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  • Writer's pictureHummingbird Retreat

Week 8

Wildlife Wonder- Broad Winged Hawk


I regularly hear a loud screeching call and go out to the balcony to see these beautiful birds circling in the sky above. They are magnificent birds and there is a local pair that fly round the house and perch on the telegraph pole at the end of my drive. I am hoping that they are building a nest locally. I have noticed that the smaller birds send alarm calls when they are near which is understandable because these are carnivorous birds of prey that will eat smaller birds, lizards, frogs, mice and other small mammals. I’ve been told that locally they are called chicken hawks and like most Grenadians, it also has a nickname, Gigi. Their bodies are about 40cms long and their wingspan can reach a metre across. They have bright yellow feet and when they fly you can see their striped brown tail. They are beautiful to watch as they soar effortlessly on the wind and circle overhead.


Grenadian Gifts – the weather


Over the last few weeks we have had our first occasional showers of rain since I’ve moved here. When it rains in Grenada it usually lasts less than half an hour and they are heavy downpours. Unlike English rain that can hang in the air for hours, this feels like very assertive rain that comes quickly and intensely and then stops equally fast. It beats down on the corrugated roofs which can make it hard to hear a conversation or watch anything online because the sound of the rain drowns out everything else. These showers are the forerunners of the raining season which begins next month but I have been told that, due to climate change, the seasons are not as clear cut as they used to be.


As the weather has changed recently with stronger winds and occasional showers. it has made me become more aware of the weather, because most of the time it is blue skies and sunshine. The increased winds of Easter, which makes it a popular kite flying time, and the occasional showers have been a refreshing change and they help to cool the air a little. The temperatures have been in the late 20s and early 30s since I have arrived, which is the typical temperature here with the temperature staying above 20 all the year round, including at night.


A recent report on air quality stated that there were only 6 countries that met the World Health Organization's air quality guidelines and one of these is Grenada (https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2023/03/14/Switzerland-air-pollution-chad-india-estonia-australia-finland-iceland/5011678806611/). So one of the gifts of Grenada, that I am loving, is the outdoor life, due to the reliable weather. I hope I never take for granted the opportunity to wake up and be able to have my morning cup of tea on the balcony or go out in the evening and not have to take a cardigan or jacket. One of the things I thought I would miss, and may still do, is the British seasons but instead I can enjoy watching the changing cloud formations above the sea, notice how clear the distant islands look each day and enjoy being caught in a refreshing downpour.


Reflections from the retreat


When all my cardboard boxes from the container were first unpacked off the trucks, I felt a bit overwhelmed and I couldn’t face unpacking but this week I have managed to begin to sort them out. I was also reluctant to unpack things because the house still needs so much work doing on it and so for now a lot of things are staying boxed up until the building work and decorating are completed. The majority of the boxes seem to be full of books and so I want to begin with setting up the library. This room needs decorating and shelves putting in place and I look forward to finally seeing all our books out of the boxes and all coded and shelved.


There have been a few minor breakages but I am grateful that things have generally travelled well and that nothing was lost, as far as I can see so far. A few people have said to me, ‘oh it must feel like Christmas, unpacking all your boxes,’ and yet I have found it to be quite an emotional roller coaster. There were some boxes that had been in storage for about seven years and so I had forgotten what was in them and it has been interesting to discover what was inside. I expected to feel emotional seeing family photos and cards from friends but I didn’t expect the surge of emotions I felt seeing familiar kitchen items in my new kitchen here. I guess seeing them here confirmed that this is now home and I’m not on holiday and I felt an ache of homesickness at remembering family meals and fun times with the kids. I never expected an old roasting tin or particular kitchen spoon to have such an effect on me but they are like sacred objects with multiple memories attached. It is almost like magicians handkerchiefs so that as I pull a familiar item from a box there is a trail of family stories and memories tied to them, that are pulled out with the item and into my awareness.


We have been planning to move to Grenada for over twenty years and I remember so often wondering about throwing something out and then Hosten and I would say, well, it might be useful in Grenada and we’d keep it. So there are lots of old clothes and material that we thought someone may use or if not we could use for crafts, books of every description to fill the library and various board games, cards and sports equipment that the children have grown out of, but hopefully they will be used here. There are also Hosten’s fishing rods and the ten golf bags that he collected to give away, because he could never afford golf clubs as a boy living near the golf course. There are folders from my therapy work and so many notes from events that I might use here in the future and even my coracle boat which I made last year and which has survived the journey unharmed. Each item has so many happy memories attached, tinged with sadness of loss and homesickness but these feelings will pass as I find new places for familiar items in my Grenadian home. I have even unpacked shells and pieces of coral that we had collected on holiday here and now they have finally come back home to stay.

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