Chris Cudgoe’s Photos.

Nick Cox Your Parents at their wedding. That brickwork hints Hillsborough RC Church. Patrick Patsy Compton, Samuel Fleary. I am trying to figure out the two young boys. Possibly Charles and Samuel. Henry and Leroy were older and maybe left by then. The person behind Patsy Compton looks like Ben Coy. 12 June 2014 at 14:55 · Like · 1 Christopher Cudjoe Christopher Cudjoe You doing well with the adults 12 June 2014 at 15:07 · Like Nick Cox Nick Cox Th young girls seem to be no more than 10 years old. I would only know them if they were from North Side (Meldrum, Belvidere, Limlair, Dover etc.) Mavis and Jane fall in that category, but I cannot recognize them. 12 June 2014 at 15:20 · Like Christopher Cudjoe Christopher Cudjoe One on the little girls to the right is Denise Clyne Clement 12 June 2014 at 15:48 · Like · 1

Nick Cox Your Parents at their wedding. That brickwork hints Hillsborough RC Church. Patrick Patsy Compton, Samuel Fleary. I am trying to figure out the two young boys. Possibly Charles and Samuel. Henry and Leroy were older and maybe left by then. The person behind Patsy Compton looks like Ben Coy.
12 June 2014 at 14:55 · Like · 1
Christopher Cudjoe
Christopher Cudjoe You doing well with the adults
12 June 2014 at 15:07 · Like
Nick Cox
Nick Cox Th young girls seem to be no more than 10 years old. I would only know them if they were from North Side (Meldrum, Belvidere, Limlair, Dover etc.) Mavis and Jane fall in that category, but I cannot recognize them.
12 June 2014 at 15:20 · Like
Christopher Cudjoe
Christopher Cudjoe One on the little girls to the right is Denise Clyne Clement
12 June 2014 at 15:48 · Like · 1

Nick Cox Christine? 12 June 2014 at 14:57 · Like · 1 Nick Cox Nick Cox Cousin Leitha? Roy Benjamin. The two other fellas have familiar faces as well as the girl in the plaid dress. 12 June 2014 at 15:00 · Like Christopher Cudjoe Christopher Cudjoe Pinks Steele, Prisca DeLisle, Maxman Baptiste, not sure who the other is 12 June 2014 at 15:10 · Like · 1 Nick Cox Nick Cox Oh! Teacher Prisca! I knew her name much more than her face. 12 June 2014 at 15:11 · Like Nick Cox Nick Cox I do not know who Pinks Steele is. 12 June 2014 at 15:12 · Like Christopher Cudjoe Christopher Cudjoe Aunty Winifred Steil's daughter. From down street. 12 June 2014 at 15:41 · Like Nick Cox Nick Cox Oh. I actually know Pinks here in Brooklyn. 12 June 2014 at 15:53 · Edited · Like Precious V Quashie Precious V Quashie Tantie leita looking good 12 June 2014 at 16:54 · Like Susan Firmin Susan Firmin Who is the baby? 12 June 2014 at 20:06 · Like Precious V Quashie Precious V Quashie Christine is the baby 12 June 2014 at 20:27 · Like Nick Cox Nick Cox Christopher! Maxman Baptist on your dad's left? I did not know he was that young. Did you find out who the man behind Cousin Leitha is? 15 hrs · Edited · Like Clive Phillip Clive Phillip Isn't the one with her hair in a bun your mom 3 hrs · Like Bill Cameron Bill Cameron Hi Nick, I think the man you are referring to is Mr Alleyne (then Principal at BC) on Sydney's right shoulder. The man on the very left of picture in the background wearing a shirt is Barnabus Bethel. The man on Sydney's left shoulder is Roy Benjamin. Roy's baby was christened around the same time (see photo with Danny Clements and a lady from Madonna House, whose name I can't remember). Bill Cameron's photo.

