Friday, October 31, 2008


Remember this song and opening sequence? Big Blue Marble gave so many of us our first pen pals. The lovely lyrics of the theme song were applicable then and still are now in more ways than one.
The Earth's a Big Blue Marble when you see it from out there...
Closer, getting closer, perspectives start to change things look a little strange, as we get closer.
Closer, growing closer, no need to be afraid our troubles start to fade, as we get closer.
Together is a word we must learn to understand, if we ever want to get to know each other better.
Together is a word that holds tomorrow in its hand, tomorrow's just another day to get together, and...
Get closer, closer, closer, closer...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

All-expenses-paid French vacation for two

The bow on my French prize.
Take a wild guess as to what my French prize was ... then scroll down to read the answer.
My French prize is an "Oxford French Dictionary PLUS Grammar and Culture Guide". The woman who went up before me received the prize for French Level 1. Then I went up and received for French Level 2 (the class I was in last year). Then was a woman for French Level 3. We all got dictionaries. They got huge ones (like encyclopaedias), but mine was much smaller (like a thick novel) - 8 inches high by 5 inches wide by 2 inches deep.

One might find that a dictionary is a strange prize, given that most language students already have dictionaries. But, according to the Level 1 woman, the ones we got are "the recommended ones".

When we got back to our seats the Level 3 woman said to me: "But how come we got such big ones and they gave you that small one?"

"Because mine is for traveling with," I said in all seriousness. I then added that I would no doubt find my plane tickets (for two to Paris) between the pages when I unravel the bow.

A good experience, nice to be acknowledged, encouraging to have won something, especially when I wasn't even expecting it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Missing person

The other day I was at the check out counter of HiLo, St. Anns. My eyes fell on the community notice board on the wall ahead of me. There, amidst fliers and notices for various things were ads for Missing Dogs ... and Missing People! Knowing how bad it feels to have a missing dog, it struck me in that moment: (God forbid) imagine having to put up an ad for a missing person! And to think that missing people ads are on a supermarket cork board, seemingly as common as fliers advertising missing dogs!

I don't know the missing young woman featured in the above flier, although it's a small world and her name sounds very familiar. I've received quite a few forwarded e-mails over the past few days (from friends who know her or who know people who know her) asking everyone to look out for her and/or her car. So when I got the above flier today I thought I would put it up here. Prayers go out for her and for her loved ones.

Immersed in club soda ... and other news

Maracas Bay seen upon arrival through my windscreen .
I like the symbolism of this star and rainbow together: making a wish and getting the pot of gold.
Yesterday (Divali) I headed off early to Maracas Bay with my friend Tamara (Miss T) who is here from Toronto until December - shooting footage for a film she's working on. I'll be doing some work on it with her (shooting) in November and, if it's anything like the last time she was here, it will be fun and interesting. We reached Maracas early and the beach was fairly empty (although, being a public holiday, we knew the masses would be descending from around 10 - 11 a.m. - the time we ended up leaving). The ocean was rough, with huge waves ... but in a contradictory way, even though we were being tumbled and scraped along the sea floor, the texture of the water itself was soft and effervescent. It felt as though we were immersed in a huge washing machine full of club soda. Very cleansing and rafraichissant ... to use a French word.

Speaking of which ...
Invitation to awards ceremony (writing appears backwards because of iPhoto)
I got two other invites for two guests, which I gave to mum and one of my sisters.

In other news:
1. This evening at the 2007/2008 Prize Award Ceremony on campus, I will receive my French prize. I can't remember if I mentioned that while in Tobago recently, I got an unexpected phone call from a woman at the University telling me I had won a prize for French. Finally I'll get to see what it is! Peut-ĂȘtre ... an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Paris?

