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I saw so regularly an old man sitting by the roadside that I began to feel I knew him, though we never spoke. He sat there from morning, through midday sun and into the afternoon, somehow comfortable on stony soil, beneath a mango tree. He would raise a hardened fist as his greeting every time I passed.

A time ago, before radios, televisions and telephones, the roadside was an important place to be. It was a river of life that news flowed on. But while some people sat by the roadside to be part of the passing day, gossiping and looking for news; other people used the road side as a place for work, in a tiring trade of pounding stones; breaking rocks down into gravel for construction, working by the side of the road where the government trucks could come to them, having hauled their rocks from fields and river beds in wheelbarrows and carts.

Like this old man, you could tell people who had lived this trade because their hands were so very hard. They worked with a five-pound hammer, on their pile of stones, under a tree, a tattered awning or the broad sky alone.

Now on the roadsides it is only farmers you’ll see; selling their fruits and veg. But even after the last harvest of stones, the old man remained by the roadside, accustomed to his place and waving at me when I passed.

Today while driving my children to school I slowed down by the mango tree so they could wave back at the old man, and so that I could tell them the story of how people pounded stones for a living.

Caribbean Strong – Nevis

Nevis was very fortunate, we suffered minimal damage. The ancient saman tree in the town square was blown over, a few other trees have been lost and our beaches have been strangely rearranged but it is nothing that can’t be repaired with time and tide. With village names like Hardtimes and Burden Pasture, Nevis has known many challenges.We are not strangers to the storm.

Don’t You Agree?

After a trip away, I’ve just returned to these sweet charms of Nevis, the warmth of hospitality and the embrace of friends.

My Nevis Perspective

The best way to survive as a hotelier on a remote island with difficult logistics is with patience and a sense of humor.

Hermitage Newsletter December Edition

Interestingly, a celebrity magazine shoot shared the property with a crew of geothermal miners. We can’t say which group was the more tantalizing and filled us with anxious delight at the possibility of unearthing a deeply hidden treasure.

Experience of the Caribbean

Some days are clear Caribbean skies and placid, turquoise, clear seas that reflect the frigate birds and passing clouds; some days are faded yellow from the Sahara dust that drifts across the Atlantic, some days are rain, hard bullet-like tropical rain...

Covered in vines

There are little wooden houses on the island of Nevis and many are covered in vines. They were built 100 hundred years ago, in a tradition that was handed from master carpenter to apprentice, one generation to the next. Their beams are pegged together with...

The Pink House History

My mother lives in a Pink House, the house that we built for her mother, my grandmother, who we called Muzzy.

The Ocean’s View

Where the water meets the shore is the edge of the world, either in the rough collision of waves against rocks that tells the story of resistance and erosion or in the soft lapping and gentle wash that dresses the sand, with a fringe of foam like lace. The...

Leave Her As She Is

Over coffee in the mornings he spoke about it, at the bar in the evenings he promised to restore it. 

Summer days

The summer time is true to the heart of island living, with fewer tourists and expats, the buzz of visitors subsides. The days are longer and the nights are cool and refreshing. We spend more time in the evenings sitting outside, and I find myself looking...

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