Ron Rozewski on Carriacou.

Ron Rozewski on Carriacou.

Ron wrote to me recounting his days in Carriacou and added some interesting photos which I felt needed to be shared with you. Ron wrote:

“Sorry for the delay had to dig up the photos. Sorry for their poor quality were Polaroid shots taken back in the days when you had to coat them. They haven’t stood the test of time as well as conventional photos.

Besides the Madonnas there were also some Peace Corps folks from Canada that were doing work locally. The Madonnas had just opened a craft studio where they had some locally produced art projects.

Did you get to know some of the Islanders while you were there? Perhaps we even met at the Mermaid Tavern if you were around post 68?

I’ll send a few more photos when I find them.

(I still hold a vague hope that I might get back there some day.)

Note: The grainy color photo is a Polaroid taken from a window in Prospect House, up the road from Bogles. In the luncheon photo from right to left are, Shirley McKinstry’s profile, the head Benedictine Abbot, Mrs. Cynthia Pearce, and an unknown female who might have been with the Madonnas?

 

 

The guy with the beard is Mr. Mac, Shirley Mckinstry’s husband. The photo doesn’t do him justice. He was a wiry guy that looked like the Schweppes man. He kept a little sail boat below the house which was on Prospect Hill above Bogles. Shirley was a writer of children’s books and was originally from Australia. Mr. Mac was originally from Barbados. The two had retired to the island although I don’t know which year. As far as I know they moved to the States in the 80’s when the political situation made living on Carriacou untenable for them. Unfortunately I’ve lost touch with them and am not even totally sure that they did end up in the States.

The McKinstrys were friends with the Kents who had a lime plantation outside of Hillsborough. The Kent’s home was memorable for its extensive use of purple heart in its construction and detailing.

Their son was a pilot for some small airline. I don’t now if the “airport” has been developed since I used to go down there. It was a cow pasture and the road going through it had to be closed when a plane came in, usually a small 12 seater out of Grenada. Sometimes I would get there by boat. tight through “Kick em Jenny”.

 

Another of the people I remember from the Island was Captain McQuillkin who told great stories about digging the subways in New York city when he was a young man. Apparently there are quite a few Carriacouans in NYC.

 

The Mermaid Inn had been sold to a couple when I was there. The wife was from Cleveland also my home town so I got to know her a little bit. They had built themselves a fantastic dream house up in the hills of Carriacou. It was quite surprising and saddening to learn that the husband had killed himself. Sort of unbelievable since on the surface he seemed to have an ideal life.

Do you visit the island annually? Some of my most memorable times have been visits to Carriacou.

 

Well we do have some old friends in common. Last I heard they were considering moving to the States, somewhere like Wisconsin. Now that would be a dramatic change from Carriacou.

You’re welcome to use the photos as you wish, I some sorry about their quality and that’s even with some restoration on my part. I’ll have a few others for you.

Perhaps you may have an answer for me regarding a painting from the Baptist Church Carriacou. It was a ninteenth century copy of a Raphael Maddona & Child, it had been eaten though by parasites. Looked like someone blasted it with a shotgun! I brought the painting back to Philadelphia and restored it. I was just wondering if it was still hanging there and how its faring.

Attached is another Polaroid I dug up, it’s at a boat launching ceremony at Windward. The entire ship was built using only hand tools.

Folks in the photo l to r: Nadia Hernandez, David Hays, both New Yorkers, McKinstry, Rina another New Yorker, and Shirley.

Do they have electricity available in Carriacou these days? We used to use kerosene and the English version of Coleman lanterns called the Tilley lamp. They had a warmer kinder light than the harsh Coleman’s.

Thanks for the photo especially of the patio. It was really a splendid view of the bay from their back yard and was also an excellent vantage for watching sunsets or shooting stars.

I think the photo was in the early seventies, if I can find my old passport I’ll know it.”

Ron

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Sport in Carriacou.

Sport in Carriacou

It will surprise no-one I’m sure that sport, in all its forms, played a huge part in our lives in the 60s. We were young, full of beans and enthusiastic about all forms of sport. Carriacou produced classic cricketers, competent footballers and high performing athletes and swimmers. Much like today, I would say.

Athletics

When I visited Bishop’s College Sports Day in February this year i.e. 2014 it contained all the hallmarks of the enthusiastic endeavour that epitomised the event nearly 50 years ago. As a result I’ve decided to put a few photos from 1968 alongside shots of field events taken this year, Feb. 2014. The colours and clothes are a bit different but the essential enthusiasm had not changed.