2. I will be on TV tomorrow morning (Gayelle's early morning Cock-a-doodle-do programme) presenting the cheque (proceeds from the Green Carpet concert) to WORC. We will be giving all concert profits to this organisation, to assist with the vital work they do for injured and orphaned wild animals. Tune in and see what WORC is about. You may be moved to give more - cash or kind (they need volunteers).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A review of my talk to WOMAN

As a 'Thank You' after my talk they gave me a lovely handmade card with their signatures and a bag of rainbow items: a rainbow candy cane, rainbow bracelet and the rainbow air freshener now hanging above the star in my car.
Today I am sharing a review on the talk & presentation I gave on Sunday. It's written by Del (The Soul of Jasse), who organises the WOMAN event and had invited me to talk to the group of women involved in the project. I always feel happy knowing that something I offer has inspired another/others.

Here is her recap:

Yesterday for my weekly meeting of WOMAN -The Event, Elspeth Duncan, noted Multimedia artist (writing, music, photography, interactive conceptual art, video/film) graced us with her presence. She is an artist I have always wanted to meet and was and still am intrigued by her work and mind. In the little space of an hour and a half, she said such profound things that I wrote down and promised to remember in my daily existence.

1. develop your intuition - this way you are more in touch with the world and by extension, yourself.
2. Do what your heart calls you to do - don’t do things just for money.
3. FIND THE DEEPER THINGS IN SIMPLICITY- this is something which I have been doing for the past year. Since this, I appreciate all the small things in life.
4. Creation= transformation
5. Creativity = life : creativity comes from the heart. It is the root. It is the foundation.
6. Don’t hold on to your best work - Sometimes by throwing things away, you actually create or you allow new things to be created.
7. Don’t force things to happen - sit back and allow things to happen for you. The earth takes a natural course. If it is meant to be it will be.
9. Magic is art and art is magic.
10. Emptiness allows for other things to fill us.

Emptiness allows for other things to fill us.

This statement shouted to me. For the past few years I have been feeling empty. Though my life is finally experiencing happiness, I feel creatively empty. Since a child I had visions of myself being successful and reaching places by this age. I am no where near to my goals. I am in a job that is not boring but not exciting. It’s a job. There is money. I want more from life. I spent 3 years doing a degree in Musical Arts And now feel no sense of achievement now that I’m finished. I want to explore my creative self. Connect with the root of it all - my heart and the earth. It is what guides us. It is what will open my mind to everything.

I have been experiencing a serious case of writers block for a long while. While I have so much emotion and opinion in my head, I cannot express it.
My music has died - my poetry has died - my art has died
I fear that my creativity is dying.
For now - I will try my best to listen to E.
Don’t force things to happen.
Sit back and allow things to happen for you. The earth takes a natural course. If it is meant to be it will be.
That is profound!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Duck Dream

This morning I went into a thrift store to see if they would take the packed up items that I will give away, rather than discard (... and they will, so I'll go back with the things on Wednesday). Inside, amidst the books, clothes, shoes and other odds and ends, I came across an old little box containing two tiny gold ducks on springs. They bobbed up and down when I touched them and suddenly I remembered my dream from last night.

I was standing naked in front of a mirror by a window. The room was dark, but my body had a glow to it that made the air around me bright. Suddenly I heard a voice calling. It was my neighbour, Mrs. C, calling what I thought was her dog. My first instinct was to dart away from the window, but then I realised she couldn't see me. I looked out and realised she was calling not to the dog, but to swarms of ducklings. I was amazed to see hundreds, maybe even thousands, of baby ducks running around outside the window. I had never seen anything like it.

As I played with the two little gold ducks in the old box, I told the woman in the thrift store (who was walking around with me, talking): "I now remember that last night I dreamt a whole set of ducks."

"Oh, you know about dreams?" she said.

I told her I had never dreamed ducks before and that when I got home I would look them up.

The Duck is symbolic of water energy (emotions) and the ability to deal powerfully with them. The Duck is also known as a helper of clairvoyance and seers. His message is to listen to emotions and feelings as the bringers of truths, as opposed to side stepping or ignoring them as intolerable or shameful. Water Energy is the carrier of intuitive messages that can be missed due to intellectual stifling.


