

to make work<strong>in</strong>g conditions more suitable. The list is not long but most of them<br />

unatta<strong>in</strong>able <strong>in</strong> the short term. The office itself is a problem. What seemed<br />

ideal when I first saw the offices is prov<strong>in</strong>g very impractical. Rather than hav<strong>in</strong>g<br />

w<strong>in</strong>dows, the office has shutters, ideal for security and hurricane protection<br />

except that to keep cool the w<strong>in</strong>d has to be allowed to blow through and the<br />

ceil<strong>in</strong>g fan is kept on. Comb<strong>in</strong>ed, these blow the papers everywhere. In order<br />

to catch pieces of paper <strong>in</strong> imm<strong>in</strong>ent danger of becom<strong>in</strong>g airborne the tendency<br />

is to place an arm on the offend<strong>in</strong>g object. The paper, rather than becom<strong>in</strong>g<br />

airborne attaches itself to the slightly moist arm.<br />

I realised the problem as soon as we moved <strong>in</strong> and asked the landlord to fit<br />

glass w<strong>in</strong>dows and air condition<strong>in</strong>g. Search<strong>in</strong>g out the landlord, I must have<br />

spoken to him rather severely because he is back a couple of hours later with a<br />

quote and a promise they will be fitted next week.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay borrows my car keys and went to get us some lunch <strong>in</strong> the hope I might<br />

cool off a bit. I am able to spend some time prepar<strong>in</strong>g the spreadsheets <strong>in</strong> the<br />

fashion I want and, on her return, L<strong>in</strong>dsay volunteers to take the accounts home<br />

and work on them over the weekend <strong>in</strong> order to allow me access to the<br />

computer. She also takes over what I am do<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> order to allow me to catch up<br />

on other work.<br />

There are a couple of upbeat moments to the day. Alexis tells us of a guy<br />

called Paddy, someone we vaguely know from previous years, who has some<br />

land for sale. We make an appo<strong>in</strong>tment to meet him. Also, I r<strong>in</strong>g the man <strong>in</strong><br />

Miami who has the car for sale. His friend <strong>in</strong> Antigua has not rung us back.<br />

Try<strong>in</strong>g to play hard to get to improve our negotiat<strong>in</strong>g position I <strong>in</strong>sist the friend<br />

should r<strong>in</strong>g us rather than us chase him. In the course of the conversation he<br />

mentions his friend’s name. It turns out to be someone I have been try<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

make an appo<strong>in</strong>tment to see but is prov<strong>in</strong>g difficult to contact. Now hav<strong>in</strong>g his<br />

mobile ‘phone number, I am more than will<strong>in</strong>g to r<strong>in</strong>g him both about the car and<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess.


L<strong>in</strong>dsay obviously held herself <strong>in</strong> check when we were at the office because as<br />

we make our way to ‘Life’ for the Tot she tells me that I have to learn to ‘chill<br />

out’ or she will go and work elsewhere. We both need a dr<strong>in</strong>k. Apart from the<br />

Tot most of which I pour back, I have been try<strong>in</strong>g to avoid dr<strong>in</strong>k<strong>in</strong>g. Not tonight.<br />

Three large rum and oranges and it is only the third which beg<strong>in</strong>s to work. I<br />

even considered hav<strong>in</strong>g a full Tot but relent and pour back half. Tot glasses are<br />

a small tumbler which are half filled with rum. Guests or people qualify<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

become members have to dr<strong>in</strong>k a full Tot. Members can pour back as much as<br />

they wish. What happened next should really be Saturday but it suits Friday so<br />

much better. At 5 <strong>in</strong> the morn<strong>in</strong>g the electricity failed and the ceil<strong>in</strong>g fan<br />

stopped. Obviously, the batteries had run out of ‘juice’.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 22 – Saturday. We are woken by the fan stopp<strong>in</strong>g and I realise the<br />

electricity has cut out. It is still dark so I don’t bother to check the power room,<br />

decid<strong>in</strong>g to leave it until daylight. Be<strong>in</strong>g both awake, <strong>in</strong> turn, we use the toilet.<br />

Me first, not that I am be<strong>in</strong>g ungentlemanly, just that my go<strong>in</strong>g provokes the<br />

thought <strong>in</strong> L<strong>in</strong>dsay. I flush and empty the cistern. When L<strong>in</strong>dsay flushes there<br />

is no water. All the plumb<strong>in</strong>g works on a pump and the pump requires<br />

electricity.<br />

A couple of hours later I reset the <strong>in</strong>verter and we have electricity, for about ten<br />

m<strong>in</strong>utes. I am debat<strong>in</strong>g whether or not to disturb Sandy when I hear his voice.<br />

He is say<strong>in</strong>g goodbye to someone as he leaves for a golf match. We connect<br />

up his generator but still no electricity, or so Sandy says. He calls Charlie, a<br />

local Antiguan who seems to know how to do everyth<strong>in</strong>g. Charlie turns up half<br />

an hour later and says there is noth<strong>in</strong>g wrong. Sandy was misread<strong>in</strong>g the lights<br />

on the <strong>in</strong>verter.<br />

10.30 we meet Paddy and he shows us some plots just below others we had<br />

looked at when we were here at Christmas. A lot of clear<strong>in</strong>g has gone on and<br />

the higher plots now look a lot more attractive. Paddy’s plots are a little too low<br />

and although he <strong>in</strong>dicates he is prepared to negotiate, I th<strong>in</strong>k they are rather<br />

expensive.<br />

I may have mentioned it before but here <strong>in</strong> Antigua they have a most peculiar<br />

way of valu<strong>in</strong>g land. It is sold by the square foot. The value per square foot, <strong>in</strong><br />

the area we are look<strong>in</strong>g, varies from US$4 to US$12 regardless of the size of<br />

the plot but dependent upon location and services. What I f<strong>in</strong>d difficult to<br />

handle is that if you buy a quarter acre plot for one house it costs, say,<br />

US$100,000 but if you buy a half acre plot for on which to build one house it’s<br />

US$200,000 and an acre US$400,000 and so on. Yet you can only build one<br />

house on it and if you build the same house on a quarter acre plot as a one acre<br />

plot your land value is totally out of proportion to your property value. L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

reckons it’s the fault of the former colonists who sold land back to the<br />

<strong>in</strong>habitants at a rate per square foot. Unfortunately, the whole idea of pay<strong>in</strong>g for


land you will never use at the same rate as the land you will build upon totally<br />

offends my sense of f<strong>in</strong>ancial prudence.<br />

As to the next plot Paddy shows us, you really need a helicopter to get there<br />

rather than a 4 x 4. L<strong>in</strong>dsay cr<strong>in</strong>ges as the thorn bushes scrape past my new<br />

pa<strong>in</strong>twork and the rocks bounce aga<strong>in</strong>st the underside of the car. Paddy then<br />

badly spoils us. Set at the far end of the St. James’s Club (a gated, private,<br />

residential area and upmarket hotel resort) is a plot of just over an acre lead<strong>in</strong>g<br />

right down to the Atlantic Ocean shore. Everyth<strong>in</strong>g about it is magnificent and<br />

perfect apart from the price – US$550,000 and then you would have to build the<br />

house, maybe anyth<strong>in</strong>g up to another US$1,000,000. One of our reasons <strong>in</strong><br />

com<strong>in</strong>g to Antigua was to live debt free. L<strong>in</strong>dsay asks whether we really want to<br />

avoid hav<strong>in</strong>g a mortgage? I can see her po<strong>in</strong>t. If Paddy wasn’t already <strong>in</strong> a<br />

wheelchair I’d probably kick his legs from under him.<br />

We revisit the plot we first wanted <strong>in</strong> English harbour (still my favourite with<strong>in</strong><br />

our price range), the others we looked at when we were here at Christmas and<br />

the one beh<strong>in</strong>d the house where we are now liv<strong>in</strong>g (L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s favourite and one<br />

I really don’t like) and come to no firm conclusion. In some respects we have<br />

time on our hands but, equally, we don’t want to miss the boat. From the way<br />

land is be<strong>in</strong>g fenced off it is evident that big development plans are afoot.<br />

Close to us two large parcels of land have been fenced <strong>in</strong> and new road cut <strong>in</strong>to<br />

the hillside with the obvious <strong>in</strong>tention of build<strong>in</strong>g. A herd of goats, although I am<br />

now advised many are sheep (L<strong>in</strong>dsay tells me goats have their tails up and<br />

sheep down), have been separated by the new fenc<strong>in</strong>g and, as we pass, we<br />

see half of them march<strong>in</strong>g up the <strong>in</strong>side of the fence with the other half on the<br />

outside. Hopefully, one day, someone will let out the goats (sheep?) which are<br />

stuck on the <strong>in</strong>side.<br />

In the afternoon we go to look at the car for L<strong>in</strong>dsay who’s owner is <strong>in</strong> Miami.<br />

We arrive at the house and collect the key from the housekeeper who promptly<br />

goes out. As L<strong>in</strong>dsay says, we could drive away and no one would be the wiser<br />

except we can’t start the car. We try connect<strong>in</strong>g jump leads to the battery but<br />

despite 15 m<strong>in</strong>utes of revv<strong>in</strong>g my eng<strong>in</strong>e the car’s battery is beyond redemption.<br />

The price is go<strong>in</strong>g down by the m<strong>in</strong>ute. We r<strong>in</strong>g the owner <strong>in</strong> Miami and tell him<br />

of our plight, feign<strong>in</strong>g dis<strong>in</strong>terest <strong>in</strong> the car. He ‘phones us back a few m<strong>in</strong>utes<br />

later <strong>in</strong> a panic. Evidently he has visions of his only purchaser <strong>in</strong> months<br />

disappear<strong>in</strong>g. He will have a mechanic sort everyth<strong>in</strong>g by Monday. The car<br />

seems quite reasonable but by now we hold all the cards and I <strong>in</strong>dicate how<br />

much, or should I say, how little, we are prepared to offer. Undeterred, he says<br />

he will r<strong>in</strong>g back on Monday. With a bit of luck, we may have a barga<strong>in</strong> on our<br />

hands.<br />

My last night as Tot Club Rum Steward and I have forgotten my glasses. One<br />

of the tasks of Rum Steward is to read from a book of British Naval history<br />

pert<strong>in</strong>ent to that day’s date. The book is somewhat old and the text becom<strong>in</strong>g a


little faded. Check<strong>in</strong>g the read<strong>in</strong>gs before the Tot L<strong>in</strong>dsay sees me runn<strong>in</strong>g my<br />

f<strong>in</strong>gers, child like, along the l<strong>in</strong>es. She suggested I borrow some glasses. What<br />

she does not know is that I am count<strong>in</strong>g the number of British ships that took<br />

part <strong>in</strong> an engagement at the beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g of the third Dutch war. It is 92.<br />

Read<strong>in</strong>g a little further the number is given <strong>in</strong> the text. Fortunately, Mike Rose,<br />

President/Chairman/Founder of the Tot Club has just returned from deliver<strong>in</strong>g a<br />

yacht across the Atlantic with a brand new copy of British Naval History.<br />

A couple of days ago we bought a shoulder of local pork. We put <strong>in</strong> the oven to<br />

cook before we went out. It was the best piece of meet we have eaten <strong>in</strong> years,<br />

Noth<strong>in</strong>g like the homogenised meat you buy <strong>in</strong> the U.K.. It has real taste, is<br />

succulent and the crack<strong>in</strong>g crackles. It is just like meat we used to have before<br />

we jo<strong>in</strong>ed the Common Market.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 23 – Sunday. One of the strange th<strong>in</strong>gs about writ<strong>in</strong>g this diary is that<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay is quite keen for me to do it but never at the times I want to write,<br />

Usually I want to write when we come home <strong>in</strong> the even<strong>in</strong>g, but she suggests<br />

that perhaps I might do it the next morn<strong>in</strong>g, I have always been a person who<br />

works better <strong>in</strong> the even<strong>in</strong>g and is a bit slow to get go<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the morn<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

Sunday is no different. I plug <strong>in</strong> the computer and L<strong>in</strong>dsay asks if I can’t leave it<br />

until the morn<strong>in</strong>g. By morn<strong>in</strong>g not only will I have forgotten most th<strong>in</strong>gs but also<br />

my bra<strong>in</strong> will be work<strong>in</strong>g at half speed so I am <strong>in</strong> sitt<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the study th<strong>in</strong>k<strong>in</strong>g<br />

back through the days events rather than out on the veranda annoy<strong>in</strong>g L<strong>in</strong>dsay.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay says that I get so absorbed that when she puts the food <strong>in</strong> front of me<br />

that she has spent an hour or so prepar<strong>in</strong>g I totally ignore it. The words<br />

compromise and consideration, never a forte of m<strong>in</strong>e, stand out <strong>in</strong> big letters.<br />

Tot Club Keep Fit is back on the trail we did two weeks ago (and the others did<br />

a week ago but we missed). Terry asks who has previously used a cha<strong>in</strong> saw.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g owned a couple I admit to a limited amount of knowledge, secretly<br />

pleased that cutt<strong>in</strong>g down trees with a cha<strong>in</strong> saw is go<strong>in</strong>g to be a lot easier than<br />

with a hand saw. I could not have been more wrong. The cha<strong>in</strong> saw is so blunt<br />

it is burn<strong>in</strong>g rather than cutt<strong>in</strong>g through the trunks. I have visions of two boy<br />

scouts be<strong>in</strong>g rubbed together. L<strong>in</strong>dsay says all see can see of me are clouds of<br />

smoke.<br />

A major surprise are the cacti (cactuses?) which are not only spiky, very tall but<br />

also extremely solid. I had presumed them to be a mushy pulp. Far from it.<br />

The middle section is a very hard wood. To make matters worse, they are a<br />

very strange shape (anyone who has seen an American cartoon with a desert<br />

scene knows exactly the shape to which I am referr<strong>in</strong>g). Because of the<br />

distribution of the branches you have absolutely no idea which way they are<br />

go<strong>in</strong>g to fall. Most of the time I am reasonably successful <strong>in</strong> guess<strong>in</strong>g but when<br />

Len’s baldish head suddenly produced a No. 3 crew cut of cactus sp<strong>in</strong>es rather<br />

than hair, I realise my failure to call ‘timber’ has resulted <strong>in</strong> Len look<strong>in</strong>g and<br />

act<strong>in</strong>g somewhat more sprightly than his 70 years,


Be<strong>in</strong>g somewhat more cautious with a larger than usual specimen I cut most of<br />

the way through the trunk. Th<strong>in</strong>k<strong>in</strong>g I can force it to fall <strong>in</strong> a desired direction I<br />

aim a well directed kick. The sp<strong>in</strong>es on these cacti are like nails. The plant<br />

obviously sneers at my attempt and retaliates by spear<strong>in</strong>g one of its sp<strong>in</strong>es<br />

through my shoe and <strong>in</strong>to the sole of my foot. Len or no Len, from now on I am<br />

cutt<strong>in</strong>g the trunks all the way through.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g thought I had picked the easy job, I soon realise this is not the case.<br />

Apart from the bluntness of the blade and the weight of the mach<strong>in</strong>e, I have now<br />

developed seven blisters on my hands. To make matters worse, I am sure<br />

everyone else th<strong>in</strong>ks I have the cushy job so I have to keep work<strong>in</strong>g regardless.<br />

At one stage, hav<strong>in</strong>g cut down numerous cacti and small trees, I try to clear<br />

some of the debris. A small tree is <strong>in</strong> my way, compressed by the weight of<br />

timber I have cut down on top of it. Tak<strong>in</strong>g a handsaw, I cut it out of the way.<br />

Once liberated, the bent trunk leaps up and whacks me on the end of the nose,<br />

<strong>in</strong> pass<strong>in</strong>g, extract<strong>in</strong>g my cigar from my mouth. The sapl<strong>in</strong>g is not entirely<br />

<strong>in</strong>considerate, catch<strong>in</strong>g my fall<strong>in</strong>g cigar <strong>in</strong> a fork of its branches only <strong>in</strong>ches<br />

away from me.<br />

In the U.K. I have always avoided anyth<strong>in</strong>g to do with garden<strong>in</strong>g. I come to<br />

‘paradise’ and what do I end up do<strong>in</strong>g – garden<strong>in</strong>g. What’s more, from the<br />

blood on my cloth<strong>in</strong>g the cacti are obviously gett<strong>in</strong>g the better of our<br />

encounters. Maybe there is a God after all and this is His retribution.<br />

I am booked <strong>in</strong> for sail<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the afternoon. A race off Falmouth and English<br />

Harbour and I am crew<strong>in</strong>g on a Swan 36. The boat is pick<strong>in</strong>g me up <strong>in</strong><br />

Falmouth at 1.30 and hav<strong>in</strong>g f<strong>in</strong>ished ‘keep fit’ at twelve I am not feel<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the<br />

best shape for a sail. The boat arrives with two women and a non-sailor (I only<br />

refer to the two women because it is pert<strong>in</strong>ent later). There is some doubt as to<br />

whether the race will take place. In the end another boat arrives and the two of<br />

us set off. The women have decided (aga<strong>in</strong>st my advice) that a reef is required<br />

(<strong>in</strong> 10 knots of w<strong>in</strong>d!!). It’s a downw<strong>in</strong>d start and it is immediately apparent we<br />

don’t need the reef so we shake it out. One of the women is on the helm and at<br />

no time do I see her look at the tell-tails. In fact, from where she is helm<strong>in</strong>g, she<br />

cannot even see them. To make matters worse she and the other woman chat<br />

non-stop. Not the way I am used to rac<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

We are supposed to go around a buoy off English Harbour and return to<br />

Falmouth to f<strong>in</strong>ish but s<strong>in</strong>ce the Swan is based <strong>in</strong> English Harbour the skipper of<br />

the Swan decided to retire and go <strong>in</strong>to English Harbour. Throughout the race<br />

the skipper has compla<strong>in</strong>ed at poor boat speed. I am not surprised s<strong>in</strong>ce the<br />

boat is never be<strong>in</strong>g steered accord<strong>in</strong>g to the w<strong>in</strong>d. In fact, one of the first th<strong>in</strong>gs<br />

I did when we went on a beat was to adjust the headsail leach l<strong>in</strong>e. I could see<br />

slight looks of astonishment at my action.


Once from the race, the skipper offers me the helm. A few m<strong>in</strong>utes later she<br />

comments that there must be more w<strong>in</strong>d as we are go<strong>in</strong>g faster. I don’t dare<br />

po<strong>in</strong>t out that I am concentrat<strong>in</strong>g on sail<strong>in</strong>g the boat rather than chatt<strong>in</strong>g to the<br />

crew. In due course the w<strong>in</strong>d does pick up (together with some ra<strong>in</strong>, but at least<br />

it is warm ra<strong>in</strong>). I am not surprised they had been concerned about reef<strong>in</strong>g. In<br />

only 20 knots of w<strong>in</strong>d the boat is quite heavily over pressed and becomes a bit<br />

of a handful. In my boat, not a lot larger but with about double the sail area, I<br />

would never have considered reef<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> under 30 knots of w<strong>in</strong>d.<br />

I have always thought Swans, rather like Ferraris and Porches, to be over rated<br />

and over priced. If it’s necessary to reef a heavy cruiser <strong>in</strong> 20 knots of w<strong>in</strong>d then<br />

there is someth<strong>in</strong>g fundamentally wrong with the design.<br />

A first for me is to sail onto a buoy. Not a difficult manoeuvre but someth<strong>in</strong>g you<br />

never do as a rac<strong>in</strong>g sailor <strong>in</strong> the U.K.. We always have pontoon berths.<br />

Someone we have known vaguely for some years is hav<strong>in</strong>g a birthday party on<br />

Galleon Beach. L<strong>in</strong>dsay had gone ahead tak<strong>in</strong>g some food and I telephone her<br />

ask<strong>in</strong>g her to collect me. We have the problem of decid<strong>in</strong>g whether to jo<strong>in</strong> the<br />

sailors at the yacht club or return to the party. Fortunately, all the sailors have<br />

decided to go to the party.<br />

Despite be<strong>in</strong>g absolutely shattered we make the mistake of go<strong>in</strong>g to the Tot.<br />

Not necessarily a mistake <strong>in</strong> itself but they decide to have a ‘Black Mass’. This<br />

is a tot after the normal tot when one is required to dr<strong>in</strong>k up the rum which has<br />

been poured back. That is the beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g of a slippery slope which ends <strong>in</strong> us<br />

stay<strong>in</strong>g for d<strong>in</strong>ner <strong>in</strong> ’Life’. At least one good th<strong>in</strong>g comes out of it. One of the<br />

local car cleaners gives my car a wash although he quotes me EC$10 (about<br />

£2), once f<strong>in</strong>ished he tries to claim it was US$. I po<strong>in</strong>t to my Antiguan<br />

registration plates and he realises we were not tourists. I do relent a bit s<strong>in</strong>ce it<br />

is a large car and was very dirty and give him EC$20.<br />

-<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 24 – Monday. Noth<strong>in</strong>g much to report today as we go <strong>in</strong>to the office at 8<br />

and don’t leave until quarter to six. It is becom<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>gly apparent that<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay is not used to work<strong>in</strong>g the long hours that I have done over the years <strong>in</strong><br />

the U.K., usually arriv<strong>in</strong>g at the office between 8.30 and 9 then not leav<strong>in</strong>g until<br />

between 7 and 8. By four <strong>in</strong> the afternoon, L<strong>in</strong>dsay is ready to go home. That<br />

comes from hav<strong>in</strong>g been a civil servant. The sooner we can f<strong>in</strong>d her a car the<br />

better.<br />

Quite unbelievably, our ‘phone l<strong>in</strong>e is still refus<strong>in</strong>g to accept <strong>in</strong>ternational calls<br />

despite numerous requests to Cable & Wireless. Another call to them elicits a<br />

promise it will be connected immediately. Two hours later and no change. I<br />

break the rule everyone says you should never do. I r<strong>in</strong>g Cable & Wireless and<br />

get angry, accus<strong>in</strong>g them of cost<strong>in</strong>g us bus<strong>in</strong>ess. The ‘phone l<strong>in</strong>e is connected<br />

with<strong>in</strong> 2 m<strong>in</strong>utes.


An e-mail to Mike Rell<strong>in</strong>g, a sailmaker <strong>in</strong> New Zealand who I would like to act<br />

for as an agent <strong>in</strong> Antigua, produces a positive response except that he is<br />

leav<strong>in</strong>g for the U.K. on Wednesday, hopefully to tie up a few more orders from<br />

people I <strong>in</strong>troduced him to <strong>in</strong> Brighton. I was always very pleased with the sails<br />

Mike made for me.<br />

One highlight of the day. At lunch time I got out to get sandwiches and turn on<br />

the car radio. It is permanently tuned to the BBC World Service, the nearest<br />

equivalent to Radio 4 but more like Breakfast Television s<strong>in</strong>ce everyth<strong>in</strong>g is<br />

repeated regularly. The news tells me the French have voted aga<strong>in</strong>st the<br />

European Constitution. The French do have some uses after all.<br />

We are still unable to get an Apple Mac computer. All the U.S. companies who<br />

advertise them on their websites will not export them so we have come up with<br />

a solution. We will take a day trip to Puerto Rica which will have a dual benefit.<br />

We can also renew our visas without hav<strong>in</strong>g to queue at the Immigration<br />

Department. Whilst search<strong>in</strong>g the <strong>in</strong>ternet for flights to Puerto Rica and be<strong>in</strong>g<br />

somewhat irritated by Lastm<strong>in</strong>ute.com which headed the list but only quotes for<br />

flights from the U.K., I come across an article from a girl who had been an<br />

accidental transit passenger at Antigua airport.<br />

She was diverted to Antigua, disembarked and forced to stay <strong>in</strong> the departure<br />

lounge for several hours. For those who have experienced the departure<br />

lounge at V. C. Bird International Airport they will know it is not one of the<br />

world’s most pleasurable experiences. This girl condemned the whole of<br />

Antigua based on this one experience and is recommend<strong>in</strong>g that people not<br />

visit the island as a result. Secretly, I might support her if it would cause the<br />

Government to do someth<strong>in</strong>g about that dreadful lounge but I doubt they will. I<br />

am more tempted to write and tell her not to be so bl<strong>in</strong>kered but then it occurs to<br />

me that she must be one of the more enlightened 7.8% of Americans who hold<br />

a passport and therefore travels abroad. After all, George W thought the world<br />

ended at the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and he became President – twice!<br />

Leav<strong>in</strong>g the office rather late and the Tot be<strong>in</strong>g held at ‘Life’ just a hundred<br />

yards down the road, it seems churlish not to go. In a way it is just as well<br />

because it rem<strong>in</strong>ds me of two th<strong>in</strong>gs which happened yesterday and, therefore,<br />

has given me a little more writ<strong>in</strong>g material.<br />

Last night we ran <strong>in</strong>to a couple we have met on a number of our visits to<br />

Antigua. They operate a large yacht for some wealthy owner and are only<br />

occasionally <strong>in</strong> Antigua. The husband, Roger, I first met <strong>in</strong> Brighton <strong>in</strong> 1988<br />

when he was part of a crew who borrowed my first yacht, a Sigma 33, for a<br />

series of races. From memory, they did rather well. More <strong>in</strong>terest<strong>in</strong>g was a<br />

comment made by his wife, Lisa. Somehow the village of Ditchl<strong>in</strong>g was raised<br />

<strong>in</strong> our conversation. Hav<strong>in</strong>g had a ten year battle with the residents of Ditchl<strong>in</strong>g<br />

who deliberately blocked the traffic through the village, my route to and from<br />

work and, eventually, hav<strong>in</strong>g won the battle, I was not Ditchl<strong>in</strong>g’s most popular


person. However, I was a little disappo<strong>in</strong>ted not to recognise Lisa’s uncle’s<br />

name. He can’t have been one of the activists.<br />

The second th<strong>in</strong>g I remembered were the actions of the local Coast Guard.<br />

Tied up nearby was a small, elderly yacht. Six heavily armed Coast Guard<br />

officers arrived on a small motor boat and boarded the yacht. Each of them<br />

was carry<strong>in</strong>g an Armalite automatic rifle. I understand the yacht had been<br />

apprehended at about 6am carry<strong>in</strong>g illegal immigrants from Jamaica (obviously<br />

the problem is not limited to the U.K.). I found it difficult to comprehend the<br />

necessity for the arsenal of weapons when the illegals had skipped ashore at<br />

dawn and were hid<strong>in</strong>g out somewhere on the island, certa<strong>in</strong>ly nowhere near the<br />

boat.<br />

Even more puzzl<strong>in</strong>g, one of their number removed the tiller and, hav<strong>in</strong>g done<br />

so, fixed it back <strong>in</strong> place aga<strong>in</strong>. Two of the officers spent some time below,<br />

presumably search<strong>in</strong>g whilst the other four lounged around on deck, their guns<br />

wav<strong>in</strong>g and po<strong>in</strong>t<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> every direction. I felt we were <strong>in</strong> imm<strong>in</strong>ent danger of<br />

be<strong>in</strong>g accidentally shot.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g completed their task or the gather<strong>in</strong>g darkness prevent<strong>in</strong>g them from<br />

extend<strong>in</strong>g their search any further they boarded their boat and set off but just for<br />

a few yards. The eng<strong>in</strong>e stalled and the strong smell of petrol which<br />

accompanied the numerous attempts at a restart evidently <strong>in</strong>dicated a flooded<br />

eng<strong>in</strong>e. To add to their woes, the battery was becom<strong>in</strong>g progressively weaker.<br />

I suggested <strong>in</strong> a load voice they might turn out all their lights which may assist <strong>in</strong><br />

start<strong>in</strong>g the eng<strong>in</strong>e. Although I doubt they heard me, the lights went out and the<br />

eng<strong>in</strong>e started immediately. A loud cheer went up from the bar.<br />

The illegals boat is still tied to the dock 24 hours later with sails scattered across<br />

the deck and hatches open. I comment it will probably still be there <strong>in</strong> a year’s<br />

time if the termites haven’t eaten it. It’s a plywood boat, perfect termite food.<br />

As seems to have become a habit of late, we fall <strong>in</strong>to conversation with Len.<br />

Len is an American so he starts with a disadvantage, however, unlike most<br />

Americans of my experience, Len is well travelled, has led a very <strong>in</strong>terest<strong>in</strong>g life<br />

and has a knack which seems to elude most Americans, he is able to tell you<br />

about his achievements without appear<strong>in</strong>g boastful. We enjoy his company.<br />

These long hours are tak<strong>in</strong>g their toll on L<strong>in</strong>dsay, she manages to fall asleep,<br />

back at home, whilst I am prepar<strong>in</strong>g d<strong>in</strong>ner and mak<strong>in</strong>g my diary entries. I th<strong>in</strong>k<br />

that’s ‘30 all’.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 25 – Tuesday. L<strong>in</strong>dsay had decides it’s about time the office has a good<br />

clean and the waste b<strong>in</strong>s are gett<strong>in</strong>g rather full so she takes a broom, duster,<br />

polish and some b<strong>in</strong> l<strong>in</strong>ers from the house. I start by empty<strong>in</strong>g the b<strong>in</strong>s and two<br />

enormous cockroaches leap out of L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s b<strong>in</strong>. Presumably they have been<br />

feed<strong>in</strong>g on the sandwich wrapp<strong>in</strong>gs. The lead cockroach goes to ground under


one of the small fil<strong>in</strong>g cab<strong>in</strong>ets whilst the other scuttles around look<strong>in</strong>g for<br />

somewhere to hide. Too late, L<strong>in</strong>dsay is after it with the broom. With a few<br />

deft, ice hockey style strokes and the cockroach is swept out of the door and<br />

over the veranda. The other cockroach, feel<strong>in</strong>g safe <strong>in</strong> its sanctuary beneath<br />

the fil<strong>in</strong>g cab<strong>in</strong>et is blissfully unaware the cab<strong>in</strong>et has wheels and they work as<br />

it was one the one I built rather than the one built by the furniture suppliers.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay stands poised with the broom whilst I move the cab<strong>in</strong>et. The cockroach<br />

is so startled it fails to react and L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s first stroke flips it onto its back.<br />

Struggl<strong>in</strong>g with its legs <strong>in</strong> the air a couple of more strokes of the brush sees it at<br />

the edge of the veranda whereupon, see<strong>in</strong>g its impend<strong>in</strong>g doom, it does a very<br />

rare th<strong>in</strong>g for a cockroach, takes to its w<strong>in</strong>gs and flies away.<br />

The excitement over, L<strong>in</strong>dsay sweeps the floor and polishes the desks and I<br />

take the rubbish to the collection area. No sooner have we sat down to work<br />

than the air-condition<strong>in</strong>g eng<strong>in</strong>eers arrive and proceed to drill holes everywhere.<br />

With<strong>in</strong> ten m<strong>in</strong>utes the whole office is covered <strong>in</strong> a thick layer of dust.<br />

The air-condition<strong>in</strong>g is a real success except that we still have no glass <strong>in</strong> the<br />

w<strong>in</strong>dows so we have to work with the shutters closed and the lights on. Not all<br />

is perfect, a lot of the cold air is escap<strong>in</strong>g through the edges of the shutters<br />

(hold<strong>in</strong>g a hand to the gaps you can feel a really noticeable cold blast). Also,<br />

because the air-condition<strong>in</strong>g unit is fixed to one wall the cold air does not<br />

circulate particularly well. I try the fan on its lowest sett<strong>in</strong>g which has the<br />

desired affect but just stirs the papers on the desks, someth<strong>in</strong>g the aircondition<strong>in</strong>g<br />

had been designed to overcome but, at least they are no longer<br />

blow<strong>in</strong>g all over the office. Three of the w<strong>in</strong>dows arrive by the end of the day<br />

so, partial daylight could be imm<strong>in</strong>ent.<br />

I have appo<strong>in</strong>tments <strong>in</strong> town and it is not until I am halfway there I realise I have<br />

left my cigars <strong>in</strong> the office. By the time I return, not hav<strong>in</strong>g had lunch or<br />

anyth<strong>in</strong>g to dr<strong>in</strong>k f<strong>in</strong>d myself relegated to the veranda for a smoke s<strong>in</strong>ce I have<br />

agreed not to smoke <strong>in</strong> the office once the air-condition<strong>in</strong>g is fitted.<br />

First stop is at the bank. No queues at the Premier service branch but I am<br />

directed to another part of the branch despite the fact that only one person is<br />

be<strong>in</strong>g served at the cash desk. I am told it will be quicker if I go to this other<br />

office. No sooner do I arrive and sit down with, aga<strong>in</strong>, only one person be<strong>in</strong>g<br />

served <strong>in</strong> front of me than I am redirected back to the place from where I<br />

started. Apparently the person be<strong>in</strong>g served there is just f<strong>in</strong>ish<strong>in</strong>g. I take a seat<br />

<strong>in</strong> front of the teller. Very civilised. I write my cheque, the teller type the<br />

amount <strong>in</strong>to his computer and sits back. Every few m<strong>in</strong>utes he pulls at what<br />

appeared to be a draw under his desk which fails to open. He refers aga<strong>in</strong> to<br />

his computer, aga<strong>in</strong> waits a few m<strong>in</strong>utes and tries the draw aga<strong>in</strong>,<br />

unsuccessfully. At about the third attempt, he is successful. Not particularly<br />

swift but at least it is all done <strong>in</strong> comfort and I now understood why it was felt I


should move to another part of the branch where there may not have been a<br />

queue even if it was only one person.<br />

My first appo<strong>in</strong>tment is at the airport and Alexis tells me the office is on the first<br />

floor. Stand<strong>in</strong>g on the first floor at the precise location of the offices I can see<br />

noth<strong>in</strong>g that resembles the name of the company. I telephone and the person I<br />

am supposed to meet says they will come and f<strong>in</strong>d me. 15 m<strong>in</strong>utes goes by<br />

and no sign of anyone. Is this the usual Antiguan time delay? Should I r<strong>in</strong>g<br />

aga<strong>in</strong>? I r<strong>in</strong>g and am told the offices have moved and they are wait<strong>in</strong>g for me<br />

directly below where I am stand<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

Whenever you walk anywhere near a taxi rank voices always enquire whether<br />

you require a taxi. I’m never quite sure why s<strong>in</strong>ce they are very obviously taxis<br />

and if you want one you would go and get it. My luck <strong>in</strong> park<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> St. John’s is<br />

gett<strong>in</strong>g better and I f<strong>in</strong>d a space a few yards from where I know my next<br />

appo<strong>in</strong>tment to be. If the taxi drivers loung<strong>in</strong>g around their vehicles didn’t see<br />

me get out of my car they must have been bl<strong>in</strong>d and it would have been unsafe<br />

to take a ride with one of them. Nevertheless, the usual call of ‘Taxi?’ confronts<br />

me. I approach the nearest driver and ask him directions to my next<br />

appo<strong>in</strong>tment. He turns around and po<strong>in</strong>ts to a build<strong>in</strong>g less than 100 yards<br />

away, comment<strong>in</strong>g that even he would not charge me for that distance.<br />

One th<strong>in</strong>g I am beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g to notice as I drive around are the number of cars for<br />

sale privately. This is probably why none of the dealers have second hand<br />

cars. A rather smart, small car is parked on a lot beside the road with no<br />

obvious build<strong>in</strong>g relat<strong>in</strong>g to it. Stuck to the car are three notices which say ‘For<br />

Sale by Owner’ – a notice I have seen available <strong>in</strong> stationary shops. There is a<br />

white space on the slips for a telephone number. None of the three slips<br />

conta<strong>in</strong>s a number. Further down the road I notice Hertz are dispos<strong>in</strong>g of three<br />

rather smart look<strong>in</strong>g Nissans at very reasonable prices. I am immediately<br />

accosted by one of their staff who tries to sell me a Toyota which he claims to<br />

own. I agree to look at it later and meet him back at the airport where upon he<br />

jumped <strong>in</strong>to my car and tells me the Toyota is no longer available but he has a<br />

Nissan which someone is driv<strong>in</strong>g towards the airport and we can meet him<br />

down the road.<br />

We meet with the other driver and the car is yet another lowered and totally<br />

unsuitable vehicle. I do f<strong>in</strong>d it strange how many locals lower the suspension<br />

on their cars when the roads are so unsuitable, particularly, the massive speed<br />

bumps.<br />

It is these speed bumps which make driv<strong>in</strong>g to and from St. John’s a bit of a<br />

chore. In the U.K. I enjoyed my drive to and from work. Once out of the towns I<br />

would let rip with the car and throw it down the country lanes. The road<br />

between St. John’s and English Harbour is generally better than the road from<br />

my office <strong>in</strong> the U.K. to home except that every time you hit a fast bit you also<br />

get massive speed bumps. There is no po<strong>in</strong>t <strong>in</strong> overtak<strong>in</strong>g anyone because you


are immediately confronted with a mounta<strong>in</strong> to crawl over. A 4 x 4 out here is<br />

not only needed for the side roads but also to deal with the <strong>in</strong>tentional<br />

obstructions on the ma<strong>in</strong> roads.<br />

Someth<strong>in</strong>g I see today puzzles me, a left-hand drive 3 Series BMW with the<br />

registration GB 1. In Antigua all private cars have white plates with a black<br />

letter ‘A’ and a random series of numbers. Commercial vehicles, a red ‘C’ and<br />

red numbers on a white background, Government vehicles a black ‘G’, etc. on a<br />

yellow background, taxis ‘TX’ and buses ‘BUS’, both black on yellow<br />

backgrounds. Even the diplomatic cars have a yellow ‘CD’ on a blue<br />

background so the BMW isn’t one of those. This GB 1 is blue on a white<br />

background. Maybe the Antiguan Government have started sell<strong>in</strong>g number<br />

plates and, perhaps, I can get the numbers I used to have <strong>in</strong> the U.K., DUF 1<br />

and 1 DUF<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 26 – Wednesday. In one respect go<strong>in</strong>g to St. John’s is almost as bad as<br />

yesterday. This time I remember my cigars but Alexis is an avid anti-smoker<br />

and we are go<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> his car. Alexis has a photo shoot at the shop of one of the<br />

advertisers and I am act<strong>in</strong>g as his ‘assistant’. He gives me the less heavy bags<br />

to carry. I’m not sure whether that is a joke or not but I’m glad we only walk one<br />

hundred yards. The shop sells sports equipment, is jammed packed with goods<br />

and L-shaped. Not ideal for a photograph. The owner wants to show as many<br />

of her wares as possible with<strong>in</strong> the photo. Alexis has me rearrang<strong>in</strong>g the stock,<br />

chas<strong>in</strong>g customers out, hold<strong>in</strong>g lights and generally sett<strong>in</strong>g up and tak<strong>in</strong>g apart<br />

the equipment. His kit is very impressive but when I f<strong>in</strong>d an extension lead with<br />

multi-coloured sockets to plug it all <strong>in</strong> not only do I fuse all the power but a UPS<br />

(un<strong>in</strong>terrupted power supply unit) starts wail<strong>in</strong>g like a wounded donkey. My<br />

career as a photographer’s assistant is about to come to an abrupt end. Apart<br />

from burn<strong>in</strong>g my hand on the arc light (I had wondered about the noise it was<br />

emitt<strong>in</strong>g, apparently it was a cool<strong>in</strong>g fan) there are no more dramas and the<br />

shoot is over <strong>in</strong> about an hour.<br />

After a few visits to other customers we set off for Jolly Harbour, somewhere I<br />

always have difficulty <strong>in</strong> f<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g except by one road which starts near the south<br />

end of the island and we are <strong>in</strong> the north. Fortunately, Alexis knows the road<br />

and it becomes immediately apparent where I had gone wrong last time I tried<br />

to f<strong>in</strong>d my way there from St. John’s. Jolly Harbour is a large, modern complex<br />

situated rather remotely on the west side. It is advertised everywhere but there<br />

is not a s<strong>in</strong>gle signpost anywhere direct<strong>in</strong>g you to its location.<br />

Our first appo<strong>in</strong>tment is one o’clock and we decide to use the spare time see<strong>in</strong>g<br />

a few people to whom we have spoken plus others we call <strong>in</strong> on the off chance.<br />

Those tasks completed Alexis decides it’s time for lunch. We stop at one of the<br />

restaurants and Alexis orders a ma<strong>in</strong> course. I was anticipat<strong>in</strong>g just hav<strong>in</strong>g a<br />

sandwich but decide to jo<strong>in</strong> him and order the fish special of the day. Not be<strong>in</strong>g<br />

a great fish fan but determ<strong>in</strong>ed to try new th<strong>in</strong>gs I order the fish of the day


(neither Alexis nor the waitress had any idea what the fish was other than it was<br />

not Red Snapper). The fish was delicious and responsible for my downfall later.<br />

The mar<strong>in</strong>a manager, Festus Isaac, is a great character and even shows us<br />

some jokes regard<strong>in</strong>g the ‘world’s best husbands’ e-mailed to his computer. We<br />

talk more about his problems than the bus<strong>in</strong>ess <strong>in</strong> hand but it keeps us busy<br />

until our next meet<strong>in</strong>g with the owner of the Dog Watch Tavern and home to the<br />

Jolly Harbour Yacht Club. I realise I have met the owner before and, together<br />

with his partner, we discuss the Dog Watch Tavern and its uniqueness <strong>in</strong><br />

Antigua. It is the nearest th<strong>in</strong>g to an English pub and full of character despite<br />

be<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> a modern build<strong>in</strong>g. Amongst the many trophies hang<strong>in</strong>g from the<br />

ceil<strong>in</strong>g is a one bladed fan, the result of a prank by a bunch of drunken sailors.<br />

As we leave the complex Alexis suggests we stop at a new supermarket. I r<strong>in</strong>g<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay and ask if there was anyth<strong>in</strong>g she wants. Apart from bread she advises<br />

me to buy anyth<strong>in</strong>g I th<strong>in</strong>k appropriate. Hav<strong>in</strong>g enjoyed my fish lunch I stop at<br />

the fish counter and make a few purchases. Alexis appears from between two<br />

isles with cans of John Smiths bitter <strong>in</strong> hand. In the U.K., noth<strong>in</strong>g on earth<br />

would have persuaded me to dr<strong>in</strong>k such rubbish but here were cans of nectar. I<br />

buy 4 and, for good measure, a couple of cans of Gu<strong>in</strong>ness.<br />

Alexis is one of those drivers who believes that the faster you go the smoother<br />

the road. It works very well with hire cars but I would have been somewhat<br />

concerned for my suspension had it been my car. It occurs to me afterwards<br />

that we are <strong>in</strong> his wife’s car so maybe that is the equivalent of a hire car.<br />

Back at the office three of the w<strong>in</strong>dows have been fitted but with gaps you could<br />

almost walk through. I had ‘phoned L<strong>in</strong>dsay on several occasions to the sounds<br />

of drill<strong>in</strong>g and bang<strong>in</strong>g. The landlord, who had fitted them himself, is on his<br />

hands and knees clear<strong>in</strong>g up the mess. After the dust the air-condition<strong>in</strong>g fitters<br />

created I don’t th<strong>in</strong>k he dared leave it to L<strong>in</strong>dsay.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay asks me what I am cook<strong>in</strong>g for d<strong>in</strong>ner. I suggest she prepare the<br />

potatoes and I will do the rest. I decide to cook the fish <strong>in</strong> a tomato, herb and<br />

butter sauce and serve them with mashed potatoes and the Birds Eye peas I<br />

had found <strong>in</strong> the supermarket. The fish must have been a relative of the one I<br />

bought the other day. It is so salty as to be almost, but not quite, uneatable.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay has neglected her responsibility and fallen asleep. A smell of burn<strong>in</strong>g<br />

from the kitchen alerts me to the fact that the water <strong>in</strong> the potato pan has run<br />

dry. S<strong>in</strong>ged bits scrapped off I managed passable mashed potatoes.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g put the John Smiths <strong>in</strong> the freezer, L<strong>in</strong>dsay and I share a can and to<br />

prove that even the worst bitter <strong>in</strong> the world can taste good when you are stuck<br />

with lager I have a second.


