It’s On Now!

I’ve been walking for exercise regularly for almost two years now. I began doing it in the afternoons after work and then switched to the mornings when the curfew was put in place, and found that I preferred the earlier time because of the “fresh” perspective that time of day gives you and because I’m up by 5:00 anyway. I tell anyone who will listen that I walk (and run intermittently), not to lose weight but to keep it from creeping up on me. Sure, I may lose the odd pound or two here and there – well mostly here, because I have a problem area over there that won’t go anywhere. While I don’t mind having some curves, this one has taken up residence in entirely the wrong place. But I digress.

So the regular walkers who I wrote about here are still at it, as well as a few more including the cyclists, most of whom look down their noses at those of us whose feet actually touch the ground. Most train seriously, and groups of them can be seen riding single file decked out in their riding shorts and body-hugging shirts, sometimes with a trainer giving instructions or encouragement at the top of his lungs. But would it kill a man to say a “good morning” to a fellow road-user?…. Anyway, I’ve been varying the places I traverse a bit more – partly because I’ve been making better time getting to particular points and partly because I need to have a change of scenery. As with most things that are practiced there will be some improvement, and in my case it’s an increase in stamina. I’m only ever in competition with  myself, as I casually set goals with regards to difficulty (in terms of terrain) and distance. However, I suppose a little rivalry doesn’t hurt. It also doesn’t hurt to know that you actually have a rival – or two.

Last week, as I was heading down the hill leading to the main road, I spied a man already in full pelt. A dog followed closely behind. I could have turned any one of three ways to begin my walk, but since I had already decided on my route the night before I ended up going in the same direction as the man and his dog. I was several feet away from him, but as soon as he realized there was someone behind him, he just kept looking back. The dog stopped to do what dogs do – take a sniff here, a pee there and provoke the other dogs that couldn’t get out of their yards. As I started to gain on the brother, he looked behind and said, “You walk fast, man”, to which I gave a non-commital reply. After a while, I wasn’t really able to keep a six foot distance so I realized that I would have to pass him. When he realized what was afoot (tee hee), he quickened his pace. I had already committed to passing and his pace wasn’t quite quick enough for me so, as my mother used to say when she wanted us to walk faster, I had to “stretch” my legs.

Usually, doing this results in painful calves when it’s all over but like I said, I was in full passing mode – however he wasn’t having it. The man then started to pump his arms in his attempt to pull away. I was considering doing it myself, but he crossed the road before me and then broke into a jog which he continued all the way to the corner and up a hill – something I never do by the way. His dog trotted along obediently. I said to his retreating back, “Well you go on then”. By the time I met him further along the road, he had abandoned the jog but was walking briskly. I still had some breath left, since I didn’t run up any hill, and I proceeded to run. He actually says, that he can’t let me pass him, especially since I was a woman. Eh eh. I smiled as I did just that. And as I was doing so, he asked me whether I was from the area that we were heading to. I don’t know what turned on that (as a now-gone radio personality used to say), but I told him that I wasn’t and pointed vaguely in the direction that I had come from – and then turned around and headed back into the dust that had been left in my wake.

About two weeks prior I was walking along one of my newer causeways, so I wasn’t familiar with the regulars on this route. I break into a jog and pass a man who is walking at a speed just one gear up from leisurely. He looked like he was cold and expecting rain at any minute because he carried an umbrella and was so covered up (including a face mask), that I couldn’t even tell his true complexion. I figured him for one of those people who thinks he needs to bundle up in extra clothing to lose weight. I hailed him as I passed and he returned my greeting. I got to the corner and turned around. He hadn’t yet reached it, so I was now walking in the opposite direction on the other side of the road. I see him look my way and he says loudly, “Next time you won’t be able to pass me”! I laugh just as loudly and probably said something encouraging like “Alrighty then”, when what I really wanted to say was “Fat chance!” as I made a note to call a friend who frequents the gym to ask about the availability of her trainer.

Last week I met him again, and I again completed the same manoevour. As we crossed paths on opposite sides of the road he sang out clearly, “A few weeks more”.

I guess it’s on now!

Six of One…

Our front door was this style – but not this colour

Do you know the difference between a robbery and a burglary? In the former, the victim is present but he or she is absent for the latter. That wasn’t exactly how it was explained to my husband when he called the police station to report the fact that somebody was in our house when we weren’t, but the officer did take the time to school him on the difference before he got down to the business of listening to the details.

It was sometime during the week of Carnival and that evening there was a big beautiful moon. We weren’t going to actively go to the show that night (we’d be passive attendees later), so we decided to take a drive to an area where we would see it in all its glory. After the viewing, we slowly made our way back into town and towards home. We pulled up to our house preparing to park on the street as we normally do, and I glanced casually at the house. I did a double-take when I realized that there was a light in an area of the house that I didn’t recall leaving on. A check with my husband revealed that he hadn’t turned it on either. Just as we were wondering whether our collective memories were beginning to fail us – the light went off. And I don’t mean that the power went out. It seemed like there was a robbery – sorry – a burglary in progress!

