My parents got married in 1955 in Trinidad and shared a double wedding with my mother’s identical twin sister and her husband. They were 22 and my mother was about to separate from her twin for the first time ever. In those days travel between the Caribbean islands was not very good so they really were to be separated for long stretches of time. After the honeymoon, my parents moved to St. Lucia where for the next 18 months or so they lived with my grandparents in their home which was located on the town square. During this time, they identified a piece of land, on a north facing ridge, which at the time was where the main road ended and was the site of a part of the old British fortification of the Castries harbour during the 14 wars that were fought over this “Fair Helen.” There remained the foundation of a water tank and a small squarish structure no longer supporting a roof. They designed and built their home around this.
My 3 siblings and I were all brought up in this house. My parent’s master bedroom was located in the upper part of what ended up being a split level house, with a guest room nearby that my brother Gerard always swore was haunted by granny who spent some time there. We had a “boys’ room,” for my 2 brothers and a “girls’ room,” which I shared with my sister until we were in our teens, and I moved away to do my A levels.
The paved area you can see in the above recent photo was much bigger when we were children and it is where we all learned to ride our bikes. My brothers went through a phase of making “Go Carts” as the house is located on a slight incline and is ideal for launching full speed, and I distinctly remember finding the wheels missing off my dolly pram only to turn up……yup as the smaller front steering wheels on the latest cart.
The house sits on an acre of fertile land which my mother planted energetically with all sorts of fruit trees. To this day we refer to the garden as “the farm”
Next door lived a spinster lady who, wonder of wonders had a swimming pool. She graciously allowed us access once we scooped up the dead leaves. A short walk down the hill took us to “Golden Sands” beach which until the first hotel was built there, we believed to be ours as no one else ever seemed to go there. We loved that beach especially around Christmas time when the waves could be huge. We played a game called “suicide” if you can even believe that, where we held hands and waited to see who would be the last person to dive through the on-coming, crashing wave thereby not getting “balled up”. Gerard actually broke a rib one day from being hurled at the beach in a wave he had mis-calculated.
In short, we had it good. We had a cool and dry house through which the north east trade winds blew, and which has withstood many hurricanes with only a few bits of roof to replace.
The photo below is of the “Ti Kaye” This, in the local Kweyol means “Little House” The walls and a basic roof were built on a huge water tank by my father to house his train set. Anthony then moved in as a teenager and kitted it out with a black light and disco paraphernalia. It was a storage room and finally made it into the pretty cottage you see, which Danielle lived in briefly and then became our guest suite.
Mark and I moved into this house when we returned to St. Lucia from London with our then, young children 16 years ago. My mother who had been widowed a few years before, moved to a smaller house nearby with my sister.
I am writing this “ode” as we are about to move out ourselves into smaller accommodation as we are now rattling around in St. Joseph’s and it is time for a young family to move in, hopefully with their beloved dogs, smell the breeze, climb the fruit trees, fight over the guavas, and be enveloped in the loving arms of this grand dame of family homes.
This week is moving week and as you can well imagine I am a little preoccupied but we still have to eat. So, last night I turned to an old favourite and made it in a simpler fashion.
This is the same recipe as for Delicious vegan black bean burgers, but I was so tired that I didn’t want to shape them individually and then cook them. So….I put the entire mix into my trusty loaf pan (see below) and cooked it that way for about an hour at 180ºC (350ºF). I promise you the prep time was under half an hour including the tahini sauce dolloped on the top.
As usual, the next day for lunch, Mark and I had the loaf, cold, with a yummy salad. I am now unsure which I prefer; the burgers or the loaf. Try for yourselves and let me know please.