<strong>Day</strong> 27 – Thursday. My mobile ‘phone is not talk<strong>in</strong>g to me aga<strong>in</strong> (I must get<br />

used to say<strong>in</strong>g “cell ‘phone”. Every time I say “mobile” the person on the other<br />

end says “What?”) .<br />

As I drive to St. John’s I am forced to plug <strong>in</strong> my U.K. mobile <strong>in</strong> order to r<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

office. Two new messages show up. One was from an <strong>in</strong>ternational<br />

employment agency with whom I had been <strong>in</strong> contact when try<strong>in</strong>g to buy the<br />

mar<strong>in</strong>e electronics company, the other from Amanda (friend from Brighton who,<br />

with husband Rob, is about to embark <strong>in</strong> their yacht on a round the world trip<br />

and will be here at Christmas). She is somewhat miffed because they haven’t<br />

received copies of the diary. Amanda has three e-mail addresses and copies<br />

were sent to all three. The fact that she and Rob now have a fourth and haven’t<br />

told me is hardly my fault. I r<strong>in</strong>g her on a very broken l<strong>in</strong>e and tell her so.<br />

I have made mention to L<strong>in</strong>dsay about r<strong>in</strong>g<strong>in</strong>g the U.K. and chatt<strong>in</strong>g for 15 or 20<br />

m<strong>in</strong>utes at 91p per m<strong>in</strong>ute. Although the poor l<strong>in</strong>e to Amanda kept our<br />

conversation brief it didn’t protect me from L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s raised eyebrows when I<br />

told her. Before anyone jumps to any conclusions, I always r<strong>in</strong>g Amanda<br />

because Rob never, ever answers his ‘phone and I’m not sure he even has it<br />

turned on.<br />

Frustrated with my ‘phone and contemplat<strong>in</strong>g go<strong>in</strong>g to a different telephone<br />

company, I see a park<strong>in</strong>g space right outside the ‘phone company with whom I<br />

have a contract. I go <strong>in</strong> with both my ‘phones, one conta<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g my U.K. SIM card<br />

and show<strong>in</strong>g a very strong signal from a rival telephone company and the other<br />

‘phone show<strong>in</strong>g no signal. At the desk I expla<strong>in</strong> my problem and hand over<br />

both ‘phones. My U.K. ‘phone promptly switches its signal from the rival<br />

company to the telephone company about which I am compla<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g. The word<br />

‘Traitor’ comes to m<strong>in</strong>d. The girl beh<strong>in</strong>d the desk blames my ‘phone so we<br />

swap SIM cards over and both ‘phones work perfectly. I th<strong>in</strong>k there is<br />

someth<strong>in</strong>g wrong with the SIM card but will have to wait until it happens aga<strong>in</strong><br />

and hope I am <strong>in</strong> St. John’s.<br />

Back <strong>in</strong> the car I need to contact the office and yell “Office” at my voice<br />

activated ‘phone. Noth<strong>in</strong>g happens. Well, yes it does. The ‘phone tells me the<br />

<strong>in</strong>struction is not recognised. This happens occasionally so I yell “Office” aga<strong>in</strong>.<br />

Still noth<strong>in</strong>g. I then realise that I had programmed the voice activations <strong>in</strong>to the<br />

other ‘phone which now conta<strong>in</strong>s my U.K. SIM card. A brief stop beside the<br />

road to swap ‘phones and SIM cards br<strong>in</strong>g everyth<strong>in</strong>g back to normal.<br />

One of the many th<strong>in</strong>gs that puzzles me about this country is the way nobody<br />

knows where anywhere is. Twice today I ask directions. The first time I am <strong>in</strong><br />

the car and only a couple of hundred yards from my dest<strong>in</strong>ation yet I have to<br />

ask half a dozen people before I receive the <strong>in</strong>formation I require. On f<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the road I cannot locate the property but, <strong>in</strong> a road of wooden bungalows<br />

(known as BEEWEE houses) I come across the High Commission for Guyana,<br />

<strong>in</strong> a wooden bungalow. More amaz<strong>in</strong>g, just around the corner, <strong>in</strong> a similar


property, is the French High Commission. L<strong>in</strong>dsay and I had commented on a<br />

sign near the airport which po<strong>in</strong>ted <strong>in</strong>to a hous<strong>in</strong>g estate and displayed the word<br />

‘Ch<strong>in</strong>ese Embassy’. Be<strong>in</strong>g unable to locate the premises of the bus<strong>in</strong>ess I<br />

telephone. It is <strong>in</strong> the same bungalow as the High Commission for Guyana.<br />

My second attempt at gett<strong>in</strong>g directions is <strong>in</strong> St. John’s. I park the car near the<br />

centre of town and set out on foot to f<strong>in</strong>d a hardware store <strong>in</strong> order to purchase<br />

a catch for the office door (it won’t stay shut and is lett<strong>in</strong>g out our nice cool, airconditioned<br />

atmosphere.) Nearby is a large store which vaguely looks as<br />

though it might sell what I want. It doesn’t. I ask if there are any shops which<br />

might. The assistant po<strong>in</strong>ts to one across the street and gives me the names of<br />

two others, po<strong>in</strong>t<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> opposite directions as she does so. The one across the<br />

street doesn’t sell catches so I set off <strong>in</strong> the direction one of the stores <strong>in</strong>dicated<br />

earlier. I have the name of the shop and the street name but after a few<br />

<strong>in</strong>tersections I can’t see any sign of either. I stop someone and ask for<br />

directions. They are explicit and I follow them to the letter but no sign of the<br />

road or the shop. I then run across someone I happened to chat to <strong>in</strong> a café a<br />

few days earlier. He knows the street and the shop and even leads me halfway<br />

there. Eventually, I f<strong>in</strong>d the street but not the shop. On my way there I pass<br />

another hardware shop. They have someth<strong>in</strong>g which will suffice but isn’t really<br />

what I am look<strong>in</strong>g for. I tell them I might return. Return I do.<br />

St. John’s is like a multi-storey car park except on a s<strong>in</strong>gle plane. All the streets<br />

are fairly short and there is park<strong>in</strong>g down both sides, ma<strong>in</strong>ly chevron style. The<br />

whole city is a bit of a maze. By now I have walked some distance from the car<br />

and beg<strong>in</strong> to have that s<strong>in</strong>k<strong>in</strong>g feel<strong>in</strong>g you get when you can’t remember on<br />

which level of the multi-storey car park you left your car. The car has a ‘panic’<br />

feature on the key fob which flashes the lights and sounds the horn and was<br />

demonstrated to me by the salesman (woman) as a means of f<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g the car.<br />

S<strong>in</strong>ce the remote only seems to operate from about 5 feet away I th<strong>in</strong>k I<br />

probably would have seen the car by then. Fortunately, I am able to back track<br />

and f<strong>in</strong>d the road <strong>in</strong> which I had parked.<br />

Determ<strong>in</strong>ed to f<strong>in</strong>d this shop, ma<strong>in</strong>ly to try to get a better catch, rather than for<br />

any other reason, I set off <strong>in</strong> the car but with no more success. Com<strong>in</strong>g towards<br />

the end of a road I see a car park and decide to turn around <strong>in</strong> it. Notic<strong>in</strong>g an<br />

exit on the other side of the car park which will take me nearer to my way out of<br />

town, I drive through the exit. It is only after I have gone about 400 yards up the<br />

road I realise the wav<strong>in</strong>g pedestrians and other motorists are <strong>in</strong>dicat<strong>in</strong>g I am<br />

driv<strong>in</strong>g the wrong way up a one-way street.<br />

Back at the office I receive a call from Alexis <strong>in</strong>vit<strong>in</strong>g me to jo<strong>in</strong> him at 4.30 at a<br />

meet<strong>in</strong>g of the Antigua Mar<strong>in</strong>e Trades Association. I tell L<strong>in</strong>dsay that if the<br />

meet<strong>in</strong>g goes on for more than an hour I will leave and collect her. I had<br />

presumed this to be a public meet<strong>in</strong>g but it turns out to be a Committee Meet<strong>in</strong>g<br />

and I am one of only 9 there and not a member of the Committee. I can hardly<br />

get up and walk out. L<strong>in</strong>dsay is not best amused when I return to the office at


6.15. I make up for it by cook<strong>in</strong>g d<strong>in</strong>ner and giv<strong>in</strong>g L<strong>in</strong>dsay the chance to<br />

redeem herself. I leave the potatoes on a high gas and she turns them down.<br />

Even out here John Smiths beer, once it gets warm, is just as disgust<strong>in</strong>g as it is<br />

<strong>in</strong> the U.K.. But, whilst cook<strong>in</strong>g, I f<strong>in</strong>d a solution. Place the glass <strong>in</strong> the freezer<br />

between sips. I might have to <strong>in</strong>stall a freezer on the veranda or learn to dr<strong>in</strong>k<br />

more quickly.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 28 – Friday. One of the th<strong>in</strong>gs L<strong>in</strong>dsay does first th<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the morn<strong>in</strong>g is to<br />

sweep over the polished boards of the liv<strong>in</strong>g room. Hav<strong>in</strong>g the doors open both<br />

ends blows <strong>in</strong> a bit of dust. For some reason which defeats me, L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

sweeps the dust towards the veranda and then over the edge. Unfortunately,<br />

this is <strong>in</strong>to the prevail<strong>in</strong>g w<strong>in</strong>d so half the dust flies back aga<strong>in</strong>. Added to this<br />

are the ants. Be<strong>in</strong>g swept along with the dust they immediately scuttle back<br />

beh<strong>in</strong>d the broom aga<strong>in</strong>. I make comment to L<strong>in</strong>dsay on the futility of the<br />

exercise and she responds with some logical explanation. Unfortunately, it is<br />

female logic and the two words ‘female’ and ‘logic’ are not mutually compatible.<br />

Our idea of kill<strong>in</strong>g two birds with one stone is dead <strong>in</strong> the water. Puerto Rica<br />

won’t have the type of computer we want for a fortnight so we will have to go to<br />

immigration. We have been advised to take a book, be patient, smile and say<br />

as little as possible, def<strong>in</strong>itely mak<strong>in</strong>g no reference to Work Permits.<br />

We arrive at the Immigration Department and are seen almost immediately. A<br />

very pleasant lady asks us lots of questions and we stick to our story that we<br />

are <strong>in</strong> Antigua look<strong>in</strong>g for land but are hav<strong>in</strong>g difficulty and need an extension to<br />

our visas. She asks how we <strong>in</strong>tend to support ourselves and we reply we have<br />

sufficient funds <strong>in</strong> the bank.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay goes on to expla<strong>in</strong> that we have sold our house <strong>in</strong> the U.K.. I kick her.<br />

If we have sold our house <strong>in</strong> the U.K. do have any <strong>in</strong>tention of go<strong>in</strong>g back?<br />

I had noticed a Cashiers w<strong>in</strong>dow and it occurs to me there may be a fee. There<br />

is, EC$50 per person per month of the extension. S<strong>in</strong>ce the nice lady offers us<br />

three month extensions it’s EC$300 and I have only EC$250 on me and<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay has none plus they don’t take credit cards or cheques. I rush to the<br />

‘hole <strong>in</strong> the wall’ at the bank and return to f<strong>in</strong>d L<strong>in</strong>dsay still talk<strong>in</strong>g to the<br />

Immigration Officer and our paperwork just be<strong>in</strong>g completed. There are<br />

advantages, sometimes, to th<strong>in</strong>gs tak<strong>in</strong>g their time <strong>in</strong> Antigua. We pay our<br />

EC$300 and leave, all <strong>in</strong> ¾ of an hour and I don’t even get a chance to open my<br />

book. Either we are lucky or everyone exaggerates the problems with<br />

Immigration.<br />

We were obliged to have our ‘phones turned off <strong>in</strong> the Immigration Office and<br />

turn<strong>in</strong>g m<strong>in</strong>e back on aga<strong>in</strong> I f<strong>in</strong>d I have several messages <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g one from<br />

the shipp<strong>in</strong>g company. They want to deliver our conta<strong>in</strong>er.


We have a few th<strong>in</strong>gs to do <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g collect<strong>in</strong>g the Company Stamp from a<br />

shop which made it and deliver it to the solicitor. These tasks completed we call<br />

at the shippers office. They are ready to deliver the conta<strong>in</strong>er almost<br />

immediately. Whilst wait<strong>in</strong>g we go to our post office box which is nearby and<br />

collect any mail which <strong>in</strong>cludes a letter from L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s grandmother, posted 14<br />

days earlier and a membership rem<strong>in</strong>der for me for one of my U.K. yacht clubs.<br />

Together with the shipp<strong>in</strong>g contractor, we meet the conta<strong>in</strong>er lorry on the road<br />

and lead it the house. I am somewhat concerned that the lorry may have<br />

difficulty <strong>in</strong> reach<strong>in</strong>g the house due nature of the roads. Neither the driver nor<br />

the shipp<strong>in</strong>g contractor have any such concerns and the lorry, sometimes<br />

struggl<strong>in</strong>g a bit, makes it to the house. The ma<strong>in</strong> difficulty is gett<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

conta<strong>in</strong>er <strong>in</strong>to the driveway. With some deft manoeuvr<strong>in</strong>g the driver manages to<br />

place the trailer alongside the house and unhitches it. What I had not realised<br />

was that once unhitched the front end of the trailer on which the conta<strong>in</strong>er is<br />

perched cannot not be raised or lowered and is now parked on a 30 degree<br />

slope with the doors on the back. It will be necessary to f<strong>in</strong>d a way of lower<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the front or several tons of furniture will end up <strong>in</strong> the garden once the doors are<br />

opened.<br />

The shipp<strong>in</strong>g agent tells us that the Customs Office will arrive any time after<br />

3.30 but probably at 4.30. By 5 there is no sign of anyone. A call to the<br />

shipp<strong>in</strong>g agent’s office reveals an answerphone message with an almost<br />

<strong>in</strong>decipherable mobile ‘phone number. After about ten attempts at listen<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

the number and a bit of <strong>in</strong>telligent guesswork, I th<strong>in</strong>k I know the number. I try it<br />

and a lady answers with the words “Speak to me, honey.” I ask for the shipp<strong>in</strong>g<br />

agent and she replies with “What do you want to tell me, darl<strong>in</strong>g?” I beg<strong>in</strong> to<br />

th<strong>in</strong>k I have accidentally telephoned one of these ‘chat-up’ l<strong>in</strong>es and am about<br />

to put the ‘phone down when a male voice comes on the l<strong>in</strong>e. It’s the shipp<strong>in</strong>g<br />

agent. His office should have called us and told us the Customs Officer is not<br />

com<strong>in</strong>g until Monday. I am a little relieved s<strong>in</strong>ce it gives us time to consider<br />

ways to level the conta<strong>in</strong>er. Visions of be<strong>in</strong>g deported for bury<strong>in</strong>g a Customs<br />

Officer under tons of furniture recede.<br />

In the even<strong>in</strong>g we are accosted by Mike Rose who is return<strong>in</strong>g to the U.K. for a<br />

month with his partner Anne. Will we look after his two dogs for a month? We<br />

agree to talk to our landlord.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 30 – Sunday. We jo<strong>in</strong> Tot Club Keep Fit <strong>in</strong> the morn<strong>in</strong>g and fed up with<br />

be<strong>in</strong>g turned away at the dockyard gates <strong>in</strong> the car I decide to try to bluff my<br />

way through. We are successful but unbeknown to me Terry has already<br />

warned the guard we are com<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

Another morn<strong>in</strong>g of clear<strong>in</strong>g undergrowth and Terry gives me the ‘cushy’ job<br />

aga<strong>in</strong> because I am wear<strong>in</strong>g long trousers, the strimmer. It looks easy and to<br />

beg<strong>in</strong> with it appears so but after half an hour, half bent over with a ten pound


mach<strong>in</strong>e vibrat<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> my hands I beg<strong>in</strong> to have second thoughts, <strong>in</strong> fact, I beg<strong>in</strong><br />

to hope it will run out of petrol s<strong>in</strong>ce I know we have no extra with us.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay makes me stop for a dr<strong>in</strong>k of water and my hands are shak<strong>in</strong>g so much<br />

I nearly drop the bottle. I accuse Terry of br<strong>in</strong>g<strong>in</strong>g on the palsy <strong>in</strong> me. When I<br />

am halfway down the upper part of the trail and feel<strong>in</strong>g quite pleased with<br />

myself at the swath I have cut through the grass, the petrol runs out. Now I am<br />

disappo<strong>in</strong>ted because I want to f<strong>in</strong>ish the path.<br />

The clear<strong>in</strong>g party had been split <strong>in</strong> two, one start<strong>in</strong>g at the bottom of the trail<br />

and the other at the top. We meet <strong>in</strong> the middle. The others cont<strong>in</strong>ue up and<br />

we work our way down, each party <strong>in</strong>tend<strong>in</strong>g to cut back the bits the other may<br />

have missed. Immediately, I come across a stump buried <strong>in</strong> the middle of the<br />

path and decide to cut it out. Be<strong>in</strong>g rotten it only takes about ten m<strong>in</strong>utes.<br />

Feel<strong>in</strong>g quite pleased with myself I attack some small, but still fairly substantial<br />

trees, to widen the path by about another five feet. Kev<strong>in</strong>, a visitor from the<br />

U.K. who is struggl<strong>in</strong>g with the heat, gives me a hand and cannot believe the<br />

amount of effort it takes work<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> this heat. I am not the only one who tells<br />

him it is at least 10 degrees cooler than the previous week.<br />

The first twenty yards of the lower part of the trail is now widened by about a<br />

further five feet and, aga<strong>in</strong>, I am feel<strong>in</strong>g quite pleased with myself. Next, <strong>in</strong> the<br />

middle of the path is another tree stump. No problem, I have already removed<br />

one except this one is mahogany. I start attack<strong>in</strong>g it. I cont<strong>in</strong>ue attack<strong>in</strong>g as<br />

the rest of the party moves on ahead. The rest of the party disappears out of<br />

sight and I am still attack<strong>in</strong>g it. At one po<strong>in</strong>t, <strong>in</strong> desperation, I jump on the stump<br />

hop<strong>in</strong>g to break through the cut I have made. I should have learnt my lesson<br />

from the cactus. I now have a large graze and bruise on my sh<strong>in</strong> where the<br />

stump bit back.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay comes to f<strong>in</strong>d out what has happened to me. My arms are about to fall<br />

off and I am only about halfway through part of the stump. L<strong>in</strong>dsay volunteers<br />

to have a go and we take it <strong>in</strong> turns, L<strong>in</strong>dsay, encourag<strong>in</strong>gly, when I am cutt<strong>in</strong>g,<br />

say<strong>in</strong>g “It’s nearly through”. I am not sure whether she really believes it or<br />

whether she wants me to keep saw<strong>in</strong>g so she doesn’t have to take over.<br />

Eventually, the stump gives way and L<strong>in</strong>dsay picks up the piece of mahogany<br />

say<strong>in</strong>g she would like to keep it. As it is about half a mile up hill to the car, I<br />

suggest, if she wants it she collects it on another day.<br />

Terry and Connie have <strong>in</strong>vited us to lunch and a swim <strong>in</strong> their pool. I do po<strong>in</strong>t<br />

out to Terry that the only useful th<strong>in</strong>gs I have found for water are for sail<strong>in</strong>g on<br />

and occasionally putt<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> whisky and that the last time I deliberately went <strong>in</strong><br />

the water was about fifteen years ago. (I did accidentally fall off the boat about<br />

three years ago but that doesn’t count). Despite this I do go <strong>in</strong> for a swim and<br />

realise I have been right all along. Millions of years ago the ancestors of the<br />

human race struggled to extract themselves from the primordial soup and I can<br />

f<strong>in</strong>d no reason to go back aga<strong>in</strong>.


Terry must have been tak<strong>in</strong>g lessons from me. Nearly every time I have been<br />

<strong>in</strong> the water, accidental or deliberate, I have had a cigar <strong>in</strong> my mouth, so has<br />

Terry.<br />

Terry and Connie are look<strong>in</strong>g after two dogs. Both are quite nervous, one<br />

friendly nervous and the other shy nervous. The friendly one overcomes its<br />

timidity quite quickly particularly once the food arrives but the other rema<strong>in</strong>s<br />

distant despite all my attempts at enticement. After lunch, everyone crashes<br />

out for a siesta, L<strong>in</strong>dsay <strong>in</strong> a hammock, only safe after she stops me rock<strong>in</strong>g<br />

her. I fall asleep on a sun lounger and wake up to the shy dog be<strong>in</strong>g petted by<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay. Determ<strong>in</strong>ed not to be defeated I make greater attempts to befriend the<br />

animal and eventually succeed. It will be <strong>in</strong>terest<strong>in</strong>g to see how she reacts next<br />

time we visit.<br />

We end the day with a roast d<strong>in</strong>ner at ‘Life’.<br />

-<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 31 – Monday. L<strong>in</strong>dsay gets up at about six to go for a run and while she is<br />

out of sight I beg<strong>in</strong> plann<strong>in</strong>g how I can lift the front of the conta<strong>in</strong>er just enough<br />

to take the pressure off the legs <strong>in</strong> order to raise them, thereby lower<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

front of the conta<strong>in</strong>er.<br />

Yesterday I borrowed a four ton jack from Roger but it has a very short lift. I<br />

build a tower from the many concrete blocks Sandy has left around and try<br />

jack<strong>in</strong>g up the trailer. It leans dangerously to one side. I reposition the blocks<br />

but with the same effect. The third position of the blocks causes the jack to tilt.<br />

By this time L<strong>in</strong>dsay is back and somewhat concerned. I am not sure whether it<br />

is for my welfare, for Sandy’s house or the contents of the conta<strong>in</strong>er. She<br />

persuades me to r<strong>in</strong>g the shippers who say they will deal with it when they<br />

arrive.<br />

We have an appo<strong>in</strong>tment with an agent at ten, the same one who didn’t turn up<br />

on Friday. We arrive at his office to be told he has changed the appo<strong>in</strong>tment to<br />

twelve. Thanks for tell<strong>in</strong>g us. L<strong>in</strong>dsay is all for advis<strong>in</strong>g the agent to forget it but<br />

I persuade her otherwise and we meet him at twelve. He shows us all k<strong>in</strong>ds of<br />

unsuitable plots and, almost as an afterthought, a plot near the office. It’s the<br />

best we have seen and very similar to the one we liked at Christmas. We tell<br />

him we will consider it seriously. Also, it will give us a very strong barga<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g<br />

tool <strong>in</strong> our discussions on the other plot. L<strong>in</strong>dsay says she would prefer to buy<br />

from this agent because he is a local. Quite a change of heart.<br />

As we are driv<strong>in</strong>g along my ‘phone r<strong>in</strong>gs. I see the agent scrabbl<strong>in</strong>g for the<br />

‘phone <strong>in</strong> his pocket as I flip open my fitted ‘phone and a voice booms out from<br />

the footwell where I have <strong>in</strong>stalled my speaker. The look on the agent’s face is<br />

worth a photograph.


We leave the office at four to meet the Customs Officer at 4.30 but, as might be<br />

expected, he doesn’t turn up. At quarter past five I r<strong>in</strong>g Maddox, the head of the<br />

shipp<strong>in</strong>g company. His mobile ‘phone is on message service. I wonder how<br />

long we should wait. We are go<strong>in</strong>g out to d<strong>in</strong>ner.<br />

Bored with wait<strong>in</strong>g I decide to have another go at lower<strong>in</strong>g the conta<strong>in</strong>er. How<br />

come when you revisit a problem it is always easier? I discover by <strong>in</strong>sert<strong>in</strong>g a<br />

screwdriver <strong>in</strong>to a rotat<strong>in</strong>g rod which raises and lowers the legs I can turn it with<br />

consummate ease. Start<strong>in</strong>g cautiously and scor<strong>in</strong>g the legs to establish<br />

whether I am rais<strong>in</strong>g or lower<strong>in</strong>g them, I mange to reduce the height quite<br />

quickly. My confidence builds and I unw<strong>in</strong>d the legs faster amid disturb<strong>in</strong>g<br />

creaks and groans. Suddenly there is a crack from beh<strong>in</strong>d me and I turn around<br />

to see a piece of wood L<strong>in</strong>dsay had placed beh<strong>in</strong>d one of the wheels (quite<br />

uselessly) fall to the ground. Rather than the trailer runn<strong>in</strong>g backward, as had<br />

been my fear, I am dragg<strong>in</strong>g it forward. There is still the ever present danger of<br />

the conta<strong>in</strong>er fall<strong>in</strong>g sideways (onto me). One leg is still perilously perched<br />

about an <strong>in</strong>ch from the ground. I decide to use the blocks L<strong>in</strong>dsay and I had<br />

collected earlier as a support for one corner. Nicely <strong>in</strong> place, I lower the trailer<br />

onto the blocks and the top one splits <strong>in</strong> half just as Sandy, to whom these<br />

blocks belong, arrives on the scene. Fortunately, his only comment is to<br />

suggest it is about time he cleared up the mess <strong>in</strong> the garden. I am reluctant to<br />

agree.<br />

It’s six twenty and still no sign of the Customs Officer. I had been led to believe<br />

they like these assignments. Past four o’clock and it’s overtime. Apparently,<br />

Customs Officers like to call <strong>in</strong> the late afternoon, leave after a few m<strong>in</strong>utes but<br />

sign themselves out until midnight. Obviously, s<strong>in</strong>ce we are a bit remote there<br />

is work <strong>in</strong>volved <strong>in</strong> the overtime.<br />

I r<strong>in</strong>g Maddox, except that L<strong>in</strong>dsay tells me his name is Mannix. I th<strong>in</strong>k to<br />

myself, I will tell him what ‘manic’ means. This time rather than a message<br />

service a lady answers the ‘phone. Disappo<strong>in</strong>t<strong>in</strong>gly, she is less familiar than the<br />

previous one but puts me through to Mannix. He tells me he has been try<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

contact me. As far as I recollect it is his ‘phone which has been switched off,<br />

not m<strong>in</strong>e. The Customs Officer is now com<strong>in</strong>g tomorrow at one or, maybe,<br />

4.30.<br />

Today is the sixty first anniversary of D-<strong>Day</strong> (for those who don’t know, the<br />

beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g of the time when we freed Europe from Nazi oppression and<br />

defeated the Germans with a bit of belated help from the Americans). The Tot<br />

Club holds an anniversary d<strong>in</strong>ner accompanied by excerpts from Churchill’s<br />

speeches and stirr<strong>in</strong>g martial music. Despite there be<strong>in</strong>g a number of exservicemen<br />

present plus a few second world war survivors, I f<strong>in</strong>d my knowledge<br />

of the events far greater than theirs. L<strong>in</strong>dsay frequently kicks me under the<br />

table as I correct some of their glar<strong>in</strong>g historical errors.


Sitt<strong>in</strong>g next to us is a Canadian who appears to be prematurely grey but more<br />

probably is my senior. The only reason I can th<strong>in</strong>k that he may be prematurely<br />

grey is that he has no knowledge, at all, of the Second World War, surely he<br />

must be American. I am reluctant to upset him s<strong>in</strong>ce he owns some very nice<br />

plots of land. I let L<strong>in</strong>dsay chat to him.<br />

For an Antiguan night out, this is very late and to make it worse, it’s Monday (or,<br />

as it’s after midnight, Tuesday) and I have a n<strong>in</strong>e o’clock appo<strong>in</strong>tment <strong>in</strong> St.<br />

John’s.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 32 - Tuesday, We have now spent a month <strong>in</strong> Antigua and it feels much<br />

more like home despite the fact that all our worldly possessions are sitt<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> a<br />

conta<strong>in</strong>er <strong>in</strong> the garden. The Customs Officer should be here this afternoon and<br />

I will at least be able to have someth<strong>in</strong>g different to wear. L<strong>in</strong>dsay was<br />

conv<strong>in</strong>ced that I would be wear<strong>in</strong>g shorts, someth<strong>in</strong>g I have done only rarely. I<br />

have a pile of unworn shorts and only three pairs of long trousers, one pair of<br />

which are only suitable for sail<strong>in</strong>g and ‘keep fit’.<br />

We are about to have our showers before go<strong>in</strong>g to work when the power cuts<br />

off and that means no water. I reset the <strong>in</strong>verter which only last a few m<strong>in</strong>utes.<br />

I have visions of soapy hair and no water. By disconnect<strong>in</strong>g the ‘fridge I<br />

manage to keep enough power go<strong>in</strong>g for us to have showers. As soon as I plug<br />

the ‘fridge back <strong>in</strong> the <strong>in</strong>verter trips out. Our saviour, Charlie, is on his way and<br />

we leave for the office <strong>in</strong> the hope that we do not return home to f<strong>in</strong>d we will<br />

have to eat the whole contents of the ‘fridge before it goes off.<br />

Driv<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>to St. John’s I discover there is a small locker above my rear view<br />

mirror perfectly shaped for hold<strong>in</strong>g sun glasses. S<strong>in</strong>ce I never wear sunglasses<br />

it is pretty useless to me. I decide not to tell L<strong>in</strong>dsay s<strong>in</strong>ce I know she will<br />

forever be putt<strong>in</strong>g her glasses <strong>in</strong> it and then forget where they are. I notice four<br />

switches adjacent to the locker. Two are evidently for <strong>in</strong>terior lights so I press<br />

one of the others and the sun roof slides back. Pretty useless <strong>in</strong> this climate<br />

s<strong>in</strong>ce it immediately lets out all the cool air. I forget to try the other switch so<br />

still don’t know what it does. At some stage I must f<strong>in</strong>d the fog light switch.<br />

Although I doubt this country has had fog s<strong>in</strong>ce the last ice age, half the<br />

Antiguans drive around at night with their fog lights on and full beam. There are<br />

times when I would like to retaliate. In fact, I was so bl<strong>in</strong>ded on one occasion<br />

that I failed to see a goat which had decided to run across the road <strong>in</strong> front of<br />

both of us. Only it’s agility and my last second brak<strong>in</strong>g prevented me from<br />

mak<strong>in</strong>g orphans of its family.<br />

The Customs Officer is due at either one o’clock or 4.30. By the time I get back<br />

from St. John’s there has been no word from the shippers. I r<strong>in</strong>g his mobile<br />

‘phone only to f<strong>in</strong>d it switched off. An om<strong>in</strong>ous sign. I r<strong>in</strong>g him regularly<br />

throughout the afternoon with the same result. Even his secretary is unable to<br />

contact him. Evidently we are not go<strong>in</strong>g to have a Customs Officer today.


A friend suggests we contact a local radio station which loves to report on the<br />

mis-management of the local officials. I am tempted but feel it might be<br />

imprudent until we are ‘legal’. In the U.K. writs would already have been issued.<br />

Our <strong>in</strong>ternet server is play<strong>in</strong>g up and much of what we need to do requires<br />

access to e-mails so we are a bit stuck and decide to close the office at 4.30.<br />

With some spare time on our hands I decide I would like to go back and take<br />

another look at the plot we saw yesterday. At last I f<strong>in</strong>d a use for the sun roof.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay stands on the seat pok<strong>in</strong>g out through the sun roof to get a better idea<br />

of the view at a height the house would be built. The plot has many positive<br />

po<strong>in</strong>ts especially the views over English Harbour. On the down side the<br />

location is not quite as good as the other site and it may be a bit noisy <strong>in</strong> the<br />

season particularly with traffic to Pigeon Beech. Despite this I am tempted to<br />

progress it but s<strong>in</strong>ce noth<strong>in</strong>g happens quickly <strong>in</strong> Antigua and I am beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

realise that rush<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>to th<strong>in</strong>gs ga<strong>in</strong>s you noth<strong>in</strong>g I decide to wait until the agent<br />

contacts us.<br />

As I po<strong>in</strong>t the car <strong>in</strong> the direction of home, L<strong>in</strong>dsay asks why we are not go<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

the Tot. I am the one who has to dr<strong>in</strong>k the rum, not her. Under a limited<br />

amount of duress I turn around. The next hour or so turns out to be quite good<br />

fun <strong>in</strong> pleasant company and the rema<strong>in</strong>s of last night’s stilton accompanied by<br />

slices of apple make a very pleasant pre-d<strong>in</strong>ner snack.<br />

On the way home as I am negotiat<strong>in</strong>g a fairly twisty, steep road with an<br />

unfenced drop to one side when L<strong>in</strong>dsay starts scream<strong>in</strong>g at me. I look around<br />

puzzled, imag<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g I am about to drive over the edge but can see noth<strong>in</strong>g<br />

wrong. Eventually, she makes enough sense to persuade me to stop. A spider<br />

is hang<strong>in</strong>g from a thread directly over her. I grab the spider and throw it out the<br />

w<strong>in</strong>dow, or so I th<strong>in</strong>k. A few m<strong>in</strong>utes later another spider is dash<strong>in</strong>g back and<br />

forth across the w<strong>in</strong>dscreen. Initially, I th<strong>in</strong>k the spider is on the outside.<br />

Yesterday I thumped my hand aga<strong>in</strong>st an <strong>in</strong>sect crawl<strong>in</strong>g across the w<strong>in</strong>dscreen<br />

only to discover it was on the outside of the glass. As I have mentioned before,<br />

the only th<strong>in</strong>gs which move quickly <strong>in</strong> Antigua are the spiders. The spider turns<br />

out to be on the <strong>in</strong>side but, this time, I am successful, after a protracted chase,<br />

<strong>in</strong> eject<strong>in</strong>g the unwanted passenger to jo<strong>in</strong> its friend on the side of the road.<br />

Overall, it was a quiet day <strong>in</strong> paradise.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 33 – Wednesday<br />

We have a review of the magaz<strong>in</strong>e and decide to <strong>in</strong>crease the f<strong>in</strong>ancial section.<br />

I suggest we <strong>in</strong>clude ‘buy<strong>in</strong>g property’ <strong>in</strong> the section and who better to write it<br />

than an ex-British estate agent try<strong>in</strong>g to buy property <strong>in</strong> Antigua. There is a<br />

temptation to take a jaundiced view but I resist it.


Whilst <strong>in</strong> St. John’s I call <strong>in</strong>to the garage to book the car <strong>in</strong> for it’s first service. I<br />

can’t believe I have already done 1,000 miles <strong>in</strong> only three weeks, more than I<br />

did <strong>in</strong> the U.K..<br />

Obviously the ma<strong>in</strong> dealer contracts out the servic<strong>in</strong>g. I am directed down a dirt<br />

track to an open fronted shack with ‘dead’ cars ly<strong>in</strong>g everywhere. It looks more<br />

like a scrap yard than a service centre. The man on the ‘reception desk’ is fast<br />

asleep. I can see two feet stick<strong>in</strong>g out from under a car accompanied by lots of<br />

verbiage which, be<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> pidg<strong>in</strong>, I am completely unable to understand. Whilst I<br />

dither, unsure which of the two men to disturb, a third arrives and asks my<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess. I expla<strong>in</strong> and he th<strong>in</strong>ks I want the serviced immediately which he is<br />

prepared to do. I don’t have the time and book the car <strong>in</strong> for the next day. It<br />

doesn’t look as though a loan car is a possibility so ask how long the service will<br />

take. He <strong>in</strong>forms me it will be done while I wait. I’d better take a big, fat book<br />

with me although I am not sure where I will sit down.<br />

Next port of call is Jolly Harbour where I meet a very ebullient character who is<br />

a charter fisherman. He is very enthusiastic about the ideas we have for<br />

<strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g sport fish<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the magaz<strong>in</strong>e. Although an Antiguan it turns out that<br />

he is very familiar with Sussex and is due to visit a friend <strong>in</strong> East Gr<strong>in</strong>stead <strong>in</strong><br />

July. He also po<strong>in</strong>ts me <strong>in</strong> the direction of Pat Watson who sailed with me <strong>in</strong><br />

Antigua <strong>in</strong> 1998 and <strong>in</strong> the U.K. <strong>in</strong> 2000. Apparently, he is runn<strong>in</strong>g a bar <strong>in</strong> St.<br />

John’s.<br />

Before I leave Jolly Harbour I r<strong>in</strong>g L<strong>in</strong>dsay and ask if she would like me to get<br />

anyth<strong>in</strong>g from the supermarket. I get the same answer as on the previous<br />

occasion, “Bread and anyth<strong>in</strong>g you would like to eat”. I resist the oddities <strong>in</strong> the<br />

chilled cab<strong>in</strong>et such as chickens feet, chickens gizzards and chicken necks and<br />

go for some chicken pieces which appears relatively normal although L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

comments that the herb and breadcrumb coat<strong>in</strong>g looks rather like mildew.<br />

Know<strong>in</strong>g L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s penchant for m<strong>in</strong>t choc ice cream I scour the frozen cab<strong>in</strong>et<br />

without success. When I close the cab<strong>in</strong>et door it has become completely<br />

opaque due to me hold<strong>in</strong>g it open for so long and the ambient moisture freez<strong>in</strong>g<br />

on the open door. I get a strong look of disapproval from a nearby attendant.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g collected L<strong>in</strong>dsay from the office we are driv<strong>in</strong>g home when the ‘phone<br />

r<strong>in</strong>gs. It’s Mannix. He’s at the house with a Customs Officer. I say we will be<br />

there <strong>in</strong> five m<strong>in</strong>utes. The Customs Officer takes little notice of what happens<br />

as boxes are unloaded only ask<strong>in</strong>g me if they conta<strong>in</strong> anyth<strong>in</strong>g new. I tell him<br />

everyth<strong>in</strong>g is over two years old. He asks how old is the oldest item and<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay says it’s about 100 years. The Customs Officer comments that Mannix<br />

is probably not the best person to be handl<strong>in</strong>g antiques. The t<strong>in</strong>kl<strong>in</strong>g from a box<br />

which has been roughly thrown from the conta<strong>in</strong>er does tend to <strong>in</strong>dicate that the<br />

Customs Officer may be right.


I am asked to sign forms <strong>in</strong> quadruplicate say<strong>in</strong>g that the goods are an average<br />

of five years old and that I have no <strong>in</strong>tention of sell<strong>in</strong>g any of them. The<br />

Customs Officer then opens one or two of the boxes for a cursory <strong>in</strong>spection.<br />

The first item he comes across is a brand new, unopened box of electrical<br />

equipment which I was given several years ago but had never used. I expla<strong>in</strong> it<br />

is an unused present and, fortunately, he accepts the explanation. Everyth<strong>in</strong>g<br />

else he <strong>in</strong>spects is, fortunately, antique.<br />

The Customs Officer, hav<strong>in</strong>g departed, Mannix and his crew f<strong>in</strong>ish unload<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong><br />

about an hour. Our plan of arrang<strong>in</strong>g an organised pattern to the boxes so we<br />

can unpack what we want and leave everyth<strong>in</strong>g else sealed until our f<strong>in</strong>al move<br />

has totally gone out the w<strong>in</strong>dow. Once f<strong>in</strong>ished one of Mannix’s men asks if he<br />

can have a dr<strong>in</strong>k. L<strong>in</strong>dsay offers him water. Another appears and says he<br />

would prefer beer. I see him com<strong>in</strong>g out of the house with my two rema<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g<br />

cans of John Smiths and the two cans of Gu<strong>in</strong>ness. Not a great loss. I po<strong>in</strong>t<br />

out to Mannix that had he given me more notice I would have stopped by a<br />

store and bought a case of beer. I give him a couple of hundred EC dollars to<br />

buy some beer.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay is happy. The only th<strong>in</strong>g we have unpacked are her garden table and<br />

chairs. Those who know this table and chair set will recollect it is the one we all<br />

thought L<strong>in</strong>dsay stole from a skip when, <strong>in</strong> fact, she paid £125 for them. They<br />

still look as though they have been rescued from a skip except that the table top<br />

is even more warped than it was before.<br />

Someth<strong>in</strong>g else is impressed by the table, our nightly visit<strong>in</strong>g beetle, Val.<br />

Between <strong>in</strong>tervals of batt<strong>in</strong>g around the veranda and gett<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s hair,<br />

she <strong>in</strong>spects the entire table top, feet first for a change.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 34 – Thursday. Val is dead. A funeral cortège of ants is carry<strong>in</strong>g her<br />

towards the edge of the veranda and her f<strong>in</strong>al rest<strong>in</strong>g place. I doubt their motive<br />

is altruistic, more likely they are just look<strong>in</strong>g for a hearty breakfast. Without a<br />

post-mortem I cannot determ<strong>in</strong>e the cause of death but I suspect that dur<strong>in</strong>g her<br />

close exam<strong>in</strong>ation of the top of L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s garden table she must have <strong>in</strong>gested<br />

some of the grey metallic pa<strong>in</strong>t L<strong>in</strong>dsay had used to cover all the rust just before<br />

we left the U.K.. I accuse L<strong>in</strong>dsay of hav<strong>in</strong>g poisoned Val but with no<br />

<strong>in</strong>dependent witnesses, she denies it vehemently.<br />

It has ra<strong>in</strong>ed all night and is still ra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g when we get up. L<strong>in</strong>dsay comments<br />

that it’s just like a miserable day <strong>in</strong> England. I correct her, it’s warm and,<br />

despite the ra<strong>in</strong>, the scenery is beautiful. There is a quality to the light here<br />

that, even when it ra<strong>in</strong>s, prevents it from appear<strong>in</strong>g dull.<br />

We are concerned for all our belong<strong>in</strong>gs <strong>in</strong> the rooms downstairs which are<br />

partially below ground. An <strong>in</strong>vestigation reveals that there has been no water<br />

<strong>in</strong>gress. We do f<strong>in</strong>d another box of clothes, m<strong>in</strong>e fortunately, but they ma<strong>in</strong>ly<br />

comprise the long sleeved shirts I had prevented L<strong>in</strong>dsay from throw<strong>in</strong>g out and


which I thought I might require on occasions. The other day Alexis had<br />

promised to buy me a Hawaiian shirt. L<strong>in</strong>dsay po<strong>in</strong>ted out I have one. It is<br />

amongst these shirts and I am tempted to wear it. L<strong>in</strong>dsay persuades me that<br />

tomorrow, Friday, will be a better day.<br />

I deliver the car for service and it receives a quick oil change and a check on<br />

the other fluid levels. The w<strong>in</strong>dscreen washer bottle is a bit low so they top that<br />

up and, for reasons I am still unable to fathom, they check the w<strong>in</strong>dscreen<br />

washers and all the lights. The whole th<strong>in</strong>g is over <strong>in</strong> fifteen m<strong>in</strong>utes. They tell<br />

me the next service is due at 3,000 miles and that one is not free. I bet it takes<br />

a lot longer than fifteen m<strong>in</strong>utes. I query the 3,000 miles say<strong>in</strong>g that for at least<br />

ten years my car service <strong>in</strong>tervals have been 10,000 miles. The last time I had<br />

a car which required 3,000 miles services was <strong>in</strong> the early 1970’s and that was<br />

unusual but then it was a Triumph Stag.<br />

On the way back to the office I call <strong>in</strong> at the estate agent who is offer<strong>in</strong>g the plot<br />

we have always preferred and make an offer. I know the vendor has been<br />

play<strong>in</strong>g around, putt<strong>in</strong>g the plot on the market and tak<strong>in</strong>g it off aga<strong>in</strong>. I am<br />

adamant that if he messes about we will buy the alternative plot we have seen.<br />

Surpris<strong>in</strong>gly quickly, the agent r<strong>in</strong>gs back with a counter offer. I am tempted to<br />

tell him to forget it but decide to tell him we will th<strong>in</strong>k about it. I will leave it until<br />

the agent r<strong>in</strong>gs me back (if he does) and tell him we have been <strong>in</strong> discussions<br />

on the other plot and await his reaction.<br />

An e-mail from my elder daughter <strong>in</strong>dicated that we seem to do noth<strong>in</strong>g all day.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay is mildly miffed s<strong>in</strong>ce she has been spend<strong>in</strong>g between n<strong>in</strong>e and ten<br />

hours <strong>in</strong> the office each day, about double her normal work rate <strong>in</strong> the U.K.. I<br />

do tell her that once the publication has gone to press we will have quite a bit of<br />

time on our hands although I have another little scheme <strong>in</strong> m<strong>in</strong>d which, if it<br />

comes off, will fill those vacant hours.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g found all my clothes (one box we didn’t open this morn<strong>in</strong>g conta<strong>in</strong>ed my<br />

short sleeved shirts) L<strong>in</strong>dsay is feel<strong>in</strong>g a little deprived and we try to f<strong>in</strong>d boxes<br />

marked ‘clothes’ <strong>in</strong> amongst the jumble or, more like, jungle of wrapped<br />

furniture and various sized boxes, half of them upside down. Even f<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g<br />

appropriately named boxes is not an entire success s<strong>in</strong>ce what is written on the<br />

outside does not necessarily relate to what is <strong>in</strong>side. By-pass<strong>in</strong>g two large<br />

boxes marked ‘shoes’ (L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s) I eventually f<strong>in</strong>d a box of her clothes <strong>in</strong> the<br />

remotest back corner of the store room which has no light. I am sure there are<br />

numerous more boxes of her clothes buried somewhere but <strong>in</strong> the fad<strong>in</strong>g light I<br />

give up.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 35 – Friday. We are awoken at 4am by the most horrendous thunderstorm.<br />

Very heavy ra<strong>in</strong> accompanied by extremely bright flashes of lighten<strong>in</strong>g with<br />

proportionately loud claps of thunder. One particularly close encounter nearly<br />

causes L<strong>in</strong>dsay to jump out of her sk<strong>in</strong>. The galvanised steel sheet<strong>in</strong>g used on<br />

roofs <strong>in</strong> Antigua amplifies the noise massively. I am rem<strong>in</strong>ded of an expression


my mother used to use to describe particularly heavy ra<strong>in</strong> – fall<strong>in</strong>g like stair rods<br />

(the pieces of metal which held carpet to stairs <strong>in</strong> the days before fitted carpets).<br />

It is still ra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g hard as dawn breaks at 6am and I decide to <strong>in</strong>vestigate the<br />

state of the furniture downstairs. A veritable stream has developed <strong>in</strong> the back<br />

garden, runn<strong>in</strong>g around the house and down the front garden, Wear<strong>in</strong>g only a<br />

pair of shorts (access to downstairs is via an external staircase and through the<br />

garden) I advise L<strong>in</strong>dsay I may be gone a while and to have a towel ready on<br />

my return.<br />

Downstairs is made up from a store room and a small flat. Sandy’s construction<br />

of apertures for light and ventilation comprise two large, arched w<strong>in</strong>dows <strong>in</strong> the<br />

flat and one <strong>in</strong> the store room. These w<strong>in</strong>dows are covered by a latticework<br />

frame and mosquito nett<strong>in</strong>g, no glass. Forced by the w<strong>in</strong>d the ra<strong>in</strong> easily<br />

overcomes the resistance of the latticework and the nett<strong>in</strong>g. Quite a lot of water<br />

has made its way <strong>in</strong>to the flat and some items <strong>in</strong> one corner are rather damp.<br />

More importantly, a pool of water has gather <strong>in</strong> the same corner. Fortunately,<br />

whoever laid the floor didn’t level it very well and the water is dra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g away<br />

from our belong<strong>in</strong>gs. The only th<strong>in</strong>g to get wet <strong>in</strong> the store room is my life raft<br />

which, if it keeps ra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g at this rate, we might soon need.<br />

See<strong>in</strong>g L<strong>in</strong>dsay sweep<strong>in</strong>g water off the veranda with a broom, I decide to brave<br />

the elements once more and do likewise downstairs. The fit of the bottom of the<br />

door to the floor of the flat is so tight water will not go under it and I have to<br />

sweep the water <strong>in</strong>to the room to get around it. A pity the w<strong>in</strong>dows are not as<br />

water proof.<br />

Sheets of polythene are on the list of items to be bought today along with more<br />

of the bacon and bread I found the other day which satisfy L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s taste buds,<br />

the bacon be<strong>in</strong>g more like meaty English bacon rather than the fatty strips of<br />

American bacon and the bread be<strong>in</strong>g unsweetened. Unfortunately, I found the<br />

bread and bacon <strong>in</strong> Jolly Harbour which means f<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g Jolly Harbour aga<strong>in</strong>.<br />

We end up <strong>in</strong> Jolly Harbour sooner than I expect. When we arrive at the office<br />

the power is out, we have no telephones and the broadband is down. We shut<br />

up the office and head <strong>in</strong>to St. John’s to collect our credit cards which the bank<br />

had advised us yesterday were ready. L<strong>in</strong>dsay is quite delighted. She has<br />

never had a credit card before, always us<strong>in</strong>g an American Express charge card<br />

or her bank debit card. They have given us their Gold cards which, s<strong>in</strong>ce they<br />

don’t know L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s spend<strong>in</strong>g habits, may be a bit foolish.<br />

On our way to St. John’s we see a build<strong>in</strong>g supplies store and stop for some<br />

polythene and mosquito nett<strong>in</strong>g. It is an extremely well stocked store and whilst<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay is look<strong>in</strong>g at fancy light switches and garden ornaments I check out the<br />

prices of hot water cyl<strong>in</strong>ders and plumb<strong>in</strong>g parts. They seem pretty expensive.<br />

Maybe my orig<strong>in</strong>al plan of import<strong>in</strong>g a load from the U.K. is a better idea.


