Sunday, October 29, 2017

And the readers keep coming

Following the visit of Bahama and Harriet, and the birth of their namesake goats, a week or so later came two more lots of book readers.

This time it was Peter and Lisa, from England, who only came for a few hours but were laden with goodies from the UK. Chocolate, oxo cubes, curry spices, and even OMG parsnips. What a treat. They also brought vitamins for distribution to the local families, plasters (as the ones here don't stick), loads of shirts for kids at school and a catapult for Chivirico (which Danilo promptly nicked) as well as a set of toy saucepans for me!

It was lovely to see them and chat, and they enjoyed seeing Wasp House come to life, and of course, loved seeing the baby goats. Here is Lisa with Bahama.

Then this Friday, more readers. Keith and Elaine from the Isle of Man, their taxi driver Speedy Rodriguez and my friend Shirley. Elaine and Keith have an apartment In Cabarete and as Keith explains: "The loose plan behind today was that a friend on the Isle of Man had given Elaine two books to bring with her on this trip, which were an autobiography of life for an English woman, who moved to the Dominican Republic. Elaine was so engrossed, she read the entire first book on the flight over here. Imagine her surprise when she recognised some of the people who were mentioned in the book, including [for those of you a little slow at guessing] Shirley. Yes, the author is Lindsay. The dam (Moncion dam), with it's amazing views is mentioned in book two, so that was the 'excuse' for the trip out. It was a surprise for Elaine, as she didn't know we were going to meet Lindsay, although she guessed en-route when the dogs were mentioned, in particular 'Goofy' the Great Dane. By the time of the trip, Elaine had also polished off book two, which covers the time since Lindsay and Danilo moved in to their current home, so Elaine had the slightly surreal experience of meeting people and being in the house that she'd been reading about, leaving her with a peculiar sense of de-ja-vu."

Having visited the goats, eaten Danilo's Sancocho (what was left of it as the neighbours smelled it cooking and queued up at the gate with an assortment of pots and dishes to get some), Danilo took them off to the dam, and then for icecream, while Shirley and I caught up on the gossip.

Here is Angelo the taxidriver with the goats, you can contact him here

And Danilo at the dam with Elaine and Keith

Before they left everyone bought some books, which was lovely, and we had a little signing session,

It is so nice meeting readers of Saucepans, and lovely listening to them exclaiming as they see things they have read about.

The balcony is making slow progress, the wood is now being laid to be filled in with concrete and Danilo has had the balcony furniture delivered which is made of banana leaves. Apparently it doesn't rot in the rain. It arrived yesterday, together with a proper desk for me, which is enormous, so now I feel like an executive. The banana seats need mending in places so this afternoon Danilo is off to find an old man who apparently is expert in making furniture out of banana leaves.

This morning, the guy who brought the furniture up last night, Vasilio and Danilo and Chivirico took the dogs for a walk. Apart from Meg who won't go without me, and Goofy who refuses to walk on a lead - he just lies down. Having stood crying at the gate waiting for Lobo to return, for 30 minutes, I am hoping he will now see the advantage of walking on a lead.

The next few weeks will be busy as we have visitors planned for the weekend of November 10, then I am hoping to start my book signing tour, in Sosua and Las Terrenas and then later in Santo Domingo and Punta Cana. Watch this space for details.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Here we go again

So, remember the tale of the balcony?

The house has lovely patio doors all across the back of it

So there is an amazing view and I can have all the doors open which is like being outside even though you are inside. But there is an 8 foot drop outside of the windows.

So we built a balcony out of treated wood so it wouldn't rot or be eaten by termites. Many visitors like to sit outside on the balmy Caribbean evenings and some like to grab a bit of sunshine during the day.

It was on wooden tree trunks so looked a bit like Brighton Pier and even had a little staircase down into the dog house.

It was a lovely balcony, great to sit out on and all the visitors loved it. However, bit by bit it collapsed.

And collapsed a bit more

Until it totally fell down and was recycled as hen houses and goat houses. Now just like the phoenix it is rising again from the ashes - only this time in concrete. The dogs were amazed as bags and bags of cement were unloaded into the house. Here are Rasputin and Canguru watching on.

I am once again surrounded by semi naked men digging and laying blocks

The plan is there will be walls of concrete blocks and then they will build a wooden frame which will be placed on top of the walls and will be filled with concrete, left for 3 weeks then the wood is taken away and it (apparently) won't fall down.

Now Mr.  Always thinking of New Ideas Danilo, had the idea that chickens (or other animals) will live under the balcony so although this looks like a row of public toilets it will actually be a row of animal houses. Not sure what animals he has planned - just hope it isn't pigs. Once the concrete floor/roof is ready there will be treated (haha) wooden railings and a tiled floor. Wonder how long this one will last. It is much bigger than the last one so could work as a dance floor or roller skating rink as well.

On the goat front they are all still adorable and mother Oregano seems to think it is funny that her kids are inside the bran bowl.

I will leave you with what I see every morning when I go out to call them for their breakfast. They are usually right at the end of the second paddock so around 1000 metres away. It is always fun to bet on who will win the race.