Sentimentality and labels aside ...

(Writing on the box is backwards because I took the photo using iPHoto, which reverses letters)
Last Monday I woke up and started cleaning and clearing my space and everything in it ... minimizing my possessions as much as possible by throwing them away or packing them up to be given away. Clothing, shoes, objects/nick-nacks, papers, books, etc. It will take a while for me to really get down to the bare minimum, because the more I discard, the more I see to be discarded. In this current cleaning/clearing mode there is little or no time for sentimentality.

Do I use this?
Do I need this?
Do I want this?
Who do I know who will use/need/want this?
Why am I keeping this?
Why is this important to my life now?
What are the things I would keep if I had only one suitcase to put them in?

It's interesting, delving into bags and boxes I had quite forgotten about, unearthing all kinds of memories. Inside is outside. Outside is inside. This feeling for space and a blank slate in my external environment is reflecting how I currently feel about my inner environment.

I was invited to give a talk yesterday to a group of women (which was really enjoyable) - on my work, the creative process, etc. When it was time to begin/introduce myself, I started off by saying that I am a multimedia artist ... Then I stopped, realising that that label, while it may be true (in terms of what I 'do') no longer really feels 100% me. There is more of 'me' which that label doesn't embrace.

'Multimedia artist' is a label I actually didn't choose for myself. It was what someone called me in a newspaper article she wrote about my first solo exhibition in 2001. At the time, not knowing what to call myself because there were so many things to describe, I thought 'multimedia artist' worked because it encapsulated everything. Then everyone started referring to me automatically as "Elspeth Duncan, Multimedia Artist".

Now I feel a bit like someone who got named at birth by their parents, grew up, felt the name didn't resonate and changed it to something they felt more aligned with. I'm not quite sure what my new 'label' is going to be and when I will begin to use it. Will I come up with it or will someone just call me 'that' one day and it will 'fit'?

Anyway ... I began by telling the women that I feel I am going through a major transition and I am not sure what it means or where it will lead me. I explained the cleaning out of my room and the symbolism of it in terms of new energy and life. I expressed that things of the past, including my former work, feel old. Not irrelevant, because they still have their value, but ... it's as though something very new wants to push up and come out ... and that anything that went before is either stepping aside or has to be let go of, to give the newness space to emerge.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Updates: Bijoux and Veronica's House

Sadly we have not found Bijoux yet. Whenever the thunder rolls (and we've had a lot since she disappeared on 6 October), I think of her and wonder where and how she is. Poor Pippa is not herself ... missing her companion/playmate/sister. Two days ago, driving along the Eastern Main Road in St. Augustine, I saw a wet, forlorn dog (her size and, from a distance, colouring) lying on the pavement. I stopped my car, excitedly got out and approached the dog. It was not her.

The flyer in the above photo was stuck to the back windscreen of my car and fell down just yesterday, so I removed it. The most it did was make more people than usual call out to me in traffic or from the roadside: "Yuh sellin' yuh car?" (i.e. they thought it was a 'For Sale' flyer).

Bijoux, there is still hope that we will find you or that you will return. But ... if that is not to be ... wherever you are, I hope you are safe, warm, dry, well-fed and loved.
As promised, here is a shot of Veronica's House, which is a few days from completion. It was raining when I went this morning - hence the wet haze and sheltering workmen.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Veronica's House 9 days away from completion

I was going today to get a photo of the house, but there was a lot of traffic. I will try to go tomorrow (weekend) and post the photo as a follow up so that you can see progress.Veronica's grandmother's house once stood on the land (demolished in photo).
Many of you already know that a house is being built in partnership with Habitat for Humanity - for Veronica and her children (read up on the genesis of this project here ). This small family was the subject of the short documentary, INVISIBLE, on which I worked last year.

