Anguilla Local News: February 1996

News reports from on the island, as they were posted to the Net:

Copyright 1996 Lynne Bernbaum

Anguillans Love Their Goats

Almost everyone has goats. The raising, caring and tending of goats starts very young . Children 4 or 5 years old have their own goats. Everyday, before school, the goats are taken from their pen and tethered by driving a stake into the ground with a rock. After school the goats are brought back into their pens, watered and fed. Perhaps its raising goats that make Anguillian children so well behaved?

These goats are not really pets. They are farm animals and a source of protein. (I thought that sounded better than "meat"). Although the Anguillians don't really eat goat on an everyday basis. They just buy their meat from the grocery. They do still eat goat for special, traditional, occasions such as weddings. For these occasions there is usually goat stew and goat-water. Goat-water is a broth with very little actual meat or vegetables just enough for flavor plus dumplings. Goat stew is usually on the menu of the local restaurants. The servings are large so we often split an order. According to informed sources, one of the best Goat stews in Anguilla is available from Oreel's white food truck, usually parked next to the High School in The Valley for weekday lunches and in the evening.

Anguillians aren't the only ones who love goats. Lynne Bernbaum had a showing at the Devonish Gallery (809-497-2949) where about half the paintings had lovely goats as their main theme. Most of those have sold, but Lynne will be at the Anguilla Arts and Craft Show this Saturday (February 24th) with four new small "goats in the grass" works for sale. The show is in the afternoon on the grounds of the Governer's House in Old Ta.

If you would like to take home a memento of your goat experience, how about a goat T-shirt? Try the Exotic T-Shirt Shop next to Anguilla Drug Store in The Valley.

But the glory days of the Goat may be numbered. As time passes and Anguilla develops, the life style of the West Indies evolves. The wandering goats may go the way of the horse and carriage. Fittingly, this Ode D'Goat report will close with a poem:

Aint Want De Goats No Mo'

Reprinted by permission of Patricia Adams

Ah aks de children to help
Dey say dat is ol' man stuff
Den I aks me fadder to help
He say dat is young man wuk
An aks me wife to help
An' she say dat is only man wuk
So I sit dung
An' I tink to meself
I ain't want de goats no mo'.

De neighbours cuss 'bout dem flowers
An' dey wash-me-out bout dem grung
Dey say de goats messing' up dem porch
An' brokin' de fences dung
Me goats mekkin' noise in dem head
An' dey cant get a good nights rest
So I sit dung
An' I tink to meself
I ain't want de goats no mo'.

A nex' ting I study hard
Is ah ain't young like befo'
Me knees dey won't carry me
Cause de journey is too far
Ah dizzy cause ah sweat too much
An' me heart beatin' like a drum
So I sit dung
An' I tink to meself
I ain't want de goats no mo'.

Ebry morning' a bag o' grass
Four buckets o' water each day
An gotta patch de broken dung fence
An plait de ropes dat fray
Get bottles for bady kids
An' look for goats dat stray
So I sit dung
An' I tink to meself
I ain't want de goats no mo'.

Now what do you tink 'bout dis
When ah kil two goats out de flock
Ah gotta gi' one to me neighbors an' friends
An' de odder one for my stock
An' gi' way de head, foot and bellies
An' half o' de butch-a bitch* too
So I sit dung
An' I tink to meself
I ain't want de goats no mo'.

An' what about all de t'eifin'
Dat somebody get'n'away wid
An' at least once ebry mont'
Is a funeral for a kid
An de' dogs dey having a feast
While man wukkin' hard, so hard
So I sit dung
An' I tink to meself
I ain't want de goats no mo'.

If de sun hot like a furnace
Or it rainin' like a flood
If it t'under or it lightnin'
An' a hurricane twist an' thud
Or if it is dry like pitch
Ah gotta get bush and grass for de tings
So I sit dung
An' I tink to meself
I ain't want de goats no mo'.

* Butch-a Bitch: A corruption of "butcher's bit." After butchering an animal, butchers were paid with organs such as the heart, lungs, liver, as well as blood and the neck bone.