L<strong>in</strong>dsay reckons a trip to Italy will be cheaper and the quality better. Obviously<br />

she has been read<strong>in</strong>g too many property magaz<strong>in</strong>es.<br />

Our post box conta<strong>in</strong>s a letter from our shippers tell<strong>in</strong>g us when the conta<strong>in</strong>er<br />

left the U.K. and when it is (was) due <strong>in</strong> Antigua. Interest<strong>in</strong>gly, the letter tells us<br />

the contents are <strong>in</strong>sured until they have been professionally unpacked. S<strong>in</strong>ce<br />

this is yet to happen we ask ourselves if we leave everyth<strong>in</strong>g packed until we<br />

move to our new house will it cont<strong>in</strong>ue to be <strong>in</strong>sured?<br />

We need to drop <strong>in</strong> a package to a potential customer <strong>in</strong> Runaway Bay but<br />

cannot contact the person until after 10. Hav<strong>in</strong>g half an hour to spare we stop<br />

at a café I have been to on a couple of occasions. It’s adjacent to a medical<br />

centre and L<strong>in</strong>dsay is a bit puzzled as I drive <strong>in</strong>to the car park. We order two<br />

cappucc<strong>in</strong>os and L<strong>in</strong>dsay, spott<strong>in</strong>g a tray of chocolate éclairs, orders one. I<br />

agree to jo<strong>in</strong> her. The sugar, white, arrives <strong>in</strong> a pot with a small hole <strong>in</strong> the top.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay beg<strong>in</strong>s to shake the sugar <strong>in</strong>to her coffee and out jumps an ant followed<br />

by another and then several more. In disgust L<strong>in</strong>dsay reaches for a packet<br />

sweetener. I prefer to filter the ants from the sugar which is not difficult s<strong>in</strong>ce<br />

they move a lot faster than slightly soggy gra<strong>in</strong>s of sugar.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay suddenly leaps out of her seat. The cushion is damp. A leak from the<br />

ceil<strong>in</strong>g is directly overhead. Unfortunately, a little later L<strong>in</strong>dsay asks directions<br />

to the toilet. I am yet to tell her that as she walked away there was a round,<br />

damp patch <strong>in</strong> the back of her skirt.<br />

Runaway Bay is north of St. John’s. One of the problem with Antiguan sign<br />

posts is that they will po<strong>in</strong>t you <strong>in</strong> a direction but when you need to turn off there<br />

is no sign post tell<strong>in</strong>g you to do so. We end up <strong>in</strong> the Customs area of the port.<br />

I only recognise it from my visit there <strong>in</strong> March and it would take several pages<br />

to expla<strong>in</strong> that experience.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g obta<strong>in</strong>ed directions, via the long route, we make our delivery and set off<br />

for Jolly Harbour. I have offered to take L<strong>in</strong>dsay to this new supermarket where<br />

I have shopped on a couple of occasions. I decide to cut through St. John’s .<br />

Although it is a bit of a magical mystery tour we do make our way to Jolly<br />

Harbour and the supermarket.<br />

Driv<strong>in</strong>g around Antigua is quite an experience. The pedestrians, human and<br />

animal, are frequently blissfully unaware of traffic. Hazards such as the two<br />

young puppies and their mother ly<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the middle of the road, eat<strong>in</strong>g a bone<br />

whilst not commonplace are unremarkable. No amount of hoot<strong>in</strong>g makes them<br />

<strong>in</strong>cl<strong>in</strong>ed to move. On another occasion, I came around a corner to f<strong>in</strong>d a game<br />

of cricket be<strong>in</strong>g played <strong>in</strong> the middle of the road, two of the fielders hold<strong>in</strong>g up<br />

the traffic until the over was complete. These are relatively m<strong>in</strong>or hazards. Not<br />

long before the puppies we found bright red cone stand<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the middle of the<br />

road. We have come across similar cones always stand<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> front of a chasm<br />

like pot holes. This is one of the better roads with a good quality tarmac


surface. I expressed my puzzlement only to have my question answered a few<br />

seconds later as we rounded a bl<strong>in</strong>d bend to be confronted by a massive lorry,<br />

fac<strong>in</strong>g us on our side of the road.<br />

Some of the roadside scenes can be amus<strong>in</strong>g. On our way to Jolly Harbour we<br />

pass a tethered goat (I know it s a goat because it’s tail is stick<strong>in</strong>g up). The field<br />

<strong>in</strong> which it is tethered is a sea of mud except for one rock with a surface area of<br />

about six square <strong>in</strong>ches and protrud<strong>in</strong>g less than that above the mud. The goat<br />

had succeeded <strong>in</strong> gett<strong>in</strong>g all four feet onto the rock and is precariously perched<br />

<strong>in</strong> a fashion one has often seen <strong>in</strong> mounta<strong>in</strong>ous natural history programmes. At<br />

least, should it fall, it’s land<strong>in</strong>g will be soft.<br />

Back at the office the power and telephones are back on but no broadband and<br />

the landlord is nowhere to be seen. He has the key to the room where the<br />

broadband reset button is situated. We go to an <strong>in</strong>ternet café to deal with our e-<br />

mails. I have five from the U.K.. One is from the friend who is look<strong>in</strong>g after my<br />

boat. He suggests that if I don’t want to sell it, it couldn’t be <strong>in</strong> better hands.<br />

Another is from Brighton Mar<strong>in</strong>a Yacht Club advis<strong>in</strong>g me I can compete <strong>in</strong> the<br />

Summer Series. Presumably I am still listed as a boat owner.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g avoided the Tot Club for a few days and it be<strong>in</strong>g Friday with the tonight’s<br />

venue just down the road we turn up and f<strong>in</strong>d ourselves the only ones <strong>in</strong> the<br />

bar. Adjacent is a d<strong>in</strong>ghy dock and I did not see what happened next. There<br />

are two d<strong>in</strong>ghies tied side by side. L<strong>in</strong>dsay saw the owner of one d<strong>in</strong>ghy<br />

remove a tank of petrol from the other d<strong>in</strong>ghy and fill his own tank. As she was<br />

tell<strong>in</strong>g me this the owner of the second d<strong>in</strong>ghy arrive and I comment it will be<br />

rather unfortunate if he runs out of petrol. He manages about 100 yards before<br />

his depleted fuel runs dry.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay makes me promise never to buy any more fish. Tonight’s is so salty it<br />

is uneatable.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 36 – Saturday. Another night of heavy ra<strong>in</strong> but without the thunder and<br />

lighten<strong>in</strong>g. At 6am I go downstairs to check on the furniture, the polythene not<br />

yet be<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> place. Some water has managed to get <strong>in</strong> but less than yesterday<br />

and none has reached our belong<strong>in</strong>gs. I sweep out the water ly<strong>in</strong>g on the floor.<br />

More concern<strong>in</strong>g is yesterdays stream <strong>in</strong> the back garden which has developed<br />

<strong>in</strong>to a river and is underm<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g the foundations of the house. Already it has<br />

gouged a trench over a foot deep. It’s time to get wet aga<strong>in</strong> and our garden<br />

tools be<strong>in</strong>g identifiable I get a spade and fork and start digg<strong>in</strong>g. L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s idea<br />

of hydrodynamics differs markedly from m<strong>in</strong>e but s<strong>in</strong>ce I have nearly completed<br />

the <strong>in</strong>itial part of the diversion by the time she jo<strong>in</strong>s <strong>in</strong> I persist <strong>in</strong> do<strong>in</strong>g it my<br />

way. What looked like an impossible task to beg<strong>in</strong> with gradually comes<br />

together and the water is successfully diverted away from the house. L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

has always wanted a water feature and now she has one. Soaked to the sk<strong>in</strong>,<br />

on more than one occasion L<strong>in</strong>dsay suggests we have done enough but I


cont<strong>in</strong>ue widen<strong>in</strong>g and deepen<strong>in</strong>g the trench tell<strong>in</strong>g her I am enjoy<strong>in</strong>g myself.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay tells me she is becom<strong>in</strong>g worried by my sudden acquired <strong>in</strong>terest <strong>in</strong><br />

garden<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

After breakfast the next task is to lay some concrete blocks on the pathway from<br />

the outside stairs to the downstairs rooms. The path has always been a little<br />

muddy. It has now become a quagmire. There is a pile of blocks down the<br />

garden and we beg<strong>in</strong> to carry them up, two at a time. L<strong>in</strong>dsay succeeds <strong>in</strong><br />

mak<strong>in</strong>g one trip, slipp<strong>in</strong>g and slid<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> her flip-flops. I suggest she lays the path<br />

and I carry the blocks. Exactly one hundred blocks completes the task. That’s<br />

forty n<strong>in</strong>e slippery climbs up the slope for me, sometimes ankle deep <strong>in</strong> mud,<br />

and one for L<strong>in</strong>dsay. I want to extend the path further but L<strong>in</strong>dsay is bored<br />

which is probably just as well s<strong>in</strong>ce the concrete blocks have rubbed my hands<br />

raw.<br />

Next job is to fit the polythene. We cut a piece roughly to size then trim it to the<br />

right shape. I suggest we use this first one as a template. Whilst L<strong>in</strong>dsay cuts<br />

up more polythene I unscrew the w<strong>in</strong>dow frames. L<strong>in</strong>dsay reappears with one<br />

more piece of polythene and I po<strong>in</strong>t out we have two more w<strong>in</strong>dows. Whilst<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay cuts the third piece I fit the first and rapidly realise that the w<strong>in</strong>d catches<br />

the polythene and it needs to be p<strong>in</strong>ned as it’s fitted. I call out to L<strong>in</strong>dsay but<br />

get no response. I yell louder but to no avail. Press<strong>in</strong>g myself aga<strong>in</strong>st the<br />

polythene to prevent it from blow<strong>in</strong>g away, I haul my head up to the level of the<br />

veranda and yell aga<strong>in</strong>. No sign of L<strong>in</strong>dsay. After several more calls with no<br />

response I see her walk<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> through the front door. She had gone to rescue a<br />

couple of baby goats trapped beh<strong>in</strong>d a fence. I was tempted to make a<br />

comment on the more urgent matters <strong>in</strong> hand.<br />

Sandy appears hav<strong>in</strong>g had a look at about 6am at the water gush<strong>in</strong>g around the<br />

house. He has come to <strong>in</strong>vestigate a possible solution. We po<strong>in</strong>t to our entirely<br />

satisfactory diversion. Sandy tells us that the radio has reported that five <strong>in</strong>ches<br />

of ra<strong>in</strong> fell last night. Later we are told it’s eight <strong>in</strong>ches but I suspect that is over<br />

the two days s<strong>in</strong>ce the people tell<strong>in</strong>g us are measur<strong>in</strong>g it on the fact that the<br />

water <strong>in</strong> their swimm<strong>in</strong>g pool is normally eight <strong>in</strong>ches below the edge and the<br />

pool has overflowed.<br />

The rest of the day is taken up by unpack<strong>in</strong>g boxes, ma<strong>in</strong>ly kitchen utensils,<br />

crockery, glasses, cutlery, etc.. Unfortunately, what is described on the outside<br />

of the box rarely equates to what is <strong>in</strong>side. I am really puzzled when I come<br />

across, amidst a box of glasses, a really heavy brass disk. L<strong>in</strong>dsay is nowhere<br />

<strong>in</strong> sight so I put it on one side. Later, she tells me it is the pendulum to the<br />

clock. L<strong>in</strong>dsay is a bit unhappy with the idea of unpack<strong>in</strong>g the glasses without<br />

anywhere to store them. She wants me to unpack our glazed cab<strong>in</strong>et <strong>in</strong> which<br />

we always kept our glasses. I go to the store room below and return upstairs.<br />

Probably the best way the next episode can be described is exactly as it<br />

happened. I ask L<strong>in</strong>dsay if she wants the glazed cab<strong>in</strong>et brought upstairs to<br />

which she replies <strong>in</strong> the positive. I ask if she m<strong>in</strong>ds that it is no longer glazed.


The whole of the rest of the day is spent unpack<strong>in</strong>g boxes and L<strong>in</strong>dsay, younger<br />

and supposedly fitter, wants to give up much earlier than me. I am still cart<strong>in</strong>g<br />

boxes up from below and throw<strong>in</strong>g volumous amounts of paper around the<br />

liv<strong>in</strong>g room. Eventually, exhaustion even defeats me.<br />

In amongst everyth<strong>in</strong>g I f<strong>in</strong>d our electric toothbrushes. What a pleasure it is to<br />

have really clean teeth aga<strong>in</strong>. The old fashioned, manual toothbrush is not<br />

quite the same.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 37 – Sunday. Today starts very much <strong>in</strong> the way yesterday ended except a<br />

bit more slowly. After a latish breakfast, a couple of chapters of a novel I have<br />

bought <strong>in</strong> St. John’s at enormous expense I get myself motivated to carry up<br />

more boxes. Some of these turn out to conta<strong>in</strong> my selection of whiskeys, all<br />

twenty six of them plus thirty to forty other bottles of alcohol. We probably have<br />

one of the best stocked dr<strong>in</strong>ks cab<strong>in</strong>ets <strong>in</strong> Antigua.<br />

For me the day is a bit bor<strong>in</strong>g as I am cont<strong>in</strong>ually search<strong>in</strong>g for boxes which<br />

might conta<strong>in</strong> th<strong>in</strong>gs we want and only be<strong>in</strong>g semi-successful. There are a<br />

couple of highlights or, <strong>in</strong> reality, lowlights. Mov<strong>in</strong>g boxes around downstairs a<br />

huge spider leaps out at me. I am not normally concerned by spiders but <strong>in</strong> this<br />

case I leap <strong>in</strong> the opposite direction. The spider is three to four <strong>in</strong>ches <strong>in</strong><br />

diameter, fat bodied with fat legs, a whitish orange <strong>in</strong> colour and someth<strong>in</strong>g<br />

which looks decidedly unfriendly. My ma<strong>in</strong> concern is that this spider is not a<br />

local variety, none of which are truly harmful, but someth<strong>in</strong>g which has spent<br />

the past few years travell<strong>in</strong>g the world <strong>in</strong> a conta<strong>in</strong>er and has decided that the<br />

Land of Sea and Sun is its f<strong>in</strong>al dest<strong>in</strong>ation. With a bit of luck Antigua is its<br />

eternity. Los<strong>in</strong>g track of it under furniture and boxes I use half a large can of<br />

crawl<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>sect spray <strong>in</strong> the hope that next time I come across this spider it is a<br />

desiccated corpse.<br />

In my search for the pictures of my various yachts which have <strong>in</strong>fested rather<br />

than <strong>in</strong>habited the houses <strong>in</strong> which we have lived as well as my office, I am<br />

struggl<strong>in</strong>g to f<strong>in</strong>d a couple which were taken just before we left the U.K. and are,<br />

without doubt, my favourite to date. In my desperation I carry upstairs a heavy,<br />

picture frame sized package only to discover that it is the doors from our large<br />

mahogany sideboard.<br />

Whilst most of this is go<strong>in</strong>g on L<strong>in</strong>dsay is saunter<strong>in</strong>g around the countryside. To<br />

be fair, Roger and Kev<strong>in</strong> have decided to row the boat which has just crossed<br />

the Atlantic around the island to raise money for a charity. The charity looks<br />

after the mentally and physically disabled. Neither Roger nor Kev<strong>in</strong> has access<br />

to transport so L<strong>in</strong>dsay has volunteered to drive them to the charity to sort out<br />

all the paperwork. This, first of all, necessitated me <strong>in</strong> driv<strong>in</strong>g almost all the way<br />

to St. John’s (whilst L<strong>in</strong>dsay cooked breakfast) to get some petrol. Be<strong>in</strong>g a<br />

Sunday, Slipway is closed and the nearest open petrol station is some miles<br />

away. It’s a debate whether I will run out of petrol before I manage to refill or


whether it is safer to send L<strong>in</strong>dsay out on a nearly empty tank. I decide on the<br />

former.<br />

S<strong>in</strong>ce L<strong>in</strong>dsay is tak<strong>in</strong>g the car I give her my ‘phone and keep hers. Although<br />

the logic defeats her, my reason<strong>in</strong>g is that my ‘phone does not work well at the<br />

house whereas hers does. If she is out <strong>in</strong> the car with my ‘phone and I am at<br />

home with hers, we can keep <strong>in</strong> contact. I must have been tired. We are go<strong>in</strong>g<br />

to d<strong>in</strong>ner with Mike and Anne and have agreed to meet at the Tot at six. By<br />

5.30 there is no sign of L<strong>in</strong>dsay so I r<strong>in</strong>g her us<strong>in</strong>g her ‘phone except that I am<br />

put through to her answer<strong>in</strong>g service. I realise I have dialled her number on her<br />

‘phone. The realisation does not help me a lot because when I r<strong>in</strong>g my ‘phone I<br />

get my answer<strong>in</strong>g service. L<strong>in</strong>dsay r<strong>in</strong>gs me about ten m<strong>in</strong>utes later. She was<br />

<strong>in</strong> Crabhole Liquors to buy some w<strong>in</strong>e to take to Mike and Anne’s but had left<br />

the ‘phone <strong>in</strong> the car.<br />

Many of the th<strong>in</strong>gs I unpack are electrical and everyth<strong>in</strong>g works on both 110<br />

voltage despite be<strong>in</strong>g bought <strong>in</strong> the U.K. with 240 voltage. There is one<br />

exception. I have struggled upstairs with a very large television. Despite be<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>in</strong>ternational, it only runs on 240 volts. I go downstairs and check the other<br />

television. The label on the back says the same. Despite this, I plug <strong>in</strong> the<br />

television but noth<strong>in</strong>g happens.<br />

There are eight of us for d<strong>in</strong>ner and, as is so often the case here, the food is<br />

first class. Mike scores a first. He puts on a video of the Battle of Brita<strong>in</strong>, a film<br />

which is one of my favourites but which I have never succeeded <strong>in</strong> gett<strong>in</strong>g<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay to watch all the way through. I am rem<strong>in</strong>ded of one of the few<br />

disappo<strong>in</strong>t<strong>in</strong>g aspects to the film. The Messerschmitt 109s which then belonged<br />

to the Spanish Air Force had Merl<strong>in</strong> (Spitfire) eng<strong>in</strong>es which gives them an<br />

entirely different profile from the orig<strong>in</strong>al Daimler Benz eng<strong>in</strong>ed Me 109s.<br />

Except <strong>in</strong> the close-ups it is very difficult to identify ‘friend from foe’.<br />

We don’t leave Mike and Anne’s until after midnight. We later hear that other<br />

guests didn’t leave until after three.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 38 – Monday. In the U.K. I would never go out on a Sunday even<strong>in</strong>g if I<br />

had to work on a Monday. In future I will apply the lesson here.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g been at Mike and Anne’s and meet<strong>in</strong>g their dogs which are about to<br />

move <strong>in</strong> with us I realise our frontless glass cab<strong>in</strong>et and their long, active tails<br />

are a recipe for disaster. I remove the door and load it <strong>in</strong>to the car to have it<br />

reglazed.<br />

Late morn<strong>in</strong>g I am <strong>in</strong> St. John’s aga<strong>in</strong> but on my way I call at Jayne’s Yacht<br />

Services where I am expect<strong>in</strong>g notification of a parcel arriv<strong>in</strong>g from the U.K..<br />

Not only is there a slip advis<strong>in</strong>g me to collect my package from the post office<br />

but also a statement from the bank addressed to our home but delivered by the


postal service to Jayne’s Yacht Services. Someone obviously showed some<br />

<strong>in</strong>itiative.<br />

Between various visits around St. John’s I pass a fairly rare sight <strong>in</strong> Antigua, a<br />

second hand car lot. They have only just opened and have a fairly limited<br />

stock, however, almost opposite is a yard display<strong>in</strong>g, <strong>in</strong> very small letters, that it<br />

is a vehicle repossession company. I stop and enquire whether the vehicles are<br />

for sale. The selection is quite <strong>in</strong>terest<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g two of the new style<br />

Beetles. I am advised that I can put <strong>in</strong> a bid for any vehicle and it will go to the<br />

f<strong>in</strong>ance company for consideration. I tell them I will come back the next day<br />

with L<strong>in</strong>dsay.<br />

At our post box there is a mounta<strong>in</strong> of mail all of which is go<strong>in</strong>g to take me more<br />

time to deal with than I currently have available, much of it U.K. Inland Revenue<br />

and V.A.T.. I thought I had escaped all that.<br />

An appo<strong>in</strong>tment with the solicitor takes a lot longer than anticipated ma<strong>in</strong>ly due<br />

to the fact that even the fourth repr<strong>in</strong>t of the agreement still has errors. I leave<br />

at 4.30 determ<strong>in</strong>ed to buy an <strong>in</strong>verter before the shops close at five. Traffic at<br />

this time of day is horrendous and hav<strong>in</strong>g had no luck at my first choice of shop<br />

<strong>in</strong> the Woods Mall out of town shopp<strong>in</strong>g centre, I head <strong>in</strong>to St. John’s.<br />

Attempt<strong>in</strong>g a short cut I discover I am not the only person try<strong>in</strong>g this route and<br />

suspect I may be stuck until well after the shops have shut. A brief let up <strong>in</strong> the<br />

traffic allows me to double back and I get to my second choice of shop before it<br />

closes but with no more luck. They direct me to a third shop which does have<br />

an <strong>in</strong>verter but it is only a 12 volt to 110 volt. This shop sends me off <strong>in</strong> the<br />

direction of another which, I am conv<strong>in</strong>ced, will now be closed but s<strong>in</strong>ce I am on<br />

foot I might as well f<strong>in</strong>d it for future reference. I never f<strong>in</strong>d the store but stopp<strong>in</strong>g<br />

at a small shop situated on the edge of the local market and which is another of<br />

these ‘tardis’ shops, enormous beh<strong>in</strong>d a very small shop front, I ask for<br />

directions. Despite look<strong>in</strong>g European, their English is very poor and, eventually,<br />

they understand what I am try<strong>in</strong>g to buy. With<strong>in</strong> this shop they have a selection<br />

of precisely what I want and at very reasonable prices. I vow to spend more<br />

time <strong>in</strong> the market area.<br />

I set off back to the office and when I am about halfway the heavens open. The<br />

downpour is torrential and I discover that 4 x 4s are very good at wad<strong>in</strong>g<br />

through foot deep rivers runn<strong>in</strong>g down the road. As I drive through the twisty<br />

streets of Liberta about five miles from the office I become aware the car is<br />

pull<strong>in</strong>g to the right. It can’t be the pull of the water s<strong>in</strong>ce there is more water on<br />

the kerb side of the road. I also beg<strong>in</strong> to notice the front, offside of the car is<br />

noticeably lower. There can be only one answer but there is nowhere for me to<br />

pull over for about half a mile. The look on an oncom<strong>in</strong>g driver’s face confirms<br />

my op<strong>in</strong>ion. Mercifully the ra<strong>in</strong> stops as suddenly as it had started just as I pull<br />

<strong>in</strong>to a lay-by and <strong>in</strong>spect my deflat<strong>in</strong>g tyre. Not hav<strong>in</strong>g changed a wheel <strong>in</strong><br />

about twenty years I set about the tedious but not difficult task. I am pleasantly<br />

surprised by the offers of help I receive from pass<strong>in</strong>g locals. In the U.K. you


would have to be young, blonde, beautiful and female to receive such offers of<br />

help. I am expect<strong>in</strong>g Mike and Anne to pass by on they way to the Tot and I<br />

flag them down to extend my apologies (not that I had any <strong>in</strong>tention of go<strong>in</strong>g but<br />

it looks good plus I wanted to give them the new copy of British Naval History<br />

which I had arranged to be covered).<br />

Chang<strong>in</strong>g the tyre was no problem until I came to release the spare which is<br />

suspended under the rear of the car. There is absolutely no obvious way of<br />

releas<strong>in</strong>g the wheel and I recommend nobody buy one of these vehicles without<br />

a handbook. Situated on the lip of tailgate rim is a small hole <strong>in</strong>to which you<br />

<strong>in</strong>set a long, lugged rod. The lug engages, quite easily, with a mechanism<br />

about two feet under the boot floor. Turn<strong>in</strong>g the rod lowers the spare wheel on<br />

a cha<strong>in</strong>. Even the best tra<strong>in</strong>ed Boy Scout would never have found that. Filthy<br />

dirty from the exposed spare wheel and dripp<strong>in</strong>g with perspiration I dismiss my<br />

earlier resolution and head to the bar for a beer.<br />

The <strong>in</strong>verter works and we have television although there is noth<strong>in</strong>g to watch<br />

s<strong>in</strong>ce we are not connected to anyth<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

-<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 39 – Tuesday. I have seven e-mails on my personal e-mail address but<br />

four of them are from Brighton Mar<strong>in</strong>a Yacht Club ask<strong>in</strong>g me if I wish to enter<br />

the regatta. I am tempted to complete on of the forms and return it. As<br />

someone who was responsible for send<strong>in</strong>g out many of the e-mails from the<br />

yacht club I can now understand how some members were irritated by receiv<strong>in</strong>g<br />

e-mails which had absolutely no relevance to them but to filter all e-mails would<br />

be an impossible task.<br />

The day has arrived for me to have a device <strong>in</strong>stalled <strong>in</strong> my car which I have<br />

wanted for some weeks, a remote starter. It may appear a strange th<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

desire but if the car has been parked <strong>in</strong> the sun for a few hours it gets as hot as<br />

an oven. Sometimes we stand outside and wait for the air condition<strong>in</strong>g to get<br />

work<strong>in</strong>g before climb<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>. If I can start the car remotely then it will cool down<br />

as we approach it. Frank, the eng<strong>in</strong>eer who is <strong>in</strong>stall<strong>in</strong>g the device has<br />

reluctantly driven from the north of the island. The first question he asks me is<br />

for my second key. I have a very vague recollection of hav<strong>in</strong>g a second key but<br />

have no idea where I have put it. Frank leaves and suggests I contact him<br />

aga<strong>in</strong> when I have another key. It’s a pity he didn’t tell me two keys are<br />

necessary before driv<strong>in</strong>g all the way from St. Johns.<br />

After lunch L<strong>in</strong>dsay and I head for town to look at one of the repossessed cars<br />

and on the way I drop my tyre <strong>in</strong>to a garage tell<strong>in</strong>g the repairer I will be back <strong>in</strong><br />

an hour. He is busily spray<strong>in</strong>g red pa<strong>in</strong>t on the wheel (and half the tyre) from a<br />

wheelbarrow.<br />

We arrive at the repossession yard to discover that the car <strong>in</strong> which we are<br />

most <strong>in</strong>terested is left-hand drive. No wonder it is only EC$20,000 (£5,000). It<br />

is only a couple of years old and <strong>in</strong> very good condition. Inspect<strong>in</strong>g the car


does prove a little hazardous. The park<strong>in</strong>g area is covered <strong>in</strong> fire-ant nests.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay is wear<strong>in</strong>g flip-flops and I have on a pair of open sail<strong>in</strong>g shoes. Fire-and<br />

are particularly malicious, attack<strong>in</strong>g your feet for no apparent reason. They are<br />

aptly names as their bite is more like a st<strong>in</strong>g and your feet feel as though they<br />

on fire.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay is not very concerned that the car is left-hand drive and there is a<br />

positive po<strong>in</strong>t. The bank which has repossessed the car is our bank. At the<br />

price it certa<strong>in</strong>ly is a steal. It’s after two so the bank is closed. I agree with<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay that I will talk to them tomorrow.<br />

Before go<strong>in</strong>g back we collect the cupboard door which has been reglazed. It<br />

costs EC$50 (£10). Not worth claim<strong>in</strong>g on the <strong>in</strong>surance unless we f<strong>in</strong>d other<br />

th<strong>in</strong>gs damaged.<br />

We stop at the tyre repair garage and the mechanic is still spray<strong>in</strong>g the wheel<br />

from the wheelbarrow. My tyre is perched aga<strong>in</strong>st the garage door where I left<br />

it. He shakes his head and I put the car <strong>in</strong>to reverse.<br />

Amongst the papers which arrived <strong>in</strong> the post yesterday is the V5 Registration<br />

Document for my XK8 which I sold a couple of days before we left the U.K..<br />

The problem now is that I can’t f<strong>in</strong>d the name and address of the new owner.<br />

Back home a search for the spare key to my new car and the name and<br />

address of the owner of the old one is partially successful. We f<strong>in</strong>d the key. It<br />

may have been better to have found the name and address s<strong>in</strong>ce the key is<br />

replaceable.<br />

For some reason L<strong>in</strong>dsay decides to start digg<strong>in</strong>g out miscellaneous items <strong>in</strong><br />

the store rooms and produces curta<strong>in</strong>s (she has hated the ones <strong>in</strong> the bedroom<br />

s<strong>in</strong>ce we moved <strong>in</strong>). She pulls out tools for me to erect mosquito nett<strong>in</strong>g on the<br />

bathroom w<strong>in</strong>dow which proves impossible (L<strong>in</strong>dsay now th<strong>in</strong>ks she is a genius<br />

s<strong>in</strong>ce she has managed to wire it <strong>in</strong> place) and she discovers where some of<br />

our DVDs are hidden. I have to get them out as I was the one who stacked<br />

everyth<strong>in</strong>g on top of them. I extract three video DVDs and try one <strong>in</strong> the DVD<br />

player. Our television comes to life. It’s a pity we have seen the three films but<br />

if we get really bored…. There is still a m<strong>in</strong>or problem. I have found the remote<br />

control except that it is to the television which is still <strong>in</strong> the store room. The<br />

dilemma is whether to change the television or search for the remote control.<br />

Overall, it is not particularly significant s<strong>in</strong>ce the only channel we have is the<br />

one from the DVD.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 40 – Wednesday. A bad start. I am just clean<strong>in</strong>g my teeth when the<br />

electricity goes off. My electric tooth brush can’t use that much power. Worse<br />

still is the pump for the water won’t work without electricity. Wear<strong>in</strong>g only a<br />

dress<strong>in</strong>g gown I head outside to the power room to reset the <strong>in</strong>verter.


Hav<strong>in</strong>g found my spare key I telephone Frank who is go<strong>in</strong>g to <strong>in</strong>stall the remote<br />

start to the car. He arrives at 9.30 and tells me it will take three hours and that if<br />

it takes longer he is <strong>in</strong> trouble. Th<strong>in</strong>k<strong>in</strong>g he might like to be paid cash I wander<br />

along to the cash mach<strong>in</strong>e only to f<strong>in</strong>d it temporarily out of order. I ask Frank if<br />

he is will<strong>in</strong>g to take a cheque to which he readily agrees.<br />

Go<strong>in</strong>g to pay some money <strong>in</strong>to the bank a couple of hours later I see Frank has<br />

almost all the wir<strong>in</strong>g from my car spread over the car park plus quite a bit of his<br />

own wir<strong>in</strong>g. The cash mach<strong>in</strong>e is now work<strong>in</strong>g so I can get Frank’s money.<br />

You may ask why I don’t just draw the money from the bank. If you have an<br />

odd half an hour or so to spare whilst they check what you had for breakfast<br />

then it’s worth draw<strong>in</strong>g money over the counter, otherwise, wait for the cash<br />

mach<strong>in</strong>e to work.<br />

Frank is <strong>in</strong> trouble. Three and a half hours have passed and he has<br />

encountered a problem. The car won’t start. Not only will it now not start with<br />

his system <strong>in</strong>stalled it won’t start with the key either. There’s noth<strong>in</strong>g worse<br />

than hav<strong>in</strong>g someone stand over you when you are try<strong>in</strong>g to figure someth<strong>in</strong>g<br />

out, particularly when that person can contribute noth<strong>in</strong>g. Anyway, Frank has<br />

enough spectators without me bother<strong>in</strong>g him. Back <strong>in</strong> the office I look at<br />

Frank’s bus<strong>in</strong>ess card. He describes himself as Manager/Installation Eng<strong>in</strong>eer.<br />

I do wonder whether Frank has entirely mastered multi-task<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

A little bit of excitement. Our landlord has employed one of the local layabouts<br />

to dig over the flowerbeds <strong>in</strong> front of the office. Pick <strong>in</strong> hand he sets to and with<br />

a deft blow strikes a water ma<strong>in</strong>. The water company arrive surpris<strong>in</strong>gly quickly<br />

but don’t bother to turn off the water to effect a repair. I suppose, <strong>in</strong> these<br />

temperatures, it doesn’t matter if you get a little wet.<br />

Frank is still hard at work when I leave with Alexis for an appo<strong>in</strong>tment. Frank<br />

tells me he will have to come back at the weekend to f<strong>in</strong>ish someth<strong>in</strong>g off but<br />

that everyth<strong>in</strong>g will work. When I return Frank has gone and the remote starter<br />

doesn’t appear to work. I r<strong>in</strong>g Frank who tells me you have to push the button<br />

twice. It works and from a considerable distance. It even has its own aerial<br />

fitted to the w<strong>in</strong>dscreen. When we leave the office later I start the car from<br />

about a hundred yards away. A pass<strong>in</strong>g pedestrian who I hadn’t noticed is<br />

apparently somewhat startled by an empty car start<strong>in</strong>g itself and, as he<br />

approaches us, comments on modern technology. The car is deliciously cool<br />

<strong>in</strong>side.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay is garden<strong>in</strong>g. She is try<strong>in</strong>g to cut the jungle of weeds which have grown<br />

up particularly with the recent ra<strong>in</strong>s. The only tool she has is a pair of edg<strong>in</strong>g<br />

shears, the long handled ones with the bent ends. She will be at it for a long<br />

time. When she gives up I struggle to notice where she has been but daren’t<br />

tell her.


My pen has run out of <strong>in</strong>k and I know that somewhere below is a box conta<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g<br />

about a hundred refills. L<strong>in</strong>dsay gives me some useful advice. She has seen it<br />

<strong>in</strong> the store room. It is only after I have shifted nearly every box that I discover<br />

her advice is <strong>in</strong>accurate. The box I am seek<strong>in</strong>g is <strong>in</strong> the flat and I have to go<br />

through the whole exercise aga<strong>in</strong>.<br />

We are gett<strong>in</strong>g used to th<strong>in</strong>gs runn<strong>in</strong>g out. Now it’s the turn of the gas.<br />

Fortunately, d<strong>in</strong>ner is cooked. I have been mean<strong>in</strong>g to get a spare cyl<strong>in</strong>der,<br />

now I will have to get one.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 41 – Thursday. My first task of the day is to get a couple of fresh gas<br />

cyl<strong>in</strong>ders and I discover a major disadvantage with a 4 x 4. With no proper boot<br />

the cyl<strong>in</strong>ders roll around <strong>in</strong> the back exacerbated by the uneven surface of the<br />

roads, crash<strong>in</strong>g from side to side, totally unrestra<strong>in</strong>ed. A couple of hours later,<br />

on my way <strong>in</strong>to St. John’s I drop them at the house. As I arrive I see the tractor<br />

unit of the conta<strong>in</strong>er lorry struggl<strong>in</strong>g to remove the trailer. The uphill slope and<br />

lack of tread on the tyres made it an impossible task. The driver had called out<br />

a JCB or back-hoe as they call them <strong>in</strong> Antigua. I left them to their task.<br />

Once the conta<strong>in</strong>er was empty, L<strong>in</strong>dsay had asked me how long I thought it<br />

would be before the conta<strong>in</strong>er was removed. I reckoned by Friday, she thought<br />

four months. I r<strong>in</strong>g her to say that it looks as though I was right but I am not<br />

100% confident. Return<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the afternoon I am pleased to note it has gone.<br />

I collect my repaired tyre at a cost of only EC$15 (about £3) but struggle for<br />

about ten m<strong>in</strong>utes to relocate it under the rear of the car. Gravity comb<strong>in</strong>ed with<br />

the pendulum affect of the tyre be<strong>in</strong>g suspended from a s<strong>in</strong>gle cha<strong>in</strong> makes it a<br />

three handed job and I have only two added to which, ly<strong>in</strong>g on by back on a<br />

dirty garage forecourt is not help<strong>in</strong>g my mood. For only EC$15 I suppose it was<br />

a bit much to expect assistance.<br />

One of my tasks <strong>in</strong> St. John’s is to photograph the premises of a hire car<br />

company for an advertisement. I comment that it can’t be that difficult after all, I<br />

have been photograph<strong>in</strong>g houses for thirty five years. Alexis retorts that if it<br />

was that easy there would be no need for professional photographers such as<br />

him. L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s comments are not overly favourable when I show her my efforts.<br />

It will be <strong>in</strong>terest<strong>in</strong>g to see what Alexis has to say.<br />

Driv<strong>in</strong>g past the second hand car dealer where, yesterday, we had seen a bright<br />

red Suzuki Jimny for EC$25,000 I notice the price has come down to<br />

EC$22,000, still not as good value as the KIA but at least it’s right hand drive.<br />

A call <strong>in</strong>to the <strong>in</strong>surance company to <strong>in</strong>crease our contents <strong>in</strong>surance gives me<br />

the opportunity to use my new First Caribbean International Bank credit card.<br />

Even the cashier comments on how long the transaction takes to be approved<br />

from a bank which is just down the road. I comment on how expensive<br />

<strong>in</strong>surance is <strong>in</strong> Antigua, about twice the cost of the U.K..


L<strong>in</strong>dsay be<strong>in</strong>g determ<strong>in</strong>ed to have the KIA, I drop an offer letter <strong>in</strong>to the bank<br />

and head for Jolly Harbour. Although I am gett<strong>in</strong>g better at f<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g Jolly Harbour<br />

I still seem to manage to exit St. John’s by a different route each time I try to<br />

f<strong>in</strong>d the Jolly Harbour road.<br />

I had just sat down <strong>in</strong> the only restaurant still open <strong>in</strong> Jolly Harbour to have a<br />

sandwich when my ‘phone r<strong>in</strong>gs. It is the bank call<strong>in</strong>g from their head office <strong>in</strong><br />

Barbados. My immediate thought is that someth<strong>in</strong>g is wrong with the credit<br />

card transaction. The call is <strong>in</strong> response to my offer letter for the KIA.<br />

Apparently we have been mis<strong>in</strong>formed. The value is not EU$20,000 but<br />

EU$25,900. The voice at the other end asks if I will <strong>in</strong>crease my offer. I<br />

hesitate and the voice suggests the bank will negotiate, probably meet us<br />

halfway. I say I will r<strong>in</strong>g back tomorrow.<br />

Before leav<strong>in</strong>g the office I was asked to pick up a couple of cheques from<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>esses <strong>in</strong> Jolly Harbour. Despite search<strong>in</strong>g everywhere and ask<strong>in</strong>g<br />

numerous people for the location of one of the offices, I am totally unable to f<strong>in</strong>d<br />

it. I r<strong>in</strong>g them for directions only to be told they are not open<strong>in</strong>g their office until<br />

August.<br />

As has become the practise when I am <strong>in</strong> Jolly Harbour, I r<strong>in</strong>g L<strong>in</strong>dsay and ask<br />

her whether she wants me to get anyth<strong>in</strong>g from the supermarket. Rather than<br />

her usual answer of bread and anyth<strong>in</strong>g you would like for d<strong>in</strong>ner, this time it’s<br />

bacon and anyth<strong>in</strong>g you would like for d<strong>in</strong>ner. Although she has totally banned<br />

me from ever buy<strong>in</strong>g fish aga<strong>in</strong> I cannot resist the k<strong>in</strong>g sized prawns and buy a<br />

dozen. L<strong>in</strong>dsay is very pleased with my other purchases which <strong>in</strong>cludes some<br />

key lime cream biscuits and m<strong>in</strong>t choc chip ice cream.<br />

After leav<strong>in</strong>g the office we go to the Tot <strong>in</strong> order to speak to Mike and Anne<br />

about the arrangements for the dogs. Mike gives us a list of their food<br />

requirements which <strong>in</strong>cludes rice. I jok<strong>in</strong>gly comment that I presume they eat it<br />

uncooked. L<strong>in</strong>dsay is somewhat appalled stat<strong>in</strong>g that she has enough to do<br />

cook<strong>in</strong>g for me let alone dogs as well. I suspect that may become my duty.<br />

Driv<strong>in</strong>g home I f<strong>in</strong>d my fog lights are on. I am <strong>in</strong> danger of becom<strong>in</strong>g on of<br />

those Antiguans still search<strong>in</strong>g for fog. S<strong>in</strong>ce I have never <strong>in</strong>vestigated how to<br />

turn them on I now have no idea how to turn them off. In addition, my<br />

dashboard lights are off. I suspect the handiwork of Frank. It is about a mile<br />

down the road before I discover how to turn off the fog lights but not until we are<br />

home that I discover how to turn on the dashboard lights. Everyth<strong>in</strong>g now<br />

work<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the right order and the car parked safely <strong>in</strong> the drive L<strong>in</strong>dsay asks if I<br />

have a blue flash<strong>in</strong>g security light <strong>in</strong> the car. I reply <strong>in</strong> the negative say<strong>in</strong>g it’s<br />

red one. She can def<strong>in</strong>itely see blue. I check and she is right but so am I.<br />

Frank has <strong>in</strong>stalled a blue flash<strong>in</strong>g light which completely overpowers my<br />

orig<strong>in</strong>al red flash<strong>in</strong>g light. I now worry for the state of my battery.


Before we can cook any d<strong>in</strong>ner I have to fit a new gas cyl<strong>in</strong>der. An easy task. I<br />

have done it dozens of times on a boat. I even have a wrench I have dug out<br />

from one of our tool boxes. No matter how tightly I do up the threaded nozzle I<br />

can still feel and smell gas leak<strong>in</strong>g out. L<strong>in</strong>dsay grabs the cigar from my mouth<br />

despite my protestations that it is not alight. The threaded nozzle is bound by<br />

PTFE tape which has now become worn. Hav<strong>in</strong>g no tape, I resort to the only<br />

other th<strong>in</strong>g I can th<strong>in</strong>k might make a gas tight seal. I rub a bar of soap along the<br />

thread and it works perfectly but I will keep check<strong>in</strong>g it until I can get some more<br />

tape.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 42 – Friday. The dogs arrive but not before the electricity has cut out, five<br />

times. We take it <strong>in</strong> turns to shower, shave (me) and clean our teeth whilst the<br />

other stands by to rush downstairs to push the reset switch on the <strong>in</strong>verter.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay is becom<strong>in</strong>g more conv<strong>in</strong>ced we need to live near a ma<strong>in</strong>s power<br />

supply. A decent generator would suffice. Alexis has gone to Guadeloupe to a<br />

major boat jumble and L<strong>in</strong>dsay has asked him to buy a generator if he sees one<br />

go<strong>in</strong>g cheap.<br />

Mike turns up at about eight to drop off the dogs, a mounta<strong>in</strong> of dog food, coffee<br />

he has forgotten to give to Terry, Pussers Rum which needs to be dropped off<br />

at various venues and miscellaneous items to do with the Tot Club. Mike and<br />

Anne are catch<strong>in</strong>g a flight at ten and it’s twenty past eight when he leaves with<br />

at least half an hour’s drive to the airport and Anne is still at home. They must<br />

have caught the plane as we haven’t seen them s<strong>in</strong>ce.<br />

The dogs – Ruthie is a bitch and a typical Antiguan dog, medium brown with a<br />

black muzzle, short hair and white paws. Nuisance is a black and white, large,<br />

non-pedigree dog. Accord<strong>in</strong>g to Mike, Nuisance is the well behaved dog and<br />

Ruthie the less obedient. Wrong. Nuisance lives up to his name whereas<br />

Ruthie very rapidly toes the l<strong>in</strong>e but not without an <strong>in</strong>cident or two first.<br />

Another reason not to have a 4 x 4 is that relatively small dogs cannot jump up<br />

through the tailgate. When chang<strong>in</strong>g the wheel I discovered a nett<strong>in</strong>g which can<br />

be strung between the luggage area and the passenger compartment. The<br />

luggage area is for the dogs except Ruthie can’t get <strong>in</strong>. I have to lift her aboard.<br />

Once at the office it is evident the dogs have never been up stairs. Ruthie is<br />

completely phased by the open tread staircase and pulls out of her collar. I<br />

chase her halfway down the street before recaptur<strong>in</strong>g her.<br />

In the office Nuisance will not settle down and I tie his lead to a w<strong>in</strong>dow frame to<br />

restra<strong>in</strong> him. Ruthie settles down quite easily. At lunchtime I take them for a<br />

walk. It is quite evident they have never been lead tra<strong>in</strong>ed and the pull<br />

furiously. This will have to change. To make matters worse, one of them has a<br />

bad case of flatulence. I hope it is just nervousness.<br />

I take a few moments out to check the Yellow Pages for companies which sell<br />

generators. Antiguan Yellow Pages are just like the U.K. ones except that half


the telephone numbers are wrong and many of the companies do not provide<br />

the services suggested <strong>in</strong> the adverts. I have used directory enquiries on a<br />

couple of occasions but I am conv<strong>in</strong>ced they just look <strong>in</strong> the telephone directory<br />

because on both occasions they gave me the numbers listed <strong>in</strong> the directory<br />

which are out of service. I have obta<strong>in</strong>ed the correct numbers subsequently,<br />

the companies, for reasons best known to themselves, hav<strong>in</strong>g changed them.<br />

My search for generators reveals a very mixed pattern of supply from<br />

US$10,000 down to EC$2,500. One company asks if we live near the sea and I<br />

confirm that we do. Apparently, they only sell mar<strong>in</strong>e generators and offer to<br />

plumb <strong>in</strong> a mar<strong>in</strong>e generator if we are close enough to the water for cool<strong>in</strong>g<br />

purposes. At about four hundred yards I don’t th<strong>in</strong>k so.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay decides to have the afternoon off and take the dogs home. I agree to<br />

pick her up at around five after she has walked the dogs and fed them. I am<br />

delayed and r<strong>in</strong>g her to say I will be back at five thirty. Of course, she is still not<br />

ready. The dogs are learn<strong>in</strong>g quite quickly, they already know they are not<br />

allowed <strong>in</strong> our bedroom and I have persuaded them to sit although Nuisance<br />

can be a bit reluctant. L<strong>in</strong>dsay has discovered one advantage to Nuisance. He<br />

eats all the ants which <strong>in</strong>vade the house.<br />

We cha<strong>in</strong> up the dogs on the veranda and take the various th<strong>in</strong>gs Mike has<br />

given us to distribute at the Tot Club. Mike and Anne always give the dogs a<br />

biscuit when they are cha<strong>in</strong>ed up. This is their sternest test, to sit and not touch<br />

the biscuit on the floor until told to do so. They fail but I th<strong>in</strong>k they may be<br />

beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g to get the message. On our return the dogs greet us like long lost<br />

friends and Nuisance disgraces himself by cock<strong>in</strong>g his leg aga<strong>in</strong>st a piece of<br />

Sandy’s furniture. Fortunately, it’s all wood. A few stern words has Nuisance<br />

grovell<strong>in</strong>g on his belly. Perhaps they need a walk. This is the beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g of their<br />

walk<strong>in</strong>g on a lead tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g. The start by pull<strong>in</strong>g hard and I shorten the lead to<br />

arms length. Every time the pull I pull back and stop. Surpris<strong>in</strong>gly quickly, they<br />

get the message. Unfortunately, I have taken them for a walk down the hill. I<br />

could do with a pull back up aga<strong>in</strong>.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 43 – Saturday. The electricity, or lack thereof, is becom<strong>in</strong>g a bit of a pa<strong>in</strong>.<br />

The <strong>in</strong>verter cuts out and stubbornly refuses to reset for more than a few<br />

m<strong>in</strong>utes. Sandy’s generator still appears not to be charg<strong>in</strong>g so the only<br />

alternative is to wait for the sun to charge up the batteries. In order to get the<br />

maximum benefit we leave the ‘fridge disconnected. Eventually, we are able to<br />

have showers. Just as well it’s not a work<strong>in</strong>g day.<br />

At ten Roger and Kev<strong>in</strong> are due to set off on their charity row around the island.<br />

They have come to the conclusion that it is not go<strong>in</strong>g to be as easy as they had<br />

orig<strong>in</strong>ally thought. Although the boat was ‘rowed’ across the Atlantic, <strong>in</strong> reality,<br />

it drifted with the currents and the prevail<strong>in</strong>g w<strong>in</strong>ds. Roger and Kev<strong>in</strong> have<br />

decided that if they get <strong>in</strong>to difficulty they will get a tow from the ‘mother ship’,<br />

Graeme’s 43 foot catamaran. I have sponsored them for an amount for each


owed mile and a smaller amount for each towed mile <strong>in</strong> the hope that it will be<br />

an <strong>in</strong>centive.<br />

Charlie (female), a friend of Mike and Anne’s r<strong>in</strong>g to ask if we have the cat food<br />

amongst our dog food. She has the dogs’ flea treatment but no cat food. Sure<br />

enough, a bag conta<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g t<strong>in</strong>s with cat’s faces on them and TUNA pr<strong>in</strong>ted <strong>in</strong><br />

large letters stares from the bags of dog food. We agree an exchange this<br />

even<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

Amid television cameras and press photographers they cast off and are almost<br />

immediately <strong>in</strong> trouble. The w<strong>in</strong>dage on the boat is enormous not helped by the<br />

large banner they have strung fore and aft. It is upw<strong>in</strong>d to the entrance to<br />

English Harbour and they actually hav<strong>in</strong>g to tack <strong>in</strong> order to make progress<br />

aga<strong>in</strong>st the w<strong>in</strong>d. Once out of the entrance to English Harbour, it is their<br />

<strong>in</strong>tention to be towed to Green Island, halfway up the east coast of Antigua,<br />

where a function is be<strong>in</strong>g held and they hope to raise more funds. Tomorrow<br />

they will get a tow back to English Harbour and start the row <strong>in</strong> earnest. It<br />

would be impossible for them to cont<strong>in</strong>ue to row around the east side of the<br />

island aga<strong>in</strong>st the prevail<strong>in</strong>g currents. They anticipate f<strong>in</strong>ish<strong>in</strong>g on Wednesday<br />

but I th<strong>in</strong>k we will all be surprised if they do it that quickly without a fair bit of<br />

tow<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

At one stage we had considered borrow<strong>in</strong>g a boat and sail<strong>in</strong>g around to Green<br />

Island. Terry and Connie offer us a ride on Graeme’s catamaran which would<br />

have been nice except we need to get back for the dogs. Already they are<br />

imp<strong>in</strong>g<strong>in</strong>g on our social life. We may drive up this even<strong>in</strong>g and jo<strong>in</strong> the party.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay spends the afternoon build<strong>in</strong>g a gate to prevent the dogs gett<strong>in</strong>g off the<br />

veranda but it is still <strong>in</strong>complete. At present there are just a couple of boxes<br />

placed on the steps to discourage them from go<strong>in</strong>g down.<br />

I take the dogs for a long walk <strong>in</strong> the afternoon, start<strong>in</strong>g by go<strong>in</strong>g up hill on the<br />

pr<strong>in</strong>ciple that it will wear them out and it will be easier to control them as they<br />

pull at the leads. What I had neglected to th<strong>in</strong>k about was com<strong>in</strong>g back down<br />

one of the rough tracks which is worn from soft granite and has a surface<br />

compris<strong>in</strong>g round, ball-bear<strong>in</strong>g sized stones. It is hard enough to stay upright<br />

without two pull<strong>in</strong>g dogs. In future I will stick to the concrete roads.<br />

Look<strong>in</strong>g at the weather, ra<strong>in</strong> com<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> from the south, we decide Green Island<br />

is not a good option. A barbeque on a wet beach is not my idea of<br />

enterta<strong>in</strong>ment.<br />

In the even<strong>in</strong>g we meet Charlie at the Tot and exchange goods. We stay a little<br />

longer than <strong>in</strong>tended and don’t get home until n<strong>in</strong>e. At half ten the electricity<br />

cuts out and with no sunlight we are stuck until morn<strong>in</strong>g.