Today, after months of delay in starting construction, I am happy to say that the house is 9 days away from completion. Jennifer Massiah, regional co-ordinator of Habitat called me today to say that volunteers and funds are now needed for:
1. The Cesspit (digging and casting)
2. Tiling of floor and/or bathroom

Total cost required for the cesspit materials and labour = a mere $8,408.80 TT.

See the breakdown below. Even if you can't help by financing the whole thing, you and your friends/family/co-workers/group/etc may be able to provide for SOME of it ... by funding an item or two.

One (8)M3 OF 1.2 & 1.2 AGGREGATE - $2,600
30 SACKS CEMENT @ $53 EACH - $1,590
140 of 6" x 8" x 16" concrete blocks @ $9.50 each - $1,330
1 Box of 2" concrete nails - $16
10 lengths of 12 mm MS Bars @ $52.28 each = $522.80
5 yards of boulders @ $350 each - $1,750
Labour - $600

To donate to the Veronica's House cesspit or tiling projects, please call Habitat for Humanity at 675-1222 (reference: Veronica's House Special Project)

Thanks in advance.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Naked Soul

Clothesline, Englishman's Bay, Tobago
Through the window of my inner Eye, I glimpse her removing this world's clothing from the line. She knows that Life's fashions do not always suit Truth's form.

"Why keep what does not fit us anymore?"

My Soul disrobes and walks, naked and brilliant, in the room we share. "Look at me," she says, glowing. "Have you ever really seen me before?"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cute enough to convert cat haters

Seeking loving home for the kitten known as Pumpkin Orange.
Pumpkin Orange
Recently I was over at my friend Moka's apartment. From her balcony I heard little squeaking noises, like kittens. Lo and behold, there was a mother cat feeding her two kittens in a window-box-like thing on the floor just below Moka's.

"Ugh! I detest cats!" Moka stated with an air of finality when I exclaimed how cute they were ...

To cut a long story short, Moka, that same avowed cat-hater of less than a week ago, has since fallen in love with the remaining kitten (the mother and other kitten mysteriously disappeared). See the photos on this post (taken by Moka) and ask yourself who could resist adoring that kitten. She has named it "Pumpkin", has removed it from the window-box and now has it on her balcony in a box with its own blanket and toys. She feeds it, she speaks to it in a baby voice and refers to it by a variety of endearing nicknames, like "Pumpkin Spice Latte". She refers to Pumpkin as 'the cutest' and calls me a few times a day, like a proud mother with a newborn baby, to update me on what Pumpkin is doing. While on the phone she will occasionally forget that I'm on the other end, slip into baby voice and gurgle things like: "What you doing playing in your milkie?" or "Don't eat the ants" or "Shay hello to Auntie Shpec." It sounds to me like the rest of her life is now on hold, as she spends her day and her nights before bedtime on the balcony with this kitten.

Unfortunately this newly-converted cat lover is not allowed to have pets in her apartment and cannot keep Pumpkin. She is currently seeking a loving home for him/her. If any of you would like to adpopt Pumpkin or know of anyone who can give him/her a loving home, please call Moka at 638-7070
Adopt me.
I'm worth it.
I just called Moka to find out if it was okay to put her phone number on the blog. Her mother answered and said: "I don't know where she is ..." (short pause as she realises she's with Pumpkin) ... "Gosh, she's so obsessed with that cat ..."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The PAW Process

Englishman's Bay, Tobago (October 2008)
(Excerpt #1): By setting an outcome we become aware of the difference between what we have and what we want. The difference is the 'problem'. When you have set an outcome and are clear about your desired state, then you can plan to make the journey from one to the other. You become proactive, you take ownership of the problem and start to move towards a solution.
(Excerpt #2):
You need to believe three things about your outcomes:

It is possible to achieve them

You are able to achieve them

You deserve to achieve them

ossibility, Ability and Worthiness are the three keys to achievement. Remember them as the PAW process.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Eyes closed,
I throw away
All that no longer serves me.