The author of this poem, Patricia Adams, is better known as Teacher Patsy. Patsy has published a collection of poems on Anguillian themes entitled A Jewel Made of Sand.

New Anguilla Resources on the Net

Jullian Niles has added a picture gallery of tropical fish to his Anguilla Home Page. Steve Donahue has started a new web site devoted to building a house in Anguilla. And Kevin Brokrick has expanded the picture gallery on his site to include Shoal Bay and Little Bay, among other sites.

Education Materials from Ontario Canada

The Canadian Armed Forces will be transporting 31 student desks, 20 boxes of books and supplies and a computer donated by the West Parry Sound Board of Education, teachers, and the Parry Sound Public Library on February 15th, to their friends in Anguilla.

800 Numbers Don't Work

How to make an 800 call while in Anguilla? You will soon discover that 800 numbers do not work in Anguilla. So you will have to pay to check on your next hotel reservation or contact your office. But what if you don't know a direct number? Use this trick: dial 1-400 instead of 1-800. You will still be charged a hefty US$2+ per minute, but at least you can make the call. American Airlines does have a free local number, 3131, which connects to all their services.

News Snippets and Rumours

Ken Rogers, proprieter of The Old House Restaurant, is completing a new up-scale restaurant at the upper end of Shoal Bay. He expects to open it this month. Take the road to Shoal Bay and turn right on the backroad to Island Harbour. This is also the way to Milly's Inn and Allamanda Club. It may look like a driveway to you, but follow the dirt road through a small "red bottom" ("field" to you, notice the living fence post trees) and around a few corners.

Johnno is rumored to be rebuilding Smugglers Restaurant (he owns the site and the building).

Feet Swollen, Cold? See the Reflexologist

Did you know that Anguilla has a Canadian-trained Reflexologist? Margaret Ouwehand (809-497-5798) is a professional Foot Care Nurse who can improve circulation in the feet and treat ailments of the feet. My wife's 90 year-old father went to her complaining of numbness and cold feet (a common complaint among diabetics). He was very pleased with the improvement in his feet, even if it is temporary.

Fishermen Rescued

Saturday night, February 3rd, was a tense night for many Anguillans. Two fisherman who had gone out to the Old England bank 20 miles north of Anguilla in their boat the Falcon failed to return. The police launch searched for them without success. The boat was finally spotted by plane about nine miles east of the Sombrero lighthouse. The police launch towed the boat back to Sandy Ground where they were greeted by a large and jubilant crowd on Sunday at 11 AM. The boat had developed electrical trouble which put both the motor and the radio out of commission.

"Anguilla Boats and Corn"

The theme of this years Cultural Education Festival is Boats and Corn. Events run from February 11th to March 1st and run the gamut from Pan Concerts and Folk Fairs to a Boat Exhibition and Over 30s night at the Red Dragon disco (Feb 23rd). You should be able to pick up a program at the Post Office.

Fund Raising Events in February

This seems to be the month for fund raising bazaars and parties. Anguilla National Trust has a dinner with entertainment at Government House on Thursday, February 29th at 7:30 PM ($20 US). On Saturday, February 17th, 6:30 PM at Wallblake House, the Roman Catholic Church is having their Annual West Indian Garden Party with a dinner of the best of West Indian cooking and dancing to music by Sprocka ($15 US or $40 EC). On Friday, February 23rd, 8:00 PM at Ruthwill Auditorium, the Soroptomists are holding their Super Variety Concert ($10 US, proceeds to the day care center). And on Saturday afternoon, February 24th, there is a craft and art fair in the Governer's garden to raise money for the children of Anguilla.

Hidden Delights: Archaeology and History Book

I continue my series on enjoyable experiences in Anguilla that the tourist would not normally hear about with a book suggestion. The 1981-1985 Review of the Anguilla Archaeological and Historical Society is still available. This fascinating 120-page book has scholary studies of The Fountain and other Amerindian sites, news clippings on the Revolution, and articles on historical sites such as Wallblake House. $15 US, copies available at Arawak Beach Resort, Island Harbour (264-497-4888). Turn left at the "Keys" sign just before the Anglican Church, then turn right and drive along the shore behind the Island Harbour primary school to the hotel.

