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  • Writer's pictureHummingbird Retreat

Week 17

Wildlife wonder- Gray kingbird


I often see these birds around the garden and on the roofs and they seem quite sociable. In the early morning, while there are still moths flying around the outside lights on my balcony, there is often one sitting on the balcony wall or swooping in to catch the moths. They are about 20-25cms in length and are beautiful shades of grey with black features and a white breast. Their bill looks similar to that of a kingfisher and they are certainly good at swooping down and catching insects mid-air as well as plucking them off walls. They remind me of song thrushes because they are the same size and are equally vocal. I also sometimes hear a banging sound and look out to see an unfortunate cricket in the beak of one of these kingbirds as they bang it to death on the telegraph wires, as thrushes do with snails.


I was pleased to see that a pair of kingbirds have chosen the nearby telegraph pole to create a nest. This is level to my bedroom balcony so I have been watching them come and go. It looks like they are now feeding the baby birds but I need my binoculars to see them more clearly. The photo above doesn’t really do justice to the view but the arrows mark the nest and one of the parents nearby. Their nest is precariously balanced where the wires meet on the pole. Usually they produce just two eggs, which are cream with reddish brown marks and I am looking forward to seeing any sightings of fledglings as they take their first flights.


Grenadian gift – Rhum Runner



Recently there was a national holiday for ‘Corpus Christi’ which is a Catholic festival meaning the Body of Christ. The local church had organised a cruise with other churches on the island and about 250 people got together for a day out on the Rhum Runner. This boat offers day trips around the South of the island and is also a popular venue for events such as weddings and birthdays.


In usual Grenadian style, there was loud music, but as it was a church event, it was worship songs and Christian reggae. This made it quite difficult to have a conversation, though the upper deck was more peaceful! We sailed down from St Georges to Point Salines where we turned round in the bay. This point creates the airport runway and we arrived just as a plane was landing, which was an impressive sight to see so close. We then sailed around to Morne Rouge beach (in the above photo) for lunch. This beach is locally called BBC beach after ‘Bob Blanco's Club’ which started there in the 1960’s. One of my friends, who used to play with the Grenadian football team, said that this was where the football team used to come and train. It is the next bay from the main Grand Anse beach but just as clear and calm.

It was lovely to sail around and see the beautiful coastline: the large hotels on Grand Anse beach and beyond, the fort and colourful houses up the hillside as we came into the harbour and many other beautiful views and landmarks. There were so many things that I noticed that I wouldn’t see from the road and I was keen to get the map out on my return and plan future trips out to explore more.


Reflections from the Retreat


The last couple of weeks have been the hardest for me so far. Having been over to Carriacou a few weeks ago and staying in the place where my husband was born and his family still live, I have felt a strong grief reaction with vivid dreams of him, which has been emotional at times.


Also the weather has changed and although the temperatures are similar, the humidity has increased with the beginning of rainy season. At times this has felt quite oppressive as rainclouds build up overhead and I can physically feel a growing tension before the rain falls. Changes in barometric pressure in the atmosphere also create internal changes in our bodies that can lead to headaches, changes in blood pressure and lower energy levels. More rain also means more mosquitos which are always a challenge to live with.


Another recent challenge is that my mobile phone provider here has upgraded their system which is no longer compatible to the basic phone I have for local calls and texts. This change coincided with my gas cylinder running out, which is what I use to run the stove. They only deliver twice a week and it was almost a month without gas before they finally delivered it. Without a phone, I have had to rely on a friend repeatedly calling them to find out when the delivery is coming – to which they normally replied, ‘it will be there tomorrow.’ A few days after the gas went, my new microwave from the UK, started sparking and is no longer safe to use because the metal waveguide has somehow burnt. Adding a viral stomach bug that has been going round the village, an allergic reaction to sapodilla fruit and a few other challenges, it has been a tough few weeks.


These times have challenged my inner anchor of peace but even on a bad day, I haven’t wished to be anywhere else. I’m reminded of something Paul wrote to the early church in Philippi when he said, ‘I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.’ I can lose sight of that at times but ultimately I know that my peace comes from the divine indwelling at my centre rather than external circumstances, though I do question why God created mosquitoes!!


There is progress too along the way, such as finding a great hairdresser who has given me a stylish, short cut that is a lot cooler. The builders continue to work hard and they have removed the old storage units to create larger rooms and pulled up ancient carpets and completed all the floor tiling in the bedrooms and ensuites on the middle floor, as these photos show.



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