I will not hold on.
I will not look back.
I must clear the space
For my Soul's emergence.

Long awaited

Wings billow inexplicably in the fleshy seed coat.

The pain of bursting rips me open
with the promise of emergence.
She has been calling me out for a lifetime.
She has fed me the catalyst.

I vow to listen.
I vow to act.
I am ready

For what
I do not know

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Everything you seek

Everything you are seeking is seeking you in return. Therefore, everything you want is already yours. So you don't have to get anything; it is simply a matter of becoming more aware of what you already possess.

You were Born Rich

Open Door

Seek that door and find it. But before you try to open it, remind yourself no one can fail who seeks to reach the truth. And it is this request you make today. Nothing but this has any meaning now; no other goal is valued now nor sought, nothing before this door you really want, and only what lies past it do you seek.

Put out your hand, and see how easily the door swings open with your one intent to go beyond it. Angels light the way, so that all darkness vanishes, and you are standing in a light so bright and clear that you can understand all things you see.

A Course in Miracles

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

GREEN CARPET concert this Saturday

Dear All,

I have included some important concert information below. Please read and respond swiftly, to the best of your ability. Having personally seen and heard many of the scheduled performers in action, I can vouch for them as being 'moving experiences'. When I first met Tobyn Pearson (Canadian magician) at Detta's home, he blew me away with 'simple' magic tricks that I had no idea HOW ON EARTH he made possible! I have heard Michelle Rudder perform both piano and poetry and she raised the hairs on my skin with her fullness of passion and expression. I have experienced the Chamber Orchestra and assure you that their dedication and practice definitely pay off in their performances. I am looking forward to the talents of the other performers on the night of the show. No doubt just as potent. It is an evening to be experienced for a very good cause: the environment we live in and the creatures who inhabit it.
Greenlight Network's 2nd annual environmental fundraising concert.
Featuring an intriguing mix of top performers

DATE: Saturday October 18th, 2008
TIME: 5 - 8 p.m.
VENUE: La Joya Auditorium, La Joya Complex, Curepe

Sharda Patasar - sitar
Anthony Rose and Partner - Exodus pan players
Sangeeta Agrawall - Indian instruments and tabla
Limbo - Gail Edinborough
SACO (St Augustine Chamber Orchestra) - classical renditions
Michelle Rudder - classical piano
Tobyn Pearson (Canadian magician)

All proceeds will be used to support important environmental work.
50% to WORC (Wildlife Orphanage and Rehabilitation Centre)
50% to ongoing Greenlight Network creative/awareness raising environmental projects

For tickets, call:
Elspeth - 786-2539
Glen - 789-0786

Thank you for your support.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Luminous Lightbulb seeks Soulful Window

This window became the Dream House.
Whenever I get the sudden feeling to create a new window lamp, I know that something special is in the air. Some great opportunity is about to present itself. Some transformation is occurring within - and without. Some message wants to be revealed. Some healing is taking place. Some experience is waiting to be had. Some connection needs to be made. Some mission must be accomplished.

The process is instinctive and inevitable. I don't need to think - only feel and express. Go with the flow. It sharpens my intuition. It is Spirit in action. Creation. Attraction. Manifestation.

Come to me, Window.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Foundation of Love in action

