A Christmas 2013 Memoir from Roseau Dominica: Part 1

Tia-pet waits under the tree for Santa in a the most relaxed way. This photo also appeared over the Christmas holiday on Dominica News Online.  You can view comments here.

Tia-pet waits under the tree for Santa in the most relaxed way. This photo also appeared over the Christmas holidays on Dominica News Online.

“A very Merry Christmas

Gwendominica enjoyed a semi-dry, but cool   pre-Christmas 'Spa Day' at Papilote Wilderness Retreat on December 20th.

Gwendominica enjoyed a semi-dry, but cool pre-Christmas ‘Spa Day’ at Papillote Wilderness Retreat on December 20th.

And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear.” – John Lennon

While I do not have snow and ice to contend with, it’s been a blustery, damp December in Dominica.  Yesterday, the Nature Island received a deluge of heavy rain that caused flash floods ,landslides and plenty of mud underfoot! Even my neighbourhood was not spared, and I watched in amazement as torrents of water washed away parts of the main road, leaving hefty stones, broken pavement and overflowing gutters in its wake. I did not even attempt to go to ‘town’.Roads were blocked, bridges broken, houses dislodged and slick streets held no appeal for me on Dominica’s traditionally lengthy shopping day. You can see more  storm photos on Dominica News Online and The Dominican.Net

The streets in my neighbourhood looked like those in most areas of DOminica on December 24, 2013.

The streets in my neighbourhood looked like those in most areas of Dominica on December 24, 2013.

So today, I consider myself to be storm-stayed, although others are moving about.  For now, I will enjoy the peace and tranquility of a Christmas afternoon, as the sun bravely peeks through the clouds.  Although I am missing out on a grand Christmas dinner in the mountains with a number of friends, I did not want to take my little car through remaining obstacles on the roadways. (Yes, crews are working hard to clear them, but they’ve got loads of ground to cover all over the island…)  Tomorrow, I’ll go out to the main street in my neighbourhood and clear away the bigger rocks that do not pose a problem for larger SUV’s.  I’ll take on this laborious task because I love my little green car, nicknamed “The Button”.  It takes me almost everywhere – and thankfully big storms are few and far between!

And then –  the  lack of water issue – of course all the intake valves are blocked and had to be shut down for cleaning.  The little holding tank in my backyard is good for a bucket or two, so far.

It was a dark and rainy day for the cruise shippers in port, but at least there wasn't any snow or freezing rain!

It was a dark and wet day for the cruise shippers in port, but at least there wasn’t any snow or freezing rain!

But if it’s still off by

There was so much rain that the gutters overflowed for several hours.

There was so much rain that the gutters overflowed for several hours.

tomorrow morn, I’ll head down to a hotel for a shower – after I’ve cleared those rocks away from the road!  Thankfully, the electricity is back on today, and the temperature is more than 20 C, so I am happy for what I have.  I send thoughts and prayers to all of you “up north” who have various weather challenges this holiday season.  As my mother  and others would say, “This, too, shall pass.”

Elise, Wendy and Liz are definitely in the spirit of the season as they partake of Gwedominica's Christmas treats.

Elise, Wendy and Liz are definitely in the spirit of the season as they partake of Gwendominica’s Christmas treats.

Of course, I’ve had some fun too.  And  more details will follow  in the next blog post. As warm-ups to this special season, I hosted some friends with sweets and treats over tea.  I always enjoy baking Christmas goodies every year, as this craft enables my goodwill to grow.  Because of the inclement weather, I haven’t delivered all of my goodie plates yet.  It’s not a concern because there are still eleven more days of Christmas after this one!

Christmas would not mean so much to me without music, and this year was no exception.  In the damp drizzle of the evening of December 19th, In A Chord, the  4 part female vocal ensemble in which I sing Alto 1 was honoured to perform as guests of Dominica’s renowned “Music Lovers” Government Band.  We sang our hearts out in Sing We All Noël and Carol of the Bells  Our Director, pianist Leng Sorhaindo brilliantly  accompanied us on a sophisticated  and melodious  electronic keyboard. Instrumentalist Pious Jno Baptiste perfectly harmonized with us, first on the sopranino recorder and then he took up the steel pan, where he created the bell-like tones that blended with the keyboard’s in the second piece.  I always enjoy the sing-along with the Band too, because they play many of my favourite old-time carols and I still know almost all the words by heart!  It was a wonderful concert, which really added to the tidings of joy that I felt emanating from the audience and musicians alike.

And what would the Yuletide be without a pause for personal reflection and  thoughtful immersion in the truest sense of the season? These two “storm” days have permitted me some “down-time” to do just that. Perhaps you’ve had a chance to do the same – no matter what the weather in your part of the world.

Sunset on Sunday December 22, 2013 was a welcome respite from numerous gray days in a row.

Sunset on Sunday December 22, 2013 was a welcome respite from numerous gray days in a row.

Gwendominica and Tia-pet.  Photo taken by Elise at the Xmas Tea 2012.

Gwendominica and Tia-pet. Photo taken by Elise at the Xmas Tea 2012.

In any event, I sincerely wish  a “Happy Christmas to all – and to all a Good Night!

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4 comments on “A Christmas 2013 Memoir from Roseau Dominica: Part 1

  1. Merry Christmas from Bequia, Gwen!

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  2. Siusaidh says:

    Hi Gwen. I had a message from a Dominican friend (he’s from Castle Bruce) currently ‘catching ass’ in frozen Toronto. He sure wishes he was where you are. Although I spent only one week in Dominica, and that ‘way back in 2001, I can understand why you love it.

    Hopeing the New Year brings better weather. Best wishes from chilly (but electrically OK) Montreal.

    SC

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    • gwendominica says:

      Hey Siusaidh! Sometimes I wish I were in Montreal – but not in winter, for sure! Skiing might be fun though – but I’ve likely forgotten how. You haven’t been to the Nature Island for a long time – looks like it’s time for a visit. In the mean time, have some poutine on me! (just kidding, really…) And your Dominican friend in Toronto… well, he can only be frozen and longing for Dominica in his dreams. Cheers, Gwen

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