In 1968 Carriacou Sports Day was held on Monday June 3rd; much later in the year than now. The afternoon was well organised and a lot of fun. There was a bit of a problem trying to clear the running track of spectators, donkeys and a few guys who were a little worse for wear. Once it was clear though the events ran like clockwork with some outstanding performances. The winner of the girls 100 yards, for example, was recorded by the official timekeeper, Sydney Cudjoe, as finishing in 10.2 seconds.  If we consider that Wyomia Tyus ran a world’s best time of 10.5 seconds in 1965 then we have to either say our girl was a world record breaker or Sydney stopped the clock a little early. We will probably never know, but can anyone remember the name of the winner?

Cricket

Cricket was our over-riding passion. Bishop’s College fielded a really good team that combined staff and students. We played all around the island and, on one occasion, Cariacou took a team to Grenada to play the Premier’s 11. The town pitch is still in the same place it always was and still tended with the same consummate care.

I can recall certain matches such as a two day match against ‘Town’ on Sat. April 6th  and Sun. 7th  1968. We started our second innings on Saturday afternoon and lost three quick wickets. On the Sunday we had a much better day and, I recall taking 6 wickets. However, Earl Barratt, the Agricultural Officer came in to bat for Town and he put on the winning runs. No-one could get him out that day.

Sunday April 14th we played ‘Town’ again. They had a new, as yet, untried bat from Trinidad called Django. A terrible mix between wickets had him run out without hitting a ball. I think out of curiosity more than anything else I got him recalled. It was a terrible mistake for our team. Django scored 65 runs and effectively won the match. However, we’d found something out; he could bat.

Wed. May 1st  Carriacou took a team to Grenada to play against the Premier’s 11. We left Hillsborough at Midnight on ‘Starlight’ and we arrived in St. Georges at 4.30am. Geoff Reid (a New Zealander friend) and I went to Adam’s Guest House and slept until 7.00am. After a hurried breakfast we took ourselves to Green Street and met Joyce Stiell from C’cou,  ?? Bethel from PM and Ann ?? from Grenada. They accompanied us to the game.

The match itself was not a huge success. The pitch, as you can see from the photographs, was in a terrible condition and as I recall, so were we. This was really  not surprising considering our overnight journey with very little sleep. To cut a long story short we lost the game by 30 runs.

Geoff and I spent the evening touring the hotels along Grand Anse before catching ‘Starlight’ at midnight and sailing back to Carriacou. I lay on top of the cabin and almost tumbled off the side as Starlight pitched and rolled. For safety’s sake I jammed myself in a narrow gap on the upper deck and promptly went to sleep. Some hours later I was aware of Rodge (Gay) and the guys frantically searching for me. They thought I’d fallen overboard.

On Sat May 11th and Sun. 12th we played Mt Pleasant. On the first day Mt. Pleasant dealt out a proper thrashing and on Sunday they had only to get 36 runs to win. That was when we unleashed Manson Adams who took 6 wickets for only 4 runs. It couldn’t last. Errol Thomas dropped a catch. I bowled a really bad over and Mt. Pleasant won the game.

 

 

 

Football

Football got under way late September by way of games for College. Bishop’s College also played inter house games on a regular basis.

My first game was for College against Mt. Pleasant on Thurs. Oct 12th 1967.  College won 3-1 and I recall that it should have been more. I managed to score the first goal. Later I had a shot rebound off the crossbar. It landed at Johnny McKenzie’s feet and he obligingly struck the ball into the net. The following day Blaize House played Scott House in the inter-house cup. Blaize scored a resounding 4-0 victory.

On Tues. Oct 17th College played ‘Pianeers’ amidst some controversy. We scored a goal but it was disallowed under odd circumstances. The ball was kicked off the goal line by a spectator. All the spectators rushed on to the field and caused a bit of a riot. The referee ruled Johnny hand handled the ball and disallowed the goal. The rest of the game was played with just a little rancour. I finished the game with a ‘skinned’ thigh and a damaged leg. Consequently I missed the game against Brunswick on the Thursday which College won 2-1.

On Tues. 5th Dec. the staff and prefects of BC played the rest of the college. That was an amazingly tight game and it ended in a 2-2 draw.

Rugby

Yep, you gotta believe it. I did try to introduce Rugby Union to the College but despite much enthusiasm it didn’t progress too far. However, Selwyn (Mills) and others still recall the fun we had in the process of teaching and learning the game. I had to remind Selwyn earlier this year that once I introduced tackling into the equation enthusiasm waned somewhat.