Here is an excerpt about the Fountain (now an undeveloped National Park, not open to the public):

The Fountain is a large dome-shaped limestone cavern or 'sink-hole' located on a ridge about 70 feet above sea level, overlooking the Western end of Shoal Bay North [East]. Generations of Anguillans have known or heard of the Fountain as a reliable source of fresh water and many older people remember climbing down the roots of the 'signature' tree which marks the entrance into the cave, to reach the pools below. In 1953 a steel ladder was erected to facilitate access. It is only in recent years that Anguilla's Fountain Cavern has been recognized as an archaeological site.

[David Watters, Anthropologist, reported in February 1986:] Fountain Cavern has the potential to become an extremely important facility for interpreting the culture of the Amerindian peoples of the Caribbean. The major focus within the cavern should become the petroglyphs themselves. A locale with so many well preserved cave petroglyphs is unknown elsewhere in the Lesser Antilles... Fountain Cavern appears to have been a ceremonial site for the Amerindian population of Anguilla (and possibly nearly islands). The ceramic materials recovered from the cavern indicate the cultural occupation probably occurred in the late first and early second millenium A.D.

Wallblake House

Here is another excerpt about the naming of Wallblake House:

...we know that the old house was built in 1787 because of a brick placed in the northern side of the old kitchen and bakery on which that date was carved and is still faintly visible...Who built Wallblake House? Here again we do not know for sure but the name does suggest clues...William Blake, commonly known as Will or Bill Blake, was a sugar planter at the turn of the 18th century, when sugar was still supreme in Anguilla. It is significant to note that he was sometimes referred to as 'Will' and it is more than likely that it was this planter who built the old mansion in question and from whom the 'Wallblake' is derived. In an oral society such as Anguilla, names usually undergo an idiomatic change which after many years becomes the universally accepted pronunciation and which in turn is consequently transmitted back into the literal tradition. For example, the original settles called Blowing Point 'Blown Point', and the Governer's residence at 'Old Ta' is so called because on that site long ago lived an old man called Thomas.

Saturday Afternoon in the Life of an Ex-Pat

We spent a nice afternoon at the Pineapple Beach Club. The hotel buildings are West Indian Style bungalows set on the beach under palm trees. Its very low-key, unpretentious and friendly. Guest pick-up conversations with strangers on the beach and in the hotel beachbar. We ate a delicious lunch of cucumber soup and chicken tacos. We spent the rest of the afternoon sailing, swimming and basking in the sun. At 3:00 we went home completely satisfied with ourselves for having the audacity to move to the West Indies.

After a refreshing shower and nap it was onward to the wine tasting party put on by the Anguillian Wine Tasting Society. Albert Lake (Junior), the wine steward from the Malliouhana, gave a lecture covering various aspects of wine enjoyment. Everything from how to order in a restaurant where you don't recognize the brands (ask the steward) to how to understand French labels (wines labeled by chateau and region never by grape variety) to how to recover from too much wine tasting (several glasses of water or compari, or abstain). Albert also made the selections and organized the wine tasting portion of the evening. We experienced wine from five different countries, as well as different varieties.

Amblyrhiza Inundata: Giant Fossil Rat

Anguilla's oldest resident was highlighted on US Cable TV last night: Amblyrhiza Inundata, a giant rodent that lived on Anguilla 125,000 years ago. The Paleo World program was on The Learning Channel (TLC) at 8PM and Midnite EST. I'm sorry we didn't hear about it ahead of time so that we could have warned you, but surely they will rerun it. The program, which was shot in Anguilla last summer by a BBC film crew, investigated the fossil remains of a giant rodent that may have been unique to Anguilla.

How could a large animal flourish on a 35-square mile island? It couldn't. In the last ice age, the sea level was much lower. This made Anguilla, St. Martin, St. Barts, and Saba into a single large island, capable of supporting the giant Amblyrhiza inundata. Then as the ice age ended, the sea level rose and the rodents were stranded on Anguilla, where they eventually became extinct.