<strong>Day</strong> 44 – Sunday. We are woken at 4.30 by the dogs bark<strong>in</strong>g. They have<br />

spotted someth<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the garden. L<strong>in</strong>dsay eventually identifies it as a stray dog<br />

wander<strong>in</strong>g around. It disappears up the road and ‘our’ dogs settle down aga<strong>in</strong><br />

but we don’t. By leav<strong>in</strong>g the bedroom door open whilst I sorted out the dogs I<br />

have let <strong>in</strong> all the mosquitoes. L<strong>in</strong>dsay suggests we spray the room and<br />

evacuate for a few m<strong>in</strong>utes. I am reluctant to disturb the dogs aga<strong>in</strong> and suffer<br />

the consequences.<br />

Six o’clock and there is a knock on front the door. It is one of the neighbours<br />

with the stray dog on a lead ask<strong>in</strong>g it belongs to us. Apparently, her bitch is <strong>in</strong><br />

season and the stray is mak<strong>in</strong>g a nuisance of himself. Now thoroughly awake<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay takes the dogs for a run. They are go<strong>in</strong>g to be so fit when Mike and<br />

Anne return and, hopefully, thoroughly discipl<strong>in</strong>ed as well.<br />

The w<strong>in</strong>d is quite strong and, look<strong>in</strong>g out to sea, the waves fairly big which does<br />

not bode well for Roger and Kev<strong>in</strong>. They are due off English Harbour at eleven<br />

so, from our vantage po<strong>in</strong>t, we should see them at about twelve. We have our<br />

f<strong>in</strong>gers crossed.<br />

The garden still looks like a build<strong>in</strong>g site except the weeds have now grown to<br />

between a foot and two foot high. S<strong>in</strong>ce there is no Tot Club Keep Fit I decide<br />

to clear the timber, the pile of sand, the unused electrical cable and various bits<br />

of rubble ly<strong>in</strong>g around. L<strong>in</strong>dsay is <strong>in</strong>tent on cutt<strong>in</strong>g down the weeds but not until<br />

she has f<strong>in</strong>ished build<strong>in</strong>g the dog gate. Quite why she is cutt<strong>in</strong>g mortise and<br />

tenon jo<strong>in</strong>ts I have no idea. A couple of nails will do.<br />

The gate f<strong>in</strong>ished L<strong>in</strong>dsay starts attack<strong>in</strong>g the weeds with a pair of garden<br />

shears. The <strong>in</strong>efficiency of the process offends me. I remember when I was a<br />

child <strong>in</strong> Africa the gardeners cut lawns with sharpened, bent pieces of metal we<br />

called slashers. I search amongst the builders debris for a piece of th<strong>in</strong> metal.<br />

Unfortunately all I can f<strong>in</strong>d is a large section of corrugated roof<strong>in</strong>g material. I<br />

haven’t told L<strong>in</strong>dsay but I use her secateurs to cut the alum<strong>in</strong>ium to shape. A<br />

length of wood and a few nails fashions the piece of metal <strong>in</strong>to a blade on the<br />

end of a long handle. The blade is a bit blunt and I have no sharpen<strong>in</strong>g tools.<br />

Bash<strong>in</strong>g the edge of the blade with a hammer aga<strong>in</strong>st the concrete floor does<br />

sharpen the edge a bit. The effort is worth it because the weeds fall<br />

remorselessly but the handle is not well shaped and too long. The use of a saw<br />

soon makes the necessary modifications but the addition of gaffer tape to the<br />

handle doesn’t prevent the appearance of blisters on my hand. This is only<br />

<strong>in</strong>tended to be a demonstration to L<strong>in</strong>dsay of the mechanical advantage of tools<br />

designed for the job, however, see<strong>in</strong>g the success I am hav<strong>in</strong>g with the weeds<br />

she leaves me to the job.<br />

At twenty to one I notice Roger and Kev<strong>in</strong> row<strong>in</strong>g across Rendezvous Bay.<br />

Somehow I have missed them as they crossed Falmouth Harbour. I estimate I<br />

have a field of vision of about one mile and they cross <strong>in</strong> about twenty m<strong>in</strong>utes<br />

which means they are mak<strong>in</strong>g about three knots. Later I hear they rowed all the


way to Jolly Harbour. L<strong>in</strong>dsay takes a photo of them which, when enlarged,<br />

looks quite good.<br />

By early afternoon, hav<strong>in</strong>g extended our path with spare concrete blocks and<br />

cleared all the debris from the garden the effort of which, when added to the<br />

lack of sleep, makes me consider a siesta is <strong>in</strong> order but I fail to take <strong>in</strong>to<br />

account the dogs who seem to require my undivided attention. Even L<strong>in</strong>dsay is<br />

consider<strong>in</strong>g children as an alternative. Later, meet<strong>in</strong>g two hyper-active microhumans<br />

cures her of that aberration.<br />

Earlier <strong>in</strong> the day when I am carry<strong>in</strong>g concrete blocks around and perspir<strong>in</strong>g<br />

profusely, L<strong>in</strong>dsay suggests I should wear a shirt. Soon after I add one to my<br />

attire but comment that L<strong>in</strong>dsay is equally exposed, almost. She is wear<strong>in</strong>g a<br />

bik<strong>in</strong>i top. At about five L<strong>in</strong>dsay goes for a shower and blames me for her<br />

sunburnt back. Shortly after, L<strong>in</strong>dsay suggests I also have a shower. I<br />

presume this means we are go<strong>in</strong>g to the Tot Club.<br />

-<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 45 – Monday. Despite hav<strong>in</strong>g left the ‘fridge off for half of yesterday and all<br />

of last night, we run out of power aga<strong>in</strong> this morn<strong>in</strong>g. It really is gett<strong>in</strong>g beyond<br />

a joke. We have discussed buy<strong>in</strong>g a generator and ask<strong>in</strong>g our landlord for a<br />

discount on the rent but, be<strong>in</strong>g a Scotsman, I doubt he’ll agree.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g made an appo<strong>in</strong>tment to test drive this Kia Sportage for L<strong>in</strong>dsay, I r<strong>in</strong>g<br />

to confirm that it is still on and they tell me to come immediately. It’s <strong>in</strong> St<br />

John’s, so half an hour’s drive away. We arrive and they have put a new<br />

battery on the car but it hasn’t moved from it’s park<strong>in</strong>g place which is partially<br />

obstructed by other cars. I am tempted to say that even a woman driver could<br />

have extracted the car but s<strong>in</strong>ce L<strong>in</strong>dsay kept on tell<strong>in</strong>g not to offer to get it out,<br />

I suspect that may not be the case. I am equally doubtful that the person<br />

attempt<strong>in</strong>g to move the car has a driv<strong>in</strong>g licence. He tries to move three other<br />

vehicles, all with flat batteries, quite unnecessarily. Eventually, with much<br />

direct<strong>in</strong>g from me and the office secretary the car is ready for us to drive except<br />

we are not allowed to take it on the road. Apparently, the bank have said we<br />

need to be accompanied by the manager and he has disappeared. I suggest<br />

the to secretary that she r<strong>in</strong>gs the bank. She can’t. The power is off and the<br />

‘phones aren’t work<strong>in</strong>g. (We experienced the same th<strong>in</strong>g earlier). I give her my<br />

mobile ‘phone. For the first time <strong>in</strong> my life, myself described as a Caucasian. I<br />

am unsure whether or not this is supposed to engender confidence <strong>in</strong> the bank<br />

but permission is granted for us to take the car unaccompanied.<br />

It is just as well we take the car for a test drive as it lists to port (left, to the nonsailors)<br />

dramatically and the steer<strong>in</strong>g seems fairly erratic and I am only the<br />

passenger. Horrible clonk<strong>in</strong>g noises come from the area of the front<br />

suspension. L<strong>in</strong>dsay comments that the brakes are quite soft. We return to the<br />

yard and I have a good underneath. One front suspension leg is a good two<br />

<strong>in</strong>ches shorter that the other and both shock absorbers have fractures <strong>in</strong> their<br />

cas<strong>in</strong>gs plus there is a steady trickle of what I determ<strong>in</strong>e as brake fluid runn<strong>in</strong>g


out from under the eng<strong>in</strong>e. No wonder the brakes felt soft. It is suggested that<br />

we might care to make a modified offer but I wouldn’t care to guess at what else<br />

might be wrong. I can only imag<strong>in</strong>e that the owner, know<strong>in</strong>g the car was to be<br />

repossessed drove it like a lunatic over Antigua’s worst roads.<br />

By now L<strong>in</strong>dsay is gett<strong>in</strong>g desperate for a car and I suggest we go back and<br />

look at the Suzuki Jimny which had been EC$25,000 and was now reduced to<br />

EC$22,000. It is the fixed head version and looks like a Tonka toy and is not<br />

much bigger although it is the upmarket version and does have a strange<br />

element of charm to it. It’s bright read with quite a bit of not too ostentatious<br />

chrome Also, it does drive well.<br />

The garage make a big mistake. They show us another one <strong>in</strong> dark green. Not<br />

as good but at only EC$18,000. We decide to go for the red one but, after quite<br />

a lot of hard barga<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g dur<strong>in</strong>g which L<strong>in</strong>dsay beg<strong>in</strong>s to lose her patience with<br />

me, we eventually settle on EC$19,500. Still without Antiguan driv<strong>in</strong>g licences,<br />

we persuade the garage owner to register it for us. Collection day is tomorrow.<br />

On our way back we call at a company to check out generators. His description<br />

of where he is located has left me a little baffled but I have a rough idea. After<br />

driv<strong>in</strong>g up and down the road a couple of time we stop and ask a security guard<br />

for directions. He po<strong>in</strong>ts to a build<strong>in</strong>g less than 100 yards away. When we<br />

arrive we are told that the have just had the outside of the build<strong>in</strong>g pa<strong>in</strong>ted and<br />

the decorators have pa<strong>in</strong>ted over the sign board.<br />

This place is unbelievable. It’s border<strong>in</strong>g on a scrap yard for anyth<strong>in</strong>g and<br />

everyth<strong>in</strong>g electrical and they are repair<strong>in</strong>g all k<strong>in</strong>ds of bits <strong>in</strong> the open <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g<br />

rew<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g electric motors and generators. The second hand parts store is<br />

massive and a complete Aladd<strong>in</strong>’s cave Locked <strong>in</strong> the front of the very large<br />

build<strong>in</strong>g are boxes of new generators. Two are unpacked and one is<br />

demonstrated to us. It is a s<strong>in</strong>gle cyl<strong>in</strong>der diesel with a battery starter and is<br />

capable of putt<strong>in</strong>g out 5 KVA (5,000 watts), more than we need. Before go<strong>in</strong>g I<br />

had enquired of the price and was told EC$8,000. We are asked if we want one<br />

of the boxed one or the unboxed one. I ask if I get a discount without the box<br />

and the price is reduced to EC$7,500. They quite happily take a cheque.<br />

When asked how we <strong>in</strong>tend to get it home I say we will take it <strong>in</strong> the car. They<br />

laugh. It takes four of them to lift it. Suddenly big 4 x 4s are hav<strong>in</strong>g even more<br />

uses. I can’t see myself have fitted that <strong>in</strong> the boot of the XK.<br />

It is a little narrower than the width of the car and is on wheels. Many of the<br />

roads <strong>in</strong> Antigua are blighted by sharp bends. The <strong>in</strong>ertia of this mach<strong>in</strong>e roll<strong>in</strong>g<br />

from side to side is hav<strong>in</strong>g a rather disturb<strong>in</strong>g affect on the handl<strong>in</strong>g of the car. I<br />

decide to stop and L<strong>in</strong>dsay jams a box of Mar<strong>in</strong>e Guides between the generator<br />

and the side of the car. The box just about survives our journey home.<br />

Once home we have the task of gett<strong>in</strong>g the generator out. I go and f<strong>in</strong>d Charlie<br />

who is work<strong>in</strong>g at Sandy’s house. He has his doubts and wanders off down the


oad to where they are build<strong>in</strong>g a house and grabs a couple of men. Meantime,<br />

I discover another use for a 4 x 4. I can drive it though the garden to get to the<br />

far side of the house where the power room is situated We lift the generator<br />

<strong>in</strong>to the power room and I leave Charlie wir<strong>in</strong>g it up to the batteries. He seems<br />

<strong>in</strong> his element. A new and work<strong>in</strong>g generator.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g left the dogs on their own for much longer than we <strong>in</strong>tended, I suggest<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay stays at home and I go back to the office.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 46 – Tuesday. Perhaps another day of mixed bless<strong>in</strong>gs. Yesterday I had<br />

an offer from a friend for my yacht. I would love to have her here but L<strong>in</strong>dsay is<br />

right. It would be a mistake to have her sitt<strong>in</strong>g here, hardly used and I would<br />

have to carry out a number of modifications to make her suitable for two handed<br />

sail<strong>in</strong>g. I know I will regret for the rest of my life sell<strong>in</strong>g her but one has to be<br />

practical, after all, it’s not as though L<strong>in</strong>dsay is a sailor and if we are to cruise<br />

the islands (did I use that unacceptable word – cruise?) then I probably need<br />

someth<strong>in</strong>g different but you can be sure it will have to be capable of rac<strong>in</strong>g. I<br />

determ<strong>in</strong>e to accept the offer.<br />

I am not sure if Fates are on my side but I send the e-mail accept<strong>in</strong>g the offer<br />

and the system crashes followed by a power failure and the <strong>in</strong>ternet go<strong>in</strong>g<br />

down. I am unsure of whether my e-mail has been sent. Not know<strong>in</strong>g when<br />

power, <strong>in</strong>ternet, telephone communications, etc. will be restored, I set off for St.<br />

John’s to arrange <strong>in</strong>surance for L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s car, get the cash from the bank and<br />

one or two other tasks. It shouldn’t take me more than a couple of hours.<br />

Wrong. Sort<strong>in</strong>g out the <strong>in</strong>surance takes about an hour. I could detail the<br />

m<strong>in</strong>utia of what took so long but suffice to say that when I notice they have me<br />

as two months older than my actual age I do not bother to correct them. They<br />

do tell me that they do not normally <strong>in</strong>sure used cars without an <strong>in</strong>spection and<br />

ask if the car can be brought along next time it is <strong>in</strong> town. I get the impression<br />

that as we have spent quite a lot of money with them recently, <strong>in</strong> the overall<br />

scheme of th<strong>in</strong>gs, L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s Tonka toy is not of great consideration.<br />

Next door to the <strong>in</strong>surance office is the company with whom we have our mobile<br />

‘phones. I decide to change m<strong>in</strong>e from a Pay As You Go to a debit system.<br />

They tell me I will lose all the credit left <strong>in</strong> my ‘phone. I know only have a small<br />

amount of credit left. They check and tell me it’s a few <strong>in</strong>ternational calls. It<br />

turns out to be two and a half. Firstly, I r<strong>in</strong>g Brighton Mar<strong>in</strong>a to sort out my<br />

berth<strong>in</strong>g arrangements which expire at the end of the month. I then th<strong>in</strong>k my<br />

mother would have quite a surprise if I r<strong>in</strong>g her. She does. She puts the ‘phone<br />

down on me. I try aga<strong>in</strong> and when she answers I run out of credit.<br />

For some reason it takes the average bank clerk ten m<strong>in</strong>utes to deal with each<br />

transaction even <strong>in</strong> the posh branch where we now bank but at least they have<br />

seats. There are five people <strong>in</strong> front of me with two tellers serv<strong>in</strong>g which rapidly<br />

reduces to one. I wait forty five m<strong>in</strong>utes to be served. I wish to transfer an<br />

amount of money from our sav<strong>in</strong>gs account to our cheque account and then


draw sufficient funds to pay for L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s car. It takes twenty m<strong>in</strong>utes to do the<br />

two transactions. Meanwhile I watch Tim Henman go two sets down at<br />

Wimbledon. The World Service later tells me he recovered sufficiently to w<strong>in</strong><br />

the game. That man doesn’t deserve to w<strong>in</strong>.<br />

On my way to the garage L<strong>in</strong>dsay r<strong>in</strong>gs to ask if I will come back via Jolly<br />

Harbour. Which way this time? I wonder.<br />

Paperwork is everyth<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> this country. If the paperwork doesn’t match, you’re<br />

stuffed. I have learnt to provide as much paper work as possible and never give<br />

any explanations. If there’s a query it’s their fault because they haven’t<br />

understood the paperwork. I am asked for my driv<strong>in</strong>g licence. We still don’t<br />

have permanent driv<strong>in</strong>g licences so I produce the paperwork from my car with<br />

Alexis’s driv<strong>in</strong>g licence number on it. They question that it is the same number<br />

and I po<strong>in</strong>t out that we are talk<strong>in</strong>g about different cars. Can I not have two<br />

cars? The form gets completed. I am told I can come back <strong>in</strong> an hour, no,<br />

make it an hour and a half, to collect the car. Two hours later I r<strong>in</strong>g to be told<br />

that the car only needs clean<strong>in</strong>g. I say we are half an hour away and will come<br />

now. As we arrive they commence clean<strong>in</strong>g the car.<br />

We have brought the dogs with us and I leave them <strong>in</strong> the car. A man<br />

approaches me and suggests I should have a w<strong>in</strong>dow open. I po<strong>in</strong>t out that I<br />

have left the eng<strong>in</strong>e runn<strong>in</strong>g and that the dogs have the benefit of air<br />

condition<strong>in</strong>g. He laughs and comments that dogs are better looked after than<br />

humans.<br />

Unlike m<strong>in</strong>e when delivered, L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s car has no petrol. I direct her to the<br />

nearest petrol station and she pulls alongside a pump. A car beh<strong>in</strong>d starts<br />

hoot<strong>in</strong>g furiously. The petrol station forecourt is a shortcut around a set of traffic<br />

lights and L<strong>in</strong>dsay has parked <strong>in</strong> the middle of this ‘private’ highway. She has to<br />

move to the other side of the pumps <strong>in</strong> order to be served. On the way back<br />

one of the dogs starts to pick at the t<strong>in</strong>t<strong>in</strong>g film which covers the <strong>in</strong>side of<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s w<strong>in</strong>dows. L<strong>in</strong>dsay is go<strong>in</strong>g home and I am go<strong>in</strong>g back to the office so<br />

the dogs switched cars.<br />

Whilst <strong>in</strong> town I attempt to purchase a length of hose with which to extend the<br />

generator’s exhaust <strong>in</strong> order to remove the fumes from the power room. Hav<strong>in</strong>g<br />

no success at two car accessory shops I wait until I reach English Harbour and<br />

call <strong>in</strong> at a yacht chandlers. A piece of yacht exhaust will be perfect but, as with<br />

yacht chandlers the world over, boat parts are an arm and a leg. A six foot<br />

length costs me nearly EC$100. It will be a bit of a gamble as I had noth<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

measure the diameter of the generator’s exhaust. I guess at an <strong>in</strong>ch and a half.<br />

The guess is completely accurate. It fits perfectly.<br />

I run the generator for a couple of hours to boost the batteries and then turn it<br />

off. As I turn it off the power goes off as well. No amount of push<strong>in</strong>g reset<br />

buttons or restart<strong>in</strong>g the generator will cause the electricity to come back on


aga<strong>in</strong>. Sandy reckons the <strong>in</strong>verter must have blown itself which means a new<br />

one. He has a scheme for runn<strong>in</strong>g electricity direct from the generator to the<br />

wir<strong>in</strong>g system which seems to make sense except that his plugs will not match<br />

with the outlet sockets from the generator. I th<strong>in</strong>k the Japanese must be still be<br />

try<strong>in</strong>g to get their revenge on the Americans for los<strong>in</strong>g the war. Charlie will have<br />

to be called <strong>in</strong> the morn<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

The Japanese have slightly plagued us over the past few days. I am still try<strong>in</strong>g<br />

to understand what they mean <strong>in</strong> the handbook for the generator by “Eng<strong>in</strong>es<br />

supplied to the torrid zone will no attach the rubber plug”. The Tonka toy’s<br />

handbook makes reference to brake squeal which will occur if it snows. L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

feels she will have good reason to be concerned if her brakes beg<strong>in</strong> to squeal.<br />

I can’t resist <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g a couple of pictures<br />

of the Tonka toy.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 47 – Wednesday. 6am and Sandy is busily rush<strong>in</strong>g around try<strong>in</strong>g to restore<br />

our electricity but with little success. I am sure we will have to await Charlie<br />

when we hear the water pump start up. Noth<strong>in</strong>g else works but at least we can<br />

have showers. Although I believe stress to be an American <strong>in</strong>vention and<br />

therefore not applicable to the English, I am beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g to wonder what they<br />

mean by life <strong>in</strong> Antigua be<strong>in</strong>g stress free.<br />

I have never believed <strong>in</strong> stress. It's someth<strong>in</strong>g one creates <strong>in</strong> oneself. After I<br />

was blown up <strong>in</strong> the Grand Hotel <strong>in</strong> Brighton, the police asked if I wanted post<br />

traumatic stress counsell<strong>in</strong>g. I told them I didn't believe <strong>in</strong> stress and that I had<br />

been too drunk to be traumatised. It transpired that I could receive crim<strong>in</strong>al<br />

<strong>in</strong>juries compensation if I admitted to hav<strong>in</strong>g post traumatic stress disorder.<br />

Pride wouldn't let me do it although I did get a fair bit of money for a girl who<br />

was with me and physically <strong>in</strong>jured.<br />

S<strong>in</strong>ce John Burton is the Suzuki Jimny aficionado extraord<strong>in</strong>aire I give him a<br />

sneak pre-view of the Tonka toy by e-mail. He responds with the comment it<br />

looks like Postman Pat’s van. Too late, L<strong>in</strong>dsay has already recognised this.<br />

John suggests we get a black and white cat to complete the set. I tell him we<br />

are look<strong>in</strong>g after two dogs, one of which is black and white. I ask if this will do.<br />

So far he hasn’t responded.<br />

Now that she has her own car, L<strong>in</strong>dsay doesn’t need to drive <strong>in</strong>to the office with<br />

me. I arrive at eight and L<strong>in</strong>dsay at ten, by arrangement. It gives me time to<br />

get work done on the computer before she arrives.


Our new computer still hasn’t arrived and I r<strong>in</strong>g the supplier who has had my<br />

money for a week and still hasn’t sent the computer. He tells me that between<br />

my order and receiv<strong>in</strong>g my money he has run out of stock and he can’t get any<br />

more from Apple. I am not sure I believe him but unfortunately, he’s <strong>in</strong> the U.K.<br />

and I’m here. All k<strong>in</strong>ds of thoughts of be<strong>in</strong>g defrauded run through my m<strong>in</strong>d. I<br />

might have to set the ‘heavies’ on him. Fortunately, you can now issue Court<br />

Orders on l<strong>in</strong>e but it doesn’t help with our computer problem at the office.<br />

I have to sort out various th<strong>in</strong>gs with Paul by e-mail over the boat and tell him<br />

that the name and sail number must be removed. Paul says he wants to take<br />

the boat over as soon as he can and I suggest 1 st July which is the day my<br />

moor<strong>in</strong>g fees need to be renewed. I am still hav<strong>in</strong>g pangs of doubt about sell<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the boat but Paul has suggested that he will br<strong>in</strong>g it out to Antigua for 2007 and<br />

I can helm. It’s an offer I won’t be able to refuse but I won’t hold him to it. By<br />

then he will probably be enjoy<strong>in</strong>g helm<strong>in</strong>g too much himself. S<strong>in</strong>ce I always<br />

take the name with me Paul and Val will have to come up with an alternative. I<br />

have the perfect name but I am not sure the will agree. As their surname is<br />

Shill<strong>in</strong>g and, for those old enough to remember, two shill<strong>in</strong>gs were a Flor<strong>in</strong>, the<br />

name is obvious but maybe not to them.<br />

When L<strong>in</strong>dsay does arrive she tells me the electrical failure is my fault. On the<br />

generator there is a switch which says 110 volts and another which says 240<br />

volts. S<strong>in</strong>ce the house runs on a 110 volt system I turn the switch to 110. This<br />

is wrong. When charg<strong>in</strong>g it is necessary to have the switch on 240 volts<br />

regardless of the output of the <strong>in</strong>verter. I suppose if the hand book was<br />

understandable I might have realised this. Fortunately I can blame those<br />

damned, <strong>in</strong>scrutable Japanese and their strange translation <strong>in</strong>to English.<br />

Apparently, I have confused the <strong>in</strong>verter and it has gone <strong>in</strong>to a sulk and lost its<br />

memory. Charlie has connected another <strong>in</strong>verter whilst he talks nicely to the old<br />

one to get it go<strong>in</strong>g aga<strong>in</strong>. I can only assume s<strong>in</strong>ce it was so easily confused the<br />

<strong>in</strong>verter must be female.<br />

Frank, who was supposed to turn up at n<strong>in</strong>e to f<strong>in</strong>ish the self-start<strong>in</strong>g rang at<br />

half ten and asked if he could come now. S<strong>in</strong>ce I haven’t paid him yet and what<br />

he needs to do is not prevent<strong>in</strong>g me from us<strong>in</strong>g the system, I tell him I have to<br />

go to St. John’s and he will have to come back tomorrow.<br />

On the way to St. John’s to take some photographs I get waved down by a<br />

woman want<strong>in</strong>g a lift. I have noticed that the women quite happily hitch from<br />

white male drivers but very rarely from black drivers. It seems a sort of reverse<br />

racialism. Presumably they feel safer with white men. Hav<strong>in</strong>g dropped her off,<br />

two more flag me down. I am beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g to feel like a taxi service. Admittedly, I<br />

am driv<strong>in</strong>g along a route rarely used by the buses which are all privately owned<br />

and tend to stick to the busier routes. On the bus routes, people don’t often try<br />

to hitch lifts as the buses very frequent and cheap.


Back at the office I need access to the computer to deal with the photographs<br />

and turn them <strong>in</strong>to an advertisement. L<strong>in</strong>dsay is us<strong>in</strong>g it and my impatience is<br />

obviously show<strong>in</strong>g. L<strong>in</strong>dsay, now hav<strong>in</strong>g her own transport, decides to go<br />

home. Alexis and I agree that until we have another computer it is probably<br />

preferable that L<strong>in</strong>dsay only comes <strong>in</strong>to the office occasionally s<strong>in</strong>ce neither she<br />

nor I are enjoy<strong>in</strong>g fight<strong>in</strong>g over one computer. I end up stay<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the office until<br />

nearly six to catch up with work on the computer then nip off for a quick Tot<br />

before go<strong>in</strong>g home. L<strong>in</strong>dsay decides she can’t be bothered to drive out to jo<strong>in</strong><br />

me. Hav<strong>in</strong>g taken the dogs for a walk, she would need to change.<br />

At home I decide to run the generator. The dogs always come with me when I<br />

go <strong>in</strong>to the garden. Hav<strong>in</strong>g hung the exhaust extension hose out of one of the<br />

power room w<strong>in</strong>dows it is suspended about two foot from the ground. As I start<br />

the eng<strong>in</strong>e there is quite a commotion outside. I look out to see two dogs<br />

beat<strong>in</strong>g a hasty retreat amongst a cloud of black smoke. They must have been<br />

<strong>in</strong>vestigat<strong>in</strong>g the end of the hose as I started the eng<strong>in</strong>e.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 48 – Thursday. L<strong>in</strong>dsay hav<strong>in</strong>g her own car is a much better arrangement.<br />

I go to the office on my own and she can, if she wishes, turn up later. There are<br />

a few th<strong>in</strong>gs to be done <strong>in</strong> St. John’s so she can get out and about a bit. I th<strong>in</strong>k<br />

be<strong>in</strong>g stuck with each other 24 hours a day and sometimes <strong>in</strong> difficult<br />

circumstances, particularly <strong>in</strong> the office, has put a bit of a stra<strong>in</strong> on both of us.<br />

With luck, we will be back to the old days <strong>in</strong> the U.K. when I went to the office<br />

and she worked Civil Service hours or less.<br />

Not unsurpris<strong>in</strong>gly, n<strong>in</strong>e o’clock has passed by and no sign of Frank to f<strong>in</strong>ish the<br />

car although I have had one call to say that Roger and Kev<strong>in</strong> are arriv<strong>in</strong>g back<br />

from their row around the island at 12.30. There is a rumour that they had to<br />

turn back because of bad weather. On Tuesday there was a small craft<br />

weather warn<strong>in</strong>g and I know they did not set off. Also, they were unable to stay<br />

on their anchorage at Club Colona because of the swell and had to be towed to<br />

Jumby Bay.<br />

Half past n<strong>in</strong>e and Frank arrives to tell me he has another two hours work on<br />

the car. He expla<strong>in</strong>s why and it makes sense but I th<strong>in</strong>k he must be los<strong>in</strong>g<br />

money on this job.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay, hav<strong>in</strong>g arrived <strong>in</strong> the office, I tell about the call from Charlie which had<br />

<strong>in</strong>formed me Roger and Kev<strong>in</strong> are due back <strong>in</strong> English Harbour at 12.30.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay suggests we go for lunch at the Galley Bar. Roger and Kev<strong>in</strong>’s tim<strong>in</strong>g<br />

is almost impeccable. They arrive at 12.35. The newspaper press are there but<br />

not the television cameras. A re-arrival is staged later.<br />

S<strong>in</strong>ce both L<strong>in</strong>dsay and I need to use the computer and I have had it all<br />

morn<strong>in</strong>g, I volunteer to go back and take the dogs for a walk and give them their<br />

d<strong>in</strong>ner. We are now leav<strong>in</strong>g them at home s<strong>in</strong>ce the conf<strong>in</strong>ed office space is not<br />

conducive to dogs and humans.


Walk<strong>in</strong>g the dogs I come across the neighbour who called on us a six the other<br />

morn<strong>in</strong>g with a stray dog. Apparently the Vymirana comes several miles to visit<br />

her dog and managed to get <strong>in</strong>to her compound this afternoon. Her dog is off to<br />

the vet tomorrow for a ‘morn<strong>in</strong>g after pill’.<br />

The post L<strong>in</strong>dsay br<strong>in</strong>gs me back from St. John’s comprises one bank<br />

statement and four letters from the Inland Revenue. The bank statement is on<br />

my personal account which, s<strong>in</strong>ce I can access it on the <strong>in</strong>ternet, is of little<br />

<strong>in</strong>terest. What I can’t access on the <strong>in</strong>ternet and Barclays stubbornly refuse to<br />

send me, is a statement of my US dollar account. I would dearly love to have<br />

one.<br />

The first of the four letters from the Inland Revenue confirm that they have reestablished<br />

my direct debit for my National Insurance contributions, cancelled<br />

when I advised them we were mov<strong>in</strong>g abroad and tells me I have to do noth<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

Another gives me a statement of credits and debits which occurred between the<br />

time I advised them that we were mov<strong>in</strong>g and the date we actually moved, after<br />

which they were able to re-<strong>in</strong>state the direct debits. Apparently, I owe them<br />

£8.20. Letter three produces, for the same period, a debt of £8.40. Do I owe<br />

them £8.20 or £8.40 or the total of the two, £16.60? Letter four (a page and a<br />

half) tells me I have 28 days to pay. S<strong>in</strong>ce the letter is dated 11 th May and<br />

posted with a second class stamp, I am a bit out of time. However, I am<br />

advised I can pay by 11 th May 2006 without penalty or even by 11 th May 2012<br />

with a penalty. I thought Antigua was bureaucratic.<br />

When we test drove the green Suzuki Jimny I tried to adjust one of the<br />

dashboard air vents and a co<strong>in</strong> fell out. I noticed a correspond<strong>in</strong>g co<strong>in</strong> <strong>in</strong> the<br />

adjacent air vent. L<strong>in</strong>dsay tells me she now knows the purpose of the co<strong>in</strong>s.<br />

Without them as counterweights, the air vents cool the roof of the car.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 49 – Friday. As soon as I get <strong>in</strong>to the office I check my U.K. bank accounts<br />

and there is a big <strong>in</strong>jection of capital. The sale of Lewes has obviously<br />

completed leav<strong>in</strong>g me devoid of assets <strong>in</strong> the U.K. unless you count the boat<br />

which will go <strong>in</strong> the next few days. This leaves me with the task of mov<strong>in</strong>g<br />

money around and clear<strong>in</strong>g a few debts I had left <strong>in</strong> the U.K.. I had decided to<br />

transfer as much money as I could <strong>in</strong>to dollars whilst the pound was strong and<br />

leave a few th<strong>in</strong>gs to be paid off when Lewes completed. It proved to be the<br />

right move because the dollar has ga<strong>in</strong>ed nearly 10 cents s<strong>in</strong>ce I switched from<br />

sterl<strong>in</strong>g. However, I now needed to clear those debts.<br />

Happily transferr<strong>in</strong>g money on the <strong>in</strong>ternet from Barclays I suddenly receive a<br />

message tell<strong>in</strong>g me I have exceeded my daily limit of money transfers -<br />

£25,000. I r<strong>in</strong>g Barclays and ask for my daily limit to be <strong>in</strong>creased. Apparently,<br />

it is everybody’s daily limit and there is no way it can be <strong>in</strong>creased. I am told it’s<br />

for security purposes. I very much doubt that. It is Barclays limit<strong>in</strong>g their liability<br />

<strong>in</strong> case someone ‘hacks’ <strong>in</strong>to their system and transfers money fraudulently. I


am told I can do it <strong>in</strong> person at a branch. I ask if they would care to pay my air<br />

fare. I am given the option of send<strong>in</strong>g a letter by post. We all know how long<br />

the post takes to get from Antigua. It will be quicker to come <strong>in</strong>to the office on<br />

Saturday and Sunday and make part transfers on the <strong>in</strong>ternet.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay has arrived <strong>in</strong> the office (nearly lunchtime) with her hair so short she<br />

looks like her brother. I am surprised I haven’t torn all my hair out with<br />

frustration particularly when I kept be<strong>in</strong>g put on hold listen<strong>in</strong>g to music at 91p a<br />

m<strong>in</strong>ute. The only company I have dealt with which has any appreciation of what<br />

it’s like telephon<strong>in</strong>g from abroad is American Express. They allow you to<br />

reverse the charges and I am sure it motivates them to deal with the query<br />

much more quickly. I need a break and suggest we walk a few yards to a local<br />

café for lunch. We only order a starter each much to the surprise of the<br />

waitress who often supplies us with filled baguettes for lunch. These baguettes<br />

are so large they last all afternoon. Sometimes we don’t f<strong>in</strong>ish them. I compla<strong>in</strong><br />

of hav<strong>in</strong>g had a large breakfast.<br />

We are receiv<strong>in</strong>g a number of articles from various contributors to the magaz<strong>in</strong>e<br />

and, so far, I have rewritten every one of them, correct<strong>in</strong>g factual <strong>in</strong>accuracies,<br />

grammar, spell<strong>in</strong>g and punctuation. Alexis tells me they won’t m<strong>in</strong>d. I hope he’s<br />

correct. I had noticed a number of similar errors <strong>in</strong> previous publications and<br />

have already twice sent back a proof to the typesetter for correction. All I can<br />

say, thank goodness it’s Friday.<br />

In the even<strong>in</strong>g we receive our yacht club memberships. Probably the most<br />

valuable aspect to be<strong>in</strong>g a member of the yacht club is the benefit of their<br />

private car par which has an automatic barrier to prevent use by non-members.<br />

In the season, park<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the Falmouth area can become a bit congested.<br />

A rather elderly black and white cat wanders <strong>in</strong>to the bar. Maybe John Burton<br />

will get his wish. This cat has a fairly emaciated body with a huge, almost<br />

deformed head and it’s face looks like Evander Holyfield’s after a few rounds<br />

with Mike Tyson, most especially the left ear. The cat is surpris<strong>in</strong>gly friendly<br />

and L<strong>in</strong>dsay comments that its head is totally out of proportion to its body. I<br />

suggest she checks out the other end. This is a real tom vat and his head is not<br />

the only th<strong>in</strong>g out of proportion to his body and I am not referr<strong>in</strong>g to his tail.<br />

Alexis went game fish<strong>in</strong>g this morn<strong>in</strong>g to get some photos for the fish<strong>in</strong>g article<br />

and returns with a couple of large fish steaks for our d<strong>in</strong>ner. I can’t remember<br />

whether he said they Mahi-mahi or Wahoo. Hav<strong>in</strong>g no grill L<strong>in</strong>dsay has to fry<br />

them. I have never been a great seafood fan and I will say I am somewhat<br />

under whelmed by the fish although L<strong>in</strong>dsay enjoys hers.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 50 – Saturday. L<strong>in</strong>dsay has decided she doesn’t want to go for a run this<br />

morn<strong>in</strong>g so I take the dogs for a walk. I ought to do this more often as the<br />

obviously need a lot more lead tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g. The best th<strong>in</strong>g would be for each of us


to take one each. There is no doubt which of us would take which dog. L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

has a penchant for Ruthie and I def<strong>in</strong>itely prefer Nuisance.<br />

I have an appo<strong>in</strong>tment to take some photos for a car rental company. Of course,<br />

despite hav<strong>in</strong>g made an appo<strong>in</strong>tment, the owner isn’t there but his staff are<br />

expect<strong>in</strong>g me. I don’t quite know what he expected from a photograph but, as<br />

the vehicles were parked, it would have looked like a run down, second hand<br />

car lot. I spend the next hour reorganis<strong>in</strong>g the cars which is quite an experience<br />

as I am jump<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> out of manuals and automatics, left and right hand drive,<br />

some with most odd had brake and gear lever arrangements. One m<strong>in</strong>ibus<br />

which is as hot as hell <strong>in</strong>side has an automatic gear lever stick<strong>in</strong>g out of the<br />

steer<strong>in</strong>g column with absolutely not mark<strong>in</strong>gs on it. The only way I can tell I am<br />

<strong>in</strong> reverse is because a buzzer sounds.<br />

Photos taken I am about to leave when the receptionist comes after me. I still<br />

have all the keys. I joke I am try<strong>in</strong>g to set up a rival hire car company and this<br />

seems the easiest way. A customer laughs but I don’t th<strong>in</strong>k the receptionist has<br />

a sense of humour.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g been to the office to transfer more money up to my daily limit of £25,000<br />

I set off to jo<strong>in</strong> L<strong>in</strong>dsay who has been spend<strong>in</strong>g the morn<strong>in</strong>g on Pigeon Beach<br />

but as I pass the supermarket at Falmouth I see her car parked outside. I know<br />

it’s hers because there can’t be another one like it on the island. As I get out of<br />

my car I am accosted by a local try<strong>in</strong>g to sell me mangoes. I suggest he asks<br />

my wife. Quite rightly, he tells me he doesn’t know my wife. I po<strong>in</strong>t to the red<br />

car and say she will be out soon. I go <strong>in</strong>to the supermarket and tell L<strong>in</strong>dsay I<br />

am head<strong>in</strong>g for the yacht club, which is almost next door, to have a dr<strong>in</strong>k.<br />

When L<strong>in</strong>dsay jo<strong>in</strong>s me she tells me she also refused the mangoes.<br />

We decide to eat out and go to the yacht club first where the tot is be<strong>in</strong>g held.<br />

When we get back home we f<strong>in</strong>d Ruthie with a large grasshopper <strong>in</strong> her mouth.<br />

I persuade her to release it and it leaps away. How far it gets I am unsure but<br />

next morn<strong>in</strong>g I f<strong>in</strong>d one of its legs on the veranda steps.<br />

Now hav<strong>in</strong>g a reliable source of electricity, we watch television for the first time<br />

s<strong>in</strong>ce our arrival. It’s a DVD and s<strong>in</strong>ce we have extracted only three from our<br />

stock the choice is a bit limited. We watch I-Robot. Unfortunately, the controls<br />

are for the other television which is still packed away downstairs. The television<br />

sets itself to default mode which means the picture is a long strip across the<br />

middle of the screen. L<strong>in</strong>dsay says it’s like be<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the c<strong>in</strong>ema without the popcorn.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 51 – Sunday. A day of rest or it should be. The dogs are awake at 5.30<br />

and I get up to take them for a walk. It’s a long one and I visit a couple of<br />

places I have not seen before <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g a small beach at the end of our road.<br />

Return<strong>in</strong>g, it’s time to take advantage of my day of rest so back to bed for a<br />

couple of hours extra sleep. As there is no Tot Club Keep Fit today I am tasked


with giv<strong>in</strong>g the dogs a bath. Firstly, I need to rebuild the dog gate which<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay took a day and a half to construct a week ago and which has gradually<br />

been fall<strong>in</strong>g apart. Today it f<strong>in</strong>ally collapses. It is just as well she did not take<br />

up carpentry as a profession. In search<strong>in</strong>g out some nails I come across my<br />

amp meter which means we no longer have to rely on Sandy to assess the<br />

state of charge <strong>in</strong> our batteries. They are low but it only takes an hour with our<br />

nice new generator to br<strong>in</strong>g them back up aga<strong>in</strong>.<br />

Whilst look<strong>in</strong>g for boxes of nails I seek out the television controls and f<strong>in</strong>d them.<br />

The only nails I f<strong>in</strong>d are four <strong>in</strong>ch, square cut, floor<strong>in</strong>g nails which will have to<br />

do. I could have rigged up an extension cable and used a drill to prepare pilot<br />

holes but it would be too much hassle. A large round nail one of Sandy’s<br />

workmen has left ly<strong>in</strong>g around will do. L<strong>in</strong>dsay is puzzled by the amount of<br />

hammer<strong>in</strong>g and I expla<strong>in</strong> the necessity for the pilot holes. At least the gate<br />

won’t fall apart aga<strong>in</strong>.<br />

Everyth<strong>in</strong>g prepared, the dogs need to be separated. Not someth<strong>in</strong>g which is<br />

easy to do as one always wants to do whatever the other is do<strong>in</strong>g. I take<br />

Nuisance first <strong>in</strong>to the garden and soak him with the hose. He does not seem<br />

to object to much. Ruthie has her head poked through the veranda rail<strong>in</strong>gs<br />

above watch<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> trepidation. Pick<strong>in</strong>g up the bottle of dog shampoo I flip open<br />

the lid and squeeze hard. Noth<strong>in</strong>g happens. I squeeze harder with the same<br />

result. Look<strong>in</strong>g down the nozzle I can see a white obstruction. Underneath the<br />

lid is a plastic seal which must be removed before use.<br />

Ruthie is much more reluctant to be bathed. I have to half carry and drag her to<br />

the hose where she shivers violently as I apply the water although she enjoys<br />

the shampoo be<strong>in</strong>g scratched <strong>in</strong>to her back. No sooner have I r<strong>in</strong>sed her down<br />

than she goes and rolls <strong>in</strong> the dirt. I grab her and shove her up onto the<br />

veranda before she does too much damage.<br />

I need to go to the office to transfer some more money up to my daily limit and<br />

to check on some e-mails. I have been somewhat puzzled as to why I had not<br />

received replies to some of my e-mails. I make a comment to L<strong>in</strong>dsay who says<br />

I have received replies. Apparently, she has been open<strong>in</strong>g my e-mails and not<br />

tell<strong>in</strong>g me. Once read, they go <strong>in</strong>to my ‘old mail’ box. I am still at a loss to know<br />

why she would th<strong>in</strong>k I would go and look for my e-mails <strong>in</strong> old mail. I have to<br />

send one e-mail to apologise to a friend for hav<strong>in</strong>g hassled him for a reply and<br />

another to my elder daughter expla<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g why I hadn’t replied earlier.<br />

We have some very weird cloud formations, tall columns rather like the<br />

aftermath of a nuclear explosion. Are the clouds prescient of some bad weather<br />

to come? The night is completely still and it has been ra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g, <strong>in</strong> areas, as it<br />

usually does. We drive home over both wet and dry roads. A mist is aris<strong>in</strong>g<br />

from the tarmac roads and condensation appears on the car w<strong>in</strong>dows. L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

tries to wipe it off her side before she realises, unlike the U.K., it’s on the<br />

outside.


