Monday, March 26, 2018

Visitors galore

Since the beginning of the year, Wasp House has had many visitors.

First ones of the new year were Rosa and Catherine, American who lives in Sosua and Virginia and Canadian Brit who lives in Canada, with frequent trips to Sosua to visit her Dominican husband. Both always come laden with goodies and this time was no exception. I should point out that Danilo calls Rosa "Awesome" as she taught him the word, but surprise surprise he can't say it properly so he calls her Orso, which means Bear in English. Hence she is known as Bear.

They didn't stay for long, but we had a great time, even though they made me walk all the way to the village centre in the sun (crazy gringas).

The next visitor was a Danish orthopedic surgeon and his Dominican wife who came for the afternoon so that he could learn about the house buying process here from Danilo, and hot on their heels was Sandra from Canada, who I had come to know via Facebook and she was a fan of my books.

Sandra also came laden with amazing gifts for her four day stay and I was a little concerned as I knew she didn't like spiders so I was hoping that the tarantulas kept away. I was also concerned as Wasp House is not five star luxury, or even one star really. It is more like glamping - I did warn her!

Unfortunately it rained solidly for four days and Wasp House is not good in the rain, as it floods and feels damp. Plus there is little to do here in the rain. Poor Sandra did not have to put up with tarantulas, but she did get a nightly visit from our resident rat, and when a bat flew through the living room - that was it.  She had to cover herself up from top to toe!

Just after Sandra left I went to Santiago to talk to a group of communications students studying at PUCMM - the top university in the country. The talk was to be in English as it was as part of their English course and their professor, Melanie, was a friend of mine. Different expats had been invited to talk to them.

The students then had to make a television programme and a radio programme about their favourite speaker  - which was yours truly and so a few weeks later the students and Melanie with a few kids and the odd boyfriend and husband all descended on Wasp House.

Danilo took charge of Melanie's delightful children and kept them busy.

Following all the videoing, photographs and chatting we all headed up to eat goat in the local goat restaurant. Here are some of the students with Danilo and I sitting outside the restaurant.

And the final visitor was just a week ago.

Here she is en route with her chauffeur.

Zelda is a one year old Great Dane/German Shepherd cross whose owner had to  leave to return to the United States, so the delightful Easton, another friend, offered to drive her here to come and live with us. She has settled in beautifully and is adored by one and all.

Including the 17 year old cat, Zebedee.

And apart from all of these visitors I have been crazy busy with two major writing assignments which have now been submitted.

In addition I was a guest on a pod cast by Billy Atwell about facing your fears. If you want to listen to it and hear my voice it is here.

And last but by no means least, I met a lady called Madeline Sharples via a Facebook page called We Love Memoirs which is for people who love memoirs and who write them, and it is a fabulous group of people. I read Madeline's memoir, called Leaving the Hall Light On and was totally blown away by the story and her writing. She then was kind enough to read What About Your Saucepans? and asked me to write a guest post for her blog which you can read here.

If you would like to read Madeline's book you can buy it from Amazon in Kindle and paperback - I highly recommend it. This was my review on Amazon:

"This is a very hard book for me to write a review on. It is about a subject which I have no knowledge of – a bipolar son who commits suicide. I don’t know anyone well who suffers from bipolar or anyone close whose children have committed suicide so I could not identify with the author or the book. But OMG this was a brilliant book, one which I could not put down. Leaving the subject matter aside, which is heartbreaking, touching, tear jerking and emotional, it is the raw honestly of the writing which takes your breath away. I had no idea a memoir could be so honest, so stripped to the bones, so completely revealing without any glossing over the subject matter in order to just keep that little bit of privacy and secrecy. And that honesty makes this an amazing piece of writing, which I loved. It is peppered with photos which really help the reader to understand and then there are the poems. Personally, I have read many poems in memoirs, most of which I just skim over. But there is no skimming over these, and I have never read or appreciated such powerful poetry. Congratulations Madeline Sharples for a fabulous work of writing both prose and poetry."

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Esneaky esnake

Yet another animal story.

A couple of weeks ago, Danilo comes into the house holding some weird thing in his hand and explains to me that it is a snake skin. Where there is a snake skin - there is a snake, so off he goes on a snake hunt. Or a neesk hunt as snake is neesk in Danilo English. He is naturally wearing special neesk hunting gear - pyjama bottoms and tennis shoes.

The snake skin was found next to the wall, which in true Dominican fashion, although it has been built has not be plastered nor finished on the top. And the snake was living in the wall as you can see when I was looking down from the top of the wall.

So Danilo's plan is to get the snake out of the wall and keep it in a snake house. These are Boa Constrictors who live in the woods next to the house and they kill the chickens. But we don't want to have to kill them, so it made sense to just keep it in captivity.

Next stage is to get it out of the wall, so armed with essential snake hunting tools consisting of an  oven glove and barbecue tongs the work begun.

The neesk did not appear to want to come out so a bigger hole had to be made.

He looked all warm and snuggly in there but eventually the barbecue tongs were put to use.

By this stage Danilo also had a T-shirt wrapped around his mouth and nose as (and I never knew  this) snakes estink to high heaven.

And there is snake. around six foot long Boa. He/she was then placed in a large metal drum with wood and blocks on the top so that it couldn't escape.

Two hours later snake had gone. Houdini snake. Now here we are a couple of weeks later and another snake is living in the wall. Apparently not the same one. This time it is staying there undisturbed!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Goosey goosey gander

Goodness over two months since I last blogged, where does the time go to.

Here is a swift update on campo life in the Feliz household since Christmas.

The new year got off to a bad start as I came downstairs on the morning of January 1 to find Meg, our oldest dog, dead on the floor. No idea what happened as she was fine when I went to bed - I assume a heart attack. RIP Meg who was a very faithful dog and well loved.

The rest of the dogs are all fine and doing well as are the goats.

However, Danilo decided he wanted geese. I said no, and as usual he took no notice of me and I should have realised something was up when he arrived home one day with Dwendy Saya. They each had a goose in a sack.

I must admit they did look pretty so he filled a big washing bowl with water and set them and the bowl down in the back garden below the balcony.

They seemed quite happy, didn't make too much noise but the peace was not to last long. The next morning they were not there so it was all hands to the pump to go on a goose chase. I should mention at this point that he did not pay for these geese. He was given them as the man had to get rid of them as they were so vicious. This was not mentioned until they disappeared and he was concerned about the whole neighbourhood being beaten up by geese.

Danilo and Saya went out hunting and luckily a neighbour caught them just before they made it onto the main road. Geese were duly returned and locked up under the balcony until we came up with a plan.  Danilo was going to build them a pen but in the end we decided to put them in the overgrown vegetable garden as that was already enclosed, so in there they went.

However it was obvious the washing bowl was no substitute for a pond, so we got them a paddling pool instead. Which they adored.

It took a whole 24 hours for them to puncture the paddling pool, so there was no choice but to build them a proper pond.

So now we have very happy geese. They are still very nasty geese, attack anyone who goes near them, not only by biting them (and their beaks have serrated edges) but also by smacking them hard with their wings. They are also very noisy and if anything moves, such as when the chickens and roosters fly down from the trees in the morning, they make one hell of a racket. No idea what the plan is for these geese - Danilo talks about getting them a female or two to breed more nasty geese.

Personally I am googling roast goose recipes for Christmas.