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Joys of a garden


I wanted to grow a garden but the rain would not fall. I drew water from the well every day but the ground stayed hard, so I waited for the dry season to pass. Six months went by. When the rains finally came it took two weeks before the hard ground had softened enough to grow anything other than the thorny trees and scrub that seemed to be imperishable.

When the rain kept falling for those two weeks it made the soil rich, earthworms came to the surface and then I knew it was the right moment to sow. Everything I planted started to grow. But then, when it did, the donkeys came into the yard and ate all they could.

So I built a fence around the property, and though frustrated for what I had lost was happy for what I had saved. My crops grew. Blossoms produced fruit, and the vines became laden. I came home every day happy but before I could harvest, before anything was ripe, monkeys found the garden and ransacked it one afternoon.

I came to despair. I felt that I had lost so much that my resignation was justified. I no longer wanted a garden.

Then, the lockdown came. We had reasons to expect it, watching dominos around the world fall down, but still it came as a shock. We were told to stay home and move no farther than our yard. They say a quarantine is for 40 days, that is how longs the old sailing ships held their crew in the harbor, flying a yellow flag until they were cleared to come ashore. That’s what it felt like at first, like I was bound to a ship moored in a harbor, neither free to sail or free to land.

My garden regained its appeal. I spent my time nursing back to health the plants the monkeys had torn. I weeded and watered in the hot April sun. I made shade from the coconut fronds to cover my plants in the midday burn. The donkeys and the monkeys only ever came in the cool of the day, early morning or late afternoon and with a little bit of timing I could be there first. They walked their constant paths and I greeted them and bade them walk by.

As the lockdown continued the dry season returned and soon there was no reason to leave my yard at all. The sun was too hot for work and I could see the donkeys standing in the shade by the side of the road, with watchful brown eyes. The monkeys were beside them, pretending to ignore me. I wasn’t going anywhere, I had grown right into my garden.

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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