It has been ra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g at the house and, as usual when we return home, I let the<br />

dogs <strong>in</strong>to the garden. When Sandy built the house he had someone put a layer<br />

of topsoil over the garden. I am not sure whether it is anyth<strong>in</strong>g to do with the<br />

fact that he is a Scotsman but the layer is only one <strong>in</strong>ch thick, just enough to<br />

stick to dogs feet. I am not popular when I let the dogs back <strong>in</strong>to the house.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 52 – Monday. I am not sure whether Antigua agrees with L<strong>in</strong>dsay too<br />

much or not enough. As is more often the case, she takes the dogs for a run at<br />

dawn and I go <strong>in</strong>to the office at eight. L<strong>in</strong>dsay arrives at around lunchtime with<br />

some sandwiches and hav<strong>in</strong>g been shopp<strong>in</strong>g. Most of then shopp<strong>in</strong>g is<br />

household but there are one or two items such as bik<strong>in</strong>is and flowery tops.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g managed to circumvent the vagaries of Barclays system and transferred<br />

the rema<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g money to various accounts means we have achieved our first<br />

ambition <strong>in</strong> com<strong>in</strong>g to Antigua, to live totally debt free. It is thirty five years s<strong>in</strong>ce<br />

I last had no mortgages, no loans, no credit card bills, no bank overdraft <strong>in</strong> fact,<br />

no debts. I can’t say I feel any different.<br />

Every so often I check my U.K. mobile for messages. There are three. The first<br />

is obviously an accidental call from someone <strong>in</strong> the yacht club. From what I can<br />

hear it is obviously dur<strong>in</strong>g a race committee meet<strong>in</strong>g. The only voice I can hear<br />

clearly is H. I listen to the record<strong>in</strong>g for a short while but at 91p per m<strong>in</strong>ute it<br />

isn’t that <strong>in</strong>terest<strong>in</strong>g so I cut it off.<br />

The top half of a fax from the U.K. Inland Revenue has come though the fax<br />

mach<strong>in</strong>e before the <strong>in</strong>k has run out. Be<strong>in</strong>g early afternoon and hav<strong>in</strong>g f<strong>in</strong>ished<br />

my allotted tasks I drive to St. John’s to collect some office supplies and new<br />

fax <strong>in</strong>k. L<strong>in</strong>dsay has left the shopp<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> her car which <strong>in</strong>cludes some<br />

perishables so I take it home. The dogs th<strong>in</strong>k I have turned up to take them for<br />

a walk. I feel guilty and decide to take them for a drive to St. John’s. It’s a big<br />

mistake. They get restless on the drive and discover the nett<strong>in</strong>g keep<strong>in</strong>g them<br />

<strong>in</strong> the back is flexible and try to climb <strong>in</strong>to the rear seat. I am concerned for my<br />

leather but fortunately they are stuck halfway. If only I had sufficient<br />

acceleration I could force them back over the nett<strong>in</strong>g. I contemplate revers<strong>in</strong>g<br />

and brak<strong>in</strong>g hard but there is too much traffic around.<br />

We received an article from a local writer on the various trails cleared by the Tot<br />

Club. Unfortunately, there are a number of <strong>in</strong>accuracies and the article<br />

concentrates on the Club rather than the trails. Hav<strong>in</strong>g rewritten the article I<br />

need some <strong>in</strong>formation from Terry and agree to meet him at the Tot Club. My<br />

second mistake of the day. L<strong>in</strong>dsay is still <strong>in</strong> the office and I ask her if she<br />

wishes to jo<strong>in</strong> me at the Tot. Not only is L<strong>in</strong>dsay not very good at dr<strong>in</strong>k<strong>in</strong>g she<br />

also doesn’t know when she has had too much until it’s too late. I should have<br />

remembered I only began to know her after I had escorted her out of a night<br />

club and poured her <strong>in</strong>to a taxi and sent her home. That was about thirteen<br />

years ago. L<strong>in</strong>dsay had only three rum and oranges but she is virtually


<strong>in</strong>coherent when she arrives home half an hour after me although we did leave<br />

at the same time. Had I realised her state I would never have let her drive.<br />

Unfortunately, I was too busy sort<strong>in</strong>g th<strong>in</strong>gs out with Terry. L<strong>in</strong>dsay blames the<br />

bar staff who never measure dr<strong>in</strong>ks just pour as much as they th<strong>in</strong>k is suitable.<br />

The better they know you, the more you get. I have no sympathy for her when<br />

she develops a severe bout if hiccoughs.<br />

Terry has lent me a U.S. DVD to see if it will work <strong>in</strong> our DVD player. I try and<br />

the screen comes up with ‘WRONG REGION’. I open the set up menu and<br />

have six options – PAL B/G, PAL 1, PAL D/K, Ch<strong>in</strong>a, Hong Kong and U.K..<br />

Surely one of these must work but none does. It looks like we will be buy<strong>in</strong>g a<br />

new DVD player or order<strong>in</strong>g a lot of U.K. DVDs although I can get it to run on<br />

the laptop computer so if I f<strong>in</strong>d a way to l<strong>in</strong>k that to the television our problems<br />

are solved. I might be easier just to buy a new DVD player.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 53 – Tuesday. I always thought there would be a day when there would be<br />

noth<strong>in</strong>g to write. Today may be the day but, perhaps, not quite. Hav<strong>in</strong>g<br />

checked the state of the batteries yesterday, I thought there was sufficient<br />

charge to keep everyth<strong>in</strong>g go<strong>in</strong>g over night. Either my meter is a bit <strong>in</strong>accurate<br />

or I haven’t quite understood how to read it. The power disappears <strong>in</strong> the<br />

middle of the night. The fan stops and L<strong>in</strong>dsay wonders why is has warmed up<br />

rather a lot. She had closed the w<strong>in</strong>dows and forgotten to open them. I th<strong>in</strong>k it<br />

unreasonable to start the generator before six although there others runn<strong>in</strong>g not<br />

far away.<br />

I arrived <strong>in</strong> the office at eight and didn’t leave until just before six. Seems just<br />

like the U.K. but I did feel productive and it was quite reward<strong>in</strong>g. As I arrive<br />

there is a message on the answerphone. It’s from my Barclays bank manager.<br />

He realises that he has the time difference wrong but offers to sort any<br />

problems I have. I r<strong>in</strong>g back and get his answerphone and tell him I have<br />

sorted the immediate problems but may have some he can deal with next week.<br />

A couple of hours later my other bank <strong>in</strong> the U.K., Bank of Scotland, r<strong>in</strong>g<br />

return<strong>in</strong>g my call from last Thursday. S<strong>in</strong>ce I have already closed my various<br />

accounts with them, they are a bit late.<br />

One th<strong>in</strong>g I do discover is that the video DVD will run on my laptop but, s<strong>in</strong>ce it<br />

is a MAC, it will not <strong>in</strong>terface with the television. MACs were way ahead of<br />

Microsoft for so many years but I am beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g to realise that although most of<br />

Bill Gates programm<strong>in</strong>g is pretty bad it has overtaken Apple. Yesterday I used<br />

my PC at home to do someth<strong>in</strong>g that I couldn’t do on the MAC. It really hurt to<br />

f<strong>in</strong>d out that Microsoft had, for a change, done someth<strong>in</strong>g better than anyone<br />

else.<br />

Our landlord pays me a visit. He has good news and bad news. The good<br />

news is that he is giv<strong>in</strong>g me the first ripe mango off the tree that grows outside<br />

our office w<strong>in</strong>dow. The bad news is that he has our first electricity bill except he<br />

can’t work out what it’s supposed to be. There are all k<strong>in</strong>ds of fuel surcharges


dependent upon the spot market of oil, different dates for vary<strong>in</strong>g rates, <strong>in</strong> fact,<br />

so many diverse prices it looks like a Seeboard bill. I wonder whether Gordon<br />

Brown has appeared with a few of his stealthy taxes.<br />

I have to go out of the office to get a few th<strong>in</strong>gs and call <strong>in</strong>to a bookshop which<br />

has on display a variety of magaz<strong>in</strong>es. The choice <strong>in</strong>cludes an English car<br />

magaz<strong>in</strong>e which is mean<strong>in</strong>gless to me and Yacht<strong>in</strong>g World. Surpris<strong>in</strong>gly, I<br />

choose the car magaz<strong>in</strong>e and realise that s<strong>in</strong>ce I am no longer <strong>in</strong>volved <strong>in</strong><br />

active rac<strong>in</strong>g there isn’t much to attract me to Yacht<strong>in</strong>g World, I do get a slight<br />

feel<strong>in</strong>g of ‘hav<strong>in</strong>g arrived’ when the lady beh<strong>in</strong>d the desk who I have never met<br />

calls me “Mr Duffy”.<br />

It’s convenient excuse to leave the office to meet Terry at six to collect some<br />

paperwork from him. By then I need a dr<strong>in</strong>k. L<strong>in</strong>dsay had rung earlier and I<br />

said I would meet her but, as usual, she arrives before me and Terry has<br />

bought her a dr<strong>in</strong>k – water. I could have stayed half the even<strong>in</strong>g, enjoy<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

conversation and a couple of dr<strong>in</strong>ks but felt I ought to follow L<strong>in</strong>dsay home<br />

which I did – half an hour later.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 54 – Wednesday. The dogs alarm clock seems to go off earlier each<br />

morn<strong>in</strong>g. Today it’s five o’clock. There’s no po<strong>in</strong>t <strong>in</strong> ignor<strong>in</strong>g the because the<br />

just keep mak<strong>in</strong>g a noise and there’s no way we can go back to sleep. It’s<br />

drizzl<strong>in</strong>g and I’m glad L<strong>in</strong>dsay is tak<strong>in</strong>g them out. Apparently, it stops soon<br />

after. L<strong>in</strong>dsay would have preferred it to cont<strong>in</strong>ue as it keeps her cool while she<br />

is runn<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

I am <strong>in</strong> the office until three, L<strong>in</strong>dsay hav<strong>in</strong>g arrived at two. Still no news on the<br />

new computer so we are tak<strong>in</strong>g it <strong>in</strong> shifts. I have to see someone about a<br />

piece of land and be back for a meet<strong>in</strong>g at five so L<strong>in</strong>dsay suggests I go home<br />

and walk and feed the dogs. Stand<strong>in</strong>g on the veranda I watched the ra<strong>in</strong> squalls<br />

come over the sea. They clear quite quickly and the sky is blue aga<strong>in</strong>. Time to<br />

take the dogs out. It’s payback time for my thoughts <strong>in</strong> the morn<strong>in</strong>g. I have only<br />

gone a couple of hundred yards when the heavens open. There is no po<strong>in</strong>t <strong>in</strong><br />

turn<strong>in</strong>g back as I am drenched <strong>in</strong> seconds. Quite where this storm cloud comes<br />

from I have no idea. It must have doubled back and sneaked over the hill as<br />

soon my back was turned.<br />

The dogs obviously don’t appreciate the ra<strong>in</strong> and don’t do what they are<br />

supposed to do on their walk. At one stage I contemplate tak<strong>in</strong>g shelter under a<br />

small tree until I realise it’s a Manch<strong>in</strong>eel tree. It’s berries are poisonous but<br />

worse still, when it ra<strong>in</strong>s it sap dissolves and the water becomes a form of acid<br />

which burns quite nastily.<br />

On the walk I <strong>in</strong>vestigate a part built but now derelict house. It was started<br />

about ten years ago and abandoned. F<strong>in</strong>ished, it would make a lovely if<br />

somewhat unusually arranged house. When I return home <strong>in</strong> the even<strong>in</strong>g


L<strong>in</strong>dsay tells me the land is up for sale but as two one and a half acre plots, far<br />

more than we want.<br />

Nuisance (a.k.a. Useless)<br />

Ruthie<br />

My meet<strong>in</strong>g is with the Market<strong>in</strong>g Committee of the Antigua Mar<strong>in</strong>e Trades<br />

Association. Somehow, without be<strong>in</strong>g asked or offer<strong>in</strong>g my services, I have<br />

become part of this committee. I f<strong>in</strong>d myself <strong>in</strong> a most unusual situation. I<br />

haven’t a clue what’s go<strong>in</strong>g on and can contribute noth<strong>in</strong>g. I just sit and listen,<br />

most unlike me.<br />

Back home L<strong>in</strong>dsay suggests I take the dogs out for a walk aga<strong>in</strong> s<strong>in</strong>ce I failed<br />

<strong>in</strong> my duty to get them to perform earlier. One does and the other doesn’t. I<br />

wonder if that means I have to take them out aga<strong>in</strong>. At least it isn’t ra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g.<br />

We eat the mango our landlord gave us yesterday. He said it would be perfect<br />

for eat<strong>in</strong>g today. L<strong>in</strong>dsay <strong>in</strong>sists it slightly over-ripe. It seems f<strong>in</strong>e to me. What<br />

is most surpris<strong>in</strong>g is that we have been here two months on an island where<br />

there is such a surplus of mangoes they are almost free and we have only just<br />

managed to get around to eat<strong>in</strong>g one.<br />

I have to stop writ<strong>in</strong>g because L<strong>in</strong>dsay wants to watch the DVD we have been<br />

loaned and the only th<strong>in</strong>g to play it on is the laptop.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 55 – Thursday. There is no doubt, gett<strong>in</strong>g out of the office makes an<br />

awfully big difference to the day. Bus<strong>in</strong>ess has been go<strong>in</strong>g surpris<strong>in</strong>gly well.<br />

We are already ahead of last year’s <strong>in</strong>come and we haven’t counted <strong>in</strong> the<br />

money we get from the Department of Tourism which is about another five<br />

percent. Also, I am quite enjoy<strong>in</strong>g the design<strong>in</strong>g stage. I always thought I had<br />

an artistic talent. In due course others will be able to tell if I am correct. In<br />

addition, an opportunity has arisen to acquire another publication. In itself, not<br />

really profitable but it will help to build a creditability base. I have started<br />

negotiations and suspect they will be concluded fairly quickly.<br />

I make myself a long list of th<strong>in</strong>gs to do out of the office. I suspect I will be gone<br />

for a couple of hours. At least, that’s what I tell L<strong>in</strong>dsay and Alexis. Well, it’s


Antigua time and it takes me three hours. My morn<strong>in</strong>g (hav<strong>in</strong>g spent three<br />

hours <strong>in</strong> the office) starts with a visit to the bank. This time there is no queue<br />

and I am served immediately. Somehow I always end up with the same teller<br />

who asks why we don’t have a Premium account. I po<strong>in</strong>t out that we do.<br />

Apparently we have been issued with the wrong cheque books.<br />

My next call is to get a couple of extra diesel cans for the generator and a can<br />

of oil for L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s car. The previous owner was a woman and I am a bit<br />

concerned that the fluid levels may not have been topped up. Next door to the<br />

car accessory shop is a bakery and I have <strong>in</strong>structions to buy fresh bread.<br />

Unfortunately, they only sell French shaped bread. I am sure they are miss<strong>in</strong>g<br />

out on an opportunity s<strong>in</strong>ce it is freshly cooked.<br />

Success and failure greets my foray <strong>in</strong>to the next shop. I manage to purchase<br />

some picture hooks which L<strong>in</strong>dsay th<strong>in</strong>ks are too <strong>in</strong>substantial for the weight of<br />

my yacht<strong>in</strong>g pictures. I fail to f<strong>in</strong>d some restra<strong>in</strong>ts for the hurricane shutters at<br />

the office. The fiddly hooks which currently hold them <strong>in</strong> place are driv<strong>in</strong>g me<br />

mad.<br />

Where I go after the bakery I hope to report on <strong>in</strong> about two weeks time. All I<br />

will say is “watch this space”. The freshly baked bread I manage to f<strong>in</strong>d<br />

elsewhere.<br />

The post office reveals four bank statements and a card from L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s parents.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay has given me a letter to post which should have gone about a month<br />

ago so has accumulated all k<strong>in</strong>ds of detritus <strong>in</strong> the meantime. The price of the<br />

postage takes me back a bit but not as much as my next purchase.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay had suggested it was about time I bought some new read<strong>in</strong>g glasses.<br />

She had seen some <strong>in</strong> an optician near to the Post Office. I select the only pair<br />

on the stand which are the right strength (quite weak) and tell the assistant I will<br />

have them. The next few m<strong>in</strong>utes rem<strong>in</strong>ds of the time I walked <strong>in</strong>to Russell &<br />

Bromley, saw a shoe displayed on a shelf and asked for a pair <strong>in</strong> my size. I was<br />

<strong>in</strong> a hurry and didn’t even try them on, tell<strong>in</strong>g the assistant to just pack them.<br />

The first time I saw the price was as I signed the credit card slip. The only<br />

consolation was that I didn’t have to pay for them for another month.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g bought a couple of pair of read<strong>in</strong>g glasses <strong>in</strong> the U.K., the first <strong>in</strong><br />

Sa<strong>in</strong>sbury’s at £9.99 and the second <strong>in</strong> the term<strong>in</strong>al at Gatwick Airport some<br />

years ago when I realized we were about to embark on a long flight and my<br />

glasses were at home. The purchase price of this pair were similar to my earlier<br />

glasses. The actual cost of my new glasses is EC$200, over forty pounds.<br />

Be<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> a spend<strong>in</strong>g mood, I decide to buy new video and DVD players except I<br />

did not appreciate how backward is the American system. They still do not<br />

have SCART connections and our equipment will not connect to theirs. I<br />

sometimes wonder when their technology will get out of the mid twentieth


century. A search on the <strong>in</strong>ternet reveals several companies <strong>in</strong> the U.K. and<br />

Europe which sell converters but none <strong>in</strong> the U.S.. Why am I surprised? I order<br />

some converters on l<strong>in</strong>e but come across an immediate problem. I decide to<br />

use L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s parents as a delivery address but, accord<strong>in</strong>g to the website, the<br />

credit card address has to be the same as the delivery address. I write a long<br />

explanation <strong>in</strong> a box provided for delivery <strong>in</strong>structions advis<strong>in</strong>g the vendors that<br />

I live <strong>in</strong> Antigua and s<strong>in</strong>ce they only deliver to the U.K. and Europe this is the<br />

only way I can buy their products. They must have someone monitor<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

other end because I was offered the option of giv<strong>in</strong>g a different card address.<br />

Whether or not I am to receive the goods is yet to be seen.<br />

I am ahead of myself because I have to go <strong>in</strong>to St. John’s to pay a visit to the<br />

<strong>in</strong>surance company. The other day I discovered a whole page of the list of our<br />

contents under the lid of my scanner and, be<strong>in</strong>g one third of the total, the<br />

<strong>in</strong>surance company are under the delusion that they are cover fewer items the<br />

is actually the case. Whilst <strong>in</strong> there I get talked <strong>in</strong>to buy<strong>in</strong>g some raffle tickets. I<br />

will get my revenge next time I am <strong>in</strong> St John’s. L<strong>in</strong>dsay is sell<strong>in</strong>g raffle tickets<br />

for another charity and <strong>in</strong>tend to collect. Perhaps it will give me some <strong>in</strong>sight <strong>in</strong><br />

how good they are at pay<strong>in</strong>g out on claims.<br />

Obviously, my search on the <strong>in</strong>ternet for SCART converters occurs after my<br />

return to the office but not before I have tried a couple of shops <strong>in</strong> St. John’s.<br />

The first is the Aladd<strong>in</strong>’s Cave I found a week or so ago. As before, there is a<br />

language barrier problem. They are Italian, I th<strong>in</strong>k. Eventually, I leave empty<br />

handed. In the next shop, one I have sought out on several occasions but<br />

never found, they know what I am talk<strong>in</strong>g about and the owner tells me he<br />

asked a friend who is on holiday <strong>in</strong> the U.K. to buy some but he has no idea<br />

when he will be return<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

Apart from fill<strong>in</strong>g my three 5 gallon cans with diesel I have only one rema<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g<br />

task and I venture, for the first time, <strong>in</strong>to the meat market. It is virtually empty<br />

and most of the stalls are bare. The first butcher I speak to doesn’t have any<br />

jo<strong>in</strong>ts of beef. I wander around and see some rather nice look<strong>in</strong>g pork but I am<br />

under <strong>in</strong>structions to get beef. Another butcher approaches me and I expla<strong>in</strong><br />

what I want. He walks off and returns with half a cow on his shoulder. He<br />

po<strong>in</strong>ts to chunk of meat and I suggest a small piece. He cuts off not very much<br />

less us<strong>in</strong>g a large knife and an enormous hacksaw. Throw<strong>in</strong>g it <strong>in</strong>to an old<br />

fashioned set of scale he tells me it is EC$30, about £6. I don’t how much it<br />

weighs but it is very heavy.<br />

A woman is <strong>in</strong>troduced to me whose name I can’t remember but knows<br />

someone who used to work for me, Jo. In fact, she updates me on the latest<br />

gossip. Last time I met Jo she was madly <strong>in</strong> love and gett<strong>in</strong>g married <strong>in</strong> June.<br />

Apparently, that’s all off. She comments rather loudly on the amount of press<br />

coverage we received when we left the U.K. compla<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g that the press took no<br />

<strong>in</strong>terest <strong>in</strong> her departure. It causes an embarrass<strong>in</strong>g silence amongst those to<br />

whom we are talk<strong>in</strong>g.


<strong>Day</strong> 56 – Friday. It is just as well L<strong>in</strong>dsay is out walk<strong>in</strong>g the dogs. A t<strong>in</strong>y bird<br />

flies <strong>in</strong>to the bedroom. Due to the height of the ceil<strong>in</strong>gs it is impossible to reach.<br />

I try chas<strong>in</strong>g it out by wav<strong>in</strong>g a towel around to no avail. A brush on a long<br />

handle is more effective. The bird keeps attempt<strong>in</strong>g to exit through a nonopen<strong>in</strong>g<br />

w<strong>in</strong>dow about ten feet above the floor and I can trap it aga<strong>in</strong>st the glass<br />

with the brush but can’t reach it. Fortunately, we brought a ladder with us and I<br />

collect it from the store room below. By this time the bird has decided to nestle<br />

with<strong>in</strong> the boxes we are stor<strong>in</strong>g on the platform above the bathroom and study.<br />

I clamber up and chase it out hav<strong>in</strong>g remembered to turn off the ceil<strong>in</strong>g fan.<br />

Trapped aga<strong>in</strong> by the brush aga<strong>in</strong>st the w<strong>in</strong>dow I slowly ascend the ladder<br />

try<strong>in</strong>g not to move the brush. The bird is successfully captured. It is a m<strong>in</strong>iature<br />

beauty, ma<strong>in</strong>ly a strong yellow and black but flash<strong>in</strong>g iridescently with a whole<br />

variety of other colours. It’s heart is beat<strong>in</strong>g so fast I th<strong>in</strong>k it might expire. I<br />

release it over the balcony.<br />

This is not my first encounter with birds <strong>in</strong> Antigua. Only the other day I came<br />

across a much larger bird which appeared to be trapped beh<strong>in</strong>d some disco<br />

equipment <strong>in</strong> Life bar. I grabbed it and threw it out to sea only to have it return<br />

immediately. Apparently, it has some chicks nest<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> a flag suspended from<br />

the ceil<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

A few weeks ago I had met someone who was sell<strong>in</strong>g some land near to where<br />

we live. Unfortunately, the two plots he had for sale were under offer but he<br />

was a bit dubious about them go<strong>in</strong>g through and had given the purchasers an<br />

ultimatum to close the deal by the end of June. Be<strong>in</strong>g 1 st July I decide to visit<br />

him and enquire whether they have completed. Unfortunately he is away or, <strong>in</strong><br />

the local parlance, ‘off island’. There is someone else I want to speak to<br />

regard<strong>in</strong>g another piece of land but I haven’t been able contact her.<br />

On my way back to the office I have a look at a couple of other plots which I<br />

have known are for sale but I have never been too sure about the area. Driv<strong>in</strong>g<br />

up the road it is much better than I realized so I call <strong>in</strong> to see the agent. It turns<br />

out, as is so often the case, the land is owned by the agent and he is not will<strong>in</strong>g<br />

to sell the plots separately, only as one lot.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay has persuaded me to take her to lunch. I th<strong>in</strong>k she th<strong>in</strong>ks we are on<br />

holiday and can eat out as we did when we visited Antigua before, although<br />

eat<strong>in</strong>g out, most of the time, is quite cheap except that L<strong>in</strong>dsay wants me to<br />

take her to Cloggies. As Alexis says, the amount they charge for food is<br />

offensive. It’s more expensive to have lunch there than it costs <strong>in</strong> most places<br />

for d<strong>in</strong>ner. I say it’s the last time we are go<strong>in</strong>g there. Furthermore, L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

asks the owner to buy some raffle tickets and the miserable bloke only<br />

purchases one.<br />

After lunch I track down the woman who is supposed to have <strong>in</strong>formation about<br />

some land <strong>in</strong> English Harbour. She doesn’t but suggests I contact Eustace, the


owner of the Ocean Inn. We stayed <strong>in</strong> the Ocean Inn some years ago so we<br />

know Eustace. He agrees to meet me at 3.30 and shows me a plot overlook<strong>in</strong>g<br />

English Harbour. I am quite impressed and tell him I will show L<strong>in</strong>dsay later.<br />

He promises to provide a plan if I call back. He also knows the owner of the<br />

other plot we were <strong>in</strong>terested <strong>in</strong> at Christmas. I ask him to have a word with the<br />

owner to f<strong>in</strong>d out if he really wants to sell as I am not sure whether it is the<br />

agent or the owner who has been mess<strong>in</strong>g us around.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay th<strong>in</strong>ks the plot is near perfect and she likes the idea of not hav<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

deal through an agent and Eustace has the plan not that it’s much use. It is just<br />

a rectangle on a piece of paper with a north po<strong>in</strong>t<strong>in</strong>g arrow and some<br />

measurements. There is noth<strong>in</strong>g else on the paper to relate the land to<br />

surround<strong>in</strong>g properties. While L<strong>in</strong>dsay would like to go for the plot, I am <strong>in</strong>cl<strong>in</strong>ed<br />

to wait and see what happens to the land near us.<br />

Len, the American we get on with quite well, has returned to the island and<br />

brought his wife with him. Unfortunately, she turns out to be one of those<br />

typically loud American ladies who th<strong>in</strong>ks she knows everyth<strong>in</strong>g about<br />

everyth<strong>in</strong>g but actually knows very little about anyth<strong>in</strong>g plus she never lets<br />

anyone get <strong>in</strong> a word. In these circumstances I go <strong>in</strong>to shutdown mode.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 57 – Saturday. A normal lie-<strong>in</strong> is not possible with the dogs. Still we are<br />

now halfway through our sentence. After L<strong>in</strong>dsay has taken them for a run at<br />

5.30 it’s possible to return to bed and try and get a bit of extra sleep except the<br />

dogs bark at every outside movement and Sandy has someone work<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> his<br />

garden.<br />

I have a few tasks beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g with wash<strong>in</strong>g my car which I <strong>in</strong>tend to do with my<br />

jet washer which I can now run with the generator and 240 volt <strong>in</strong>verter. It takes<br />

me quite a while to set everyth<strong>in</strong>g up and, hav<strong>in</strong>g done so, I po<strong>in</strong>t the jet at the<br />

car and a miserable stream of water comes out. Noth<strong>in</strong>g I do will encourage a<br />

stronger flow. I go back <strong>in</strong>to the house and the smell of burn<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>dicates<br />

someth<strong>in</strong>g is wrong. I have placed too high a load on the <strong>in</strong>verter and burnt it<br />

out.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay goes to the beach and I set about fix<strong>in</strong>g some pictures to the wall. It is<br />

best if I do it when she’s not <strong>in</strong> because she will only argue with me about what<br />

should be where, how many pictures, the heights, levels, etc.. On her return<br />

her immediate comment is that there are too many and they are not the same<br />

level. I po<strong>in</strong>t out that s<strong>in</strong>ce every picture frame is a different size it is impossible<br />

to have the level. I have no doubt that, unless any of the picture hooks falls out<br />

of the wall, they will be there until the day we move.<br />

At the end of lunch L<strong>in</strong>dsay produces a green coloured fruit and says it’s an<br />

orange. To me, it looks like an overgrown lime. Inside it is bright yellow so if it<br />

is an orange it is totally misnamed and it doesn’t even taste like one.


We have discovered we have been hav<strong>in</strong>g nightly visitations from cockroaches.<br />

I am fairly conv<strong>in</strong>ced I know where they are liv<strong>in</strong>g, <strong>in</strong> some pack<strong>in</strong>g boxes we<br />

have stored <strong>in</strong> the porch. A little <strong>in</strong>vestigation soon proves I am right. Leav<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the box closed I spray <strong>in</strong>sect killer <strong>in</strong>to the box. The noise from <strong>in</strong>side makes<br />

me feel like a mass murderer. A few escape and are quickly dispatched. We<br />

move the boxes outside and will take them down to the rubbish pen once we<br />

are satisfied there are none left.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g destroyed our <strong>in</strong>verter I drive <strong>in</strong>to St. John’s to buy another one. I know<br />

my little electrical store will not have anyth<strong>in</strong>g suitable so I call at another, more<br />

substantial store. I tell them what I want and they produce a 1,000 watt <strong>in</strong>verter.<br />

It is only when I get back to the car I notice it is a 12 volt to 110/240 <strong>in</strong>verter and<br />

I want a 110 to 240 <strong>in</strong>verter. I return to the shop and they tell me what I want is<br />

not an <strong>in</strong>verter but a transformer. Unfortunately, they only have 220 to 110<br />

transformers and I want the other way around. They say they can switch it. I<br />

am dubious but let them try. I won’t know if it works until I get home. Hav<strong>in</strong>g<br />

paid EC$995 for the <strong>in</strong>verter and the transformer cost<strong>in</strong>g only EC$495 they owe<br />

me EC$500. They try to re-credit my card without success. They even r<strong>in</strong>g<br />

First Caribbean Bank but still achieve noth<strong>in</strong>g. In the end they give me EC$500<br />

<strong>in</strong> cash. I feel a bit guilty because they will have <strong>in</strong>curred charges on the<br />

orig<strong>in</strong>al transaction which they won’t recover. At least the transformer works.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay and I go and have another look at the plot. I must admit, I am still not<br />

conv<strong>in</strong>ced but L<strong>in</strong>dsay is quite keen. Later we run <strong>in</strong>to Sandy at the yacht club<br />

and we talk about the plots near where we live. It turns out Sandy knows the<br />

architect for the people buy<strong>in</strong>g the plots and the architect has heard noth<strong>in</strong>g<br />

from them for six months. It rather looks as though the sales may have fallen<br />

through <strong>in</strong> which case we may be <strong>in</strong> with a chance.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 58 – Sunday. No risk of a lie <strong>in</strong> with the dogs want<strong>in</strong>g their walk at 5.30.<br />

My turn to walk them and we encounter a couple of loose dogs which run like<br />

scared rabbits. We then encounter a couple more loose dogs one of which is<br />

quite aggressive and charges at us. I po<strong>in</strong>t at it (Crocodile Dundee style) and<br />

shout at it to back off. It stops about ten feet away, snarl<strong>in</strong>g and bark<strong>in</strong>g. Its<br />

partner is quite the reverse. She slowly comes forward, legs half bent and head<br />

down want<strong>in</strong>g to be stroked and appear<strong>in</strong>g to want to make friends with the two<br />

dogs I have. After a few m<strong>in</strong>utes she runs off and jo<strong>in</strong>s her companion and they<br />

both disappear.<br />

I have decided the dogs need renam<strong>in</strong>g – Stubborn and Stupid. Later I make<br />

the observation that Ruthie is bloody m<strong>in</strong>ded but, after all, she is female. Noone<br />

picks me up on the fact that I have renamed the male Stupid.<br />

It’s Tot Club Keep Fit aga<strong>in</strong> and Terry has promised me he has a new blade for<br />

the cha<strong>in</strong> saw. It doesn’t fit, the cha<strong>in</strong> is too long. The cha<strong>in</strong> saw has a big<br />

label on it say<strong>in</strong>g it takes a 16” cha<strong>in</strong>. The new cha<strong>in</strong> has a big label on it


say<strong>in</strong>g it’s 16” long so what is the problem? It’s an American cha<strong>in</strong> saw and<br />

they always th<strong>in</strong>k everyth<strong>in</strong>g they have is bigger than it actually is.<br />

Despite sharpen<strong>in</strong>g the old blade it still burns through the timber rather than<br />

cutt<strong>in</strong>g it. Regardless of this encumbrance we make good progress and the<br />

area looks a lot clearer when we f<strong>in</strong>ish than when we started. As we return to<br />

the cars I notice a sign advertis<strong>in</strong>g reflexology. It refers to breath<strong>in</strong>g problems,<br />

jo<strong>in</strong>t problems, aches, pa<strong>in</strong>s and allergies. The way I now feel I could easily<br />

become a client except for the allergies which I have a tendency to believe are<br />

psychosomatic.<br />

We have <strong>in</strong>vited Terry and Connie back to lunch yet I feel I could happily go to<br />

bed. Before leav<strong>in</strong>g the house, I put the beef <strong>in</strong> the oven which is a mistake. I<br />

still haven’t managed to get the hang of this gas oven and, despite turn<strong>in</strong>g it<br />

down on L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s <strong>in</strong>sistence, the beef is still over-cooked. L<strong>in</strong>dsay advises me<br />

we have no eggs so I can’t cook Yorkshire pudd<strong>in</strong>gs, a challenge anyway s<strong>in</strong>ce<br />

our pans for such purposes are still <strong>in</strong> the drawer under the cooker <strong>in</strong> England.<br />

I tell her I can do it without an egg and start prepar<strong>in</strong>g the batter when Sandy<br />

turns up. He obviously wants to talk so I offer him a beer. Soon after, Connie<br />

and Terry arrive. I retire to the kitchen hav<strong>in</strong>g just put the Yorkshire pudd<strong>in</strong>g<br />

batter <strong>in</strong> the oven when L<strong>in</strong>dsay appears with two eggs. She has borrowed<br />

them from Sandy. I pull the hot mixture out of the oven and quickly whisk <strong>in</strong> an<br />

egg.<br />

Sandy tells me our neighbour is compla<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g about the noise of our generator. I<br />

f<strong>in</strong>d this astound<strong>in</strong>g s<strong>in</strong>ce we can quite clearly hear his generator plus we hear<br />

him shout<strong>in</strong>g at his dogs or his children, not sure which, plus, yesterday, we<br />

could hear the Live Aid concert as though it was <strong>in</strong> our house and he lives 100<br />

yards away. I hesitate to say it but he is American and self <strong>in</strong>terest has always<br />

been high on their agenda. It is amaz<strong>in</strong>g how anti-American I am becom<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong><br />

hav<strong>in</strong>g to deal with their <strong>in</strong>sularity, selfishness and complete lack of appreciation<br />

of other people and the rest of the world. It beg<strong>in</strong>s to make me understand why<br />

half the world hates them exclud<strong>in</strong>g, of course, Tony Blair. There are notable<br />

exceptions such as Len.<br />

Lunch f<strong>in</strong>ished I <strong>in</strong>vite Terry to sample my various whisky’s. There are twenty<br />

six and Terry manages six of them. He is a little unsteady when he leaves.<br />

_<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 59 – Monday. My mobile ‘phone r<strong>in</strong>gs <strong>in</strong> the office at 8.30. It’s my mother.<br />

I have never been very good at social chit-chat on the ‘phone and we have a<br />

fairly stilted conversation not helped by her still suffer<strong>in</strong>g from the affects of her<br />

stroke. My father comes on the ‘phone but cannot hear what I am say<strong>in</strong>g<br />

despite me shout<strong>in</strong>g. Even when I yell at him that he ought to buy a hear<strong>in</strong>g<br />

aid, someth<strong>in</strong>g he should have done ten years ago, he still doesn’t hear me. He<br />

keeps ask<strong>in</strong>g if we are mov<strong>in</strong>g back to England and can’t quite understand why<br />

I say no. Maybe I am giv<strong>in</strong>g the wrong impression <strong>in</strong> my ‘letters’ home.


Yesterday L<strong>in</strong>dsay commented she was see<strong>in</strong>g a side to my character or, <strong>in</strong> her<br />

terms, psyche, of which she wasn’t aware until she started read<strong>in</strong>g my jott<strong>in</strong>gs.<br />

My next telephone call was from my bank manager. I had left a message on his<br />

answerphone on Friday, somewhat concerned about some money transfers to<br />

here. The pound is dropp<strong>in</strong>g like a stone and it’s cost<strong>in</strong>g us money every<br />

m<strong>in</strong>ute the money doesn’t get transferred. I have made a bit of a mistake. I<br />

should have switched the money straight to dollars, as I had done with all<br />

previous transfers, then moved it here. As it happens the conversion will not<br />

take place until the money arrives. I calculate that I have already lost around<br />

£6,000 on the recent fall of the pound and that is on top of the losses as a result<br />

of Lewes tak<strong>in</strong>g so long to complete. My decision to switch everyth<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>to<br />

dollars while the pound was strong seems to have been correct. Although I<br />

expected the pound to fall it does seem be happen<strong>in</strong>g sooner and faster than I<br />

had anticipated. Maybe some of Gordon Brown’s more recent monetary<br />

decisions together with the old Labour ‘tax & spend’ policies are beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

have an undesirable affect on the British economy.<br />

One th<strong>in</strong>g that annoys me about us<strong>in</strong>g computers here is that <strong>in</strong> order for them<br />

to work <strong>in</strong> dollars you have to make them th<strong>in</strong>k they are <strong>in</strong> the U.S.. Of course,<br />

that means you have to suffer American spell<strong>in</strong>g. I am gradually teach<strong>in</strong>g my<br />

computer correct English and, hav<strong>in</strong>g noticed a few American spell<strong>in</strong>gs have<br />

crept <strong>in</strong>to the Mar<strong>in</strong>e Guide, I am dutifully expung<strong>in</strong>g them all.<br />

My third telephone conversation with the U.K. is regard<strong>in</strong>g my cigars which,<br />

hopefully, will soon be on their way. My supply is runn<strong>in</strong>g low and my orig<strong>in</strong>al<br />

source <strong>in</strong> Spa<strong>in</strong> failed to come up trumps. One good piece of news. L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

tells me that the SCART converters I have ordered for the televisions have<br />

arrived at her parents. S<strong>in</strong>ce I only ordered them on Thursday that is quite<br />

quick work. We will see how long they take to get here.<br />

I have so much work to do that my whole day is spent <strong>in</strong> the office. I don’t even<br />

have time for lunch. As we are still one computer short, so I tell L<strong>in</strong>dsay I will<br />

r<strong>in</strong>g her when she can have some computer time. At about 10.30 Alexis goes<br />

out so I r<strong>in</strong>g L<strong>in</strong>dsay to say she can come and do a couple of hours work. Her<br />

‘phone is switched off. I try half an hour later and it’s still switched off. L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

claims there was no signal. Eventually, we do speak but I don’t th<strong>in</strong>k it’s worth<br />

her while com<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>. We agree she will come down just before six and we will<br />

go to the Tot.<br />

Quarter to six and no sign of L<strong>in</strong>dsay. I still have a lot of work to do so I am not<br />

too bothered but I th<strong>in</strong>k I better r<strong>in</strong>g her s<strong>in</strong>ce it takes a few m<strong>in</strong>utes to shut<br />

everyth<strong>in</strong>g up or down, dependent upon whether it’s w<strong>in</strong>dow shutters or<br />

computers. L<strong>in</strong>dsay has already driven past the office and noticed the shutters<br />

open and has turned around.


