Time to renew our visas

Dick and Irene Craig
Fri 6 Apr 2012 16:02

Although two washing machines are available to us, I am only using the facility once a week to do the bed linen and towels. I tend to wash by hand each morning, the clothes we have worn on the previous day because the water supply to the machines is cold.

When we were cruising on the motor boat a few years ago, I had to wash everything by hand using a bucket. Bed linen and bath towels being so large and heavy when wet were quite a chore. Sometimes I would try to get them done at a laundry, when we visited a port but they were always busy and couldn’t even think of taking on any more work for days, by which time we would have moved on. Occasionally I was lucky and found

self-service machines which were not occupied. In those days, that was pure heaven.

The washing machines here are a haven for mosquitoes, particularly if the lids have not been kept closed. The first time I used a washing machine here, when I opened the lid, a cloud of mosquitoes flew out. After that, I took insect spray with me when I entered the laundry room.

The mosquitoes carry dengue fever so I use insect repellant all the time but Dick doesn’t tend to bother unless he knows he is going to be in a situation whereby he is more likely to be exposed.

When we first moved into the apartment, all windows being fitted with insect blinds, we left the door open to help to get a through draught. This turned out to be a mistake as we forever had to chase mosquitoes and we didn’t have a night without at least one buzzing in the bedroom. We now keep the door closed and it has improved the situation although we do occasionally get a mosquito in the bedroom at night.

I suppose that if we used the air conditioning the problem would possibly be eradicated but we never seem to think about that and of course, whenever we left the apartment, the heat would hit us.

On our drive to Half Moon Bay, we stopped at Midway garage to get the puncture in the tire fixed and were quoted EC$17 for the job. What a bargain; some people Caroline know paid US$30 for a repair at one of the tire shops. As it turned out, there wasn’t a puncture after all; it looked as if some not too fancy driving had caused the air to escape via the rim. Not immensely surprising as the sleeping policeman are all sorts of heights and widths and fifty percent of the time, the bottom of the car scrapes along the crest of the bump.

The tire was placed back on the car, all the others were checked for air and the spare was returned to the boot of the car and we were on our way again, passing Potworks dam on our right.

By the time we reached Half Moon Bay, we were all hungry so we pulled up next to the only café/restaurant nearby and ordered chicken with rice, the alternative being a burger.

We were pleased we didn’t choose the burger when we saw one as it was delivered to a nearby table.

A chap arrived with a bucket containing a few fish and a lobster. The lobster was dumped on the adjacent grass and the bucket taken into the kitchen.

After lunch, we walked down to the beach but being on the Atlantic side of the island, the condition of the sea as it hit the beach wasn’t really suitable for a toddler so we drove back towards the apartment, passing Willoughby Bay on our left.

The dirt road on which we found ourselves didn’t look much like a main road; with great grooves in the surface. At one point we weren’t sure that the car would be able to cope with the ascent and the poor condition of the road. We persevered and when we met another vehicle coming from the other direction we checked that we were on the right road, eventually arriving at Cobbs Cross where we picked up the road from Falmouth to where we lived.

The chap who lives in the apartment above us is Italian. He studied to be a lawyer but like so many of his friends in Italy, dentists, accountants, etc. he has not been able to find employment there. Fortunately for him, his uncle owns a marina in Falmouth and he has been working there since January. At the end of the season he will return to his native country and unemployment.

We have found a large supermarket on the outskirts of St Johns, where we have been able to purchase most of the things we need at a more reasonable price than the product we have been buying locally. For the most part, we have only bought meat and dairy products as well as fresh fruit and vegetables, having moved plenty of provisions from Tucanon.

We took Caroline and Mia to the pretty village of Parham. Sadly a funeral was in progress so we didn’t feel that it was appropriate to visit the large Anglican Church. We called in to say hello to King Burger and wish them luck in their new premises. Although already open for business, they are having a grand opening party on the evening of the 17th April.

Our visas have been renewed for a further three months and our flights have been booked for the return trip to Europe, later this month.

At Mia’s birthday party in January we met a lot of Caroline’s friends including an attractive blonde South African and her eighteen year old daughter who had just learnt that she had obtained a contract to work on a charter boat, located in Tahiti. There had initially been a bit of a problem getting a visa but it eventually came through and she was able to fly to Papiete and join the boat. It now seems that the visa has been rescinded despite the skipper declaring that the girl is essential to the functioning of the operation. It will be interesting to hear who will pay for the return flight to Antigua. The girl has no money for the fare, nor do her parents who both work in Antigua, at present.

Many of the ex-pat young people working on the boats in Antigua will leave at the start of the hurricane season to find similar work in Mallorca, returning in November.