My own highlight came when Chris Donne called me up to play for Grenada against North Trinidad. We played two games on Fri. Nov. 3rd and Sat. 4th. I noted at the time that the Trinidad team looked massive and very well organised. Considering we had never played together before, the final score of 22-0 didn’t seem too bad. It was also my first game playing at full back.

The following day I played at fly half; a position I enjoyed. On that occasion we lost 16-8; altogether a much better performance.

On Friday evening we attended a cocktail party for both teams and on Saturday we had an official ‘Beach Party’ which lasted until 4.00am Sunday morning. Our biggest  effort was getting up first thing Sunday to catch Miriam ‘B’ back to Carriacou.

N.B. On Monday 6th Nov. Gracie Roberts gave birth to a baby boy, Shaun. Life just seemed to be one amazing event after another.

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Memoirs of J.Linton Rigg

 

From a chance meeting a few years ago, Art Ross was handed the memoirs of J.Linton Rigg. These he has painstakingly collated and put together in a book titled ‘Sixty Years of Sport. Sailing From the Age of Gatsby to the Grenadine Islands’. The book is packed with fascinating photographs and a wealth of stories and characters from a bygone age and a journey which terminates in the island of Carriacou.

Art wrote to me last year and asked if I would write an introduction to the book. After an initial, ‘I am not worthy’ moment’ and a touch of nervous trepidation I wrote to say I would be delighted to oblige. Writing it transported me back to Carriacou of 1968 and I found myself reliving those halcyon days surrounded by sunshine, fun and laughter. I still think there is nowhere more beautiful, friendly or tranquil as the island of Carriacou. Here is my introduction:

 

Linton Rigg Biography – Introduction

With the passage of time, as in a long sea voyage, memories are apt to converge into a tapestry of mosaic images. So it is with my recollections of Carriacou in 1967-68. Some features of my time there appear to me with pin-point clarity. Others are blurred around the edges and a few are dark and featureless, swirling into a virtual black hole. I find that taking time, now and again, to write down my memories and fleshing out details can be a cathartic experience.

In September 1967 I arrived in Carriacou, to teach at Bishop’s College. The town of Hillsborough was, largely, made up of Front Street, Back Street and Paterson Street. The town had one guest house and one hotel of note; the Mermaid Tavern.

I soon discovered that the Mermaid Tavern was owned by an enigmatic individual by the name of J. Linton Rigg. I quickly came to hear the tales of Linton’s seafaring adventures. He stood tall in the community and was held in reverence and respect. Having said that, the Mermaid Tavern was a tourist destination, so not a place I frequented too often. Linton remained therefore, a somewhat distant figure; someone I nodded to on the street or greeted as he stood by the front door of the Tavern. However, Carriacou was where Linton spent his latter years and it seems apposite, at this point, to give a flavour of the island and the people with whom he shared his remaining years.

At the end of a teaching day my destinations of choice were the sea, the beach, the sports field for football or cricket, the Principal’s home in Back Street or Lord Joseph’s rum shop. This small, wooden building that was Lord Joseph’s, stood (and still stands, as far as I know) just opposite the main entrance to the old site of Bishop’s College on Front Street, and a few doors along from the Mermaid Tavern.

Lord, that was his birth name, was a devoted anglophile. A picture of a young Queen and Duke decorated the wall of his small back room. A bare table and a few chairs were where we ‘fired our jack’, took a ‘Carib’, played domino and debated matters political. Being the sole Englishman in the group I was chosen as Commonwealth representative and made to ‘take the chair’ in debates. In this way we passed many joyous hours, clattering domino and discussing island independence and Commonwealth affairs.

Any dissent and Lord would show his disapproval by pulling himself up to full height, put a finger to his lips and make a low, guttural cough – twice. The cough would then morph into a rumbling belly laugh as he poured out a jack for everyone to toast the Queen. One must remember these were days before the dreaded ‘box’ had made its appearance on the island. Entertainment was made on the hoof. Discussion, debate and social interaction were at the heart of this vibrant community.

Cricket, football, swimming, diving, dancing, dominoes, fetes, Big Drum and sailing were all part of the social scene. Weddings, funerals, maroon, saracas and wakes all formed part of a daily and seasonal round, shared by villages and communities scattered around Carriacou and Petite Martinique. In addition, of course, we had carnival, boat launching ceremonies and the annual regatta.