The only problem with go<strong>in</strong>g to the Tot is that you end up spend<strong>in</strong>g an hour or<br />

so <strong>in</strong> the bar and all I really want to do is go home and have someth<strong>in</strong>g to eat<br />

and sleep. A bowl of cereal at 6.30 this morn<strong>in</strong>g is not exactly susta<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g me at<br />

6.30 <strong>in</strong> the even<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 60 – Tuesday. Maybe I misjudged Warren. He tells me our computer has<br />

arrived and it will be dispatched today. If UPS is up to their reputation it should<br />

be <strong>in</strong> Antigua <strong>in</strong> two days however, we then have to deal with the Antiguan<br />

Postal Service and Customs so, maybe, next week.<br />

We still have a cockroach problem and I ask Alexis the best way to deal with<br />

them. He mentions a product called ‘Roach Motel’. Apparently, they are little<br />

round boxes with holes <strong>in</strong> the sides. The cockroaches go <strong>in</strong>side, each whatever<br />

is <strong>in</strong>side which poisons them but not <strong>in</strong>stantly. They go back to their nests and<br />

<strong>in</strong>fect their mates. Seems to me like the ultimate <strong>in</strong> chemical warfare. I could<br />

easily become the cockroach equivalent to Sadam Husse<strong>in</strong>. I purchase a<br />

dozen plus a fumigator which <strong>in</strong>structs you to leave the house for three hours.<br />

Later I discover a company which will come out once a month on contract and<br />

deal with such th<strong>in</strong>gs. Not as much fun but probably more reliable.<br />

I have a visit to Jolly Harbour. I am com<strong>in</strong>g from English Harbour which means<br />

it’s much easier to f<strong>in</strong>d. It also means L<strong>in</strong>dsay can come <strong>in</strong>to the office and use<br />

the computer. S<strong>in</strong>ce I am go<strong>in</strong>g to Jolly Harbour it also means I get the<br />

shopp<strong>in</strong>g list. Unfortunately, what you might want is not always available and,<br />

men will understand this conundrum, when your wife writes out a shopp<strong>in</strong>g list,<br />

it bears no relationship to where anyth<strong>in</strong>g is <strong>in</strong> the store. In these<br />

circumstances, I tend to over-shop, however, the supermarket has no tomatoes<br />

and I forget the eggs. Fortunately, I have planned to drive on to St. John’s to<br />

pick up our post so I collect the eggs and tomatoes at and alternative<br />

supermarket.<br />

There must be someth<strong>in</strong>g about the road between Jolly Harbour and St. John’s<br />

that is confus<strong>in</strong>g. This is the first time I have done it <strong>in</strong> the opposite direction<br />

and, whilst I don’t exactly get lost, I don’t end up precisely where I want to be. If<br />

I ever w<strong>in</strong> the Lottery I am go<strong>in</strong>g to buy Antigua a set of sign posts which all<br />

po<strong>in</strong>t to Jolly Harbour.<br />

The post conta<strong>in</strong>s my Barclaycard bill but noth<strong>in</strong>g from American Express. Both<br />

are due about now. Return<strong>in</strong>g to the office I pay Barclaycard on-l<strong>in</strong>e and r<strong>in</strong>g<br />

American Express for my balance. I like r<strong>in</strong>g<strong>in</strong>g American Express because<br />

they pay the call charges. They give me a figure which seems rather high.<br />

Whilst talk<strong>in</strong>g to them I am on-l<strong>in</strong>e collect<strong>in</strong>g my e-mails. In due course AOL<br />

tells me I have been on-l<strong>in</strong>e for 254 m<strong>in</strong>utes and I ought to check my bill<strong>in</strong>g. I<br />

remember that AOL deduct my charges from my American Express card. I<br />

wonder whether, unlike the U.K., I am be<strong>in</strong>g charged for the whole time we are<br />

on-l<strong>in</strong>e and, as we leave AOL connected the whole time, this could be quite<br />

expensive. There is a method of check<strong>in</strong>g your account and I have a look. It


shows my charges as £3,445. After my heart attack, I contact American<br />

Express and ask if these higher charges are anyth<strong>in</strong>g to do with AOL.<br />

Fortunately not, my annual American Express charge of £600 has been debited<br />

to my card account<strong>in</strong>g for the higher than expected cost.<br />

Next port of call is to AOL with whom I have to correspond on l<strong>in</strong>e. After I<br />

manage to expla<strong>in</strong> why I have a U.K. account but live <strong>in</strong> Antigua they assure me<br />

that s<strong>in</strong>ce I signed up for AOL Anytime it doesn’t matter how long I spend onl<strong>in</strong>e.<br />

What puzzles me is why the account shows such vast expenditure if they<br />

have no <strong>in</strong>tention of charg<strong>in</strong>g me. I certa<strong>in</strong>ly have no <strong>in</strong>tention of pay<strong>in</strong>g it.<br />

When I arrive at the office L<strong>in</strong>dsay has done the revenue figures with still one<br />

major client to commit. It appears we have <strong>in</strong>creased the <strong>in</strong>come by about 25%<br />

which, <strong>in</strong> two months, isn’t bad and bodes well for next year when we can really<br />

get organized.<br />

For some time I have been putt<strong>in</strong>g off do<strong>in</strong>g my f<strong>in</strong>al V.A.T. Return. In fact, I am<br />

still owed some money from the U.K. and have been reluctant to pay V.A.T. on<br />

money I may never receive. When I check my bank account the only<br />

outstand<strong>in</strong>g money is due from the Red Cross for services they have received<br />

and, as they have always been good, if late, payers, I decide to do the Return.<br />

As I fill it <strong>in</strong> I notice that if I don’t complete it by 11 th July I am subject to a<br />

penalty. I complete and, rather than rely on the post, fax it. As the fax is half<br />

complet<strong>in</strong>g its transmission I realize I have left a vital item off the Return. I stop<br />

the transmission and rewrite the Return. Hav<strong>in</strong>g no Tipex, it’s a bit of a mess<br />

but s<strong>in</strong>ce I owe them money I am not sure they will m<strong>in</strong>d too much.<br />

I had <strong>in</strong>tended to quit the office a bit earlier today. Alexis always arrives a bit<br />

after me and leaves at three although I suspect he does work before he arrives<br />

s<strong>in</strong>ce he has always read the e-mails. At half five L<strong>in</strong>dsay r<strong>in</strong>gs and asks if I am<br />

go<strong>in</strong>g to the Tot. S<strong>in</strong>ce it’s near that time, I say yes but only just make it.<br />

There are a couple of tropical storms march<strong>in</strong>g their way up through the<br />

Caribbean and we are feel<strong>in</strong>g the affects of one of them. It makes the weather<br />

quite pleasant with fairly strong w<strong>in</strong>ds. What I f<strong>in</strong>d surpris<strong>in</strong>g is the way people<br />

talk about the weather. I have been sail<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> stronger w<strong>in</strong>ds than this yet<br />

everyone seems a bit nervous. I am beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g to wonder if the rarity of bad<br />

weather makes people apprehensive. In the U.K. w<strong>in</strong>ds of this strength are<br />

common place.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 61 – Wednesday. L<strong>in</strong>dsay and I try tak<strong>in</strong>g the dogs for a walk together on<br />

the basis that if we have one each they may be easier to try to lead tra<strong>in</strong>. It<br />

makes no difference. They are just as competitive with each other when be<strong>in</strong>g<br />

walked separately.<br />

On my way <strong>in</strong>to St. John’s to pick up some photographs I call <strong>in</strong>to a workshop<br />

which specializes <strong>in</strong> all manner of mechanical garden equipment and tell them


of my cha<strong>in</strong>saw problem. A very young lad appears and I expla<strong>in</strong> that if he<br />

removes a couple of l<strong>in</strong>ks the cha<strong>in</strong> might fit. He takes the cha<strong>in</strong>saw and new<br />

cha<strong>in</strong> out to the back of the workshop. A few m<strong>in</strong>utes later he reappears and<br />

tells me the cha<strong>in</strong> is too big. I expla<strong>in</strong> I already know this which is why I brought<br />

it <strong>in</strong>. He gives me an exasperated look and po<strong>in</strong>ts out that not only is the cha<strong>in</strong><br />

too long but that each <strong>in</strong>dividual l<strong>in</strong>k is too big for the grove <strong>in</strong> the cha<strong>in</strong>saw’s<br />

blade. I ask if he has the right one which he does but he won’t take my new<br />

and unused cha<strong>in</strong> <strong>in</strong> part exchange.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay has been to get some petrol from Slipway only to f<strong>in</strong>d them closed.<br />

Before she goes aga<strong>in</strong> I r<strong>in</strong>g and ask if they are open po<strong>in</strong>t<strong>in</strong>g out that they had<br />

been unexpectedly closed. I am told they only close for lunch. It must have<br />

been a very early lunch at 10.30 <strong>in</strong> the morn<strong>in</strong>g. L<strong>in</strong>dsay tries aga<strong>in</strong> and they<br />

are closed aga<strong>in</strong>. Must be a very long lunch.<br />

We have a spare page <strong>in</strong> the Mar<strong>in</strong>e Guide and Alexis suggests we try to get<br />

some last m<strong>in</strong>ute advertis<strong>in</strong>g. I feel we need more text. He asks what I th<strong>in</strong>k is<br />

lack<strong>in</strong>g. I suggest humour. I wrote a few articles some years ago, one of which<br />

I feel I may be able to adapt. Although Alexis has a scanner at home and so do<br />

we, neither has yet brought one <strong>in</strong>to the office. I need to scan <strong>in</strong> the photos I<br />

have collected and, as my scanner has a text reader, I want to scan <strong>in</strong> the<br />

article. Unfortunately, the space we have is for 700 to 800 words and the article<br />

is over 2,000. I try précis<strong>in</strong>g it and chang<strong>in</strong>g its location from Europe to Antigua<br />

but it doesn’t work and isn’t funny. Back to square one.<br />

As it has been rather cloudy the solar panels are not charg<strong>in</strong>g the batteries very<br />

well and we are runn<strong>in</strong>g the generator rather a lot. This morn<strong>in</strong>g, when I went<br />

to start it, the battery was flat and I had to use jump leads. I wondered whether<br />

by leav<strong>in</strong>g the power lead <strong>in</strong> the generator when it is not on battery power<br />

dra<strong>in</strong>s <strong>in</strong>to the general system. I decided we should disconnect the lead after<br />

charg<strong>in</strong>g and see if it makes any difference. It starts okay <strong>in</strong> the afternoon.<br />

S<strong>in</strong>ce I am work<strong>in</strong>g at home I take the dogs for a walk and decide to try tak<strong>in</strong>g<br />

them off the lead. I wait until I am <strong>in</strong> a large, fenced plot which leads down to a<br />

beach. The dogs love it and are reasonably obedient, com<strong>in</strong>g when called,<br />

well, several calls. One th<strong>in</strong>g which hadn’t occurred to me is their lik<strong>in</strong>g for the<br />

water. Both of them are straight <strong>in</strong>to the sea. Despite walk<strong>in</strong>g them back<br />

through long grass they are still wet and covered <strong>in</strong> sand. Although I sweep<br />

through the liv<strong>in</strong>g room and remove enough sand to build a small castle when<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay returns home she is not amused by the amount scattered around the<br />

house.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 62 – Thursday. The electricity cuts off at about ten to six. Not bad s<strong>in</strong>ce I<br />

usually start the generator at six. The battery is flat aga<strong>in</strong>. I conclude it must be<br />

a battery problem which is surpris<strong>in</strong>g s<strong>in</strong>ce the generator and, therefore, the<br />

battery, is new. I check the water level <strong>in</strong> the battery. It is empty. Presumably<br />

they are shipped empty and no-one has put any <strong>in</strong>. It’s back to the jump leads.


Once <strong>in</strong> the office I telephone UPS to f<strong>in</strong>d out what has happened to our<br />

computer. They have no record of it be<strong>in</strong>g collected. I suggest they get on and<br />

collect it. They tell me they can’t because of a bomb scare. I mention it to<br />

Alexis who looks at the news on the <strong>in</strong>ternet. He tells me of the four bombs<br />

which have gone off <strong>in</strong> London. At this stage there are reports of only two dead<br />

but it is obvious that total will rise.<br />

The next call is from the tobacconist <strong>in</strong> the U.K.. None of the shippers will carry<br />

tobacco. I will have to th<strong>in</strong>k of an alternative. A call from Mike Rose, visit<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the U.K. and whose dogs we look<strong>in</strong>g after, gives me an idea. Maybe, if I can<br />

get the cigars to him. I do suggest some G2 razor blades would be useful.<br />

On my way home to use the scanner aga<strong>in</strong> (it gets me out of the office and<br />

allows L<strong>in</strong>dsay to use the computer) I receive a call from the solicitors. We<br />

have our Work Permits, except we don’t. When I get there to collect them I am<br />

told we have to pay the massive sum of EC$12,500 and the application still has<br />

to go to the Work Permit Department. I am not sure whether it is the solicitor<br />

be<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>efficient or the Work Permits Department be<strong>in</strong>g slow. Probably both.<br />

I just escape the traffic of St. John’s when I receive a telephone call from<br />

someone with an office right on the waterfront ask<strong>in</strong>g me to collect a disk from<br />

them. I turn around and go back.<br />

An e-mail from Chris White, back <strong>in</strong> the U.K. after a trip to Australia, tells me I<br />

can download a ‘hack’ from the <strong>in</strong>ternet which will enable me to alter our DVD<br />

player to an <strong>in</strong>ternational standard. I check the two sites he has given me and<br />

our DVD player is the only one which does not have a ‘hack’.<br />

Today is not go<strong>in</strong>g well and the generator will not start aga<strong>in</strong> without jump leads<br />

despite me hav<strong>in</strong>g filled the battery.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 63 – Friday. My first call of the morn<strong>in</strong>g is to the computer supplier <strong>in</strong> the<br />

U.K. to ask what has happened to our delivery. He tells me UPS has returned it<br />

to him. It is a month s<strong>in</strong>ce we made our <strong>in</strong>itial order and it still hasn’t left the<br />

U.K.. I r<strong>in</strong>g UPS who tell me the package was returned because it was not<br />

accompanied by the right paperwork. I tell UPS to go back to the shop and I will<br />

ensure the paperwork is right. I r<strong>in</strong>g the shop and only get answerphone so I<br />

leave a message tell<strong>in</strong>g them to r<strong>in</strong>g. I hear noth<strong>in</strong>g so I send a fax but still hear<br />

noth<strong>in</strong>g. My patience is gett<strong>in</strong>g a bit th<strong>in</strong> so I rather than r<strong>in</strong>g the manager’s<br />

direct l<strong>in</strong>e I r<strong>in</strong>g the ma<strong>in</strong> number know<strong>in</strong>g I will have to press option buttons<br />

and listen to music. When I f<strong>in</strong>ally get an assistant he receives the rough edge<br />

of my tongue. A few m<strong>in</strong>utes later an e-mail from the manager tells me they are<br />

not allowed to make <strong>in</strong>ternational calls but he has acted upon my <strong>in</strong>structions.<br />

We will see what happens


Whilst all this was go<strong>in</strong>g on I received a call from the tobacconist. DHL will<br />

deliver my cigars. I order enough to last me about a year. In future, I will buy<br />

enough <strong>in</strong> the U.K. when visit<strong>in</strong>g and ask any friends and family visit<strong>in</strong>g to try to<br />

br<strong>in</strong>g some with them.<br />

We have been hav<strong>in</strong>g problems with the download speed on our <strong>in</strong>ternet<br />

connection for several weeks and I have constantly compla<strong>in</strong>ed to the landlord.<br />

In frustration I ask him to come and look at my download times. We do a speed<br />

test and it shows the download speed as negligible. He cannot understand this<br />

as his download speed is more than adequate. We try a whole variety of<br />

different ways of connect<strong>in</strong>g to the system and it eventually transpires that the<br />

router I bought a few weeks ago is faulty. I will change it when I am <strong>in</strong> St.<br />

John’s this afternoon.<br />

An e-mail from Chris White tells me specifically where I can get a patch to<br />

convert our DVD. I download it onto the laptop and will try it out when I get<br />

home. We have a bit of banter over the e-mail about L<strong>in</strong>dsay go<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

Woolworth’s to buy a DVD player.<br />

S<strong>in</strong>ce I have to visit someone <strong>in</strong> St. John’s <strong>in</strong> the afternoon, I agree to walk and<br />

feed the dogs on my way back. Although it is a mistake to let them off the lead<br />

because they rush <strong>in</strong>to the sea, they so enjoy themselves I do it anyway except<br />

this time I br<strong>in</strong>g them to the house around the back and onto the veranda. To<br />

prevent them gett<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>side I have shut the veranda door forgett<strong>in</strong>g it has one of<br />

those locks which you can open from the <strong>in</strong>side but not the outside and I am on<br />

the outside. I have to go around to the front door to let myself <strong>in</strong>.<br />

Gett<strong>in</strong>g back <strong>in</strong>to my car I notice a ‘missed call’ on my ‘phone. I do not<br />

recognize the number and r<strong>in</strong>g it back. It turns out to be someone we had met<br />

s<strong>in</strong>ce mov<strong>in</strong>g here <strong>in</strong>vit<strong>in</strong>g us around for dr<strong>in</strong>ks on Sunday even<strong>in</strong>g. I am<br />

delighted to accept. Later, L<strong>in</strong>dsay asks me what you take to someone’s house<br />

when you are <strong>in</strong>vited to dr<strong>in</strong>ks. It can’t be a bottle of w<strong>in</strong>e. I suggest flowers or<br />

chocolate. With the island <strong>in</strong> bloom, flowers are not particularly appropriate nor<br />

have I seen any for sale. Chocolates may be a challenge.<br />

I have some photography to do for an advertisement and r<strong>in</strong>g L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

suggest<strong>in</strong>g she might like to come with me as it is nearly the end of the day. It’s<br />

a restaurant on a beach and the owner want to get all aspects with<strong>in</strong> the shot.<br />

Impossible. I had taken some sight<strong>in</strong>g shots and showed them to him.<br />

Fortunately, he accepted my po<strong>in</strong>t of view and agreed I take the shot I thought<br />

would be best. L<strong>in</strong>dsay and a few others posed as customers.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 64 – Saturday. A really lazy day, do<strong>in</strong>g absolutely noth<strong>in</strong>g except read<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>in</strong> the morn<strong>in</strong>g. As L<strong>in</strong>dsay takes the dogs for a walk I cook breakfast.<br />

Eventually, I summons up the energy to try out the patch for the DVD. I<br />

download it from the laptop to a CD and put it <strong>in</strong>to the player. I have left the<br />

<strong>in</strong>structions I pr<strong>in</strong>ted from the <strong>in</strong>ternet <strong>in</strong> the office so I hope it’s self-explanatory.


An area of the screen greys over covered with O’s which, preceded by an E,<br />

gradually changes to W’s. After a few m<strong>in</strong>utes everyth<strong>in</strong>g goes blank. I turn off<br />

the player and the T.V. wonder<strong>in</strong>g whether that’s the end of the DVD player.<br />

Turn<strong>in</strong>g it back on we have a picture but someth<strong>in</strong>g has happened as it’s a<br />

different shape. I try a U.K. DVD and it works. All we now have to do is borrow<br />

another U.S. DVD and see if that works.<br />

In the even<strong>in</strong>g there is the raffle draw and auction for the Amaz<strong>in</strong>g Grace<br />

Foundation, the charity for which Roger and Kev<strong>in</strong> rowed around the island to<br />

raise money. Three of the items <strong>in</strong> the auction are boat related which is a bit of<br />

a mistake s<strong>in</strong>ce, one way or another, most people have a connection with a<br />

boat and they don’t sell very well. The fourth item is d<strong>in</strong>ner, a room and<br />

breakfast at the Curta<strong>in</strong> Bluff Resort, a rather exclusive hotel where rooms start<br />

at US$500 per night. I buy it for US$400 which appears good value to me<br />

particularly s<strong>in</strong>ce we are gett<strong>in</strong>g d<strong>in</strong>ner and breakfast thrown <strong>in</strong>. We also w<strong>in</strong><br />

‘brunch’ at a local restaurant <strong>in</strong> the raffle.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g asked Terry to loan us a U.S. DVD I try it out on our modified DVD<br />

player and it works but I have to reset the screen size to suit the different<br />

format. We start to watch The League of Extraord<strong>in</strong>ary Gentlemen. It is a<br />

complete load of rubbish but at least we now know we can jo<strong>in</strong> the local video<br />

store.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 65 – Sunday. After walk<strong>in</strong>g the dogs – me – we set off for Tot Club Keep<br />

Fit and I am armed with the refurbished cha<strong>in</strong> saw. The new cha<strong>in</strong> is effective<br />

for about ten m<strong>in</strong>utes before the hardness of the mahogany trees blunts it. To<br />

make matter worse, the cha<strong>in</strong> keeps fall<strong>in</strong>g off. Despite this I mange to clear six<br />

fairly substantial trees. I have been sent off to a different part of the trail with<br />

two helpers. Until I have cleared the first tree there was not much for the<br />

helpers to do so they disappear, one return<strong>in</strong>g briefly to see how I am gett<strong>in</strong>g<br />

on. Just after midday L<strong>in</strong>dsay appears as I am attempt<strong>in</strong>g, yet aga<strong>in</strong>, to refit the<br />

cha<strong>in</strong>. She tells me everyone is giv<strong>in</strong>g up. I have almost cut through a root<br />

system of a tree when the cha<strong>in</strong> has come off aga<strong>in</strong> and I want to f<strong>in</strong>ish it.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay grabs the log and gives it a good tug. It breaks away. That’s enough to<br />

make me give up. My only rema<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g problem is to get the cha<strong>in</strong>saw back to<br />

the car. The car is at the highest po<strong>in</strong>t of the trail and I am at the lowest. It’s a<br />

long, tough climb back and the cha<strong>in</strong>saw weighs a ton by the time I am at the<br />

top of the hill. L<strong>in</strong>dsay carries the last couple of hundred yards, on the level bit.<br />

As we are go<strong>in</strong>g out to dr<strong>in</strong>ks this even<strong>in</strong>g and we have noth<strong>in</strong>g to take with us I<br />

drop L<strong>in</strong>dsay off at the beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g of the road to the house (her idea). I am<br />

rather short of petrol and head for the nearest garage and on <strong>in</strong>to town. I am<br />

soak<strong>in</strong>g we from perspiration and filthy dirty. I get some very funny looks <strong>in</strong> the<br />

supermarket. The only suitable th<strong>in</strong>gs I can f<strong>in</strong>d are a box of After Eight and a<br />

t<strong>in</strong> of Danish Biscuits. I buy both.


After a shower and a little siesta we head off to Sven and Julie’s for dr<strong>in</strong>ks not<br />

know<strong>in</strong>g who else might be there. It turns out it is only the four of us. Their<br />

house is fantastic as is the view. It’s a pleasant even<strong>in</strong>g and Julie has gone to<br />

considerable effort with various tit-bits. Be<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>vited to someone’s house for<br />

the first time it is always difficult to know when is the polite time to leave. I hope<br />

we time our departure just right.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 66 – Monday. L<strong>in</strong>dsay has woken up with a stiff right leg. I th<strong>in</strong>ks it’s an<br />

excuse so I have to walk the dogs but she hobbles around the house and<br />

blames yesterday’s ‘Keep Fit’. One benefit is that she can’t use her right leg on<br />

the foot brake and is hav<strong>in</strong>g to brake left footed. I have always told her that left<br />

footed brak<strong>in</strong>g is the right way to drive an automatic and s<strong>in</strong>ce this is her third<br />

automatic car she ought to have learnt by now.<br />

Sandy eventually gave us a lease the other day with some new clauses <strong>in</strong> it,<br />

different from the orig<strong>in</strong>al draft, ma<strong>in</strong>ly to do with hurricane protection. We are<br />

not keen on the clauses s<strong>in</strong>ce it lays too much responsibility upon us. I have<br />

been mean<strong>in</strong>g to discuss it with him but can’t f<strong>in</strong>d where the lease has gone. I<br />

am sure L<strong>in</strong>dsay had it last and she th<strong>in</strong>ks I moved it somewhere. Either way, I<br />

need to discuss it with him fairly urgently as there is a storm forecast for<br />

Thursday/Friday which could turn <strong>in</strong>to a hurricane. Probably just another false<br />

alarm but we don’t want to be caught out.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g bought a new router for the <strong>in</strong>ternet I have discovered that it won’t work<br />

with Apple Mac computers and, despite go<strong>in</strong>g onto the suppliers website and<br />

send<strong>in</strong>g them an e-mail, they have been no help whatsoever. Hav<strong>in</strong>g been a<br />

great fan of Apple Mac <strong>in</strong> the late ‘80s I am becom<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>gly disillusioned<br />

with them. There are very simple th<strong>in</strong>gs you can now do on a PC that you can’t<br />

on an Apple.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g always taken pleasure <strong>in</strong> photography I am f<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g that the odd bit I<br />

have to do here is very enjoyable and sometimes a bit of a challenge. Although<br />

I say it myself some of it is quite creative. Perhaps it’s all those years of tak<strong>in</strong>g<br />

photos of house and be<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>stantly able to recognize which is the best angle<br />

and what the subject will look like when done. Hav<strong>in</strong>g completely rearranged<br />

some cars a few weeks ago, today I had to set up a shot for a restaurant and<br />

carried a table (with help) fifty yards to get it <strong>in</strong> the foreground of the shot. The<br />

result is exactly what I was expect<strong>in</strong>g and fairly artistic. It was a lot of work for<br />

one small advert. but it’s all good practise. The restaurant asked for copies for<br />

their website which is tak<strong>in</strong>g about half an hour to send due to the high<br />

resolution of the photos.<br />

Two bits of good news today. The solicitor tells us that everyth<strong>in</strong>g has been<br />

regularized at the Antiguan equivalent of Companies House which appears to<br />

be the High Court and we can f<strong>in</strong>ally complete our purchase of the bus<strong>in</strong>ess.<br />

Also, s<strong>in</strong>ce she has now received the receipts for our Work Permit payments we


can, semi-legally, work. Technically, we shouldn’t do so until we actually have<br />

the permits but s<strong>in</strong>ce it takes so long to get them, everybody does.<br />

The bad news is that the person we have been wait<strong>in</strong>g to return to the island so<br />

we can talk to him about a piece of land is now not return<strong>in</strong>g until next week. It<br />

seems and endless series of delays particularly if the land he has is what we<br />

th<strong>in</strong>k it is, we would prefer to buy it to any other.<br />

There is some other bad news. A pack of dogs has got <strong>in</strong>to Mike and Anne’s<br />

garden and eaten all their chickens. At least we have managed to keep their<br />

dogs alive although if I had been allowed to br<strong>in</strong>g my shotgun here I am not so<br />

sure.<br />

Another th<strong>in</strong>g which is difficult to get here is lighter gas so I have only one can.<br />

In the U.K. I had one at home, one <strong>in</strong> the car and one on the boat. I have run<br />

out of gas and the cyl<strong>in</strong>der is at home. Despite be<strong>in</strong>g a large car there are<br />

surpris<strong>in</strong>gly few cubby holes <strong>in</strong> which to store a gas cyl<strong>in</strong>der. I will have to f<strong>in</strong>d<br />

a cyl<strong>in</strong>der small enough to go <strong>in</strong> the sun glasses locker. I knew I would f<strong>in</strong>d a<br />

use for it one day.<br />

I am not sure whether an e-mail from Paul regard<strong>in</strong>g the boat has depressed<br />

me or cheered me up. S<strong>in</strong>ce it’s not personal I am pr<strong>in</strong>t<strong>in</strong>g it below. It does<br />

make me miss my boat (ex-boat) and sail<strong>in</strong>g off Brighton.<br />

Sat . NE 10-15kn Sunny. Hav<strong>in</strong>g spent most of the morn<strong>in</strong>g look<strong>in</strong>g at<br />

everyth<strong>in</strong>g on the boat, empty<strong>in</strong>g the n<strong>in</strong>e buckets of water out of the bilge and<br />

prepar<strong>in</strong>g the sails... we set off. Seemed to go well eng<strong>in</strong>e worked didn't crash<br />

<strong>in</strong>to any other boats. Crew consisted of Anna (from the Bigs), Jason (non sailor<br />

with a rather large hangover) and Val. I have to confess it took us a bit of time<br />

to hoist the ma<strong>in</strong> but after that I th<strong>in</strong>k you'd be impressed. Val seemed to<br />

become a natural helm probably due the new HL jacket she <strong>in</strong>sisted on<br />

spend<strong>in</strong>g valuable boat ma<strong>in</strong>tenance money on.. but if that's the result it'll save<br />

on an auto helm.<br />

I have to say, I don't th<strong>in</strong>k I’ve been so happy for a long time. We had a<br />

fantastic sail to no5 and back to Shoreham <strong>in</strong> no time would have taken us all<br />

day <strong>in</strong> the Bigs. Its lovely be<strong>in</strong>g able to trim a ma<strong>in</strong> sail and notic<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

difference (still haven't quit got used to the size of the ma<strong>in</strong> though). The gusts<br />

between the hills made her accelerate through the water we would have<br />

rounded up <strong>in</strong> the Bigs. Proved a little difficult gett<strong>in</strong>g the ma<strong>in</strong> down but with a<br />

bit of imag<strong>in</strong>ation soon sorted the problem. The majority of the weed fell away<br />

from the bottom of her. Moor<strong>in</strong>g went well but found it quit hard with the controls<br />

we had a lot of spectators from the club. I was very relieved I didn't make a<br />

mess of it! Managed to stop the eng<strong>in</strong>e after a little ma<strong>in</strong>tenance ;-)<br />

Sailed on Sunday for most of the day with six crew of vary<strong>in</strong>g levels of<br />

experience, went like clock work. I was however exhausted at the end of the


day. Its hard look<strong>in</strong>g after that many people who don't know the ropes, soon<br />

have them up to speed. We even got one of the many sp<strong>in</strong>nakers up, Superb!<br />

Summary; much much much better than a Bavaria or J-Boat!<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 67 – Tuesday. I receive a call from the shippers to say that the computer<br />

has arrived and they are deliver<strong>in</strong>g the Customs slip to us. The simplest way to<br />

get goods through Customs is to use a Customs Agent. I am halfway to St.<br />

John’s and well past the Customs Agent’s office when L<strong>in</strong>dsay r<strong>in</strong>gs to say the<br />

slip has arrived. It’s easier to get her to deal with it than turn back although she<br />

is too honest. If you import computers for personal purposes there is no duty<br />

but if you import them for bus<strong>in</strong>ess you have to pay tax. L<strong>in</strong>dsay completes the<br />

form say<strong>in</strong>g we are import<strong>in</strong>g it for bus<strong>in</strong>ess purposes.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g f<strong>in</strong>ally completed the due diligence on the company and it’s time to pay<br />

up. My purpose <strong>in</strong> go<strong>in</strong>g to St. John’s is to collect a banker’s draft. After hav<strong>in</strong>g<br />

sat <strong>in</strong> the bank for ten m<strong>in</strong>utes wait<strong>in</strong>g to be served I am told that Premier<br />

Customers can go to one of the private offices and be served immediately. I<br />

f<strong>in</strong>d it amaz<strong>in</strong>g that I have been <strong>in</strong> the bank quite a few times and they only now<br />

tell me.<br />

Back at the office there is a reply from the router company tell<strong>in</strong>g me they don’t<br />

support MAC products. There is a label on the back of the router which has to<br />

be pealed off before it can be used. I am reluctant to peel it off if I am go<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

return it. Carefully peel<strong>in</strong>g off the label I plug <strong>in</strong> the <strong>in</strong>ternet cables and it works.<br />

S<strong>in</strong>ce L<strong>in</strong>dsay is us<strong>in</strong>g the computer I decide to go back to St. John’s to buy<br />

some more cable and trunk<strong>in</strong>g to f<strong>in</strong>ally tidy up all the wires around the office. I<br />

also want some plugs for the 220 volt system. The plugs prove a major<br />

problem. Apparently, they are known as ‘Ch<strong>in</strong>ese’ plugs and I eventually f<strong>in</strong>d<br />

them <strong>in</strong> a hardware store I have used on a number of occasions.<br />

I have agreed to walk and feed the dogs on my way back from St. John’s. They<br />

have been on their own almost all day and are <strong>in</strong> an extremely skittish mood<br />

and very badly behaved. The weekend when Mike and Anne return can’t come<br />

soon enough. Out walk<strong>in</strong>g I run <strong>in</strong>to Sandy and, hav<strong>in</strong>g telephoned him <strong>in</strong> the<br />

morn<strong>in</strong>g to say I am not happy with the changes to the lease, we agree to meet<br />

tomorrow with some of his workmen and prepare the house for the hurricane<br />

which is supposed to be com<strong>in</strong>g our way.<br />

The Tot is at Calabash and we always like go<strong>in</strong>g there so we decide to jo<strong>in</strong> the<br />

Tot tonight despite our resolution to stay away dur<strong>in</strong>g the week.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 68 – Wednesday. As I had expected, all this talk of a hurricane has proved<br />

a false alarm. Not only has it not developed from a tropical storm <strong>in</strong>to a<br />

hurricane it also isn’t com<strong>in</strong>g our way but head<strong>in</strong>g for Grenada <strong>in</strong>stead. They<br />

had a real batter<strong>in</strong>g last year so should be well prepared.


Hav<strong>in</strong>g agreed to meet Sandy at ten I go <strong>in</strong>to the office early to get a few th<strong>in</strong>gs<br />

sorted. I plug the computer <strong>in</strong>to my newly fitted cables and the computer tells<br />

me it can’t f<strong>in</strong>d a suitable connection and asks if I would like to connect<br />

wirelessly <strong>in</strong>stead. Naturally, I say yes and the connection is perfect mak<strong>in</strong>g all<br />

my nice wir<strong>in</strong>g a complete waste of time.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay r<strong>in</strong>gs to say that s<strong>in</strong>ce the ‘hurricane’ is not com<strong>in</strong>g there isn’t quite the<br />

urgency to get the house hurricane proofed so Sandy has put off the<br />

arrangement until twelve which suit me as I can get on with other th<strong>in</strong>gs. Later,<br />

well before twelve, L<strong>in</strong>dsay rang to Sandy was home and I ought to come back<br />

to catch him. I get back to the house and Sandy has gone. I wait until twelve<br />

and still no sign of him so I r<strong>in</strong>g him. He has had a puncture and, s<strong>in</strong>ce the<br />

‘hurricane’ is no longer com<strong>in</strong>g, he doesn’t th<strong>in</strong>k it necessary to take<br />

precautions. I am not amused hav<strong>in</strong>g taken time out of the office to help him. I<br />

tell L<strong>in</strong>dsay I will leave her <strong>in</strong> the office to use the computer and relax at home.<br />

I look around for my book and can’t f<strong>in</strong>d it. L<strong>in</strong>dsay has started read<strong>in</strong>g it and<br />

taken it to the office with her. I <strong>in</strong>troduce a new rule. She cannot start read<strong>in</strong>g<br />

any of my books until I have f<strong>in</strong>ished them and vice-versa.<br />

Quite a bit of bad weather is com<strong>in</strong>g through and I watch the squalls march<strong>in</strong>g<br />

across the bay wonder<strong>in</strong>g if there is a gap long enough for me to take the dogs<br />

foe a walk. I manage to get only slightly wet.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g been at home most of the day I want to get out and r<strong>in</strong>g L<strong>in</strong>dsay to<br />

agree that we should go to the Tot at Calabash. Whilst there another L<strong>in</strong>dsay is<br />

try<strong>in</strong>g to copy someth<strong>in</strong>g from the <strong>in</strong>ternet onto a CD, unsuccessfully. In view of<br />

my recent ‘wireless’ experience, I suggest I may be able to do it for her and get<br />

the laptop from the car. Noth<strong>in</strong>g is ever that simple. After ten or fifteen m<strong>in</strong>utes<br />

grappl<strong>in</strong>g with various bits of programme I discover I need a password to<br />

connect. Seon, the barman, gives me one which fails to connect. I am<br />

attempt<strong>in</strong>g to log onto the wrong server. Once this is sorted I download the<br />

necessary documents and burn them onto a CD. L<strong>in</strong>dsay then asks me to<br />

download some more documents. Unfortunately, the CD she has given me is<br />

not re-writable and can be used once only. I download the extra documents<br />

and promise to write them to a CD tomorrow.<br />

We leave for home much later than <strong>in</strong>tended but, as I po<strong>in</strong>t out to L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

(m<strong>in</strong>e) that it’s all a learn<strong>in</strong>g experience.<br />

On the way home I buy some bottles of lemonade and coke and, as I get out of<br />

the car, one of the bags breaks and two bottles roll under L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s car. One<br />

has split itself on the sharp gravel and is hiss<strong>in</strong>g and fizz<strong>in</strong>g. L<strong>in</strong>dsay th<strong>in</strong>ks her<br />

car has a puncture. I manage to save most of the lemonade by pour<strong>in</strong>g it <strong>in</strong>to<br />

an empty water bottle but it has lost all its fizz.


<strong>Day</strong> 69 – Thursday. The tropical storm has turned <strong>in</strong>to a hurricane but miles<br />

away from us. Some fairly torrential ra<strong>in</strong> associated the hurricane is lash<strong>in</strong>g us<br />

from time to time and there is a fair bit of flood<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

There is a message on the answerphone. My cigars have been dispatched and<br />

should arrive <strong>in</strong> three to four days. I may just survive on my exist<strong>in</strong>g stock. A<br />

call to the Customs brokers reveals no progress on the computer which needs<br />

various different departments signatures before it can be released.<br />

I have not been <strong>in</strong> the office long when L<strong>in</strong>dsay ‘phones. One of the dogs<br />

escaped from the veranda and she th<strong>in</strong>ks he may have jumped from first floor<br />

level s<strong>in</strong>ce he is look<strong>in</strong>g a bit sheepish and may have hurt himself. I am a bit<br />

concerned at how wet they are gett<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> these storms. The ra<strong>in</strong> blows straight<br />

onto the veranda and, although I put a large table on its side as some form of<br />

protection, L<strong>in</strong>dsay tells me it offers practically no defence aga<strong>in</strong>st the div<strong>in</strong>g<br />

ra<strong>in</strong>.<br />

I need a haircut so when I go out to get some cash I call at the local<br />

hairdressers. It’s supposed to be open from ten until six. There is a note on the<br />

door say<strong>in</strong>g ‘back @ 1.20’. By 1.30 I am tempted to leave a note ask<strong>in</strong>g ‘Which<br />

day?’ Instead I leave a message on their answerphone request<strong>in</strong>g a call when<br />

they are open. The call comes at ten to two but they don’t have a hairdresser<br />

on duty today. I make an appo<strong>in</strong>tment for tomorrow.<br />

A meet<strong>in</strong>g of the Antigua Mar<strong>in</strong>e Trades Association was planned for 4.30 this<br />

afternoon but has been cancelled because of the weather. Apparently the<br />

people liv<strong>in</strong>g on the north of the island are reluctant to come out <strong>in</strong>to the<br />

‘country’. I can’t see their problem. I quite happily drove up to the north of the<br />

island earlier.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay has compla<strong>in</strong>ed she is cold. Admittedly, the air-condition<strong>in</strong>g is on and it<br />

is cool. I don’t tell her that earlier I <strong>in</strong>creased the temperature <strong>in</strong> the car as I<br />

was driv<strong>in</strong>g to St. John’s.<br />

Leav<strong>in</strong>g the office I press the remote starter on my key fob and noth<strong>in</strong>g<br />

happens. I try several more times with no luck. Gett<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>to the car I try the old<br />

tried and tested method, the key with the same lack of success. I wonder if the<br />

security system has locked out as it’s flash<strong>in</strong>g and mak<strong>in</strong>g a click<strong>in</strong>g noise. I<br />

resort to the handbook but am no wiser. I telephone L<strong>in</strong>dsay but get no reply.<br />

Several attempts later she answers and I ask her to br<strong>in</strong>g down the jump leads.<br />

Whilst wait<strong>in</strong>g for her I realise what I have done. I still can’t get used to the fact<br />

that my stalks are on the opposite side to U.K. cars. At some time, driv<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong><br />

the ra<strong>in</strong>, I must have <strong>in</strong>advertently turned on the headlamps, left them on and<br />

not noticed. Evidently, the battery has run flat.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay arrives. I am parked next to a large puddle and stand<strong>in</strong>g outside the<br />

car. I have always thought women drivers are oblivious to road hazards.


L<strong>in</strong>dsay charges through the puddle and soaks me. To make matters worse,<br />

the jump start makes no difference. From the office, I r<strong>in</strong>g Frank who <strong>in</strong>stalled<br />

the security/remote start device. He suggests I return to the car and call him<br />

aga<strong>in</strong>. As I walk to the car I press the remote start and it works. S<strong>in</strong>ce it is ten<br />

to six and we are only 100 yards from Life bar we jo<strong>in</strong> the Tot and I park<br />

outside. I realise I have left my lighter <strong>in</strong> the car and go to get it. The remote<br />

won’t work. I r<strong>in</strong>g Frank aga<strong>in</strong> and he says he will come out. An hour later he<br />

still has not appeared. I r<strong>in</strong>g him aga<strong>in</strong> and he says he is just leav<strong>in</strong>g. We<br />

decide to eat at Life. Frank arrives at 7.30 with son and wife <strong>in</strong> tow. I will admit<br />

to be<strong>in</strong>g quite impressed by his electrical skills but, unfortunately, water has got<br />

<strong>in</strong>to the remote’s ‘bra<strong>in</strong>’. My fault. When I led the cable to the battery for my<br />

car ‘phone I failed to put the grommet back <strong>in</strong> properly and Frank <strong>in</strong>stalled the<br />

bra<strong>in</strong> directly under the grommet. He manages to get the car go<strong>in</strong>g but takes<br />

the ‘bra<strong>in</strong>’ away to repair it. He says he will return it on Sunday.<br />

Back home and Nuisance has been chew<strong>in</strong>g one of my deck shoes for the<br />

second time. He looks very guilty and crawls around on his belly. Sunday<br />

cannot come soon enough when we will be rid of the dogs. One may ask why I<br />

leave the shoes where he get at them. S<strong>in</strong>ce I need a pair of shoes to go <strong>in</strong>to<br />

the garden or turn on the generator I have been leav<strong>in</strong>g a pair of deck shoes on<br />

the veranda. They have been perfectly safe until a few days ago. I presumed it<br />

was a one off occasion because the dogs had been left alone for a long time<br />

and the damage was very m<strong>in</strong>or. Obviously my strictures were <strong>in</strong>sufficient.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 70 – Friday. An e-mail from Graeme tells me his book is published and<br />

enquires whether I can f<strong>in</strong>d out if it’s <strong>in</strong> a bookshop <strong>in</strong> St. John’s. I reply that I<br />

am go<strong>in</strong>g to town <strong>in</strong> the afternoon and will check. Graeme must be on-l<strong>in</strong>e<br />

when I reply and we spend a little time catch<strong>in</strong>g up. He asks if I have a contact<br />

address <strong>in</strong> the U.K. for Mike Rose who might be able to br<strong>in</strong>g some books out<br />

here. I give him what <strong>in</strong>formation I have.<br />

An e-mail from Mike Rell<strong>in</strong>g suggests he is prepared to allow me to act as an<br />

agent for Revolution Sails. We are just about to put the Mar<strong>in</strong>e Guide to bed so<br />

I whip out an article and replace it with and advert plus set up an e-mail address<br />

for Revolution Sails <strong>in</strong> Antigua.<br />

I go to have my haircut and get a head and shoulder massage thrown <strong>in</strong>. I am a<br />

bit horrified by the price. Next time I will forego the massage and see if it<br />

reduces the cost.<br />

An appo<strong>in</strong>tment with the solicitor and all the company documents are f<strong>in</strong>ally<br />

signed over. The company actually becomes our on Monday. We also get<br />

confirmation that we are, eventually, able to work. Although our passports are<br />

not yet stamped we do have some documentation say<strong>in</strong>g we are now legal. I<br />

wonder whether it is sufficient to get a full driv<strong>in</strong>g licence. No doubt they will<br />

want to see the stamp <strong>in</strong> the passports.


I check <strong>in</strong> the bookshop but no sign of Graeme’s book. The assistant checks on<br />

the computer with the same result.<br />

Amongst the post is a statement on my U.S. dollar account which I have been<br />

wait<strong>in</strong>g for s<strong>in</strong>ce April together with a bill from BT for rent on a l<strong>in</strong>e I haven’t had<br />

s<strong>in</strong>ce February and a request from the Inland Revenue for PAYE details on an<br />

employee I had back <strong>in</strong> the U.K.. They are go<strong>in</strong>g to be out of luck s<strong>in</strong>ce all the<br />

records are back <strong>in</strong> the U.K..<br />

The Antigua Mar<strong>in</strong>e Trades Association have called an extraord<strong>in</strong>ary general<br />

meet<strong>in</strong>g. It’s disorganised and chaotic and doesn’t go the way the Board wants<br />

it to go. In fact, the outcome is a bit of a disaster. I end up volunteer<strong>in</strong>g to coord<strong>in</strong>ate<br />

the arrangements for the Trade Show stand <strong>in</strong> December.<br />

The meet<strong>in</strong>g is followed by a cocktail party at the yacht club. Antigua is host<strong>in</strong>g<br />

an <strong>in</strong>ter-island sail<strong>in</strong>g championship and I am part of the Protest Committee. I<br />

am probably one of the few people who would like to see some protests. At<br />

least I will get someth<strong>in</strong>g to do. As the party w<strong>in</strong>ds down it is suggested there<br />

may be more ‘action’ at Temo Sports. It must be a quiet night because not<br />

much is go<strong>in</strong>g on. We have one dr<strong>in</strong>k and go home.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 71 – Saturday. Apart from the dogs wak<strong>in</strong>g us up at 5.30 and want<strong>in</strong>g their<br />

walk, we have a fairly lazy morn<strong>in</strong>g. Well, hav<strong>in</strong>g gone back to bed after the<br />

walk, we f<strong>in</strong>ally get up at 8.30. It seems a lot later. There are a few th<strong>in</strong>gs I<br />

want to do but only get around to them slowly. L<strong>in</strong>dsay goes off for a few hours<br />

of sunsh<strong>in</strong>e on the beach.<br />

We are due to jo<strong>in</strong> a group for lunch and a boules match at Galleon Beach. We<br />

arrive at the appo<strong>in</strong>ted time and are the only one’s there. The rest drift <strong>in</strong> over<br />

the next half hour and lunch starts at two. By the time we are f<strong>in</strong>ished it’s time<br />

for me to leave to walk and feed the dogs before go<strong>in</strong>g to serve on the Protest<br />

Committee. Sven is play<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the match but his wife, Julie, is go<strong>in</strong>g home and<br />

<strong>in</strong>vites L<strong>in</strong>dsay to go with her for a swim <strong>in</strong> their pool.<br />

I am reasonably smartly dressed and don’t have time to change <strong>in</strong> order to walk<br />

the dogs. I decide they are hav<strong>in</strong>g a short one and I risk tak<strong>in</strong>g them out<br />

without leads. It works reasonably well although I have to do a lot of yell<strong>in</strong>g at<br />

them to keep them walk<strong>in</strong>g alongside me. It’s just as well there are no<br />

neighbours to disturb.<br />

I go to the yacht club and await any protests. There appear to be three but all<br />

are settled amicably with no hear<strong>in</strong>g. I r<strong>in</strong>g L<strong>in</strong>dsay to say I will pick her up but<br />

she tells me that Julie has gone to collect Sven and left L<strong>in</strong>dsay <strong>in</strong> charge of the<br />

house. I jo<strong>in</strong> her and Sven and Julie return about half an hour later. They <strong>in</strong>sist<br />

we stay for a dr<strong>in</strong>k which gets somewhat extended. They lend us an enormous<br />

pile of books which should keep us go<strong>in</strong>g for several months.


We had <strong>in</strong>tended to go to the yacht club for the party <strong>in</strong> the even<strong>in</strong>g but<br />

follow<strong>in</strong>g lunch and a few dr<strong>in</strong>ks at Sven and Julie’s we go straight home where<br />

I have to cook d<strong>in</strong>ner as L<strong>in</strong>dsay says she is not hungry. Either she was right or<br />

she doesn’t like my cook<strong>in</strong>g because she only eats half of it.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 72 – Sunday. A start exactly similar to yesterday except that, for the first<br />

time, Nuisance has disgraced himself on the veranda.<br />

For a couple of weeks I have been plann<strong>in</strong>g to move the pr<strong>in</strong>ter/scanner from<br />

home to the office but I haven’t managed to get around to sort<strong>in</strong>g out the<br />

software. The pr<strong>in</strong>ter <strong>in</strong> the office is a cheap one I bought when we arrived.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g a bit of time to spare I get the laptop out of its bag and turn it on or, at<br />

least, try to turn it on. Noth<strong>in</strong>g happens. I try several more times with the same<br />

result. I must have left it on and the battery has gone flat. I plug <strong>in</strong> the power<br />

lead and it turns on but the battery is not charg<strong>in</strong>g. I wonder where the warranty<br />

has gone although my chance of sort<strong>in</strong>g someth<strong>in</strong>g out from this distance is<br />

m<strong>in</strong>imal.<br />

I load the software and test out all the functions. S<strong>in</strong>ce the laptop is only a few<br />

months old as is the pr<strong>in</strong>ter but my PC several years old, many more functions<br />

appear on the screen <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g the option to l<strong>in</strong>k wirelessly to the pr<strong>in</strong>ter.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g tested everyth<strong>in</strong>g I turn the laptop over to check out the battery. It’s not<br />

there. It has fallen off <strong>in</strong> the bag.<br />

Before leav<strong>in</strong>g the U.K. I bought a number of new <strong>in</strong>k cartridges know<strong>in</strong>g they<br />

are quite expensive here but I don’t know where they are packed. An hour or<br />

so of fruitless search<strong>in</strong>g produces noth<strong>in</strong>g. Whilst I am look<strong>in</strong>g my ‘phone r<strong>in</strong>gs<br />

and L<strong>in</strong>dsay answers it. It’s Sven. They had sixteen people com<strong>in</strong>g for lunch<br />

but two have cried off. He wonders whether L<strong>in</strong>dsay and I would like to jo<strong>in</strong><br />

them. L<strong>in</strong>dsay expla<strong>in</strong>s that I am <strong>in</strong>volved <strong>in</strong> the Protest Committee so Sven<br />

suggests she comes alone. L<strong>in</strong>dsay is not too sure about go<strong>in</strong>g alone so I r<strong>in</strong>g<br />

Sven back and say I can jo<strong>in</strong> them as soon as the protests, if any, are over.<br />

We arrive at the yacht club and there is no news on the protests so I take<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay to Sven and Julie’s promis<strong>in</strong>g to return as soon as I can. Back at the<br />

yacht club I realise I have left all my money at home and have to beg EC$100<br />

from Sandy There is one protest and three applications for redress. The<br />

applications for redress are fairly straight forward. Two should be granted and<br />

one denied. The protest is a bit more complicated but, <strong>in</strong> my op<strong>in</strong>ion, the<br />

protest should fail. The Chairman of the Committee is a non-sailor and I am<br />

immediately given the impression this is go<strong>in</strong>g to be long process. Apart from<br />

not be<strong>in</strong>g happy with the Chairman, the Committee comprises five people and<br />

should only comprise three. I offer to stand down. It is suggested that as the<br />

only non-Antiguan on the committee it might be preferable if I stay but no-one<br />

else is prepared to stand down so I leave. I don’t know the outcome of the<br />

protest/requests for redress but I understand Antigua w<strong>in</strong>s the day on count<br />

back.


