The drive from El Jaguar to Léon, Nicaragua’s capital (founded in 1524) until Managua took over, takes us through fields of maize, legumes (the famous red beans for the staple dish of pinto gallo – or rice and peas) and the usual motley array of horses (sometimes with dashing gauchos astride), cows, dogs and pigs. Round here where it is poor, they are all a bit thin, ribs sticking out, apart from the pigs who root around contentedly. Sometimes the animals are tethered, but mostly not. The houses are as poor as ever, with the occasional school, and people going about their daily business. Religion plays a huge part in daily life – and the bigger churches are full of effigies of saints and, of course, the Virgin Mary. Continue reading
Nicaragua and Costa Rica: our holiday destinations this autumn. Central America is terra incognita for us. Luckily we have cousin Christine and her Chilean husband Diego as our tour guides, who are both Spanish-speakers; Tim and Annie, also from Champery, make up the six. On arrival we are greeted by the electric trees (cost $25k) which line the main road from the airport in preparation for the Pan-American Games next year. And a huge portrait of Hugo Chavez! Continue reading
My phone rings on the way to Heathrow. Husband: ‘It’s going to be wet all weekend in Basel, so I thought we’d go to Lugano, where the forecast is fantastic.’ Continue reading
The problem with the NHS is that while hospital procedures are of a good standard, the minute you leave it all goes to pot. There is no home support. Gone are the days of the District Nurse, and when I go to the hospital for my 15 minute ‘physio’ this entails bending my leg in all directions and measuring the angle of movement, and comparing it to the last. Tick the box. Continue reading
I have been so looking forward to this 8 days of R&R with our friends JP and Heather who live in a lovely beach-front house on the very local Brighton beach. They have been here 35 years…and we have spent many happy holidays here with Tommy and Louise, and their boys. Indeed I recuperated here after I broke my hip, and Louise came with me as my minder. Bitter-sweet memories. Continue reading
I have always loved cricket. I learned to play it at school, but graduated to umpiring and scoring after nearly losing my front teeth to a fumbled catch. As a young publisher of school textbooks in the Caribbean, I decided early on that the perfect icebreaker was cricket, so I set about revising and updating my knowledge. It was the golden era of WIndies cricket and soon I was following Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd, Malcolm Marshall, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Hayes, Big Bird Garner, Michael Holding et al. round the islands as they blackwashed all the teams in sight. While I was working, you understand.
The clips are out! I am on one crutch! I can walk to the shops! I have been to the cinema! I have turned the corner… Continue reading