Opening doors
Before you read today's post, read this very short post (about the stone in the above image). Its significance will strike you as you read on.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while will know the Dream House Window Lamp and how it was inspired by the need to build a dream house for Veronica and her children ... as well as it being a vessel of light into which any of us could place our dreams (as in a House full of Dreams), to give them positive and powerful energy for highest manifestation.
The Dream House Window Lamp
Yesterday, about six months after the launch of the Dream House Window Lamp we finally began working on Veronica's House. Before telling this story, I wish to thank Babita Dubay, who came to see Invisible at the Film Festival, heard me mention the need for volunteers for Habitat for Humanity in my director's talk afterwards and told a friend of hers in England about it.
(l. to r.: Babita D. and Annisha of Habitat)
Her friend, Nerissa, is a Trinidadian who lives in England and is married to an Englishman, James. They are celebrating their 5th anniversary this October and were coming to Trinidad to celebrate (as they had been married here, in Blanchisseuse).
The Anniversary Couple: James & Nerissa
Honey, I'm really digging this 5th anniversary celebration
When friends asked them what they wanted as gifts, they opted for the 'gifts' to be donations to a charity of their choice. They decided to donate to Veronica's House (when Babita told them of it) and for them and their party of friends (who would travel with them from London to TT to celebrate the 5th anniversary) to put in some hard work as volunteers on the site.
Many hands. Light work.
When I arrived at the site yesterday, Nerissa, her husband and a few of their friends, Babita included, were sweating it out in the hot tropical sun, shoveling sand, toting it in wheelbarrows and dumping it to fill the foundation. People talk about romantic anniversaries as candlelight dinners, champagne, etc. ... but I find this idea is also romantic and meaningful. Not only are Nerissa and James celebrating their love for each other, but they are extending that love to someone else, a stranger and her family ... and including their friends and family in the process.
Nerissa's dad
One of their friends
Another friend in action

There are so many couples all over the world and there always will be. If, for each anniversary for the rest of their lives, every couple honoured and celebrated their own love and then further extended it to the world through some mutual act of of kindness and service, this would activate a timeless global chain of love and healing. It would also strengthen the couples' own bond as they are infused with the special energy generated through mutual willingness to help others and make the world a better place.
I find it interesting that I found the heart rock at Toco after a 5 day silent retreat ... and James and Nerissa have been married for 5 years. Also that the heart rock/symbol of Love was the foundation stone for the Dream House Window Lamp ... and here it is that Nerissa and James, in celebrating Love, are building the foundation of the actual house.
On behalf of Veronica and her children, Habitat for Humanity and all who have thus far donated in cash or kind to this venture, I extend thanks to Nerissa, James and friends ... and wish the happy couple many more meaningful anniversaries.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Love & Light

Love & Light
Art may not change anything ... but the ideas we have about ourselves we project into the world ... Negative images have a way of coming alive just as positive images have. If we project images of beauty, hope, healing, courage, survival, co-operation, interrelatedness, serenity, imagination and harmony, this will have a positive effect. Imagine what artists could do if they became committed to the long-term good of the planet. The possibilities are beyond imagination. If all artists would ever pull together for the survival of humankind, it would be a power such as the world has never known.

Ciel Bergman

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bijoux update

(l. to r. - Pippa and Bijoux - Hindi's daughters, each from one of her two litters)
Yesterday I called Radio 97.1 and gave them the information on Bijoux so they could make a free community announcement.

I also photocopied some 'Help us find our lost pet' flyers (containing her photo, description, name, my cellular phone number, etc.) and went driving around to put them up in establishments in the area.

I stopped at the stationery place (Office Express) and the cashier said in that drawn out doo-doo-darling kind of tone: "Doh worrrrrrrrrry. I go put this up for youuuuuu. I does love animal and I does go all out for them!" She related a story about a cat she had picked up once and ended off with "... and I does cook all the food for my dogs! I doh make joke with dat! Dey eatin' cook food!"

Everywhere I stopped to put up flyers, I was struck by how genuinely concerned the people were - all of them saying: "I hope you find her." It felt like a small network of kindness and awareness being built up in the environs.

Driving home past the Creative Arts centre on Gordon Street (not far from home), I noticed dogs lying under the cars in the carpark and went in to see if any were her. I stopped and told the guard at the gate: "I'm looking for a lost dog" and showed him the photo on the flyer.

"But eh-eh, I did see this dog here Monday on my shift! I sure is she. They always have dogs in here, but this one different and she had a collar."

He told me to look around the compound and ask the lady in the cafeteria. No luck.

