Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Some young people may be shocked to hear this, but there was a time (in the olden days)when Jamaica had a really impressive craft industry. This industry was nurtured by an organization called “Things Jamaica” which trained young people in producing real quality stuff. To make a long story short, Things Jamaica was converted into a prison and now the craft shops are full of colourful junk bearing the Jamaican flag, but guess what “Made in China, Taiwan…..etc”.

Since I live in hope, I am expecting that the flicker I saw over the past weekend will develop into a real flame.

On a visit to Trelawney, I ran into an artistic acquaintance of mine who told me of a course she had just completed at the Heart academy in Falmouth, making jewellery from glass. She had a few pieces on her and they were really impressive and luckily for me, (I thought) she said they would be having a display at the Academy at 1 pm the next day.

Forgetting that even training institutions have no respect for time, I was there a few minutes before 1 pm and was certainly not impressed by the level of preparation. Anyway, I must say the staff was very pleasant and took us on a tour to explain the project which they had undertaken with the kind assistance of a professor from Ghana, compliments of their government.
I was really impressed with was I saw from the clay oven they had made from scratch to bake the glass at just under 1000 degrees, after it had been beaten and sifted, to the finished products which were beautiful, exquisite  bracelets, necklaces and pendants. I really hope this will take off and not just fizz out because we really need to offer  visitors and locals alike something good  to come away with when we visit the resorts.

I was also very happy to see the level of cooperation between an African country and ourselves for although we pay lots of lip service to African culture and our roots, it usually stops at that.

So kudos to Heart, if they could only introduce time keeping into their curriculum.

I was a bit concerned however about the pricing of these products for the process seems quite time consuming and I couldn’t get a clear indication of where prices would end up thus allowing the craftswomen to make a decent living without pricing themselves out of the market.

Anyway I wish them the best of luck for it offers a real ray of hope for one segment of our craft industry.
I w

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sumfest 2011

Yup, today is one of the greatest days of my life. Why? I caught 13 fish! Oh to some people this may be no big deal but after years of going out to sea and coming back with one and two ticky ticky, this is a major achievement. To add insult to injury (not mine), the fisherman who took us out caught 4 and my big fisherman bother Bernie, 3. Heh heh. What a day as I reeled them in by the minute as they looked on enviously.
Shadrach (back)  and Kristof make their way in with their chairs.
This was the grand finale to a great musical weekend. at Sumfest 2011.

As my grandson Shadrach was here for the summer, he and his friend Kristof came with us to Sumfest. Things did not get off to a dignified start for as I sat in my China made chair I dropped to the ground. Very embarrassing. This was a sturdy looking chair made from aluminum and canvas but proving once again that " a chain  is as strong as the weakest link' for while the chair was sturdy, the thread that sewed it was rotten and it was clean break. Bernie had the exact same chair and his broke about an hour later, same place, same clean break.

Things got better after that though . On dancehall night, Thursday night,  the place was ram packed with fans and we could not even get to the bathrooms without a struggle but we enjoyed ourselves immensely and  bleached the entire night until Vybes Kartel came on and chased us out with his nonsensical performance at about 7.30 am.

Luckily we had already had a belly full with wonderful performances as most artists were on top form and obviously set out to entertain. The dancers energetic and creative and most of the costumes really colourful and attractive.
 My fabvourite dancehall artist Mavado  really displayed great talent and maturity. Pity he keeps getting himself so mixed up since today it was all over the radio that he was wanted by the police because of some violent incident involving he and his "crew" and a motorist at Sumfest.

I had bnever seen Khargo before on satge and he too delivered a great performance as did Kiprich, I Octane, Bounty Killer, Jah Vinchi, Cecille and Spice.

You know that one of the negatives of dancehall is that some performers who have great voices never have these exposed as they make so much money from dj-ing that they don't bother to sing. For example, for years I never knew that Lady Saw was a fantastic singer until I saw her at the Jazz festival last year performing as Marrion  Hall. (her real name!) And the same thing happened with Spice. Man she did an acappella performance as her final contribution on Thursday night that sent shivers through the audience because of the melody and power of her voice. I predict that she is going to end up being recognised and respected as a great Jamaican singer, far outperforming her dj persona. Our young friend Kimberley was a back up singer for Tifa but we really could not hear her as the backing band was very loud and Tifa dominated the stage with her antics.
A dangerous practice....generating huge flames in the crowd from insecticide cans!
I Octane wows the crowd
There is however a dangerous practice that the organisers need to do something about before we have a major tragedy on our hands. In the "olden days" people usually used their lighters to show their approval when their favourite performers were rocking the place but now they have graduated to using huge flames lit from aerosol tins of insecticide. This practice needs to be outlawed before someone gets really badly burnt at one of these events.

Friday was a real bomb with Coco Tea making us forget very quickly that the expected star R .Kelly wasn't coming. His performance was memorable, entertaining and simply out of this world as he kept us rocking for about an hour with his and the music of other greats such as Bob Marley.

Chris Martin has really become and excellent entertainer and he has built himself a body that he was proud to display as he crooned to the females hanging on to his every word as we admired his physique.

Tanya Stephens has always been one of the female performers that I have always loved and she grows from strength to strength with her entertaining antics and lyrics and of course Beres is just Beres. I just can't say anymore, about him. We just love him every time everywhere. Yes, I love R. Kelly but boy he was not missed at all as we got as good belly full.