Linton is famous for kick starting boat building on the island in the 60s when he had his famous sloop ‘Mermaid of Carriacou’ designed and built. He then offered a substantial reward to anyone who could build another with enough speed and sail power to beat her. The Carriacou regatta was born in 1964 and Mermaid won her class in many regattas thereafter. This is now the stuff of legend. Into the mix we must add boat builder Zepherine McLaren and the community of Windward which lay at the centre of beach boat building in Carriacou.

Let us imagine we are hitching a lift on one of the richly painted, open sided buses from Hillsborough market to Windward. We climb the open steps and join the Kayaks on board to participate in a fun packed ride, consisting of merry chatter, clucking chickens, vegetable boxes and loud greetings to passing pedestrians.

The ‘Commer’ engine rattles and whines as we descend from Dover down the twisting road into Windward village. Neat, red and grey roofed gingerbread houses line the street into the village. They stand perched on concrete pillars. Steps lead up to a narrow balcony and a welcoming front door. Lace curtains flap in the open windows. Pipes and guttering, arranged at crazy angles, lead down into concrete water cisterns, so necessary during the long, dry season.

The bus draws up opposite the jetty. Men crash dominoes on to the table outside the rum shop, dogs wander the street looking for scraps, conch shells and flotsam lie scattered on the beach. Further up the beach, amongst the swaying palms, standing on chocks, are the keel and ribs of a sloop under construction. Small children run playfully around her stern.

From the shade of the palms raise your eyes and look out to sea. Lift your gaze beyond the wooden jetty and past the merchant sloops riding at anchor in the blue calm of Watering Bay. In the middle distance waves break over the fringing reef that trails down towards Grand Bay. Rising green out of the azure waters, you see the conical hill of Petite Martinique flanked by Petit St. Vincent to the north and Petit Dominique to the south. Turn your gaze north and be astonished at the string of island pearls that are the Tobago Keys.

In 1968 this was a scene that had remained largely unchanged for a hundred years. Enoe, McLaren, McLawrence, Steill, Compton and Roberts. These families had built boats, worked the land and sailed and traded the length of the Caribbean islands for generations. Just south of the village was ‘Tranquility’; the abode of J. Linton Rigg. This was a larger, more impressive house, built in the Colonial style. On his front garden the sails for Mermaid were laid out to be stitched and repaired. This was where Linton relaxed, reminisced and made his plans ‘to liven up de island culture’ with a legendary boat and a regatta that has ‘sailed an unstoppable course’ into the 21st century.

Now, as we roll back the years, we remember the vignettes and telescoped memories of an island life which is slowly changing and being dragged into the modern world. But hey, the Kayaks are still the same friendly, buoyant people they always were. They’re still taking pride in the sloops, fishing boats and speedboats that are being constructed on the beaches of Carriacou and PM. I imagine the ghosts of all those old timers still linger on the beach doin’ ‘fete as bush’. There’s ole Linton and Zepherine makin’ ‘pappy show’, ‘firing one’ and laughing at the ‘simi dimi’ everyone making of them. But don’t take my word for it…

Come you coming, you go see.’

Bill Cameron

Lyme Regis

18.04.2012

Glossary of Dialect & Slang Terms

fete as bush – A grand party with lots to eat and drink

Pappy show – mock and make fun of each other

fire one – Take (knock back) a drink (of jack iron)

simi dimi – Exaggerated fuss

Come you coming, you go see – come and you’ll soon find out for yourself

Jack Iron – Extra strength rum

(With thanks to Christine David from ‘Folklore of Carriacou’ for the dialect and slang translations.)

So how did it come about that Art Ross, an American sea captain from New Hope PA came to write up Linton’s memoirs. Well, he wrote how this came about in an article in  ‘The Compass’. It appears to have been chance and seredipity as he describes:

‘I was having fun, with local music playing as we drank rum and ate barracuda
stew. The home was inviting, and I strolled into the living area; there I met Eutha.
She offered me a tour and I gladly accepted. We went from room to room, ending up
in Linton’s bedroom, just as he had left it 40 years ago. Logbooks and world-band
radio caught my eye. I was enthralled. As we got back to the living room there was
a guest book that she asked me to sign. I wrote “Captain Art Ross, New Hope PA”,
thanked her for such an extraordinary tour of Linton Rigg’s home, and went back
outside to tell my friends excitedly of my experience.
Moments later I was approached by a lady who, by her looks, was not local. She
asked if I was Captain Art, and when I said that I was, she said she was Betty Anne
Rigg, from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, the next town west of my home. She was the
honored guest of the evening, along with her husband, John Rigg — the son of Bunny,
Linton’s younger brother. I was astonished, and we spent the rest of the evening playing
“one degree of separation” and promising to stay in touch.
We met back in Pennsylvania a few weeks later for a casual dinner. I gave them
pictures that I took of the island event, and they gave me an unpublished rough
autobiography of early parts of John Linton Rigg’s life.
I felt I was steering by stars in motion. In Carriacou I had sailed on Linton Rigg’s
boat, if only for a few hundred yards at the helm, met his family, become instant
friends with Mermaid’s builder’s family, and had even seen the creek where Calliste’s
vision of the mermaid appeared — all in a span of 48 hours. And now, back home,
his words were in my hands.’