I arrive at Sven and Julie’s before anyone has sat down to lunch. We are all<br />

split up so that most people are with others they don’t know. In my case, I am<br />

next to the British high Commissioner on one side, a Lancastrian opposite and<br />

an Australian on the other side. I get on quite well with the Lancastrian and<br />

Australian but the quality of the British Diplomatic Service has obviously<br />

decl<strong>in</strong>ed s<strong>in</strong>ce I used to live <strong>in</strong> the colonies. My deal<strong>in</strong>gs with the Assistant<br />

High Commissioner <strong>in</strong> March had been a revelation, detrimentally so, and the<br />

High Commissioner, who I had met once before a few years ago, did not now<br />

imbue me with confidence. The lunch went quite well and I did get to talk to a<br />

few new people a few of whom I wouldn’t m<strong>in</strong>d meet<strong>in</strong>g aga<strong>in</strong>.<br />

On the way home we run <strong>in</strong>to Sandy and stop to have a chat about the protests.<br />

Only <strong>in</strong> Antigua do cars stop <strong>in</strong> the middle of the road and their occupants talk<br />

to each other. We eventually move when an Antiguan couple we met at the<br />

party pulls up beh<strong>in</strong>d Sandy. They stop and have a few words. I th<strong>in</strong>k I like<br />

them more than anyone else we met, particularly her who seems quiet and<br />

unassum<strong>in</strong>g but with character.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay doesn’t want to go down to the Tot. I am keen because Anne and Mike<br />

should have returned and might be persuaded to collect the dogs. It was a<br />

waste of time. They are not return<strong>in</strong>g until tomorrow.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 73 – Monday. My first tasks are to deal with the irrelevant letters I received<br />

from the U.K., ma<strong>in</strong>ly to the Inland Revenue and to BT who are try<strong>in</strong>g to bill for<br />

stand<strong>in</strong>g charges for a period from 1 st June to 31 st August. Not only is there a<br />

bill but a rem<strong>in</strong>der as well. I po<strong>in</strong>t out that I ceased to use that l<strong>in</strong>e on 23 rd<br />

February and left the country on 7 th May so could hardly, now, be liable for<br />

advance charges. I have no doubt the bill will go <strong>in</strong>to the hands of their debt<br />

collection agency. All I can say is ‘good luck’.<br />

An e-mail from Rob and Amanda <strong>in</strong>forms us that they have now arrived <strong>in</strong><br />

Gibraltar. At one of the ports along the Portuguese coast, they ran <strong>in</strong>to a couple<br />

on another boat. When it transpired they came from Brighton, they were asked<br />

whether they knew a John Duffy who owned a boat call Jagga. Rob and<br />

Amanda said they knew me very well. It turned out that one half of the couple,<br />

Anthony, had sailed on Jagga across the Atlantic <strong>in</strong> the ARC. I had met him<br />

several times before the boat left the U.K.. Rob and Amanda had been part of<br />

the delivery crew which took Jagga from Plymouth to Lisbon. Although they<br />

had all been part of the various crew which had taken Jagga to Antigua <strong>in</strong> 2004,<br />

they had never met before. They were quite close to the port where I had run<br />

<strong>in</strong>to a past crew member of m<strong>in</strong>e <strong>in</strong> October 2004. Maybe that corner of<br />

Portugal is where everyone takes a bit of a break before head<strong>in</strong>g south.<br />

The Customs Agent r<strong>in</strong>gs and wants EC$422 to clear our computer. I say I will<br />

drop it <strong>in</strong>. Unfortunately, we still won’t get it until tomorrow which probably<br />

means Wednesday.


Frank hasn’t rung me about my remote start<strong>in</strong>g system so I r<strong>in</strong>g him and he<br />

says he will r<strong>in</strong>g me back before the end of the day. He doesn’t.<br />

On my way to the Customs Agent I call <strong>in</strong> at the premises of Tim Wall, the<br />

owner of the land near us. His bus<strong>in</strong>ess is import<strong>in</strong>g, gr<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g and sell<strong>in</strong>g<br />

coffee. The gr<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g mach<strong>in</strong>e is runn<strong>in</strong>g and there is no one <strong>in</strong> Reception. I<br />

bang the bell a few times but, not unsurpris<strong>in</strong>gly s<strong>in</strong>ce I can’t hear the bell<br />

above the noise of the gr<strong>in</strong>der, I get no response so I pick up a card with a<br />

telephone number and go to the car to r<strong>in</strong>g. The receptionist greets me at the<br />

desk. Unfortunately, Tim has no news on the land and suggests I contact him<br />

on Thursday after he has had a chance to speak to his lawyer.<br />

On my way back I go to Slipway to get some petrol and f<strong>in</strong>d it closed, aga<strong>in</strong>.<br />

Some poor woman has arrived without sufficient petrol to leave and is wait<strong>in</strong>g,<br />

with three young children, until it opens. Fortunately, I don’t have that problem<br />

and can return later.<br />

Earlier L<strong>in</strong>dsay had gone to the Post Office to send some letters. The cashier<br />

has gone to the Customs Office and, therefore, stamps can’t be purchased. I<br />

suspect it will take some time before she gets away from Customs. When I go<br />

to get sandwiches for lunch I try the Post Office aga<strong>in</strong>. Still no cashier. Two of<br />

the letters I can hand deliver, be<strong>in</strong>g near the sandwich shop. It is not until I am<br />

on my way back to the office I realize I have left the rema<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g letters at one of<br />

the hand delivery drop-off and have to go back.<br />

No news of Mike and Anne so, as I am still work<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the office as it<br />

approaches six, L<strong>in</strong>dsay jo<strong>in</strong>s me and we go to the Tot to see if they will turn up<br />

there and can collect their dogs. We learn that their ‘plane isn’t land<strong>in</strong>g until<br />

8.30 this even<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 74 – Tuesday. A day to remember or maybe one to forget. I start the<br />

generator around half six and about fifteen m<strong>in</strong>utes later L<strong>in</strong>dsay calls to me to<br />

tell me smoke is com<strong>in</strong>g from the store room where the generator is housed. I<br />

rush out and hear the eng<strong>in</strong>e becom<strong>in</strong>g a bit laboured. I just succeed <strong>in</strong> cutt<strong>in</strong>g<br />

it off before the eng<strong>in</strong>e has seized. The floor is covered <strong>in</strong> oil. The generator<br />

has emptied the whole contents of its sump over the floor. On arriv<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the<br />

office, I r<strong>in</strong>g the vendor of the generator and expla<strong>in</strong> the problem. He suggests I<br />

may have overfilled the sump. I expla<strong>in</strong> I check the oil every time I fill the tank<br />

with diesel and I know I haven’t topped up the oil for about ten days, therefore, I<br />

th<strong>in</strong>k this somewhat unlikely.<br />

Alexis arrives at the office about the same time as me and we are do<strong>in</strong>g some<br />

work when the power goes off. Our landlord, Ray, appears and says that they<br />

have turned off the electricity to do some alterations. About ten m<strong>in</strong>utes later,<br />

the power comes back on but the fan, which we have on at the lowest speed to<br />

stir around the air condition atmosphere, suddenly starts whirr<strong>in</strong>g around at high<br />

speed. I turn the fan off and then we notice that everyth<strong>in</strong>g on the 110 volt


circuit is flick<strong>in</strong>g on and off. I go to report it to Ray and, fortunately, Ray’s wife is<br />

hav<strong>in</strong>g the same problem. Ray’s electrician sorts it out but there must have<br />

been a power surge because our nice new, wireless <strong>in</strong>ternet connection has<br />

been ‘fried’. Ray’s electrician checks the transformer and declares it dead. I<br />

am go<strong>in</strong>g to St. John’s so I volunteer to buy another one. Fortunately, Ray<br />

<strong>in</strong>sists on do<strong>in</strong>g it himself which is just as well s<strong>in</strong>ce the whole unit need<br />

renew<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

My first call is at the airport so I take the slightly longer route which takes me<br />

past the Department of Transport’s office where I call <strong>in</strong> to see, now hav<strong>in</strong>g<br />

documents say<strong>in</strong>g we can work, if I can get a permanent driv<strong>in</strong>g licence. The<br />

first th<strong>in</strong>g I notice is a sign tell<strong>in</strong>g me no new licences will be issued until 8 th<br />

August to prevent new drivers be<strong>in</strong>g on the road dur<strong>in</strong>g carnival. I presume this<br />

applies to drivers just pass<strong>in</strong>g their tests. I ask for the forms and am told I need<br />

a passport sized photo. I am puzzled s<strong>in</strong>ce they take your photo at the<br />

Department of Transport offices for the licence. Apparently, you need one for<br />

the file which you have to supply and they take the other one for the licence. I<br />

collect the forms and notice that there is noth<strong>in</strong>g on them which says you need<br />

a Work Permit.<br />

My call at the airport is a waste of time and I leave after wait<strong>in</strong>g twenty m<strong>in</strong>utes<br />

(<strong>in</strong> a no park<strong>in</strong>g zone) without see<strong>in</strong>g the person I <strong>in</strong>tended despite be<strong>in</strong>g told<br />

every few m<strong>in</strong>utes that she is com<strong>in</strong>g. Mov<strong>in</strong>g on to the Post Office I collect<br />

some letters and a card tell<strong>in</strong>g me there is a package wait<strong>in</strong>g for us but it’s at<br />

the ma<strong>in</strong> Post Office <strong>in</strong> the centre of St. John’s.<br />

Whilst I am driv<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>to town Frank calls me and says he has the bits for my car.<br />

I agree to meet him <strong>in</strong> a car park so he can <strong>in</strong>stall a new ‘bra<strong>in</strong>’. I have done a<br />

deal with him s<strong>in</strong>ce he th<strong>in</strong>ks it was partly his fault and partly m<strong>in</strong>e and he<br />

agrees to get the old one work<strong>in</strong>g to fit <strong>in</strong>to L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s car. The car park<br />

attendant offers to wash my car which hasn’t been done for some weeks. I<br />

agree and wander off to do a few th<strong>in</strong>gs which <strong>in</strong>cludes go<strong>in</strong>g to the Post Office.<br />

It’s ten to twelve and the person responsible for packages has gone to lunch<br />

and won’t be back until after one. I forget to buy the <strong>in</strong>k cartridges for the<br />

pr<strong>in</strong>ter. As I arrive back at the car park the attendant is just f<strong>in</strong>ish<strong>in</strong>g clean<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the car and it starts to ra<strong>in</strong>.<br />

Not hav<strong>in</strong>g heard from the generator company I call <strong>in</strong>to their workshop and I<br />

am told the owner is at lunch and won’t be back until after one. It’s now twelve<br />

fifteen. I might as well go to lunch myself and start mak<strong>in</strong>g my way across town<br />

when the ‘phone r<strong>in</strong>gs. It’s L<strong>in</strong>dsay. The computer is at the Customs Broker<br />

and a docket has arrived from DHL to say my cigars are <strong>in</strong>. I tell her I will come<br />

back to the office and collect the computer on my way then return to St. John’s<br />

to see the generator supplier, collect my cigars, pick up the package from the<br />

post office and get the <strong>in</strong>k cartridges.


Before leav<strong>in</strong>g I set up the new computer which takes a bit of time and, know<strong>in</strong>g<br />

Customs closes early, I head there first. Everyth<strong>in</strong>g starts relatively smoothly<br />

until they see the amount of cigars I have imported. They th<strong>in</strong>k I am <strong>in</strong>tend<strong>in</strong>g<br />

to retail them. The listed duty for imported cigars is horrendous but I expla<strong>in</strong><br />

that they are for my own use and they can see what I paid for them <strong>in</strong> the U.K..<br />

The duty drops substantially but I still have to go around various people to get<br />

signatures then pay the duty. Three different people have to check and sign the<br />

documents before I can pay the duty. There is a notice on the cashier’s w<strong>in</strong>dow<br />

say<strong>in</strong>g ‘No personal cheques’. I don’t have enough cash on me for the duty and<br />

rush off to the airport, nearby, to use a cash mach<strong>in</strong>e, park<strong>in</strong>g illegally aga<strong>in</strong>.<br />

Both cash mach<strong>in</strong>es are out of order although one doesn’t tell me until I have<br />

gone all the way through the procedure of ask<strong>in</strong>g for cash. The nearest bank is<br />

about two miles away and every driver is on a go-slow. I overtake more cars <strong>in</strong><br />

ten m<strong>in</strong>utes than I have done <strong>in</strong> two months and make it back to Customs with a<br />

m<strong>in</strong>ute to spare. I determ<strong>in</strong>e that <strong>in</strong> future I will do my own Customs clearance<br />

s<strong>in</strong>ce it has taken me an hour and a half to do what the Customs Agent took<br />

four days to do.<br />

At some stage I get a call from Mike to say that Anne will pick up the dogs. I<br />

suggest he r<strong>in</strong>gs L<strong>in</strong>dsay at the office. The arrangement is that Anne will call at<br />

the office and drive home with L<strong>in</strong>dsay. A few hours later, L<strong>in</strong>dsay r<strong>in</strong>gs say<strong>in</strong>g<br />

there is no sign of Anne. I r<strong>in</strong>g Mike who is puzzled. Anne has left her mobile<br />

‘phone at home. Shortly after, she arrives back at her home and I tell her<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay has gone to our home. Anne tells me later that she is quite surprised to<br />

f<strong>in</strong>d the dogs sitt<strong>in</strong>g and wait<strong>in</strong>g for their d<strong>in</strong>ner. I suggest she cont<strong>in</strong>ues with<br />

the tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g rout<strong>in</strong>e.<br />

On my way back to the generator supplier and despite be<strong>in</strong>g well beh<strong>in</strong>d<br />

schedule, I call <strong>in</strong>to a couple of shops to buy <strong>in</strong>k cartridges (the first didn’t have<br />

the right ones) but forget the package at the Post Office. I would probably been<br />

too late anyway as, I imag<strong>in</strong>e, the person deal<strong>in</strong>g with parcels would have gone<br />

home to d<strong>in</strong>ner.<br />

I get to the generator supplier to meet a friend unload<strong>in</strong>g exactly the same make<br />

from the back of a truck. He bought it yesterday and it has packed up already.<br />

In a way I am quite glad. It strengthens my case. They want me to br<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

generator back but I po<strong>in</strong>t out that it takes four to lift it. They give me three<br />

young lads to come with me to collect it. They exam<strong>in</strong>e the mach<strong>in</strong>e and<br />

discover the oil dra<strong>in</strong> plug has vibrated loose. S<strong>in</strong>ce I have never touched the<br />

plug I suggest it is hardly my fault. We return it to the workshop and they will<br />

have it overhauled <strong>in</strong> the morn<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

A sudden shriek from the kitchen. A mouse is <strong>in</strong>vestigat<strong>in</strong>g the waste b<strong>in</strong>.<br />

S<strong>in</strong>ce we leave doors open I suppose it’s not surpris<strong>in</strong>g one has ventured from<br />

outside. It must be a well <strong>in</strong>formed mouse which realized the dogs had gone<br />

home. I go to get a torch to look under the cab<strong>in</strong>ets and L<strong>in</strong>dsay th<strong>in</strong>ks I am


fetch<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>sect spray. Despite be<strong>in</strong>g scared of mice she doesn’t want me to do<br />

it any harm as it is rather ‘sweet’. Maybe, one day, I will understand women.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 75 – Wednesday. We have been very careful with electricity <strong>in</strong> order to<br />

preserve enough power to have showers <strong>in</strong> the morn<strong>in</strong>g. Fortunately, it has<br />

been a cool night so we made do without the fan. I don’t even charge up my<br />

tooth brush and we turn the ‘fridge off when we get up. Our economies have<br />

proved successful and we have power.<br />

My first day with the new computer. Why do they always have to change<br />

th<strong>in</strong>gs? No sooner have you become used to one system than they update<br />

th<strong>in</strong>gs on the next generation of computer. Most of the time they are not<br />

improvements, just changes and one has to learn the systems all over aga<strong>in</strong>. I<br />

have a few moans and Alexis offers to buy it from me if I’m not happy. No<br />

doubt I will get used to it <strong>in</strong> a few days. The only good side is that it has 150<br />

gigs of memory.<br />

By the afternoon I have to go and get our generator or we won’t have any<br />

electricity. I decide to try my luck at the Post Office. There is no queue and I<br />

am served immediately. The Customs Officer make you come to the other side<br />

of the counter and open the package with a Stanley knife. In the package are<br />

some letters are two scart leads which cost me about £20. I can’t believe it<br />

when the Customs Officer looks up ‘scart leads’ <strong>in</strong> her book and charges me<br />

EC$40, about £8, duty.<br />

I call at the generator supplier and they load they mach<strong>in</strong>e <strong>in</strong>to the car. I have<br />

been a bit more careful and placed a piece of plywood <strong>in</strong> the back of the car.<br />

Yesterday, one of the wheels of the generator punched a hole through the<br />

fibreglass lid which covers a hidden compartment under the rear load area. I<br />

ask what they have done to the generator and they say they didn’t have time to<br />

check out why it isn’t start<strong>in</strong>g on it’s own battery but they have replaced the<br />

battery and fixed the oil leak. They found several more th<strong>in</strong>gs loose and the<br />

same problem on some other mach<strong>in</strong>es. The owner starts the eng<strong>in</strong>e to prove<br />

it is runn<strong>in</strong>g properly. Before collect<strong>in</strong>g the mach<strong>in</strong>e I r<strong>in</strong>g Sandy whose men are<br />

supposed to be erect<strong>in</strong>g hurricane shutters at our house. Sandy is on the golf<br />

course and says the men should be there. I th<strong>in</strong>k I <strong>in</strong>terrupted his shot.<br />

When I get back to the house the three w<strong>in</strong>dows downstairs have been<br />

shuttered which will protect our stored furniture but there is no sign of the men<br />

and the garden, which they are supposed to have been work<strong>in</strong>g on as well, is<br />

untouched. Sandy had said that if the men were not at our house they would be<br />

at his. They are at neither. I walk to where a house is be<strong>in</strong>g built down the road<br />

and persuade four men to come and give me a hand. It costs me EC$50.<br />

Once the generator is <strong>in</strong>stalled I start it up. After a few seconds, it stalls. I try it<br />

several more times with the same result. This is exactly the same problem my<br />

friend had with his mach<strong>in</strong>e. I can see that a cable is automatically pull<strong>in</strong>g the


throttle closed and presume that it is l<strong>in</strong>ked to some centrifugal system which<br />

prevents the eng<strong>in</strong>e from over-revv<strong>in</strong>g and it is cutt<strong>in</strong>g it too early. I give up<br />

and, as I drive back to the office, I r<strong>in</strong>g the generator shop and expla<strong>in</strong> the<br />

problem. The owner th<strong>in</strong>ks I am beside the mach<strong>in</strong>e and tries to describe what<br />

I should do. Fortunately, I had already thought of disconnect<strong>in</strong>g the cable and<br />

know exactly what he is talk<strong>in</strong>g about. Rather than be<strong>in</strong>g the automatic throttle<br />

adjustment, it is the cable which is supposed to turn of the eng<strong>in</strong>e when the<br />

ignition is turned off. I had read that somewhere <strong>in</strong> the handbook but s<strong>in</strong>ce it<br />

had never worked I had forgotten about it.<br />

On arriv<strong>in</strong>g back home I disconnect the cable and the generator runs okay<br />

except the low oil warn<strong>in</strong>g light won’t go out. I check the oil level and it’s three<br />

quarters full. I decide to run it regardless and if it packs up I will demand a new<br />

mach<strong>in</strong>e. When I bought it I thought it was exceptionally good value for money<br />

and I now know why. You only ever get what you pay for. I am now beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g<br />

to wonder whether the generator was made <strong>in</strong> North Korea rather than Japan.<br />

Sometime I th<strong>in</strong>k L<strong>in</strong>dsay is a secret blonde. She asks why we have more full<br />

moons here than <strong>in</strong> England. I po<strong>in</strong>t out that we have exactly the same number,<br />

thirteen. It is only that the skies are clearer here.<br />

I always knew wash<strong>in</strong>g up was a dangerous profession which is why I have<br />

spent my life try<strong>in</strong>g to avoid it. I pick up the sponge/scourer and it bites me. At<br />

least that’s what I th<strong>in</strong>k but it’s a hornet rest<strong>in</strong>g on the sponge which has stung<br />

me <strong>in</strong> that soft spot between the fourth and little f<strong>in</strong>gers of my right hand. It’s<br />

rather pa<strong>in</strong>ful and makes my hand feel as though some crazed acupuncturist is<br />

stick<strong>in</strong>g dozens of needles <strong>in</strong>to me. The hornet is somewhat worse off. It won’t<br />

be st<strong>in</strong>g<strong>in</strong>g anyone else.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 76 – Thursday. My hand feels as though someone heavy wear<strong>in</strong>g<br />

hobnailed boots has trodden on it but otherwise there are no ill effects.<br />

The electricity has run out overnight probably due to the fact that I was a little<br />

cautious runn<strong>in</strong>g the generator last night. The caution was really all on<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s side who seemed to be worried it might blow up. Despite reassur<strong>in</strong>g<br />

her that it was impossible I did f<strong>in</strong>ally acquiesce and shut it down. I start it this<br />

with no apparent problem and it seems to run okay despite the warn<strong>in</strong>g light. I<br />

discover there is some k<strong>in</strong>d of l<strong>in</strong>k between the cable I have disconnected and<br />

the light so, unless I reconnect the cable, the light won’t go out. I’ll have to keep<br />

my f<strong>in</strong>gers crossed and check the oil very regularly.<br />

S<strong>in</strong>ce we have now completed the transfer of the bus<strong>in</strong>ess we need to change<br />

the bank account <strong>in</strong>to our names. I suspect we will need our passports and r<strong>in</strong>g<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay but only get her voice mail. I leave her a message ask<strong>in</strong>g her to br<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the passports <strong>in</strong>to the office. She arrives without the passports. Her ‘phone<br />

has run out of credit and, although she realizes she has a message, she can’t<br />

access it.


My new computer suddenly tells me it is ‘talk<strong>in</strong>g’ to my laptop. It has l<strong>in</strong>ked<br />

itself, wirelessly, to the laptop. That sends Alexis and me <strong>in</strong>to a frenzy of<br />

activity try<strong>in</strong>g to set up a network between the three computers so we can<br />

transfer data amongst ourselves. I am not sure which of the mach<strong>in</strong>es or<br />

humans is be<strong>in</strong>g too stupid or too clever. My new computer can talk to the<br />

laptop and vice-versa. Alexis’s computer can talk to the laptop but not the other<br />

way around and neither Alexis’s computer nor m<strong>in</strong>e will talk to each other.<br />

Rather than waste any more time try<strong>in</strong>g to sort it out and s<strong>in</strong>ce we can both<br />

access the laptop, we devise a system where we use the laptop as a dump<strong>in</strong>g<br />

ground which is f<strong>in</strong>e but, as it has the smallest memory, we have to keep<br />

clear<strong>in</strong>g stuff off the disk.<br />

We have a very late advertiser and the copy she has brought <strong>in</strong> is very poor<br />

quality so I decide to design one for her. I have just completed it when the<br />

power cuts off. Not normally a problem except that my new computer is not<br />

battery driven and I lose everyth<strong>in</strong>g. When the power has not come back on<br />

after three quarters of an hour, I go off <strong>in</strong> search of Tim Wall to ask how his sale<br />

of his build<strong>in</strong>g plots is progress<strong>in</strong>g. Hopefully not. He has no news.<br />

On my way back to the office I call at the house to collect the passports. It<br />

occurs to me that L<strong>in</strong>dsay will have hidden them somewhere so I r<strong>in</strong>g the office<br />

to ask. The power is still off so the ‘phones aren’t work<strong>in</strong>g. I can’t get L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

on her mobile as she is out of credit so I r<strong>in</strong>g Alexis on his mobile but he has left<br />

the office for lunch. I start search<strong>in</strong>g the house without much luck. Maybe the<br />

power is back on at the office and I can speak to L<strong>in</strong>dsay. Unfortunately, I can’t<br />

get a signal on my ‘phone. The only option is to drive until I pick up a signal.<br />

Not wish<strong>in</strong>g to resort to this I have one f<strong>in</strong>al search. L<strong>in</strong>dsay has hidden the<br />

passports <strong>in</strong> a drawer <strong>in</strong> the bathroom under a basket of her make-up bits and<br />

pieces.<br />

We walk down to the bank and after sign<strong>in</strong>g about twenty different forms they<br />

tell us we can’t have the account transferred to us without a bank reference. I<br />

have one from Barclays but they want one on L<strong>in</strong>dsay as well. I r<strong>in</strong>g First<br />

Caribbean Bank and they promise a reference by twelve tomorrow. I am not<br />

sure how much use it will be as we have only been customers for a few months.<br />

Calabash is hav<strong>in</strong>g a grand open<strong>in</strong>g party for it’s new outside d<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g and bar<br />

area and we are <strong>in</strong>vited. Dr<strong>in</strong>ks are free, supplied by Mountgay Rum and Best<br />

Cellars but are limited to Mountgay Extra Old rum which tastes like bourbon and<br />

is disgust<strong>in</strong>g. The alternative is rose w<strong>in</strong>e. After one glass of the Mountgay I<br />

resort to the w<strong>in</strong>e.<br />

We get <strong>in</strong>to conversation with a French lady who is responsible for the import<strong>in</strong>g<br />

of w<strong>in</strong>es and beers for Best Cellars, I make the mistake of th<strong>in</strong>k<strong>in</strong>g she is<br />

married to the Frenchman I had spoken to a few weeks ago. I talk to her about<br />

import<strong>in</strong>g decent English beer rather than Gu<strong>in</strong>ness, Worth<strong>in</strong>gton and John


Smiths, She tells me that Gu<strong>in</strong>ness is very popular with the locals who th<strong>in</strong>k it<br />

has aphrodisiac properties. I suggest that can hardly be true of John Smiths<br />

and Worth<strong>in</strong>gton. We agree to talk later about the possibilities of import<strong>in</strong>g<br />

someth<strong>in</strong>g decent.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 77 – Friday. L<strong>in</strong>dsay has started garden<strong>in</strong>g at about seven <strong>in</strong> the morn<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

I th<strong>in</strong>k she has a major task on her hands. There must be about a million<br />

weeds <strong>in</strong> the garden and she is digg<strong>in</strong>g each one out <strong>in</strong>dividually, the lazy way<br />

or, perhaps I should say, the laid back way. She is sitt<strong>in</strong>g on an upturned waste<br />

b<strong>in</strong> to avoid bend<strong>in</strong>g over.<br />

Alexis was supposed to have two weeks off to take his boat to Carriacou for a<br />

regatta but the threat of bad weather is prevent<strong>in</strong>g him from go<strong>in</strong>g. Hav<strong>in</strong>g<br />

proposed to prepare the boat today for the trip he has still taken the day off<br />

which is probably just as well s<strong>in</strong>ce we have been without power for a couple of<br />

hours. The other day, <strong>in</strong> a speech, someone referred to Antigua as a third<br />

world country. I found that a bit surpris<strong>in</strong>g, however, at times like these I am<br />

<strong>in</strong>cl<strong>in</strong>ed to agree.<br />

The power has not come on by the time L<strong>in</strong>dsay arrives and I need to go to St.<br />

John’s to collect the reference letters from the bank. I leave L<strong>in</strong>dsay unable to<br />

do anyth<strong>in</strong>g but she has brought her book.<br />

The letters are ready at the bank when I arrive and I move on to our post box<br />

where there is a letter from a firm of U.K. solicitors threaten<strong>in</strong>g to sue me for an<br />

unpaid telephone bill which, I th<strong>in</strong>k, I have already paid on-l<strong>in</strong>e. All there threats<br />

do is irritate me. It is evidently a ‘toothless’ threat s<strong>in</strong>ce they cannot serve<br />

proceed<strong>in</strong>gs on me <strong>in</strong> Antigua because they have to be served through a U.K.<br />

County Court which can’t be done abroad. Perhaps I would have been less<br />

irritated if they had the courtesy to put a telephone number on the letter. As it is<br />

they will have to await a letter by pigeon post. I tried r<strong>in</strong>g<strong>in</strong>g BT but after<br />

choos<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>numerable options I was told that the staff leave at eight <strong>in</strong> the<br />

even<strong>in</strong>g and it is now, U.K. time, 8.30.<br />

We feel it is time to <strong>in</strong>sure the office contents and have made a list of everyth<strong>in</strong>g<br />

appropriate which I am tak<strong>in</strong>g to the <strong>in</strong>surance company buy<strong>in</strong>g, on the way a<br />

UPS to guarantee us electricity dur<strong>in</strong>g power failures. It takes over an hour for<br />

the <strong>in</strong>surance company to list all our items and prepare the documents which<br />

their computer then won’t pr<strong>in</strong>t. I leave with a hand written receipt. S<strong>in</strong>ce I am<br />

<strong>in</strong> town, L<strong>in</strong>dsay has given me a list of food purchases with the <strong>in</strong>struction to<br />

add anyth<strong>in</strong>g else I like. She prefers me to do the shopp<strong>in</strong>g s<strong>in</strong>ce I always<br />

come back with more than she would buy.<br />

The power come back on at the office about half an hour before I return and I<br />

set up the UPS runn<strong>in</strong>g a long cable thought the trunk<strong>in</strong>g to serve both sides of<br />

the room. It is only after I have <strong>in</strong>stalled the cable that I discover it has to be<br />

routed the opposite way around. The day is nearly over and I have done


practically no work. A late e-mail relat<strong>in</strong>g to one of our advertisements gives me<br />

an opportunity to do someth<strong>in</strong>g but L<strong>in</strong>dsay is pressur<strong>in</strong>g me to leave so I give<br />

up with the work half done.<br />

For no really good reason I prepare d<strong>in</strong>ner and run the generator whilst it is<br />

cook<strong>in</strong>g. After about three quarters of an hour the generator stops dead. I go<br />

and check it and I am reasonably sure the connect<strong>in</strong>g rod from the crankshaft to<br />

the piston is broken. I had been rather unsure about how reliable it would be<br />

after the oil ran out and, <strong>in</strong> a way, I am glad it has broken totally. At least now<br />

we can get a replacement or our money back.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 78 – Saturday. L<strong>in</strong>dsay decides to go for a run which lasts about ten<br />

m<strong>in</strong>utes. After her garden<strong>in</strong>g exploits her legs won’t work. She retires back to<br />

bed.<br />

I r<strong>in</strong>g the generator company and the owner expla<strong>in</strong>s that he has no one on<br />

duty to unload it from the car. Equally, there is only L<strong>in</strong>dsay and me to load it<br />

<strong>in</strong>. He asks if I can br<strong>in</strong>g it <strong>in</strong> on Monday. He has ordered two new eng<strong>in</strong>es <strong>in</strong><br />

from Miami and says he will lend us an alternative until ours is repaired. I th<strong>in</strong>k<br />

there may be some negotiat<strong>in</strong>g to be done on Monday.<br />

I have to th<strong>in</strong>k of a way to get the generator <strong>in</strong>to the back of the car s<strong>in</strong>ce the<br />

men aren’t work<strong>in</strong>g on the nearby site over the weekend. The ground slopes<br />

away from the house and I work out that if I can drag the generator up the slope<br />

and around some steps I can reverse the car up to the steps and form a ramp to<br />

roll it <strong>in</strong>to the back of the car. I cut two sturdy planks to the right length and<br />

although I am tempted to try it out straight away <strong>in</strong> case it doesn’t work and I<br />

need to organize help, there is little po<strong>in</strong>t <strong>in</strong> driv<strong>in</strong>g around all weekend with a<br />

generator <strong>in</strong> the back. The alternative would be to do it then drive around <strong>in</strong> the<br />

‘Tonka Toy’ and I’m not sure I am quite ready for that.<br />

For some time I have wanted some new trousers. Rather foolishly, I allowed<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay to persuade met to throw away most of my long trousers before I left<br />

the U.K.. I have never been a fan of shorts and, despite my best efforts, she<br />

would not believe I would not be wear<strong>in</strong>g shorts <strong>in</strong> Antigua. Eventually, she has<br />

accepted the fact that I only very rarely wear shorts so we are go<strong>in</strong>g on a<br />

shopp<strong>in</strong>g expedition. L<strong>in</strong>dsay starts a list which has on it trousers, a video<br />

mach<strong>in</strong>e and sun loungers. I suggest we add an iron and photos for our driv<strong>in</strong>g<br />

licences. My suggestions are accomplished quite easily but then we get on to<br />

the trousers. L<strong>in</strong>dsay has been <strong>in</strong> the habit of buy<strong>in</strong>g me clothes and, although<br />

I suspect she has never noticed, I don’t wear half of them and took the<br />

opportunity when we left the U.K., to throw that half away unworn. Try<strong>in</strong>g to buy<br />

clothes with L<strong>in</strong>dsay <strong>in</strong> tow is a nightmare. At one stage I po<strong>in</strong>t out it is me who<br />

is buy<strong>in</strong>g them and it is me who will be wear<strong>in</strong>g them. I end up with three pairs<br />

of trousers but not without drama. There seems to be a two <strong>in</strong>ch size difference<br />

between vary<strong>in</strong>g clothes manufacturers and I try some on. The only problem is<br />

the chang<strong>in</strong>g room is communal and there is a queue. I come out of one shop


with two pairs of trousers. L<strong>in</strong>dsay refuses to allow me to go <strong>in</strong>to several other<br />

shops, by now we have drifted <strong>in</strong>to the market area, say<strong>in</strong>g I will look like a<br />

local. Although I don’t voice it, I cannot see the problem. At the f<strong>in</strong>al shop,<br />

which is well tucked away, I exclaim at the prices. The assistant immediately<br />

reduces the price by 20% but is overridden by the manager who reduces the<br />

price by a further 10%. The cost is still double the previous shop but at EC$90<br />

(£18) for a rather nice pair of trousers I shouldn’t really compla<strong>in</strong>.<br />

We head out of town for some lunch and the shop where we can buy the video.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s choice of lunch is better than m<strong>in</strong>e and I leave half of what I have<br />

ordered but, fortunately, L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s is too large so I help her f<strong>in</strong>ish it. Despite<br />

tell<strong>in</strong>g me they had video mach<strong>in</strong>es which would play both U.K. and U.S. videos<br />

when we come to purchase one, they don’t. We are recommended to a shop <strong>in</strong><br />

town but as the barriers have been put up for the start of ‘carnival’ we decide<br />

aga<strong>in</strong>st the effort of negotiat<strong>in</strong>g the traffic and go <strong>in</strong>stead to the shop where<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay has seen sun-loungers. Fortunately, it is shut. In addition to sunloungers,<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay wants to buy a hammock. I cannot see the value <strong>in</strong> any of<br />

these items.<br />

Back home the <strong>in</strong>sect killer canisters have done their job but we have to leave<br />

everyth<strong>in</strong>g open for half an hour before we are allowed to enter. We take the<br />

time to wander around to the plots <strong>in</strong> which we are <strong>in</strong>terested. The owner has<br />

built a wooden tower <strong>in</strong> the middle of the land which gives an idea of the views<br />

from the liv<strong>in</strong>g room of a house. The tower is a hundred feet from the road and<br />

no-one has been there for several years. M<strong>in</strong>us machete I carve a trail through<br />

the jungle to the tower. The views are perfect. On our way back we run <strong>in</strong>to the<br />

owner of the land and re<strong>in</strong>force our <strong>in</strong>terest.<br />

On the subject of machetes, L<strong>in</strong>dsay has commented that <strong>in</strong> the U.K. anyone<br />

runn<strong>in</strong>g around with a two foot blade would be immediately arrested yet half the<br />

population seems to have one <strong>in</strong> hand. Another th<strong>in</strong>g half the population do is<br />

expect you to give them a lift if you are go<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> their direction. The other day<br />

one of these it<strong>in</strong>erant climbed <strong>in</strong>to my car, machete <strong>in</strong> hand, and I will admit to<br />

feel<strong>in</strong>g slightly <strong>in</strong>timidated.<br />

The <strong>in</strong>sect killer canisters have done their job but L<strong>in</strong>dsay is somewhat<br />

disappo<strong>in</strong>ted. There is one dead cockroach and six dead hornets. It seems a<br />

bit perverse to me. She should be pleased that we are relatively <strong>in</strong>sect free.<br />

At n<strong>in</strong>e o’clock, hav<strong>in</strong>g had no generator all day, the power fails.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 79 – Sunday. Time to erect the ramp properly but I can’t f<strong>in</strong>d any nails.<br />

Sandy’s workmen have been a bit careless and there are a number ly<strong>in</strong>g<br />

around the garden. With the two bits of timber I have cut to length yesterday<br />

and three more, shorter pieces, I construct some th<strong>in</strong>g that looks a bit like a<br />

ladder. In order to get the angles and proportions right I need to drag the<br />

generator to the top of the slope. Not an easy job across the gravely soil <strong>in</strong> the


garden. I am about halfway up the slope when L<strong>in</strong>dsay observes what I an<br />

do<strong>in</strong>g and tells me to wait until she can help. I am not sure what delays women<br />

so long when they offer to help but, ten m<strong>in</strong>utes later, she arrives. It is still a<br />

struggle to get the generator up the last two foot of the slope.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay goes off for a couple of hours on the beach and we agree to meet later<br />

at the yacht club for a dr<strong>in</strong>k. I do someth<strong>in</strong>g I should have done a few weeks<br />

ago, overhaul the Tot Club’s cha<strong>in</strong> saw. It requires a little modification to stop<br />

the cha<strong>in</strong> fall<strong>in</strong>g off but, when f<strong>in</strong>ished, it seems to work okay.<br />

I am <strong>in</strong> the shower when my ‘phone r<strong>in</strong>gs. It’s on the veranda where it receives<br />

the best signal. Somewhat <strong>in</strong>adequately covered I rush out leav<strong>in</strong>g wet<br />

footpr<strong>in</strong>ts everywhere. It’s L<strong>in</strong>dsay want<strong>in</strong>g to know where I am. We have our<br />

tim<strong>in</strong>g slightly mixed up. On my way I pick up another hitchhiker. He tells me he<br />

is a mortician. I am glad to see he is not carry<strong>in</strong>g a machete.<br />

I arrive at the yacht club before L<strong>in</strong>dsay to f<strong>in</strong>d it closed. We agree to go to<br />

Calabash for a dr<strong>in</strong>k and L<strong>in</strong>dsay wants a rose w<strong>in</strong>e. I th<strong>in</strong>k I will jo<strong>in</strong> her and<br />

order a bottle. Drift<strong>in</strong>g food smells cause L<strong>in</strong>dsay to suggest we stay for lunch<br />

which becomes a bit extended.<br />

Neither of us is <strong>in</strong> particularly good shape and we still have to load the<br />

generator. L<strong>in</strong>dsay was ahead of me as we drove back and when I arrive I see<br />

she is on the ‘phone. I manoeuvre the car <strong>in</strong> front of the ramp but need L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

to hold it up while I reverse the car. Still chatt<strong>in</strong>g, she does so. Hav<strong>in</strong>g<br />

positioned the car I beg<strong>in</strong> to push the generator up the ramp. L<strong>in</strong>dsay yells at<br />

me to wait until she can give me a hand. Based on previous experience, I<br />

ignore her. The generator is safely <strong>in</strong>stalled <strong>in</strong> the back of the car and L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

is still chatt<strong>in</strong>g on the ‘phone.<br />

After a few m<strong>in</strong>utes of try<strong>in</strong>g to dig out some weeds L<strong>in</strong>dsay disappears. Next<br />

time I see her she is fast asleep on the bed. Guess who’s cook<strong>in</strong>g d<strong>in</strong>ner<br />

In order to save electricity I have been turn<strong>in</strong>g off the ‘fridge. Today is semiovercast<br />

and I suspect the batteries will not have charged up very well.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 80 – Monday. The power has gone off dur<strong>in</strong>g the night and I plan to leave<br />

early with the generator and, not only has the sun not been up very long but it is<br />

rather overcast. I wonder whether there is enough power for me to have a<br />

shower. There is, just. L<strong>in</strong>dsay waits a while for the batteries to regenerate<br />

themselves before hav<strong>in</strong>g a go. I can’t leave until she has f<strong>in</strong>ished <strong>in</strong> case the<br />

power trips out while she is covered <strong>in</strong> soap.<br />

Without th<strong>in</strong>k<strong>in</strong>g, L<strong>in</strong>dsay has put some bread <strong>in</strong> the toaster. Heat<strong>in</strong>g elements<br />

use more electricity than anyth<strong>in</strong>g and the power trips out. I reset it and f<strong>in</strong>ish<br />

the toast the old fashioned way by hold<strong>in</strong>g it on a fork over the gas cooker.


When I get to the generator shop they give me a replacement unit and say they<br />

are go<strong>in</strong>g to put a new eng<strong>in</strong>e <strong>in</strong> ours. The owner suggests I r<strong>in</strong>g back <strong>in</strong> two<br />

weeks. He obviously doesn’t have a sense of humour when I ask if the<br />

replacement will last that long.<br />

We have decided to have some shelves put up <strong>in</strong> the office and Howard, a local<br />

handyman, is go<strong>in</strong>g to do them for us. He tells me we need two sheets of<br />

5/8ths cedar ply. It seems an awful lot to me but he assures me one won’t be<br />

enough. On my way back from St. John’s I stop and buy the plywood and place<br />

the two sheets on the roof. Fortunately, the car has a built-<strong>in</strong> roof rack but the<br />

str<strong>in</strong>g is <strong>in</strong> the boot and the totally superfluous spoiler is under the plywood and<br />

prevents me from open<strong>in</strong>g the tailgate. I crawl <strong>in</strong> through a back door and past<br />

the generator to reach the str<strong>in</strong>g only then remember<strong>in</strong>g that the w<strong>in</strong>dow <strong>in</strong> the<br />

tailgate opens from a little switch <strong>in</strong> the driver’s door.<br />

I drop the plywood off at the office and collect L<strong>in</strong>dsay to help me unload the<br />

generator which is a much easier job than it was load<strong>in</strong>g. I get the generator<br />

runn<strong>in</strong>g and notice it is a lot quieter and smoother than the previous one.<br />

Maybe it will last two weeks. L<strong>in</strong>dsay comments that it is just as well I didn’t<br />

br<strong>in</strong>g the Jag out here s<strong>in</strong>ce I would never have been able to do all the th<strong>in</strong>gs I<br />

do with this car. She’s right but I am sure I would have found a way around it.<br />

Frank telephones and says he has the spare remote starter up and runn<strong>in</strong>g<br />

which can be used <strong>in</strong> L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s car. L<strong>in</strong>dsay is not so keen. I th<strong>in</strong>k she feels<br />

it’s a bit flash but I can’t turn Frank down s<strong>in</strong>ce he believes he’s do<strong>in</strong>g me a<br />

favour. He’s com<strong>in</strong>g on Wednesday.<br />

Howard has built the shelves by late afternoon and is apply<strong>in</strong>g the first coat of<br />

varnish. His estimate of how much wood he needed is fairly accurate. He is left<br />

with a piece about two foot long and three <strong>in</strong>ches wide. He hopes to <strong>in</strong>stall<br />

them <strong>in</strong> the office tomorrow.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay has found a good reason to go to the Tot. To get me out of the office.<br />

At about half five she starts suggest<strong>in</strong>g we pack up. By ten to six she has<br />

closed the shutters and is turn<strong>in</strong>g everyth<strong>in</strong>g off. Monday’s are days Geoff<br />

Pidduck comes to the Tot but he has been com<strong>in</strong>g on other days as well and I<br />

th<strong>in</strong>k I know the reason why. He fancies L<strong>in</strong>dsay. Tonight he asks her when<br />

our ‘romance’ is go<strong>in</strong>g to end. She says when I am dead, mean<strong>in</strong>g me. I am<br />

not too sure how to take that answer. Despite L<strong>in</strong>dsay be<strong>in</strong>g twenty years<br />

younger I have the expectation of outliv<strong>in</strong>g her.<br />

These hornets are becom<strong>in</strong>g a blasted nuisance. Arriv<strong>in</strong>g back <strong>in</strong> the dark and,<br />

as usual, kick<strong>in</strong>g my shoes off <strong>in</strong> the porch, I walk across the liv<strong>in</strong>g room to<br />

open the veranda door. On my way I step on a hornet which st<strong>in</strong>gs the<br />

underside of my foot. I leap around <strong>in</strong> agony and, when I expla<strong>in</strong> the problem,<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay just laughs.


