Rock star Ricky the dog (said with heavy undertones of sarcasm), has reached new levels of dachshund naughtiness this week.
The wind stopped blowing over the last few days and our family looked at each other and went Oh. We sweated. I am surprised that we are still able to pee.
Sticking to my routine I took the dog (as he has now been renamed, small letters) for a walk to the beach. I met a kindly gentleman on the way and as any true Irish girl would do, I commented on the weather. As the weather is the same for most of the year here, my imagination was at an all time low, “It’s hot today” I offered. “As it should be” he replied. I liked him instantly.
My dog proffered me the excuse of it being too hot to walk and lay down panting. Grrrrrr (that is me and not the dog). Disgruntled I moved on darting from the skinny shade of one telegraph pole to the next. It was then that I turned around and the dog (small letters) had disappeared. This is not uncommon for our dachshund. But it is SO HOT. I whistled and called to no avail. Then I heard some scuffling and peeped through the house’s fence beside me – a family of baby mongoose were scattering. YIKES, this is not good, I realised. Suddenly a Rasta man sporting 3 teeth emerged from the bushes. “Ya dog is op here Miss”, he called out. “Ricky!” he cried. “What?” I thought – he knows his name too! Mr Rasta man dived back into the undergrowth and emerged dragging said dog “Thaat is a naughty dawg” he said. “Yeah man”, I sported.
After much thanking and further ado, dog and I headed towards home in the blazing heat. The dog’s tongue extended to near-ground level as he waddled exhausted and ridiculously slowly behind me. We passed the beach and I turned to find NO DOG, AGAIN. Then I saw him bounding along the rocks on the shore line, hunting goodness-knows-what this time. He didn’t even break stride when I called out to him. There was nothing to do but sit under a palm tree and wait.
Dogs aside, I took a trip to Darkwood Beach this week. Darkwood lies along the eastern seaboard of Antigua between Turner’s Beach and Ffryes Bay. It is one of the breathtaking Caribbean beaches with postcard beauty, fine sand, clear water and gentle waves (as my photos lay no testament to whatsover).
You can snorkel just offshore and not more than 8 metres from the beach we even saw an octopus. As an ex-dive instructor one of my greatest pleasures is watching the sea life and it takes me to my happy place watching this powerful predator changing his hue as he darted from rock to open sand to rock.
Sea urchins are aplenty but no bother at all. There are lionfish, and colourful reef fish and the odd ray lurking just out of standing depth. The beach itself offers no shade apart from a small café bar with uninspiring snack food and a healthy choice of spirits.
We found this huge hermit crab and Ricky, back in the good books, remained aloof.
If you choose to stay at the beach as the evening falls, the sunset is beautiful from here as the beach looks westwards towards Montserrat which you can see on a clear evening. I have watched the sky turn crimson and ablaze with incadescence as tiny fish fly from the water escaping the evening hunters. With a glass of chilled and easy South African chenin blanc, it is actually an event to plan for.
However, this day I headed home for some meze – a favourite meal in my house. I had prepared the bread dough earlier (see recipe here) so it was climbing out of the bowl when we got home and the children helped to roll it into buns which cooked quickly in the oven while I mixed up guacamole, tzatziki and the best-ever chickpea, pomegranate and feta dip (from the wonderful recipe by Izzy Hossack and photographed on Reclaiming Provincial). Tomatoes are at their best now and I managed to find some organic cherry tomatoes at the goliath Epicurian supermarket on the island. I like to sprinkle them with pink Himalayan salt, if I can, and eat them every day when they are fresh. Voilà.Today I added some good cold-pressed olive oil from Italy and fresh basil. Oh, and chilled San Pellegrino on the side – just because it is all a special treat.
In the pot are the baby lemon trees that we planted from seed shortly after we arrived in Antigua. I read on a seemingly informative website that when you cut open an organic lemon, you take the seeds and suck them until they don’t taste lemony anymore. Prepare a plant pot with soil (I just stole some from the garden here – watering it first to allow us to shovel it with a large spoon) and keep the seeds moist in your mouth all of the time. Plant them just under the surface and water daily. We had lots of grass sprouting from the soil but 2 and a half weeks later, 3 strong seedlings popped up from the 3 seeds that we planted. Lemons in a few years folks!
Thank you for stopping by on this tropical adventure. I post at least one column each week involving me and my observations of this sweet island life. I welcome your comments and any questions you may have.