Nick Cox Christine?
12 June 2014 at 14:57 · Like · 1
Nick Cox
Nick Cox Cousin Leitha? Roy Benjamin. The two other fellas have familiar faces as well as the girl in the plaid dress.
12 June 2014 at 15:00 · Like
Christopher Cudjoe
Christopher Cudjoe Pinks Steele, Prisca DeLisle, Maxman Baptiste, not sure who the other is
12 June 2014 at 15:10 · Like · 1
Nick Cox
Nick Cox Oh! Teacher Prisca! I knew her name much more than her face.
12 June 2014 at 15:11 · Like
Nick Cox
Nick Cox I do not know who Pinks Steele is.
12 June 2014 at 15:12 · Like
Christopher Cudjoe
Christopher Cudjoe Aunty Winifred Steil’s daughter. From down street.
12 June 2014 at 15:41 · Like
Nick Cox
Nick Cox Oh. I actually know Pinks here in Brooklyn.
12 June 2014 at 15:53 · Edited · Like
Precious V Quashie
Precious V Quashie Tantie leita looking good
12 June 2014 at 16:54 · Like
Susan Firmin
Susan Firmin Who is the baby?
12 June 2014 at 20:06 · Like
Precious V Quashie
Precious V Quashie Christine is the baby
12 June 2014 at 20:27 · Like
Nick Cox
Nick Cox Christopher! Maxman Baptist on your dad’s left? I did not know he was that young. Did you find out who the man behind Cousin Leitha is?
15 hrs · Edited · Like
Clive Phillip
Clive Phillip Isn’t the one with her hair in a bun your mom
3 hrs · Like
Bill Cameron
Bill Cameron Hi Nick, I think the man you are referring to is Mr Alleyne (then Principal at BC) on Sydney’s right shoulder. The man on the very left of picture in the background wearing a shirt is Barnabus Bethel. The man on Sydney’s left shoulder is Roy Benjamin. Roy’s baby was christened around the same time (see photo with Danny Clements and a lady from Madonna House, whose name I can’t remember).
Bill Cameron’s photo.

TBT 1988 — in Calliste, Saint George, Grenada.

TBT 1988 — in Calliste, Saint George, Grenada.

Chris Cudgoe's photo. What's happening here?

Chris Cudgoe’s photo. What’s happening here?

Nick Cox South Side? Which village? 12 June 2014 at 15:01 · Like Christopher Cudjoe Christopher Cudjoe Brunswick

Nick Cox South Side? Which village?
12 June 2014 at 15:01 · Like
Christopher Cudjoe
Christopher Cudjoe Brunswick

Chris Cudgoe's photo. Who's who?

Chris Cudgoe’s photo. Who’s who?

A few photos here provided by Chris Cudgoe with comments taken from facebook.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bishop’s College Original Intake – 1964

Bishop’s College Original Intake – 1964.

The names of the first intake of students to Bishop’s College in 1964 have always been a bit of a mystery….until now. Patrick David has kindly consulted with family and friends and between them they have compiled a list of names of the first student intake of 1964. Patrick has also furnished a few other snippets of information about the arrangement of classes and the first teaching staff.

I just want to pass on my thanks and appreciation to Patrick for sending this valuable information. Patrick says in an email:

“I am consulting with some former colleagues to complete the list including my brothers. Currently I have about 96 names. I’m not certain of total intake but initially there were only three classes; 3A, 3B, and 3C,administered by the three teachers, MR Noël , MR Roberts and Miss Lorna Cayenne. A month or so later when Father Wappler joined, we were then divided into 4 classes. I think it grew to167 students through subsequent intakes. However, turnover was high due to mass emigration as in the case of my brothers and myself. The next intake was December 1964 or January 1965.
MR Bernard Bullen took over in January or February 1965 as Principal.”

Later he wrote:

“………..those days were so filled with excitement and being part of something new that you just coped with the rigour of academia. it’s is such a trip to remember those days – so many pleasant memories. Indeed I realised many of the people were featured on the 1968 information; many had left. One thing I should emphasise is the logistical effort required to get children from all around the Island to start school at 08:30 instead of the customary 09:00
This required transportation via three buses and may have set the trend for school children on the Island. One operated from Windward, another from north of the island i.e. Top Hill, Mt. Pleasant, Dover, the final one Belle Vue, Belmont , Harvey Vale, L’esterre etc. The bus drivers were: Lennox McQuilkin, Winston Stewart (“W”), Nick Andrew and Gifford Andrew (“Big Andrew”). These men were determined to see everyone succeed.

Nick Cox has provided the following additional information:

‘I remember all four buses going by my house with the Bishop’s College students. I remember the unique engine sounds; Austin (Lennox, Nick and Big Andrew) vs Morris (“W”). I remember so many names of students, you (i.e. Selwyn Mills) included, even without meeting them. Many students I met in person later in life.
We must remember the bus drivers for picking up the lunch carriers on the 11:00AM run and getting them safely to the hungry students.’

Nick has also written:

‘I started Bishop’s College in 1971 following my siblings, Gloria Cox (on the original list), Jerva Cox and Jean Cox.  This is the type of history that the people of Carriacou should be aware of.  It is the story of what makes us who we are today.  I hope that the leadership in both high schools in Carriacou, make the reading of the information on this site a requirement as part of an orientation to high school.
I have fond memories of being awakened at 5:00 AM to participate in the feeding and counting of the chickens.  In the summer months I listened to my parents discussing how many chickens they needed to sell to accumulate enough money to pay Gloria’s school fees ($EC24.00 per term).  Mr. Anthony Clouden from Bogles was the one who would come by the yard to purchase chickens by weight, using the spring balance.  I am sure many Carriacouans have their stories to tell.
Thanks to Selwyn Mills for pointing out the importance of the Bus Drivers.’