The first bones of Amblyrhiza inundata were actually noticed a hundred years ago, but there has been some scepticism in the scientific community about the validity of the identification. So, paleontologists came to Anguilla with a TV crew to sift through dirt in Pitch Apple cave, looking for more remains of this species. The TV program showed the scientists descending 70 feet straight down from the cave opening, and after 12 hours of work, climbing 70 feet back up on a rope ladder! But they were successful - they found enough fossil teeth and bones to be confident that Amblyrhiza inundata was a giant rat, with a wide range in sizes, from that of a dog up to that of a bear.

According to our usually reliable spy, most of the show was accurate, except that Pitch Apple Hole is quite close to the back road between Shoal Bay and North Valley, so you would never need to hack your way through the jungle with a machete to get to it. More Info.

Public Tennis Courts

If you are a tennis enthusiast, you will be pleased to know that there are public courts at East End School and Ronald Webster Park in The Valley.

1-900-HOT-INET

Cable and Wireless introduced a new Internet service this week, which will be especially useful for tourists who bring their laptops with them. Next time your are in Anguilla, just have your modem dial 1-900-468-4638 (HOT-INET) and you will be connected to the Internet (at US$0.25 per minute). No contracts to sign, no installation fees to pay. The call will be charged to your hotel room, or to your hosts telephone as INTERNET ACCESS.

You may have to re-configure your PC to use IP address 206.48.59.10 as the DNS Server and 206.49.59.2 as the Gateway. The domain name is CANDW.COM.AI and you can use your name as the Host Name. If you are a WIndows 95 user, you need Dial Up Networking and must configure a Connection to Cable and Wireless. You must also go into Control Panel to Networks and define the Modem as having TCP/IP property. If you are an MSN customer you must redirect Internet Explorer and MIcrosoft Exchange to use the new connection instead of dialing a Microsoft access number.

For more information, call Cable and Wireless at 809-497-3100. If you are renting a villa, the phone may have long-distance and 1-900 calls blocked. Ask your landlord to lift the block.

Automatic Mailing List for Anguilla

Vince Cate has set up an automatic mailing list for Anguilla. Anyone can send e-mail to the list and it will go to everyone on the list. You don't have to live on Anguilla to use the mailing list. Just mail your message to anguilla@online.offshore.com.ai

To join the list, send email to anguilla-request@online.offshore.com.ai and in the body of the message put the word subscribe. To get off the list, send another message to the same address and put the word unsubscribe in the body. If you were on Vince's old mailing list, you need to re-subscribe to this one.

Junior Fleming Launches Glass Bottom Boat

Junior Fleming, well known on Shoal Bay as captain of various glass bottom boats, launched his own new boat today in Island Harbour. And Junior even has his own Web Page. Phone 809-497-4456 for more details.

News Tidbits

Ken Rogers restaurant Serenity on upper Shoal Bay opened last Sunday with music by Sprocka. The West Indian Garden Party and Dance at the Catholic Church on Saturday night was a big success - over 300 people attended, the curried pork and other food was incredible, and the weather was nice. Island Harbour Primary School has received a generous donation that has enabled them to order their first computer: a Dell Pentium plus HP 600C DeskJet printer. Offshore.com.ai has an incredible satellite picture of Anguilla on their Anguilla web page now. A Hercules military transport plane landed at Wallblake airport last week, delivering donated school supplies from Canada. This was a large airplane for such a small runway. Cable and Wireless has a Web Page directory of e-mail users in Anguilla. Anglec's application for a power rate increase was rejected by the government - the dispute has gone to arbitration.

Botanist Leads Nature Hike

Botanist Mary Walker and naturalist Oliver Hodge led a walk of 20 nature enthusiasts over the area between the two coasts at West End. Before Luis, this area had the largest area of "canopy woodland" on Anguilla (i.e., the trees close overhead for shade), the other two areas being in Katouche Valley and Blackgarden. West End contains loblolly wild fig, turpentine, maidenberry, white stopper, ebony, chink, fiddlewood, and barkwood trees. Unusually, there are fungi and lichen on some of the trees.