We left early as we had to drive all the way back to Silver Sands,so we didn't hear Bunny Wailer but after  Coco Tea and Beres we really didn't need anymore. We skipped Saturday night as our friend Oran was celebrating his 70th birthday at his brother's Ocean Sands hotel in Ocho Rios and we just couldn't miss that and I am glad we didn't for I saw many old friend whom I had lost contact with over the years.

 Sunday was supposed to be a day of rest but some friends dropped by and it was dominoes, liquor and food all day. And how better to end a wonderful weekend than by outfishing all the big fishermen?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Robins Bay Again

This is the second time the Fun and Thrills group has organised a ride to Robins Bay in St. Mary and  although this time we ended up at a different location for breakfast, it was just a memorable. What was great too is that this time no one ended up in the hospital (as unfortunately Pat and Desiree had during my absence ) and there wasn't even a spill as we enjoyed our leisurely ride along the  the extremely scenic Junction road accompanied most of the way by the snaking Wag Water river as it slowly navigated around humongous rocks.

I left my home at about 5.45 am and rode alone towards Stony hill until I was joined by Gary, a professional rider who opted to keep my company up to the square where half of the group was already waiting.

The next stop was the scenic Castelton Gardens outside of which the greatest soup is available.... janga  soup. While pleasing our palates there, we were joined by most of the others who had left headquarters at Hope Pastures later than the A Team.

While we were there, it started to rain but not very heavily, so we set off for a pleasant ride with just enough rain to cool us down.  On most of the way to Agualta Vale, I was riding with Charles Simpson, who though new to riding is fulla stamina. (dancehall lingo).  Incidentally, the humorous story leaked out how  he had been conquered by some of the slopes going up to Stony hill and had to tie a rope on to his SUV to pull him over the hill. I am only sorry that I did not arrive in time with my camera to catch that sight. This is not a first among Fun and Thrillers however for Michael Chuck invented that move some years ago on a ride to Newcastle in the hills of  St. Andrew and I have the picture to prove it!

When we got to Agualta Vale we saw some of the party waiting, but Charles who proudly tells us that he is St. Mary born, convinced me that our final destination was less than 2 1/2 miles away and gullible me swallowed it hook line and sinker. Naturally, in typical Jamaican style, the 2 1/2 miles ended up being about 5 miles. I could have kicked myself for not having stopped to rest with the others.
Anyway I survived and this time our final destination was just at the turn off to Robins Bay proper. As we arrived first and I saw a number of domino tables, I wasted no time in recruiting three local players and got down to business. Before I could either drop or receive a 6 love however, the rest of the posse arrived and breakfast was announced. The food was absoluteluy fabulous and the ambiance just great, right beside the sea.

After breakfast it was straight to the beach for some of us while the MTR's went riding into the bushes in rugged country. We walked about 1/4 mile to a beach but it was full of rocks so after enquires we set off to another which we were told was not too far.
In  true country style, not too far turned out to be very far but it was a nice beach near an area with huge rocks protruding but where the water was fresh and clean and it was situated in a cove which protected us from the fierce currents that Robins Bay is notorious for.

It was another great day of fun and camaraderie with  the group of wonderful adventure seekers from Fun and Thrills riding club.

For more photographs see; http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?id=763366822&frecId=false&qn=1310492716&tid=190063094373469&success=11&failure=0&set=oa.209587812420997

Monday, July 4, 2011

Back Home At Last

Its so wonderful to be home. Its not that my grand daughter is not the greatest thing since sliced bread and that I loved being with my family, but lawd di weather up there bad and the food!....The less said the better. Can you imagine life without jerk pork with skin, run dung, roast breadfruit, curry goat? Unimaginable.
My idea of a good breakfast.......Run dung, Dumplin, Yam etc

Oh how I love my friends. On Friday night I went to what is normally girls club night...that's when us girls get together to drink some vodka and coconut water or white rum and coconut water ....whatever, and the guys are happy to join us. Only this week there was a pile of people and a pile of wonderful food...smoked jerk pork, curried goat and chicken. For my dear friend Sunshine had secretly arranged a welcome home party. It was absolutely wonderful.

Then  Saturday my "Fun and thrills" family had a birthday party to honour those born in June and since I was away when they honoured then May born, I was included. It was overwhelming.
Sunday morning its was off  for a ride to Riversdale, St. Catherine to somewhere being described as the "The 8 th Wonder of the world" but its probably the 800th!
The ride was great and the participation good. As breakfast wasn't ready when we arrived, we walked down about 30 steps to the Flat Rock River, a tributary of the Rio Cobre, to see this 8th wonder. This is a natural bridge formed above the river and it is beautiful, picturesque. lush , interesting........ but hardly the 8th wonder.

After a short swim, there was a near revolution which could be dubbed the "Fun and Thrills Spring " (like the Arab spring) and calls for the overthrow of the Ayatollah as we were starving and no breakfast was in sight.
When we eventually got it, all was forgiven and we headed to another section of the river which was better to swim in. This is definitely a popular spot among the local residents and we met some really nice youngsters there enjoying themselves.

Though shallow, it had some natural swimming areas and the most awesome flat shaped rocks (hence the name of the river) not only surrounding the river but under the water as well. These are the types of geological formations which fascinate nature lovers and natural scientists.

After a wonderful day the sane ones among us headed for the vehicles, but the MTR's decided to ride back to Bog Walk and guess what? It rained cats and dogs.

All power to them!

For more photos, see;  Riversdale, https://picasaweb.google.com/home