Upon a request from BU family member Greene the blogmaster agrees to chronicle the musings of Combermerian. Microbiologist and town dweller Dr. Robert Lucas. Dr. Lucan can post to the comments box if he is inclined to continue sharing his perambulations. – David, blogmaster
Stroll # 1 on March 30, 2020
I continued my stroll this morning, curious to see what the shut down ordered by government entailed. There was little vehicular traffic on the road. When I reached opposite where the old Harbor Police Station was, I was pleasantly surprised to see a young fellow picking almonds from a tree where the old house craft center used to be. Almonds were scattered all around the base of the tree. Fifty-years ago, there would have been competition for the almonds. Also brought back memories of helping my mother make mattress and cushions. She had attended a class at the house craft center. Had to go and buy the coconut fiber from where the Fairchild street market used to be, walk up Bay st. with the fiber. It had to be washed first and put to dry on the bleaching ground before use. Jordan’s supermarket has a line but it is short. Popular has a very long line. There were only a few persons by Cherish. I passed the Old City and the silence is thick in the air. All the watering holes are shut. See a few fellows hanging around. Went further into town, Saw Durant a retired public health member. Tells me he had a stroke but wanted to have drink with me, as he put, we do not know how much longer we have before we shuffle off. Tell him another time. Went by Scotty’s . One can enter and leave at will: Seems that last week’s action was mere window dressing. Large sweet peppers are $2.40 for the orange and red and $1.70 for the green .. I buy the green ones. All have about same Vitamin A content. Expose the green ones to ethylene gas and the color becomes orange ( can use a ripe banana to achieve the same objective). Retraced my steps and passed by Old City again. This time the loungers have bottle of liquor and are busy in polishing it off( I knew that they would find a way to bottle). Walked up Bay St. decided to stroll along the beach. The place is littered with old boats. Remember one could borrow a boat ( without the owner’s knowledge) and go fishing, making sure the boat was returned afterwards Brings back memories of a Sunday morning in 1970,when I went fishing with Sonny Pierre from the gap. My bothers did not want to go. I went. We borrowed a Moses from Brown’s beach rowed as far as London Bourne Towers, where we moored and started fishing for anything that came along. The Old Wives were biting, they are bottom feeders we caught a dozen. I expected to get at least half. Much to my consternation I only got two. The facts of life in the fishing business was explained to me. The Captain got first (I was not the Captain according to Sonny. I was just an able -bodied helper) claims. In this case, claims were made for borrowing the boat, being Captain ( two shares), knowing were to go to catch the fish and so on. I never went out fishing with Sonny again.
Stroll # 2 on March 23, 2020
I went into town for a stroll to observe what is what. There are some supermarkets with crowds lined up on the side walks. I met of my former students. I mentioned that he was in the front line of the containment. he said he was . He was approached by a member of staff who did not mentioned what he was to do ,it was only when he was approached by another staff member who wanted to join up to track down the infected people, that he realized what it was all about. He declined to do so. I informed him that it was only a matter of time before it was made mandatory and that he would have do as ordered. He declined to do so since he has a three-year old daughter. He said that the equipment being used to contain and so on was old and inadequate.
Stroll # 3 on March 24, 2020
I took another stroll through town ( I should say further into ,since I live in town) to observe the happenings. I encountered another of my former students. He was waiting in a line to enter a Credit Union. Told him he ought to know better that ,he should observe the space distance. He wanted to know if I was foolish or what? That somebody would get in front of him. What could I say to that ?Proceeded into town proper and a sight met my eyes that I could hardly believe. The lines waiting to go into supermarkets waere something else. there was hardly any space between individuals in the lines. I thought that by now things would have gotten back to normal, but it doesn’t look that way, One carrier would create havoc in those lines. Government will have take drastic action
Stroll # 4 on March 25, 2020
Took another stroll into town. Did a good turn for a damsel in distress ;she was suffering from a broken leg, needed assistance in stepping down from the side walk. Asked me to assist her which I did( Mr. Marshall, the late Cub master of James’ Street Methodist Church would have been proud to see that after all these years, I am still doing as taught as a cub: do a good turn every day). Help her across the road. Had to remark on how comely ( when last have you heard that word used?) she was. Proceeded further into town. Still the long lines at the supermarkets. The lines at the pharmacies seemed to have declined Purchase stuff from the store next to Thani’s on Bridge Street. Had to use hand sanitizer before being allowed into the store. Eventually entered Suttle Street at the juncture with Reid street. The rum shop at the juncture seemed to doing great judging by the crowd and the noise. There is a decline in numbers in town.
Stroll # 5 on March 26, 2020
I took another stroll into town. This morning Bay Street was nearly bereft of traffic. A funeral was being held at Bethel Church. The mourners seemed to be following the guides put out by government. The crowd was paltry. The lines at the supermarkets have declined. Expect to see a rise in the length of the waiting lines tomorrow. Lines also outside banks waiting to enter the banks and some to use the ATM (the latter were mounted externally). All of the rubble from the demolished National Insurance building and fire station have been carted away.