New Airport Agreement Signed

The Government of Anguilla signed a "memorandum of understanding" with the Government of Aruba on February 23rd, signifying their intention to build a new Anguilla airport capable of handling mid-size jets such as the 737 and cargo planes. The proposed location is in Brimogen near Blackgarden Bay (that is between North Valley and Shoal Bay) and the proposed cost if $25 to $30 million. The Aruban government plans to use the Aruban private sector to provide Anguilla with a business plan for the design, financing, development and construction of a jet airport. The airport will be a private concern, which on completion will be run by investors and share holders.

The Over 30s Disco

dragon disco

Our 70 year-old housekeeper, who has 15 children (ten still living), took us out last night for an evening of revelry at the Over 30s Night of Red Dragon Disco. She's a great dancer and was in strong demand by many dance partners all evening. The Red Dragon is part of a liquor store-gift shop-nightclub complex located west of the Vista Market and the Sandy Ground roundabout. Live, caribbean music was provided by Smiley and the All-stars, an amplified string band. The musicians, who varied through the night as people took breaks and were replaced by others from the audience, played saxaphone, washtub bass (amplified by a microphone), guitars, and grater. The band started playing about 9:15 PM (very early by Anguillian standards - the regular disco doesn't usually get going until about midnight) and the crowd formed about an hour later. There was a Soroptomist Variety show that night and I recognized many of the participants arriving at the Disco after 10 PM. The dance floor is outdoors in a courtyard, with the band playing on a raised veranda. Inside there is a bar and a regular Disco with flashing lights, etc.

There was a large friendly crowd, having a lot of fun, with lots of elegant, hip swaying dancing. The Over 30s disco usually occurs about once a month. Recommended.

Sunday at Shoal Bay

We went for a ride in Junior's New Glass Bottom Boat on Shoal Bay. There were 10 of us, but the boat is big enough that everyone had a good view. We saw incredible coral and fish, plus a huge sting ray. Sunday was a great day at Shoal Bay, with live music at four places: Serenity (Ken Roger's new restaurant), on the sand in front of Shoal Bay Villas (the High Tension reggae band), at Uncle Ernies, and at Round Rock!

Derivation of "Old Ta"

On Saturday, Herbdoctor@aol.com asked the Anguilla Mailing List:

> Does anyone know the derivation of Old Ta and what the boundaries are?

Vince Cate replied:

Old Ta is shortened from "Old Tower". Old Ta used to have the main water tower for The Valley. You can still see the very old and rusted water pipes going into town from Old Ta. They are like 4 inches in diameter and in many places only half there. If you go from your house to the North around the right of the new house to the North of you, down the "road" less than 100 yards, you can find the pipes and the trail along the pipes. The trail is just south of the pipes and makes a very direct trail into town. I have hiked it into town a few times (but not since Luis).

I once saw an old book on Anguilla (maybe 20 to 30 years old) that showed the water pipe from town to Old Ta. Kind of fun.

I don't know the exact boundaries of Old Ta, or even if there are any exact ones. The small square water tower here now is on the site (may even be the original). I noted that the pipes line up with it, but checked with Jeff's brother Lalu who works for the water dept and lives next to the tower to make sure of the site. So we are very close to the original center of Old Ta.

Menus of Anguilla: The Palm Court

Recently we twice took guests for dinner to Cinammon Reef (809-497-2727). The food was incredible, although some of the smaller straight back chairs need to be retired. The dining room can be protected from the wind by a plexiglass window wall that raises and lowers. We especially enjoyed the Chowder of Local Snapper and Vegetables.

To inaugurate a new series on The Menus of Anguilla, I present some trantalizing extracts from The Palm Court menu:

More Interesting Web Sites

More Anguilla information on the Net:

News Tidbits

Many hotels were full this month: Cap Juluca, Malliouhana, and Sonesta, among others. My partner stayed at the Sonesta during his February visit and was very pleased with the pampered treatment there. The restaurants are busy too - I had to call four on a Tuesday before I could get a dinner reservation for that night.

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