Last week in Nevis in the West Indies I met the wonderful author and local historian Dr June Goodfield and then by chance Roger Daltry. She told me that stories of the Caribbean tend to concentrate on drugs, slavery, pillage and not forgetting the Pirates!
There was so much more she said.
So following on from that comment, I was happy to record that my explorations brought to me much to be shared and encouraged me to spend more time I hope in the future in Nevis.
So like anywhere, beneath any surface hides the wonderful experiences and people you can meet outside the walls of the resort. This is true especially for Nevis but of course, we are there for the plantation homes that make for the most fabulous and luxurious places to holiday.
They have everything you would want, palm trees, green lush grass, charming staff and the ability to switch off. But it is always worthwhile to take a few days out of your sun lounger to see the country.
Houses on the island reflect the policy that plantation owners dictated with larger ones seen above for the managers, while the emancipated were allowed to start building structures that they could touch from side to side with arms outstretched.
Throughout the island abandoned houses at the sides of the road reflect the changing social norms and fears about hurricanes. Many families have left for employment elsewhere like the Virgin Islands, leaving the housing stock to wither. Older houses do not reflect the aspirations of the younger generation, so seen below is the result too often.
Back to the bees and some characters that inhabit the island.
I will call him ‘Q’, he is on the right.
He came to Nevis 26 years ago on a one year contract from VSO to yes, set up beehives and their production. He never left but the wonderful legacy is seven tons of honey each year. In his spare time, he hikes and acts as a guide on the mountain, a trip well worth the slog up almost 800 meters. By the way that is not me on the left!
So that brings us to BSAs. These sturdy bikes from the 1940s helped colonial administrations with transport for the police and army. I suspect that over the globe many lie rotting, either awaiting the ants and metal-mites to finish them off or for enthusiasts like me who wants to recover and restore them. I followed a tip-off and thus suitably dressed in overalls, gloves and helmet worked my way into a disused cellar. This is what I found, along with at least another bike, an abandoned C11 250cc probably from 1949.
As for old Nevis, the buildings tell their own story through large well-hewn stones that shine a light on the sugar industry that caused both wealth and deprivation. Now silent they provide a backdrop to lead us into a better time.
Just where do the steps lead I wonder for Nevis?