Agnes McKenzie (nee Brown) remembers:

‘I can still recall the day I started at Bishop’s College. I have fond memories of boarding the bus at Mt. Pleasant, traveling through the villages of Limlair, Dover, Meldrum, Belvedere and Bogles picking up students on the way to school. That’s a part of our history that can never be forgotten.’

Approximately one quarter of students walked from surrounding villages; Lauriston, Six roads, Brunswick, Prospect Hall , Hillsborough and Bogles.”

Original Intake of BC Students February 1964
ADAMS Manson
ALEXANDER David
ALEXANDER Everest
ALEXANDER George
ALEXANDER Joan
ALEXANDER Valerie
ALEXIS Alexia
ALEXIS (Freddie) Dennis
ALEXIS (Noreen) Jacintha
ALEXIS (nee AUGUSTINE) Palmira (pia)
ANDREW Astor
ANDREW Ezra

BARCLAY Theresa
BATISTE Alfred
BATISTE Lionel
BARTHOLAMEW Letitia
BEDEAU Jeffery
BEDEAU Lloyd
BEDEAU Patsy
BENJAMIN Albert (‘flash’)
BETHEL Tyrone

BASCOMBE Bernardine

BILLY Maureen
BRISTOL Dunstan(‘courtney’)
BRISTOL Joseph
BROWN Agnes

BROWN Margaret
BROWNE Joe
CAYENNE Annette
CAYENNE Vestin
CHARLES Edith
COLLINS Winifred
COMPTON Bridget
COMPTON Cyril
COMPTON Nuala (Nola)
COX Annie
COX Deborah

COX Gloria
COX Margaret

CUDGOE Monica
CUMMINGS Cryspin

CUMMINGS Erva
DAVID Bernard
DAVID Eileen
DAVID Emma
DAVID Gemma
DAVID Gustav
DAVID James
DAVID Patrick
DAVID Sybil
DAVIDSON Brenice

DOUGLAS John
FAURE Joe
FLEARY Martin

FLEARY Rosalyn
FLEARY Viola
GABRIEL David
GABRIEL Nell
GAY Joycelyn

GEORGE (Pancake) Leroy
JACOB Betty

JACOB Nicholas
JAFFIER Cornelius
JAFFIER Prince
JAMES Vena
JOHN David
JOHN Joan
JOHN Judith
JOSEPH Maria(lou)
JOSEPH David
JOSEPH Davis

JOSEPH Josephine
JOSEPH Merle
JOSEPH Mary
JOSEPH Magdalene
LEVINE Patricia
LOGAN Gordon
Mc LAWRENCE Humphrey

McLAWRENCE William (Irvin)
McDONALD George
McFARLANE Sarah
McFARLANE Sarahnie
McINTOSH Alicia
McKENZIE Dunbar
McKENZIE Louise
McKENZIE Pentlan
McKENZIE Solomon
McKENZIE Stephanie

McLEOD Josiah
McQUILKIN keith
MILLS Selwyn
MOSES Joan

MOSES Lenford

MOSES Merle

MOSES Rex
NEDD Jacintha
NOEL Jim
NOEL Lloyd

NOEL Margaret
NOEL Matthew

PHILLIP Margaret

PHILLIP Michael

PIERRE Louise
PRIME Esther
PRIME Jean
PRIME Merrill

QUADALOUPE Esther
QUAMINA Paul

QUASHIE Rhodda
RAYMOND Henry
SAMERSON Samlyn
SCOTT Clarissa
SCOTT Festina

SIMON Merlene
SIMON Roy
STIELL Henry
STIELL Joyce
THOMAS Errol

WILLIAMS Minita

WILLIAMS Vena

N.B. That’s a total of 119 names for the February 1964 intake. Well done and thanks to all contributors.

If anyone can add any other name (or names) to this list PLEASE send them in and I will add them on.

BTW did anyone ever take a photo of the first intake in 1964? That would be treasure indeed.

In the meantime, thanks again to Patrick David for his valuable contribution to the history of Bishop’s College.

Posted in Bishop's College | 21 Comments

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

Posted in Ron Rozewski on Carriacou. | 3 Comments

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.

Posted in Sport in Carriacou. | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Memoirs of J.Linton Rigg | 21 Comments