For Art’s full article see: JULY 2009 CARIBBEAN COMPASS PAGE 29.

The book is available from Amazon.

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Linton Rigg Biography

‘Sixty Years of Sport’, Sailing from the Age of Gatsby to the Grenadine Islands’ by Art Ross.

I have just received the exciting news that a biography on the life of Linton Rigg, written by Art Ross is to be published in the next few weeks. Wonderful news and congratulations, Art, on a job well done.

Below is part of the email Art sent me yesterday which I would like to share with you all.

Today the proof of ‘Sixty Years of Sport’, sailing from the age of Gatsby to the Grenadine Islands’ arrived. I am very excited, I started with a plan about the way I hoped it would look, there are about 100 photos and illustrations, and it came out great. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not Alexis’ book quality, this is a small 8.5×8.5″ black and white inexpensive production, suggested retail will be about $15US.

 

‘Last week I heard from the Carriacou museum, Canute Calliste’s family, and they want to carry it, which pleases me allot. Id like all the island stores to have it if I can find someone to sell it to them for me.  It will be about a month until distribution as my publisher left today for holiday for 3 weeks. Noprob mon, all good.’

LINTON-RIGG-COVER

Linton Rigg Biography by Art Ross

 

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Camp Carriacou

                        

Camp Carriacou.

A number of former students who attended Camp Carriacou in the 1970s have been writing in with comments. Rick Welsford has just sent the following comment along with the photos I have attached to this post. I hope the photos bring back a few memories for some of you. Rick said,

‘Here are three pictures provided by our best friend, now and then, Mary Jane Finlayson. Have just returned from visiting Carriacou. The camp property is pretty messy and up for sale. Needs a clean up. I am beginning to investigate who the current owners are with the goal of getting it cleaned up. Any advice anyone? I have one thin  real estate brochure but it is lacking the necessary information. Best wishes. Rick’

Bob Reid has written in with his memories of life in Camp Carriacou in 1973 as Camp doctor.

‘I was a third year medical student at Queens University in Kingston Ontario going into my final year when I applied for the job of “Camp Doctor” that appeared in the Globe and Mail. I was hired immediately but upon reflection Bill Van Reit decided to hire a real doctor and nurse. I was relegated to teaching dive medicine and as an assistant SCUBA instructor. I had previously taken a rather intensive SCUBA training at Royal Military College. Other instructors were Eric Cunningham and Don Cuff. Bill Allison was there that summer. The worst medical issue was a student riding on the right side of the road ( as in Canada but the opposite of what was expected in Carriacou) was hit by a car and broke both legs….. Airlifted to a medical facility on another island. I remember one day when several students were separated from the group on a drift dive and were found well into the ocean ( with great relief in our part). That required to extra swigs of rum and orange juice ( what the dive instructors did after two daily dives and filling tanks for the next day…… Great to remove that salt taste from your mouth). The bacon strips with hair attached, a demonstration of how the local “jack rum” would burn if ignited, crab races and talent shows at the camps were all memorable. The staff became close knit and had a reunion in Toronto about six months after the summer. We shared pictures and had many laughs. I have sent in many of my pictures with several of the staff. There was a tall blonde man and his wife with two young blonde kids there on staff…. But ca’t remember their names. We sailed the two 45 foot catamarans throughout the Exuma keys and dive in Palm Island when there was nothing there but an open field and a few palm trees. I heard that the year after I left one of the catamarans was wrecked on a reef. Hardly surprising since neither had a motor to get them out if tight moorings. We used to throw the anchor line and swing in an arc to get up wind enough …. Then pull the anchor and hope we came about in time to repeat this maneuver on the other side. Several close calls. I look forward to seeing some of the pics from others campers and would love to hear from any of the staff from ’73.’ Bob Reid

Below are a set of photos sent in by Bob, plus a couple of mine taken in Feb. 2014.

If there is anyone else who would like to put up some photos just send them to my email address at wilcam1@googlemail.com and I will see that they are are published on this page.

 

 

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