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Animal wisdom

There are old Nevis tales about the antics of animals, how the goat and the monkey talk to each other; and so we create proverbs and sayings based on their antics as explanations for our own actions. We say things like “the monkey knows what tree to climb” or ‘what’s sweet in goat’s mouth is sour in his ass.” Often when I cannot explain a situation in any other words I use these old expressions.

We’ve put up fences to keep the jungle out, but the monkeys bend down the wire and the goats push their way through, as if they made a plan together. The monkeys pull up the roots in the vegetable garden and the goats strip down the flowers and the shrubs. Each treads so silently that you might only hear the sound of tearing leaves, but never a footstep.

I look out the window and the monkeys are sitting on the lawn, eating grass seeds and laying on one another. The babies fly about the minute they see me move. The adults watch me and yawn. As I walk out of my house, in morning stillness I see a herd of goats has climbed on my Landrover to escape the dewfall of the night before. They make no effort to move as I approach. I refuse to climb up and chase them away so I drive off with two of them still on my roof. I stopped before turning onto the island main road and the goats jumped down and wandered into the bushes.

This draws no attention in my little village, not because I regularly drive with animals atop my vehicle but because the goats and monkeys are part of our life. Some people try to shoo and chase them off, but I like to watch them and see how far they might follow me, or where they might lead me. After all, “what’s sweet in goat’s mouth…”

Come visit. Together we can see which trees the monkeys climb.


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.

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

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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.

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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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