If there was one thing we knew we were not going to do, it was to enter the house without knowing who exactly was in there. (‘Cause then it might become a robbery). Hence the call to the police station to alert them. Maybe they’d catch the culprit in the act? Like before he found something he liked and decided to walk with it? Like before he rifled through my underwear drawer (which he did, by the way), because that’s where he heard women hide the money? By this time a crowd had gathered outside our house – well not really, but a curious neighbour wondered why we were standing in the street, so we informed him that we were waiting for the burglar to finish taking what he wanted so that we could go in. Due to a combination of factors to include lack of transportation, the fact that it was Carnival and because it was Carnival, it was a while before the police actually arrived. By then of course the burglar was long gone, having left as he had entered – at the back of the house.

Our back door was this style – without the bar and padlock

This was not my first rodeo though. I had been the victim of a burglary once before while away at school. I was an apartment dweller then and had taken a short trip – and I’m ashamed to say left one very big hint that I wasn’t there, so it shouldn’t have surprised me that when I got back I didn’t even need my key to open the door. I just pushed the door and went right on in. A call to that city’s finest brought two officers who took turns questioning me. It got a little confusing because I couldn’t properly answer the question posed by Chuck before Larry was asking another one – as if they were trying to trip me up or something. Like they clearly forgot who was the victim here. Seventeen more questions and two cans of fingerprinting powder later, they finally left and I knew that was something I’d never do again. I was also certain that what had been stolen would never be seen again either. It might have been classified as a burglary but I definitely felt like I’d been robbed – twice, of my items and my damn time.

Do you know the difference between jail and prison? According to a radio caller, the former is for persons with shorter sentences (or in some cases, none at all), while the latter is for those who have quite a few years ahead of them. He’s kinda right. But tell that to the people who end up at our local detainment centre, fondly known as “1735”. For them, it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other….Same thing.

Snatched!

In last week’s post I mentioned that I used to live on the outskirts of town. The house was one street over from the main road leading into town. It was located in a pretty quiet neighborhood but I have to admit that the road we lived on was fairly well travelled. In the mornings the traffic (both vehicular and foot) came from persons visiting the nearby clinic, while in the afternoon, it was traversed by the sometimes rowdy (I’m being polite here) schoolchildren who would pass by after school was finished for the day. Prior to moving in, my husband and I decided to freshen up with paint a few of the areas that had been missed in the fix-up/renovations. We lovingly scraped, sanded and painted. We repurposed items and had old furniture reupholstered. I laugh now at the blue and white fabric that we chose for the couch which we later had to re-cover with a colour that hid stains, and once more with one that was more child-friendly.

The outside of the house also got some star treatment. We planted bougainvillea and yellow bells in the front, hibiscuses to the north, and ginger lilies to the south of the house – which unfortunately did not survive. Outside the fence were some cactus that we had acquired while on a hike to Fort Berkely, which we surrounded with some large white marl-like stones the better for them to stand out. The backyard contained a single coconut tree and one of the sweetest kidney mango trees in Antigua. We attempted borders with oleanders, but these took their own sweet time doing what we asked them to, and there was also a fish pond fashioned from an old bathtub. With the encouragement of a friend who could find a use for anything that someone else no longer wanted, we made the backyard more comfortable with a cast-off wooden bench which we painted and stenciled, and we made the similarly hued shed more aesthetically pleasing with an old ornate clock that took on a complimentary colour. Needless to say, we were pleased with our little selves.

A new-ish acquisition

No house is complete without plants – at least none that I ever lived in, so what didn’t go into the ground went into pots. Sure we planted some in your basic black plastic ones, but some we put in fancy terracota or Mexican crockery pots – tell me if I’m losing you here – because everyone looks better when they’re wearing fancy clothes. These plants were the ones that took pride of place on the gallery or at a location that couldn’t be missed if you were passing by. Which is what I believe happened, when some unknown individual thought that the “blue daze” that was at home on my front stoop would look just as winning on theirs. And before we could fully recover from the shock of losing it, came back and “rescued” two more that we had placed in some not-exactly-cheap planters – including said planters. Clearly this person liked nice things as much as we did. We cased the neighbourhood of course and a bit farther afield, and we believe we actually found the culprit, but we didn’t actually find enough evidence. That being the case, we didn’t bother to draw this incident to the Police’s attention. Because what were we going to tell them? Officer, somebody tief mi plants?

In next week’s post though, I’ll tell you when we did have to call on Antigua’s finest.