Thursday, 21 April 2016

Fiat Lux

 is for Queen's College.

Can I really do my first A to Z challenge and talk about anything else at the letter Q? I am a QC old girl. QC. Queen's College.

Barbados like a few other Caribbean countries (most notably Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad) has a school system tradition that mirrors the infamous British public school system. If you are American, or you are familiar with American culture, then think of the Ivy League colleges for a frame of reference. I am not going to trouble to explain that school tradition in this space. Feel free to google it or wikipedia it. In the history of learning, this system has some bright shining spots...and some rotten spots. 

In Barbados, there are about six (6) or eight (8) schools that we call "older secondary schools". Queen's College is one of these. It is formerly a girls school, now co-ed, and its official birth is cited as the year 1883. However, it can trace its origins back to a school that was started 300 years ago (that's for the folks from the "University" at Waterford...). 

The school motto is "Fiat Lux"- Let There Be Light. The lamp pictured in this post is one of the emblems on the school crest. The school song and hymn maintain the same theme. The school colours are royal blue accented by maroon and white. It may actually have been silver years ago (I have been planning to look into that). We have a long and strong tradition of academic and extra-curricular excellence that we maintain to this day. Kudos to the young people carrying that light in the here and now. We also have a habit of turning out firsts for women. Many of the first women to do many things that were traditionally the purview of males in Barbados are QCA alumni. Now, I could keep going and going and going. But these posts are meant to be short. Suffice to say that I am unabashedly a QC old girl and proud of our accomplishments.

I encourage everyone to appreciate the school(s) you attended, even if you can't rouse up a deep, abiding love. These are our formative years and what we learn in those years is largely responsible for our various successes, big or small, in adulthood. 

Once of these days this old school rivalry system will be over, perhaps to our betterment in Barbados. There are negative attitudes that result from the system in society, I'm afraid, mostly because adult people can't put things into a sensible perspective. But till then, and beyond, I will Carry the Light.


This post is out of sequence and overdue but I thought I woyld post it anyway. This post is O for Okra.

The photo is of the flower of the okra plant. Its quite a lovely flower. The green buds behind it are very young okra pods. I choose this as the subject because I have always wanted to photograph this flower.

Okra is a staple of caribbean cooking. I believe it also festures prominently in southern cooking from the US. It is a green pod, that may be 5-7 inches long , with scores of pink seeds inside. I have added a pic of the pod on the plant as well, for those of you who don't know the vegetable.

For us in Barbados it is particularly important because it is a central ingredient in our national dish- flying fish and cou-cou (we pronounce it kuh-coo). Okra is actually used to make the cou-cou, which is the starchy part of the meal, by combining it with cornmeal. You can't cou-cou witho

I don't like okra and will not eat it as a rule. I consider the texture to be slimy but I am in a small minority. Everyone else around me loves it. I do however love this flower.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Pride of Barbados

It seems fitting to celebrate a national symbol on a blog about a country. So today P is for the national flower of Barbados- called the Pride of Barbados flower.

Its scientific name is Caesalpinia pulcherrima and it is a very pretty flower. It comes in different colours but our national flower is the yellow and re-orange type.

It is a shrub that can grow quite large, and it was common to see it function as a hedge in the past. These days landscapers use it for its highly decorative features. I have heard that it may also have certain medicinal qualities.

The Pride of Barbados may be found as one of the symbols on our national coat of arms. 

Friday, 15 April 2016


Today M is for Mauby. It is a classic bajan drink. "Bajan" is what barbadians call themselves. It can be both noun and adjective and is used more than "barbadian" to describe things in our lives.
Mauby is made from the bitter bark of a tree that ironically does not gtow on the island. Yet it is a national staple, as important as rum. Well...almost as important...

To make the drink you mix an extract if the bark with water and sugar to taste. The extract is made by boiling mauby bark shavings in water with spices. The result is too bitter for words but properly diluted, sweetened and chilled and you have the loveliest drink.

Bajans are really one of the few Caribbean countries that drink it. We usually have issue with mauby from other countries- Trinidad adds something called aniseed which we generally don't care for. Further north, I have heard, places like the Virgin Islands for example, seem to ferment it. Ugh!

Here is a link to a much more extensive post I did on Mauby on another blog:
Clearly I had planned to do a second post on the topic but don't remember what it was.....

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Long Pond

I'm back. Work and a bit of a challenge in finding suitable subjects and shots stumped me for I, J and K. I probably didn't try hard enough, I will see if I can revisit those.

Today I'm back with L for Long Pond. We like the odd aptonym here in Barbados. The pond meets the sea in the eastern parish of St. Andrew and drains the highlands via a couple of streams which we rather optimistically call 'rivers'. It is longer than it is wide. Hence...Long Pond.

It can be a very picturesque spot, especially at the times of the year when it is full. That's usually in the wet season. It's a habitat for a number of species, especially birds, and likely to be well-appreciated by those who love wild and untouched environments.

I may be able to do better on M.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Holy Innocents' and Hutson

This post is late and tinged with sadness.

The pic is a photo of Holy Innocents' Anglican Church in St. Thomas. Barbados is divided into eleven (11) parishes; ten (10) are named after various saints. The exception is the one called Christ Church. All parishes have a parish church of the anglican faith and will have other smaller anglican churches in the parish as well. Holy Innocents' is not a parish church. My sister tells me it is a chapel. But it is a pretty, peaceful, little church with a well-kept yard and a rectory attached. It's on the way to Harrison's Cave- one of our major tourist attractions- and worth a detour if you like churches.

As a former british colony, christianity is the dominant religion in the country and Anglicanism was the established denomination of the state. This was changed sometime in the last century but many people continue in the Anglican faith. My uncle Hutson one such.

Saturday was, sadly, devoted to his funeral. He attended Holy Innocents' and was organist there was much of his adult life. So, as a faithful servant of the church, he was commemorated and interred there.

I wanted a different look for the shot so I processed it in the phone using a filter that converts it to a sort of expressionist painting. That look fitted how I felt better than the original crisp, sharp shot. Soft, wistful and a bit sad.

Goodbye, Uncle Hutson, we will miss you terribly.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Governor Balls

So today's post is to be about something that starts with the letter "G". 

I found a recent shot from a little project I did. I went out to shot wild flowers. Or rather I went out to shoot Governor Balls...and it turned into a wild flower shoot

This is a shot of a plant I grew up knowing as Governor Balls. I don't know how it got the name, or what transpired to compel the person, who came up with title, to liken the spiky orb to the anatomy of authority. But it must have been serious! It must have a proper name, and possibly other names, but I haven't been able to research this. I will, and update this post in a couple of weeks.

I passed a spot a few months ago and realised that there was a patch of Governor Balls, growing merrily towards the sun on the side of the road. I thought then that I should come back and photograph the plants. But I didn't. Instead, I put it off for months. Then one morning I notice that the patch was almost entirely dry. So I figured that I had better get to it before the owner of field decides to clear the land, or a wild fire takes out the patch.

This shot is of a single spiky ball. The plant usually grows 3 or 4 feet tall, on a thin stalk with 4 or 5 of these spiky balls at evenly spaced intervals along the stalk. Eventually the orange flowers disappear and the plant starts to dry. It will eventually become entirely brown and harden.

The decision to stop procrastinating bore more fruit. As I puttered around the tangle of growth on the side of the road I found several other wild flowers, which these days seem rare to me. So I got shots of those too. There are a couple that I really like.

I saw a lot of these Governor Balls when I was growing up but not much in recent years. I think perhaps because I drive more. And there is a more development- the countryside is gradually becoming more residential. So the wild places are disappearing. Along with the wild flowers...