Stroll # 6 on March 27, 2020
Continued my stroll through town this morning. The lines were really bad. The places like “Sewing World” where one could get stuff before, there are now lines. and one has to wait. Even Scotty’s the same thing. Bought some sweet potatoes at $2.50/pound. Normally don’t buy them at this price. I wait until the price is one dollar and buy. The older the potatoes are the sweeter they are( biochemical reaction).. Bought some chicken (don’t really need it)then returned home,
Made a second journey into town..to the Library to return books due tomorrow. the Library has the best enforcement. One can’t even enter the building. There is a sign telling one to leave books in a box placed outside the door and that the Library would get the cards back to you. One person from the Library poked her head out of the door, to inform me that I could keep the books until this whole thing is over, but make sure I did not damage the books. I took the latter advice
Left the Library and encountered Lionel Brewster who was at Combermere. Asked him if he knew you. He replied that he was ahead of you at school and that he thought you were in the US or UK. Ended up in Suttle Street, the rum shop at the juncture was very quiet. We had a drink at one of the watering hole in the street. Only us and the owner The owner got into conversation. To listen to him he was the greatest thing to happen to women. According to him ,he never had a time when he experienced drought of women .One knows BS when one hears it. We concluded that the young buck was trying to impress us. We went our separate ways
Stroll # 7 on March 28, 2020 8:10 AM
I resumed my stroll.. Left the house about 7.10 am. there was young couple behind me who were clenched in a partial embrace. No respect for social distance. Passed “Mint Condition” Cleaners. Workers were hanging around as the person with the keys had not yet arrived. Feel sorry for these workers and wonder how they will manage with the curfew and no wages. Pass Jordan’s Supermarket. The line stretch as far as the Barbados Workers’ Union Credit Union. Cross the bridge. The lines from Popular stretch as far as St. Michael’s Row and back towards the juncture of Marhill street. The line from Cherish stretch as far as Lucas Street. Saw Neville who I had promised to buy a drink. Up to Wednesday, he was suffering from the gout and declined the drink. All of a sudden he wants the drink. Claims that the medication he was given did not work and that when tossed back a drink yesterday ,he was much better. Bought him the drink in Marhill Street. not too far from the pharmacy .We old-talked. Of course he said he was broke . Gave him a couple of dollars. Remembered when I was in a similar situation, how he came to my rescue. Left the watering hole and came abreast of the pharmacy. A Chinese couple was passing. I see them often . They pass through the alley by Ecaf company. The husband ( at least I think he is the husband) walks in front and the wife behind him. They also go and buy from Scotty’s. They do not bother any one. A fellow accosted them saying a lot of offensive words. Told him to leave them alone, that they did not bother people. He switch his attention to me. He knew all the antecedents of my conception. I said nothing but was thinking that If I was carrying I would blow him away( I have this urge to be very violent, I keep it in check.) would not think twice about it. He was lucky that this was Barbados and not the US. Bought a mini of Campari and some sodas. I seldom use the hard stuff at home. It is the way I was brought up. No liquor in the house. Haven’t opened that J. Wray and Nephew. I need to get some prunes to steep in it, to cool it down. Very good that way. As things are, don’t know when I will get the prunes.
Stroll # 8 on March 29, 2020 1:23 PM
I resumed my stroll this morning at about 8.40am. Bay street is practically deserted. There are no pedestrians and the occasional vehicle passes. It is really very silent. It reminds me of my walks starting from any where between 2.30 am and 3,00am.when I go from Bay Street to St .George’s Secondary School and back. The curfew has put paid to that. Passed by Jordan’s Supermarket. I am shocked. There are not many people in the line, but some type limitation on numbers seem to be in place Proceeded to Roebuck street. Since this thing has started haven’t been this side of the world. See my friend Lambert who is about 86 and is still consuming the drinks by the Green Fields.. He shouts me off, asking if I am shopping. Tells him yes and that I will be back shortly. Buy a pint bottle of Diamond Rum. Lionel C. Hill is well organized. One person in.one person out. No crowd when I was there. Lambert wants me to come up with a sanitizer. Tells him to wash his hands with soap and water. Tells me he has been doing so since he was a boy. But tells me I am the scientist. Tells him that if his immune system is okay he has nothing to worry about,
Walk up Roebuck Street. into Hall’s road. Visit Cyril the Surveyor who is on hard times these days. He invested in property just as the bottom fell out of the market. He wants to know if I have brought any thing to drink. Tell him that I have a pint bottle that I bought From Hill’s Supermarket. We sample the stuff and the talk settles around the virus. Wants to know what I think. Said I have already stated what I think in the newspaper and else where. He has not been from home for more than a week. The talks turn to cricket after ,Todd the newspaper man comes and talks about my sons the cricketers. The talk centers around fielding in slips. Told them about my experience in Trinidad playing for the University. Had never fielded in slips, but the captain of the team kept dropping catches. I was a point fielder and pretty good at it. I got promoted to field in slips ( third slip). I made it known I was not too keen about the promotion The first time in slips, Campbell( from Grenada), the University fast bowler (very fast ,always over pitching the ball and very straight)was bowling. Third ball of the first over( always remember that), the batsman drove, got an outside edge ,high up by the shoulder of the bat ; saw it come off. It was really second slip’s catch but he wasn’t paying attention. I took the catch left-handed over the second slip position. That was the worst thing that ever happened to me playing cricket. The congratulations went to my head. I couldn’t imagined that I had actually taken that catch. Was basking in the excitement when I dropped a sitter two overs later off the same bowler ;did not have to move. I got cussed left ,right and center( by the bowler and captain), couldn’t say a word in my defense: got banned to the Bamboo thicket at St, Augustine where there were lots of snakes.
Left Cyril and walked home. Entered Henry’s Lane. could not believe my eyes. There is a big crowd, the alcohol is flowing and the dope also. The music is blaring out( a pulsating beat, that stirs the emotions of even an old fart like me).I cannot say a word. The young people are doing their own thing. This country has to do like India flog some folks.