I suspect I will carry one word with me to my grave and it will be ‘generator’.<br />

After about three quarters of an hour of runn<strong>in</strong>g it beg<strong>in</strong>s to sound a bit rough so<br />

I turn it off. It is so hot I suspect the fuel has been vapouris<strong>in</strong>g. There is not<br />

much I can do <strong>in</strong> the dark and with everyth<strong>in</strong>g so hot. It will have to be dealt<br />

with <strong>in</strong> the morn<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 81 – Tuesday. The power goes off at about 6.30 which prompts me to<br />

make some adjustments to the generator. I feel that if I slow the runn<strong>in</strong>g speed<br />

it will not get so hot. The adjustment screw is at maximum and I am required to<br />

strip out the mechanism <strong>in</strong> order to move it forward. After about half a dozen<br />

attempts, I get it to a position where the eng<strong>in</strong>e is runn<strong>in</strong>g more slowly and I still<br />

have some adjustment, both ways. Before I leave, L<strong>in</strong>dsay makes me turn it<br />

off. I th<strong>in</strong>k she doesn’t trust what I have done.<br />

Maybe L<strong>in</strong>dsay was right, when she arrives at the office, L<strong>in</strong>dsay tells me she<br />

ran out of power about ten m<strong>in</strong>utes after I left so perhaps I set the speed too<br />

low.<br />

At about eight thirty I receive a telephone call from someone <strong>in</strong> St. John’s who<br />

wants to meet me. The only problem is they are leav<strong>in</strong>g their hotel at n<strong>in</strong>e to<br />

catch a flight. I suggest it will simpler to meet at the airport. S<strong>in</strong>ce we had been<br />

plann<strong>in</strong>g to see if we could obta<strong>in</strong> a driv<strong>in</strong>g licences today L<strong>in</strong>dsay decides to<br />

come with me. The Department of Transport’s offices are near the airport. We<br />

waste half an hour at the airport and the person never turns up.<br />

A call at the bank to pay the credit card bill which still has not arrived. The<br />

statement shows the our <strong>in</strong>surance company has debited us twice for our<br />

contents <strong>in</strong>surance. L<strong>in</strong>dsay is reluctant to drive <strong>in</strong>to town to sort it out. A<br />

telephone call to the <strong>in</strong>surance company reveals that we have been debited<br />

only once yet a similar call to the credit card company reveals we have been<br />

debited twice. I don’t care who is right so long as I don’t have to pay twice.<br />

We have much more success with our licences. The whole process only takes<br />

three quarters of an hour and, much to our surprise, despite only hav<strong>in</strong>g one<br />

year work permits, they give us three year licences. The licences are lam<strong>in</strong>ated<br />

cards conta<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g a photograph, thumb pr<strong>in</strong>t and signature. The whole th<strong>in</strong>g is<br />

done while you wait and is certa<strong>in</strong>ly the most efficient process I have come<br />

across s<strong>in</strong>ce we have been here.<br />

Howard has been held up. We won’t now get our shelves until Thursday but I<br />

suppose that’s quick by anyone’s standards let alone Antigua’s.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 82 - Wednesday. The generator is beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g to bore me so I won't bore<br />

you any further with it's mach<strong>in</strong>ations suffice to say, it is tak<strong>in</strong>g up too much of<br />

my time.


The water wars are hott<strong>in</strong>g up. In the old Westerns, cowboys used to fight over<br />

each other to get water. Here they 'fight' each other to keep it away. When we<br />

had that downpour a few weeks ago and L<strong>in</strong>dsay and I diverted the 'river' <strong>in</strong>to<br />

the next door neighbour's land he retaliated by dump<strong>in</strong>g a large pile of earth <strong>in</strong><br />

the way of the water which diverted even more of it <strong>in</strong>to our garden. Sandy has<br />

taken the battle one stage further and built a low wall down the length of the<br />

garden to divert all the water back to the land next door. At the moment Sandy<br />

seems to have the upper hand but he is away for a month so it will be<br />

<strong>in</strong>terest<strong>in</strong>g to see if there’s any retaliation <strong>in</strong> his absence.<br />

Frank arrives to <strong>in</strong>stall the remote starter <strong>in</strong> L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s car. He says it will take<br />

about an hour. Three hours later he still hasn’t f<strong>in</strong>ished. Whilst L<strong>in</strong>dsay is<br />

away, on foot, gett<strong>in</strong>g some sandwiches for lunch Frank eventually completes<br />

the job. I go and test the system and Frank expla<strong>in</strong>s to me that because<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s car doesn’t have an immobiliser he has had to be a bit <strong>in</strong>genious with<br />

the wir<strong>in</strong>g. The net effect is that when you use the remote lock<strong>in</strong>g system the<br />

horn beeps twice. I can’t see this as a problem but decide to have a little fun. I<br />

can see the car from the office and the range of the remote is about 100 yards.<br />

I wait until I can see L<strong>in</strong>dsay walk<strong>in</strong>g past the car and press the unlock. The<br />

horn beeps twice. L<strong>in</strong>dsay looks around, a little puzzled, seem<strong>in</strong>gly expect<strong>in</strong>g a<br />

car to pass her from beh<strong>in</strong>d. I press the lock button and the horn beeps twice<br />

more. A look of realisation spreads over L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s face and I am not her most<br />

popular person when she arrives back at the office.<br />

For several days I have been struggl<strong>in</strong>g with plac<strong>in</strong>g PDF files <strong>in</strong>to Quark<br />

documents. They keep com<strong>in</strong>g out too big. Today I solved the problem and<br />

like all problems, once you know the solution, it is so simple but, at least no-one<br />

else knew how to do it so there was some satisfaction <strong>in</strong> work<strong>in</strong>g it out.<br />

A member of the Antigua Mar<strong>in</strong>e Trades Association come to see me as I have<br />

volunteered to help with the organisation of the Trade Show <strong>in</strong> December. I<br />

appears that he wants me to take on the role of Co-ord<strong>in</strong>ator which is much<br />

more than I wanted to do plus, never hav<strong>in</strong>g been here for a Trade Show, I<br />

haven’t a clue what is <strong>in</strong>volved. I agree to form part of a committee of three to<br />

handle the organisation.<br />

On my way home this afternoon (to run the generator for a while before go<strong>in</strong>g<br />

out <strong>in</strong> the even<strong>in</strong>g) I came across an horrific accident. A lot of the locals ride<br />

around <strong>in</strong> the open backs of pickup trucks. One had turned over completely<br />

with five people <strong>in</strong> the back and two <strong>in</strong> the cab. I haven't heard the death toll<br />

but s<strong>in</strong>ce they were, apparently, do<strong>in</strong>g about 60 I suspect it will be high.<br />

We have been <strong>in</strong>vited out to d<strong>in</strong>ner with Mike and Anne as a ‘thank you’ for<br />

look<strong>in</strong>g after their dogs. S<strong>in</strong>ce the Tot is at Calabash, we presume it might be<br />

there. By about eight we are beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g to wonder whether we have the right<br />

night but Mike suddenly suggests we sit down. Hav<strong>in</strong>g been <strong>in</strong> the bar for a<br />

couple of hours, two bottles of w<strong>in</strong>e and a port meant that L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s not driv<strong>in</strong>g


her car home. I’m not sure that I am that capable but at least, at that time of<br />

night, the roads are pretty clear.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 83 – Thursday. It’s not quite a hangover but I do feel a bit rough. L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

decides she is go<strong>in</strong>g to run to her car rather than take a lift. Later, she tells me<br />

that it’s seven kilometres (4½ miles <strong>in</strong> real measurement) but she left it a bit late<br />

and it was rather hot. When she arrives at her car Mike asks for a jump start.<br />

He blames Pam for hav<strong>in</strong>g left the lights on. The car still won’t start so,<br />

evidently, the problem is more fundamental.<br />

The post arrives at the office and there is a card tell<strong>in</strong>g me Graeme’s book has<br />

turned up. By about half eleven I am beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g to see double on the computer<br />

and need a break. We have been <strong>in</strong>vited to lunch at Tony and Moya’s and I<br />

have agreed to pick up Terry and Connie at quarter to one. There is just<br />

enough time for me to dash <strong>in</strong>to the Post Office <strong>in</strong> St. John’s to pick up the<br />

book.<br />

I didn’t take <strong>in</strong>to account that one of the roads <strong>in</strong> St. John’s is closed and the<br />

whole town is gridlocked. I shouldn’t be surprised at what happens here but,<br />

sometimes, it’s unavoidable. The road is closed because a shop is hav<strong>in</strong>g<br />

some repairs to it’s exterior and the contractor’s lorry is parked <strong>in</strong> the road. The<br />

contractor has put a couple of planks on barrels at each end of the road clos<strong>in</strong>g<br />

it off. There is obviously noth<strong>in</strong>g official about the road closure but everybody,<br />

police <strong>in</strong>cluded, just accept it.<br />

By half twelve I know I am not go<strong>in</strong>g to get back <strong>in</strong> time to pick up Terry and<br />

Connie and r<strong>in</strong>g L<strong>in</strong>dsay to ask her to collect them. Eventually, I manage to<br />

park close to the Post Office but f<strong>in</strong>d the desk deal<strong>in</strong>g with parcels is closed and<br />

won’t open until quarter past one. I can’t wait but on my way back to the car I<br />

pass a shop where I have heard they sell small racquets which look like tennis<br />

racquets and are electrically charged. They are great for kill<strong>in</strong>g fly<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>sects.<br />

Buy two which are tested before be<strong>in</strong>g given to me. Unfortunately, the girl on<br />

the cash desk picks one up by the ‘str<strong>in</strong>gs’ and receives a zap of electricity. At<br />

Tony and Moya’s they are a great hit, kill<strong>in</strong>g flies with great abandon.<br />

I have to leave lunch by two fifteen to meet aga<strong>in</strong> with the Mar<strong>in</strong>e Trades<br />

Association to sort out the plann<strong>in</strong>g and organisation of the show. They still<br />

keep try<strong>in</strong>g to get me to accept the position of Co-ord<strong>in</strong>ator. Yesterday, I told<br />

Alexis and L<strong>in</strong>dsay I thought it a poisoned chalice and I refuse aga<strong>in</strong> but agree<br />

to be<strong>in</strong>g the po<strong>in</strong>t of contact which probably amounts to the same th<strong>in</strong>g. The<br />

meet<strong>in</strong>g goes on for over two hours but we do seem to make some progress.<br />

We agree to meet a the AMTA’s offices on Monday only to discover it’s closed<br />

for a Bank Holiday which also applies to the Tuesday. We will meet <strong>in</strong> the<br />

office.<br />

I have been a bit surprised we haven’t been receiv<strong>in</strong>g e-mails <strong>in</strong> the office.<br />

After a bit of <strong>in</strong>vestigation, I discover someone has sent us the same e-mail


twice, each of 26 mb which, comb<strong>in</strong>ed, is greater than our capacity. It takes me<br />

about an hour to clear them out of the system.<br />

I th<strong>in</strong>k the <strong>in</strong>sects have heard about our electronic racquets. None seem to<br />

want to come visit<strong>in</strong>g. We have to go out onto the balcony to test our weapons<br />

aga<strong>in</strong>st the ones fly<strong>in</strong>g around the light. It makes a very satisfy<strong>in</strong>g crack, a bit<br />

like a pistol shot, as the <strong>in</strong>sects are electronically fried. L<strong>in</strong>dsay gets a bit of a<br />

guilty conscience suggest<strong>in</strong>g it’s a bit like murder. Later L<strong>in</strong>dsay starts keep<strong>in</strong>g<br />

score, tennis fashion, and although the lead swaps back and forth, the even<strong>in</strong>g<br />

ends with ‘advantage’ to me.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 84 – Friday. To avoid the vagaries of the Post Office I leave for St. John’s<br />

at eight and arrive at 8.30. There is no Customs Officer. She is expected at<br />

n<strong>in</strong>e. When we left the U.K. L<strong>in</strong>dsay had <strong>in</strong>sisted we do not take our video<br />

mach<strong>in</strong>es although we were tak<strong>in</strong>g around 500 videos. Both mach<strong>in</strong>es had<br />

problems with them and I suggest we buy new ones but, because you are not<br />

supposed to import anyth<strong>in</strong>g under two years old, she <strong>in</strong>sisted we should buy<br />

mach<strong>in</strong>es when we arrived. I was concerned by the different VHS system used<br />

<strong>in</strong> the U.S. and thought U.K. compatible mach<strong>in</strong>es might not be available but<br />

allowed myself to be persuaded. Never listen to a woman. I have tried dozens<br />

of different shops all of which recommend me to another shop and none of<br />

which have U.K. compatible VHS’s.<br />

Whilst wait<strong>in</strong>g for the Customs Officer I visit the latest recommendation, receive<br />

the usual answer and another recommendation with the same result. I revisited<br />

a shop which had told me they occasionally stocked U.K. compatible video<br />

players. They send me to another shop where they show me an empty box to<br />

prove that they occasionally have them and offer me one which has a built-<strong>in</strong><br />

karaoke mach<strong>in</strong>e at EC$995. I decl<strong>in</strong>e their offer.<br />

Back at the Post Office the Customs Officer still has not arrived. She does<br />

eventually, compla<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g of a flat tyre. Quite a crowd has gathered by now and<br />

some are quite rude to her which does not help. When I am served I expla<strong>in</strong><br />

the book is a gift and although written by someone who lives <strong>in</strong> Antigua, it is not<br />

yet available here. She says she recognises the name of the author. I am sure<br />

that Graeme will be gratified he is recognised before be<strong>in</strong>g published. I do not<br />

correct her.<br />

I take the opportunity to collect our post, from a different Post Office, and some<br />

documents from the solicitor. Hav<strong>in</strong>g thought I would be <strong>in</strong> the office by 9.30, I<br />

arrive after eleven.<br />

The rest of the day is spent f<strong>in</strong>alis<strong>in</strong>g the magaz<strong>in</strong>e and, s<strong>in</strong>ce I seem to be<br />

fairly pedantic about details, is tak<strong>in</strong>g a bit longer than it should but, I hope will<br />

produce a better product and, next year, make life a lot easier.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay saunters <strong>in</strong>to the office after lunch and throws me out before six.


L<strong>in</strong>dsay is well <strong>in</strong>to ‘batt<strong>in</strong>g’ away the fly<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>sects and reckons it has to be<br />

game, set and match. I cannot be bothered to keep wav<strong>in</strong>g the th<strong>in</strong>g around<br />

every time a fly<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>sect appears despite the satisfy<strong>in</strong>g crack when contact is<br />

made. There is one exception, hornets, but then that is a bit of a grudge match.<br />

Ignor<strong>in</strong>g the other means by which I have killed them, the score so far is two to<br />

them and four to me.<br />

I should never have left L<strong>in</strong>dsay with the responsibility of runn<strong>in</strong>g the generator.<br />

She is always tell<strong>in</strong>g me to turn it off and I reply that it needs longer to fully<br />

charge the batteries. The lights go out at ten and I ask L<strong>in</strong>dsay how long she<br />

left the generator runn<strong>in</strong>g. She says three quarters of an hour which probably<br />

means half an hour. It has been a fairly overcast day with some heavy ra<strong>in</strong><br />

storms and to fully charge the batteries would probably need more than an<br />

hour.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 85 – Saturday. I need some new deck shoes, L<strong>in</strong>dsay wants to buy some<br />

lightweight dresses and the generator wants some diesel. L<strong>in</strong>dsay also wants<br />

to spend some time on the beach and we have been <strong>in</strong>vited to dr<strong>in</strong>ks tomorrow<br />

night with the people who were go<strong>in</strong>g to sell us the electronics company so we<br />

need to buy some sort of gift.<br />

We go to a shop <strong>in</strong> the Dockyard but the don’t sell deck shoes but recommend<br />

me to somewhere else. I leave L<strong>in</strong>dsay look<strong>in</strong>g at clothes and say I will deal<br />

with everyth<strong>in</strong>g else, allow<strong>in</strong>g her to go to the beach. We agree to<br />

communicate and meet later for a dr<strong>in</strong>k.<br />

I get my deck shoes and head off to St. John’s where I know I can buy some<br />

chocolates. On the way back I fill the car with petrol and the cans with diesel.<br />

A young lad starts clean<strong>in</strong>g my w<strong>in</strong>dows and I directed to the <strong>in</strong>side of the rear<br />

compartment where the w<strong>in</strong>dows are still covered with marks from dogs noses.<br />

He volunteers to clean the whole car but I don’t have time. L<strong>in</strong>dsay has already<br />

rung me from the beach ask<strong>in</strong>g when I will be arriv<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

I drop the diesel and shopp<strong>in</strong>g back at home and head off to meet L<strong>in</strong>dsay. At<br />

the end of our road is a tree called the ‘hang<strong>in</strong>g tree’ because, every so often, a<br />

local hangs a dead pig from the tree and sells bits off. I determ<strong>in</strong>e to have a<br />

piece of local pork on my way back. Obviously it is too popular because by the<br />

time I return it’s all gone. Next time I will stop as soon as I see him.<br />

Rather than buy<strong>in</strong>g a couple of dresses as she had <strong>in</strong>tended, L<strong>in</strong>dsay has spent<br />

US$130 on a hammock, probably the most useless piece of equipment ever<br />

<strong>in</strong>vented other than for below decks <strong>in</strong> an 18 th Century sail<strong>in</strong>g ship. Also, she<br />

has bought two pairs of shorts.<br />

Tonight’s Tot is at Geoffrey Pidduck’s house. The house is completely different<br />

from what I expected. My vision had been of someth<strong>in</strong>g ultra-modern yet it is<br />

evidently quite old, stone clad with shutters rather than w<strong>in</strong>dows. The location


has good views but is so surrounded with trees and other foliage that it is<br />

almost claustrophobic. The even<strong>in</strong>g is quite social but, Jenny, not hav<strong>in</strong>g been<br />

too well, we all leave by eight.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g given up on try<strong>in</strong>g to get a video mach<strong>in</strong>e I jo<strong>in</strong> the local DVD rental<br />

shop and pick up a DVD, The Aviator. What a load of rubbish. I am sure it won<br />

some Oscars but can’t imag<strong>in</strong>e how.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 86 – Sunday. Keep Fit has been cancelled <strong>in</strong> favour of decorat<strong>in</strong>g Life for<br />

tonight’s celebrations. Today is the 14 th anniversary of the found<strong>in</strong>g of the Tot<br />

Club and the 25 th anniversary of the tot be<strong>in</strong>g scrubbed from British naval<br />

tradition. Apparently the New Zealand navy carried it on four another four<br />

years. It is agreed we will meet at twelve so it’s a lazy morn<strong>in</strong>g dur<strong>in</strong>g which I<br />

catch up on read<strong>in</strong>g Graeme’s book.<br />

We arrive at Life at a few m<strong>in</strong>utes after twelve to f<strong>in</strong>d no-one there. A ‘phone<br />

call to Terry reveals that he is com<strong>in</strong>g and so are Mark and L<strong>in</strong>dsay.<br />

Eventually, they arrive plus Moya. There seems no plan of action and flags and<br />

bunt<strong>in</strong>g are erected rather haphazardly. Terry has a row of bunt<strong>in</strong>g he wants to<br />

erect obviously supplied by He<strong>in</strong>eken. I suggest he should be Court-marshalled<br />

as He<strong>in</strong>eken, although not German, sounds it.<br />

When we return home, L<strong>in</strong>dsay asks if I will erect her hammock which I do.<br />

When she gets <strong>in</strong>, it stretches and needs one end mov<strong>in</strong>g. By do<strong>in</strong>g so it raises<br />

the hammock rather too high to get <strong>in</strong>to easily. L<strong>in</strong>dsay suggests I add more<br />

str<strong>in</strong>g to the ends but does not seem to understand that will only br<strong>in</strong>g us back<br />

to the situation we were <strong>in</strong> before. The real problem is that there is nowhere<br />

lower down to tie the ends and it will need someth<strong>in</strong>g be<strong>in</strong>g made up. L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

ties it aga<strong>in</strong> and f<strong>in</strong>ds it rather hot as the breeze cannot get through the heavy<br />

cloth. I go back to my orig<strong>in</strong>al premise, a useless piece of equipment.<br />

John and Anne Ayres live only a couple of hundred yards away but it is uphill,<br />

almost vertical and, despite L<strong>in</strong>dsay’s protestations, I drive. Plus, if we are<br />

plann<strong>in</strong>g to go onto the Tot celebrations, we will need the car. Other<br />

neighbours also arrive, all hav<strong>in</strong>g walked and make comment on me driv<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay po<strong>in</strong>ts out that if I park more than two feet from the kerb I call a taxi.<br />

As soon as we arrive, Anne puts an ash tray beside me. Never hav<strong>in</strong>g smoked<br />

<strong>in</strong> her presence I am a little taken aback. Apparently, when the w<strong>in</strong>d is <strong>in</strong> the<br />

right direction, she can get whiffs of my cigar smoke from our house. The<br />

dr<strong>in</strong>ks go on much longer than we expect and we arrive at the Tot celebrations<br />

after they are all over.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 87 – Monday. It’s supposed to be a Bank Holiday but I am go<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>to the<br />

office anyway. Last night I was nearly caught out when someone mentioned 1 st<br />

August and I asked the significance. I was asked how long I had been a Tot<br />

member and then realised 1 st August 1798 was the date of the Battle of the Nile


and a date on which the Tot Club is permitted to hoist the White Ensign on the<br />

flagstaff <strong>in</strong> Nelson’s Dockyard. I just redeemed myself. Before go<strong>in</strong>g to the<br />

office I go to the Dockyard to assist <strong>in</strong> the hoist<strong>in</strong>g of the Flag.<br />

At 9.30 the members of the committee to organise the Trade Show turn up at<br />

the office except they have expanded from three to five which is not a bad th<strong>in</strong>g<br />

when you are look<strong>in</strong>g for volunteers except one woman cannot keep on the<br />

subject and we wastes at least an hour go<strong>in</strong>g off at tangents. The meet<strong>in</strong>g goes<br />

on for over three hours and I am left with a couple of hours sort<strong>in</strong>g out what we<br />

have agreed and produc<strong>in</strong>g a plan with which to move forward.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g well missed lunch I grab a few biscuits from a nearby store and try to get<br />

some work done. I am try<strong>in</strong>g to generate the magaz<strong>in</strong>e as one whole document<br />

which has never been done <strong>in</strong> the past and runn<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>to problems because<br />

some of the work is done <strong>in</strong> Quark and other <strong>in</strong> Photoshop. A few of the<br />

advertisements are repeats and most of these are the Quark documents. Quark<br />

is very cumbersome and difficult to transfer over and, <strong>in</strong> the end, it is often<br />

quicker just to completely redo the advertisements <strong>in</strong> Photoshop. Also, the way<br />

th<strong>in</strong>gs have been done <strong>in</strong> the past, if an advertisement is repeated it is not<br />

<strong>in</strong>cluded with the current documents as the pr<strong>in</strong>ter has a copy therefore I have<br />

been try<strong>in</strong>g to extract <strong>in</strong>formation from old programmes some of which have<br />

been corrupted plus, some advertisements have been sent direct to the pr<strong>in</strong>ters.<br />

All this will have to change and I feel I want to ask the pr<strong>in</strong>ter to send to me all<br />

old advertisements and any which have been uploaded direct but I feel Alexis<br />

my th<strong>in</strong>k it’s a criticism of how he has done th<strong>in</strong>gs <strong>in</strong> the past.<br />

Empty<strong>in</strong>g the waste b<strong>in</strong> <strong>in</strong> the kitchen a t<strong>in</strong>y mouse jumps out, no bigger than a<br />

small field mouse. It’s too quick to catch even if we had been prepared for it.<br />

Both L<strong>in</strong>dsay and I were too startled to do anyth<strong>in</strong>g but next on the shopp<strong>in</strong>g list<br />

is a mouse trap.<br />

One of the my Trade Show (which is now renamed Mar<strong>in</strong>e Exhibition) is to<br />

prepare the floor plan. At home I th<strong>in</strong>k I have an architectural CAD programme<br />

which I bought some years ago th<strong>in</strong>k<strong>in</strong>g I might put floor plans <strong>in</strong> relief view on<br />

estate agents details. I never got around to it but still have the disk. I have no<br />

idea where the manual is or even if I still have it, anyway I never read them.<br />

After half an hour of play<strong>in</strong>g around I produce a very respectable plan, In fact I<br />

am very pleased with myself. L<strong>in</strong>dsay less so because she wants to go to be<br />

and the study leads off the bedroom. I copy my plan to a CD and will take it to<br />

the office tomorrow and see if I can get the programme to run on a MAC.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 88 – Tuesday. Alexis r<strong>in</strong>gs me and asks if I am com<strong>in</strong>g to the office. I tell<br />

him I am on my way. He th<strong>in</strong>ks he has left his keys at home. I po<strong>in</strong>t that he<br />

hasn’t as they are still on his desk <strong>in</strong> the office. I am almost at the office but I<br />

am surprised to see him as today is another Bank Holiday. I th<strong>in</strong>k he has had<br />

enough time off and needs to get back to work and, as he po<strong>in</strong>ts out, it’s not a<br />

holiday <strong>in</strong> the rest of the world.


The architectural programme will not run on a MAC computer so I will have to<br />

take a pr<strong>in</strong>ter home and work from there.<br />

One of the th<strong>in</strong>gs which is quite nice about this time of year is that it is very<br />

quiet but the downside is that an awful lot of places are shut. We walk <strong>in</strong>to the<br />

dockyard to get some lunch and noth<strong>in</strong>g is open which means we have to resort<br />

to Cloggy’s which always hurts me as it is so expensive but, I suppose, if they<br />

are the only ones open they can afford to be expensive.<br />

I receive an e-mail from the U.K. which directs me the Cowes Week website, <strong>in</strong><br />

particular, to Moose on the Loose. I look at the site and see that Duncan<br />

Money is claim<strong>in</strong>g to have been skipper of my boat when we won our class and<br />

Best British boat <strong>in</strong> Antigua last year. I am <strong>in</strong>censed and immediately e-mail<br />

Cowes and tell them that it is <strong>in</strong>correct and to have the reference removed from<br />

their website.<br />

Maybe it’s difficult to understand why I am so annoyed and I have kept to myself<br />

but <strong>in</strong> view of what Duncan has done I don’t see why I should any longer.<br />

One of the th<strong>in</strong>gs I disliked most as did most of the crew, particularly the<br />

females, was the way Duncan would stand on the back of our accommodation<br />

boat which was moored on the dockside and shout lewd suggestions to any<br />

pass<strong>in</strong>g women. I asked him to desist and he replied that he was on holiday. I<br />

po<strong>in</strong>ted out that the rest of us had come to try to w<strong>in</strong> Sail<strong>in</strong>g Week.<br />

When I tackled Duncan about his lack of commitment, unpreparedness and<br />

general loutish behaviour he stormed off and disappeared <strong>in</strong> a sulk for 24 hours.<br />

I wasn’t disappo<strong>in</strong>ted to see him go but the crew persuaded me to allow him<br />

back, much to the later regret of many of them. It was only excellent work by<br />

the rest of the crew which made up for Duncan’s errors.<br />

I wish I had gone with my <strong>in</strong>st<strong>in</strong>cts at the time, not had him back and appo<strong>in</strong>ted<br />

Peter Whittle as navigator/tactician. Peter has done it for me <strong>in</strong> the past and<br />

would have been far better prepared and, unlike Duncan who seemed to make<br />

a po<strong>in</strong>t of refus<strong>in</strong>g to give me any <strong>in</strong>formation as we sailed the courses, Peter<br />

would have kept me well <strong>in</strong>formed, probably over <strong>in</strong>formed from past<br />

experience. Peter would hold a chart up <strong>in</strong> front of my face just as I was<br />

manoeuvr<strong>in</strong>g for the start l<strong>in</strong>e.<br />

I now presume that this lack of <strong>in</strong>formation from Duncan was an attempt to try to<br />

show to himself and others that he was skipper. In fact, if he had done as I<br />

asked and given me <strong>in</strong>formation we would have made fewer mistakes. His<br />

answer to me was always that I didn’t need to know, I was just steer<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

boat. Well, he was wrong. Not only did I know the boat better than anyone else<br />

but also I was the skipper and all decisions were ultimately m<strong>in</strong>e not his.<br />

Someone did tell me that Duncan had once said when talk<strong>in</strong>g to Club Class that


he won Antigua Sail<strong>in</strong>g Week. Well, he didn’t. He nearly lost it for us. In fact,<br />

Duncan was supposed to act as a relief helm for me but when I asked him to<br />

give me break on the long, downw<strong>in</strong>d legs, he said he didn’t th<strong>in</strong>k he could<br />

handle the boat.<br />

On one occasion by refus<strong>in</strong>g to take notice of what I and most of the crew were<br />

say<strong>in</strong>g he cost us a first place <strong>in</strong> a race and he nearly cost the last race by<br />

try<strong>in</strong>g to send us to the wrong mark. Before rac<strong>in</strong>g even started when the boat<br />

was still out of the water and we were polish<strong>in</strong>g the underside of the hull,<br />

Duncan, after a couple of hours work, was always the first to want to give up<br />

and go to get a beer. He sometimes tried to persuade the crew to come with<br />

him. Before leav<strong>in</strong>g the U.K. he was the one who constantly said how much<br />

work we had to do to the underside yet he was the least will<strong>in</strong>g to do it.<br />

Dur<strong>in</strong>g the rac<strong>in</strong>g Duncan would usually wear a different shirt from the rest of<br />

the crew. It is fairly commonplace for a skipper to wear a different shirt and I<br />

mentioned, at the time, to L<strong>in</strong>dsay that I thought he wanted to appear to be<br />

skipper. It seems as though I am proved right although <strong>in</strong> all my photos and the<br />

one’s which appear <strong>in</strong> the yacht club, I have re-coloured Duncan’s shirt to the<br />

same as everyone else’s.<br />

I decided then that I would never allow Duncan on any boat of m<strong>in</strong>e aga<strong>in</strong> nor<br />

would I sail with him on any other boat. S<strong>in</strong>ce Duncan was Commodore of the<br />

yacht club, I was so unhappy with his behaviour that I discussed with L<strong>in</strong>dsay<br />

resign<strong>in</strong>g my position as President and leav<strong>in</strong>g the Club because I didn’t want to<br />

be part of an organisation which was represented by someone who behaved <strong>in</strong><br />

that manner and, worse still, not only thought it acceptable but didn’t care that<br />

others thought it was not. L<strong>in</strong>dsay suggested that what happened <strong>in</strong> Antigua<br />

should be left <strong>in</strong> Antigua and it would have been had Duncan not tried to claim<br />

he skippered my boat. That has brought back all the anger and ill-feel<strong>in</strong>g I had<br />

at the time.<br />

I takes me quite a few days to get over my anger which is rare for me.<br />

Obviously, all those feel<strong>in</strong>gs I had bottled up <strong>in</strong> 2004 came bubbl<strong>in</strong>g back to the<br />

surface with a vengeance. .<br />

L<strong>in</strong>dsay wants to go to the last day of Carnival. I am not so keen. It’s<br />

apparently very noisy, very crowded and quite boisterous. Many people<br />

recommended us aga<strong>in</strong>st it. I shouldn’t say fortunately but I do. A house at the<br />

top of St. John’s has caught fire and they are stopp<strong>in</strong>g any more people go<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>in</strong>to town. I couldn’t have planned it better.<br />

It is dark as we drive home and L<strong>in</strong>dsay is follow<strong>in</strong>g me. I reverse <strong>in</strong>to the<br />

driveway and L<strong>in</strong>dsay has stopped <strong>in</strong> the road and is out of the car. Apparently,<br />

she had been hoot<strong>in</strong>g at me to stop. A small dog had been wander<strong>in</strong>g around<br />

the rear of my car as I reversed and is now stand<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the road. It is quite<br />

nervous and runs away when approached but keeps com<strong>in</strong>g back. It’s


obviously a pedigree and must belong to someone. L<strong>in</strong>dsay tries to entice it<br />

with some food and water but to no avail. Another resident stops <strong>in</strong> the road to<br />

assist but the dog runs off <strong>in</strong>to the scrub.<br />

As we are eat<strong>in</strong>g d<strong>in</strong>ner the dog appears on the veranda but is still nervous and<br />

unapproachable. We put the food out which it wolfs down. Gradually it’s<br />

confidence grow and bit by bit it creeps <strong>in</strong>to the house. After an hour or so, if<br />

one of us goes out of the room and returns it stands up and wags its tail. By the<br />

time we are ready for bed it wants to be stroked and wants to sleep <strong>in</strong> the<br />

house. L<strong>in</strong>dsay is adamant, if it’s go<strong>in</strong>g to sleep anywhere it will be on the<br />

veranda. I pick it up and put it on a cushion on the veranda. It is straight back<br />

through the door. We repeat the exercise a couple of times before I<br />

successfully shut the door with the dog on the outside. We leave a bowl of<br />

water and the veranda light on but it spurns our hospitality and disappears.<br />

I f<strong>in</strong>ally get around to try<strong>in</strong>g to pr<strong>in</strong>t my plan but f<strong>in</strong>d the PC requires a disk for<br />

the pr<strong>in</strong>ter and that’s <strong>in</strong> the office.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 89 – Wednesday. It’s that generator aga<strong>in</strong> but this time, my fault. I go to<br />

start it at about seven and check the diesel. The gauge is worse than useless<br />

so I look <strong>in</strong> the top of the tank. It’s fairly empty but I can’t be bother to lift a five<br />

gallon can of diesel and I reckon there’s about enough. I’m wrong. After about<br />

half an hour there splutter<strong>in</strong>gs and backfires. The diesel has run out and I<br />

discover it’s not a self bleed<strong>in</strong>g eng<strong>in</strong>e. It takes me ten m<strong>in</strong>utes to get it go<strong>in</strong>g<br />

aga<strong>in</strong>. That will teach me to be lazy.<br />

All day is spent <strong>in</strong> the office try<strong>in</strong>g to f<strong>in</strong>alise everyth<strong>in</strong>g to get it to the pr<strong>in</strong>ters<br />

on Friday so there’s very little to add to the diary except that when I get home I<br />

load the disk <strong>in</strong>to the computer for the pr<strong>in</strong>ter and it still won’t work. I th<strong>in</strong>k it<br />

may be conflict<strong>in</strong>g with the pr<strong>in</strong>ter programmes I already <strong>in</strong>stalled. I remove all<br />

programmes and it works. I pr<strong>in</strong>t the plan which I will now have to scan <strong>in</strong>to the<br />

office computer so that I can use it.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 90 – Thursday. I am <strong>in</strong> the office early not only because I have a lot of<br />

work to do but also because I know Alexis has left his keys beh<strong>in</strong>d and won’t be<br />

able to get <strong>in</strong>.<br />

At about eleven I head off for St. John’s ma<strong>in</strong>ly to get paper for the long pr<strong>in</strong>t<br />

run we have to do but also to go to the <strong>in</strong>surance company, the solicitors, the<br />

bank, the Post Office and to collect s few miscellaneous supplies <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g a<br />

mouse trap. The mouse trap is <strong>in</strong>terest<strong>in</strong>g, <strong>in</strong> fact, it’s two mouse traps and<br />

they are EC$7 so I get my money out and I am asked for EC$4.55. Apparently,<br />

there is a 25% discount. I ask if that means they only catch three quarters of a<br />

mouse. I must stop do<strong>in</strong>g th<strong>in</strong>gs like that s<strong>in</strong>ce I always end up hav<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

expla<strong>in</strong> what I mean.


Driv<strong>in</strong>g back I hear on the radio that <strong>in</strong>terest rates <strong>in</strong> the U.K. have gone down a<br />

quarter of a percent. I feel quite pleased with myself. For months before we left<br />

the U.K. when everyone was predict<strong>in</strong>g a rise <strong>in</strong> <strong>in</strong>terest rates I ma<strong>in</strong>ta<strong>in</strong>ed the<br />

next change would be downward. It didn’t come quite as soon as I expected<br />

but I suspect the election may have had someth<strong>in</strong>g to do with that.<br />

A few of our advertisers still have not sent their advertisements. Not their fault<br />

as they employ advertis<strong>in</strong>g agencies. One agency never answers their ‘phone<br />

and even their client is gett<strong>in</strong>g exasperated. I decide to prepare an<br />

advertisement myself. It is quite complicated and takes quite a long time. It is<br />

for the garage where I bought my car and, hav<strong>in</strong>g seen their other<br />

advertisements, they always use a lot of pictures of cars which I download from<br />

the <strong>in</strong>ternet but have to remove the backgrounds. I put five different vehicles<br />

<strong>in</strong>to the advert and e-mail it to the garage. They approve it but want two of the<br />

cars changed. That takes me another hour or so.<br />

We want to run the f<strong>in</strong>al pr<strong>in</strong>t dummy of the magaz<strong>in</strong>e bit with various delays, I<br />

don’t get it started until 5.30. It f<strong>in</strong>ishes pr<strong>in</strong>t<strong>in</strong>g at 7.45. It’s quite some time<br />

s<strong>in</strong>ce I have done a twelve hour day and not someth<strong>in</strong>g I expected to do <strong>in</strong><br />

Antigua.<br />

While I am still <strong>in</strong> the office, L<strong>in</strong>dsay r<strong>in</strong>gs and ask me what size is the<br />

measurement, a cup. How on earth do I know. She suggest I look on the<br />

<strong>in</strong>ternet. I type <strong>in</strong> “cup measurement” and much to my surprise it lists – 8 fluid<br />

ounces, 237 ml, 16 tablespoons and various other th<strong>in</strong>gs I can’t remember. I<br />

wonder what witches brew L<strong>in</strong>dsay is concoct<strong>in</strong>g at home.<br />

As I leave the office the two little bars next door are absolutely humm<strong>in</strong>g. I have<br />

never been <strong>in</strong> either of them and they always seem rather quite. They seem to<br />

be rendezvous’ for young ex-pats. I really feel like a dr<strong>in</strong>k and am tempted to<br />

go <strong>in</strong> to one but feel I ought to go home.<br />

I am not surprised the mousetraps are so cheap. The first one doesn’t work<br />

until I have modified it with a pair of pliers and the second one traps my f<strong>in</strong>gers<br />

twice before I can get it set. When I look at the <strong>in</strong>struction I can’t believe that<br />

they recommend plac<strong>in</strong>g a piece of cheese <strong>in</strong> the trap. I am not sure how it is<br />

go<strong>in</strong>g to work as it is so sensitive. I suggest to L<strong>in</strong>dsay that we mat catch a<br />

couple of midges s<strong>in</strong>ce any m<strong>in</strong>ute weight change will set them off. A bit of me<br />

feels a little guilty as I imag<strong>in</strong>e this poor creature trapped <strong>in</strong> a crush<strong>in</strong>g spr<strong>in</strong>g all<br />

night. I must be gett<strong>in</strong>g sentimental <strong>in</strong> my old age.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 91 – Friday. I needn’t have worried about the mouse. It evidently doesn’t<br />

like cheese. One trap has been set off but the cheese is still there. The other is<br />

still set. In the shop they had some sticky mouse traps. Maybe I should try one<br />

of those.


Today we are try<strong>in</strong>g to f<strong>in</strong>alise the Mar<strong>in</strong>e Guide and send everyth<strong>in</strong>g off to the<br />

pr<strong>in</strong>ters. I have a 9.30 meet<strong>in</strong>g with the Nicholson’s regard<strong>in</strong>g the show. Until<br />

last year the Nicholson’s had run the boat show which has been go<strong>in</strong>g for over<br />

40 years.<br />

Noth<strong>in</strong>g is go<strong>in</strong>g right with the pr<strong>in</strong>t<strong>in</strong>g of the draft of the Guide and Alexis is<br />

gett<strong>in</strong>g more and more frustrated. I leave him and L<strong>in</strong>dsay to get on with<br />

suggest<strong>in</strong>g that they cancel the FedEx collection s<strong>in</strong>ce we had told the pr<strong>in</strong>ter it<br />

would be sent on Monday so we have a day <strong>in</strong> hand.<br />

The meet<strong>in</strong>g with the Nicholson’s goes surpris<strong>in</strong>gly well. I’d had a feel<strong>in</strong>g that<br />

maybe they would be entrenched <strong>in</strong> tradition and not welcome new ideas.<br />

Quite the reverse was true. Callie, an American girl who has handled<br />

exhibitions <strong>in</strong> the U.S. is with me and she talks enough for both of us but she is<br />

very enthusiastic and well prepared even remember<strong>in</strong>g some of my suggestions<br />

which I had forgotten.<br />

Back at the office they have cancelled FedEx and found, once the pressure was<br />

off, everyth<strong>in</strong>g worked smoothly so FedEx has been re-ordered. There is<br />

noth<strong>in</strong>g much left for me to do except that one of cars I changed yesterday <strong>in</strong><br />

the advert. is be<strong>in</strong>g replaced <strong>in</strong> the near future by another model. They want<br />

the latest model which I add and will upload the f<strong>in</strong>ished article to the pr<strong>in</strong>ters<br />

with another last m<strong>in</strong>ute change on Monday.<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g agreed to do the press release and sponsorship requests for the Mar<strong>in</strong>e<br />

Exhibition I start prepar<strong>in</strong>g them. I decide on someth<strong>in</strong>g a little more colourful<br />

than the usual press release and get about halfway through when the computer<br />

crashes. I thought Mac’s were virtually immune to crashes. It had taken me<br />

about an hour but at least I have the automatic save runn<strong>in</strong>g except that noth<strong>in</strong>g<br />

is saved and I have to start all over aga<strong>in</strong>. At least I don’t have to th<strong>in</strong>k about<br />

what I am do<strong>in</strong>g, hav<strong>in</strong>g already planned the context and layout so it is a bit<br />

quicker. I get to about the same po<strong>in</strong>t when the computer crashed aga<strong>in</strong> but<br />

this time I have been sav<strong>in</strong>g manually every few m<strong>in</strong>utes so I should be safe<br />

except I’m not. Noth<strong>in</strong>g has saved. Start<strong>in</strong>g for the third time I make a duplicate<br />

of the work and regularly save <strong>in</strong> both of them but only work<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> one copy so if<br />

the computer crashes aga<strong>in</strong> I will have a complete backup. Of course, it doesn’t<br />

crash aga<strong>in</strong>.<br />

The Bank of Antigua r<strong>in</strong>gs. We have had all k<strong>in</strong>ds of trouble with the bank who<br />

don’t seem to want to pass the bus<strong>in</strong>ess account over to us. Every time we<br />

meet their requirements they come up with some new ones. Hav<strong>in</strong>g lost<br />

patience with them the other day I threatened to move the account to First<br />

Caribbean. Today they come up with yet a further requirement so I tell them I<br />

will solve their problem for them. When they ask how I tell them I am clos<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the account.


On the way home I stop and get a DVD only to discover we have seen the film<br />

before. As I reverse <strong>in</strong>to the drive I am brought up short by a large mound of<br />

earth I haven’t seen <strong>in</strong> the dark and step out <strong>in</strong>to another one. Apparently, a<br />

large amount of topsoil has been delivered which is go<strong>in</strong>g to be spread over the<br />

garden, weed killer hav<strong>in</strong>g been sprayed everywhere.<br />

Before go<strong>in</strong>g to bed I reset the mouse traps, L<strong>in</strong>dsay suggest<strong>in</strong>g the mouse<br />

might have a sweet tooth so I change the bait.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 92 – Saturday. The mouse traps are no more effective but the weed killer<br />

has done a magnificent job. Everyth<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the garden is dead. Maybe I should<br />

put a bit of weed killer <strong>in</strong> the mouse traps.<br />

Whilst L<strong>in</strong>dsay is cook<strong>in</strong>g breakfast I notice the gas has gone out on the stove<br />

and presume the w<strong>in</strong>d has blown it out. L<strong>in</strong>dsay po<strong>in</strong>ts out that s<strong>in</strong>ce two r<strong>in</strong>gs<br />

have gone out it is more likely that the gas has run out. Fortunately, I had<br />

bought a spare bottle last time we ran out so it only takes a few m<strong>in</strong>utes to<br />

change.<br />

Whilst L<strong>in</strong>dsay goes to buy some petrol and collect a few rays of sunsh<strong>in</strong>e I<br />

have a few th<strong>in</strong>gs to sort out at the office <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g meet<strong>in</strong>g someone at twelve.<br />

I take the empty gas bottle only to discover they don’t sell gas on a Saturday<br />

after eleven. It is now five past. I deal with the various other th<strong>in</strong>gs I have to do<br />

and arrive back home at about one.<br />

My car ‘phone has been play<strong>in</strong>g up and I <strong>in</strong>vestigate the problem. The clip<br />

which holds the ‘phone <strong>in</strong> place is only plastic and it has become worn. It no<br />

longer pushes the ‘phone back onto it’s connections. It looks as though it will<br />

be a relatively simple job to replace the clip with a piece of metal cut to the right<br />

size. I cut a section out of a Jubilee clip and fashion it to the right shape. All I<br />

need do is drill a couple of hole <strong>in</strong> the metal and it should be as good as new.<br />

The metal is sta<strong>in</strong>less steel and I cannot f<strong>in</strong>d a drill bit which will go through it.<br />

The only solution is to mark it up and get someone to drill it out for me on<br />

Monday. In the meantime I fashion a cotter p<strong>in</strong> as a temporary clip but have to<br />

be a bit careful remov<strong>in</strong>g the ‘phone as it is a bit sharp.<br />

Whilst I am work<strong>in</strong>g at my modifications a JCB arrives. It is go<strong>in</strong>g to spread the<br />

topsoil around the garden. The driver is accompanied by another man who<br />

asks me if I have a shovel or a rake. He obviously came well prepared. They<br />

spend an hour or so mov<strong>in</strong>g topsoil around and leave the garden look<strong>in</strong>g like<br />

the surface of the moon. L<strong>in</strong>dsay has an attempt at mak<strong>in</strong>g th<strong>in</strong>gs look better<br />

but gives up when it is apparent that there is probably a week’s work.<br />

The Tot and d<strong>in</strong>ner is at Tony and Moya’s house and there is quite a crowd.<br />

We leave at about 9.30 and L<strong>in</strong>dsay is game for go<strong>in</strong>g somewhere else but then<br />

changes her m<strong>in</strong>d. I am somewhat relieved as I don’t fancy a late night.


Whilst out today I have bought some sticky mouse traps and put them down<br />

before we go to bed.<br />

<strong>Day</strong> 93 – Sunday. Success. Stuck <strong>in</strong> one of the traps is a t<strong>in</strong>y mouse. It’s not<br />

much bigger than my thumb. I tell L<strong>in</strong>dsay who suggests I might take some<br />

distance away and let it go. Even it I wanted to, there is no way I would be able<br />

to extract the mouse from the glue. I feel a bit sorry for the mouse. It keeps<br />

open<strong>in</strong>g and clos<strong>in</strong>g it’s mouth <strong>in</strong> a bleat<strong>in</strong>g sort of a way and there are tears <strong>in</strong><br />

it’s eyes. L<strong>in</strong>dsay says I am go<strong>in</strong>g soft. I take it outside and hit it on the head<br />

with a large stick.<br />

Ten o’clock we meet at the Galley Bar to go to the Keep Fit class. Today’s task<br />

is to clear the Jones Valley Trail. One advantage is that we are start<strong>in</strong>g at the<br />

bottom so it’s downhill on the way back. We arrive at the foot and the notice<br />

<strong>in</strong>dicat<strong>in</strong>g the path which <strong>in</strong>cludes the words “cleared by the Royal Naval Tot<br />

Club…” is completely overgrown. We are all rather embarrassed by the state of<br />

the path. As usual, I am <strong>in</strong> charge of the cha<strong>in</strong>saw. To beg<strong>in</strong> with there isn’t<br />

too much heavy stuff which requires a cha<strong>in</strong>saw but there are a number of<br />

overgrown thorn bushes which are easier to tackle with a cha<strong>in</strong>saw than any<br />

other tool. The only problem with thorn bushes is that they fight back. In no<br />

time at all my hands and arms are covered <strong>in</strong> scratches and there is blood<br />

everywhere.<br />

Mike has brought Nuisance and Ruthie with him and they acco