Driving up St John Road, I stopped at a small grocery and asked the one female customer and man behind the counter if they had seen her (gave them the flyer).

"But ... that is the dog that just just came across on 97!" the woman exclaimed after reading the description. "The announcer just say it lost in the vicinity of St John Road!"

The man behind the counter said: "Lemme see?" He looked closely at the photo on the flyer. "But this is the dog that was in here just yesterday!" He went in the back and called out to a woman to show her the flyer.

I heard him ask her: "This is the dog that was in here yesterday?"

Her voice floated back: "It looking so ... only the one yesterday had more brown."

The picture was taken a few months ago and since then Bijoux's hair has (as my sister confirms) become more brown. Maybe it was her ...? All clues seem to be pointing to the fact that she could be wandering around the area, perhaps trying to make her way back home, but running scared again every time the (now daily) thunder rolls. We will keep our eyes peeled, our thoughts positive, our intuition sharp and the spirit of good old Nancy Drew, girl detective, by our sides.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

An interesting conversation

The 5 litres of coconut water I bought this morning
This morning I went to buy coconut water from the Indian man who sells from a truck outside the pet store along the Eastern Main Road, St. Augustine. He fills up a 5 litre bottle for $60 ... which sounds expensive, but is cheaper than it is in POS and other vendors I've tried ($80 for the same thing). Plus this man's coconuts taste better - water and jelly are consistently sweet.

Usually we just say hello and I ask him a few questions about coconuts - or he tells me things like "The water nuts last longer" and "When you storing your water in the fridge, loosen the cap a bit."

Today as he filled my bottle, I stood next to him eating the jelly nuts he was cutting open for me. They were extra sweet. When I was done and the bottle was full, I asked him: "How long have you been doing coconuts?"

"Forty years," he said proudly.


"I used to have donkey cart, you know." In those days he bought each coconut for seven cents and sold them at ten nuts for a dollar. Before that, in his father's day, a nut was even cheaper. His father would purchase coconuts at one cent each.

"I even in a history book, you know," he told me.

He couldn't remember the name of it. In fact, he didn't even know he was in a book (used in schools) until his daughter came one day and told him: "Daddy, you know you in my schoolbook?" ... and showed him.

"We have the book home," he said. "Is one day when a white woman run up to me, chase me down and ask to take my picture ... and then I end up in this book. Lots of people did take my picture, you know."

I asked him his name.

"Enal. E-n-a-l."

"And I'm Elspeth. Scottish for Elizabeth."

"You mean like Isabel?"

"No, just like Elspeth."

After a few attempts at pronouncing it, he got it.

He told me that he has worked hard all his life and that he always wanted his children to get a good education. "I didn't want my son to end up in coconut. He get a good education and a big job. My daughter too. Now she married and I have grandchildren."

He told me how he, with his coconuts, and his wife of 30 years, with her domestic work, had supported their little family.

"We do it together," he said proudly. "Two together does make the best one."

He had never been a party man and his wife, never a party woman. "Is hard work and then home every day to the family. And we is Christians. Jesus Christ." He then pulled out a pack of cigarettes. "This is my only vice."

"I used to smoke too, but I stopped seven years ago."

"I don't like to see woman smoke."

"Men too," I added.

"Men too," he agreed, pulling out a cigarette to light up. "But I feel we is human and God does let us have one vice which he does forgive us for. This is my vice. I ent never run down woman."

I found him simple, fascinating and inspiring: this unassuming man with his t-shirt and pants, missing teeth, one cloudy blue eye and little pick-up truck full of coconuts, standing patiently in the hot sun every day to earn a living and support his family.

I thanked him and we shook hands. As I turned to walk off, he blurted out: "And I could still climb coconut tree, you know!"


"And I is 55."

"Young," I said.

"And I still looking good for it!"

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Please help to find lost dog: Bijoux

Those of you who live in St. Augustine and environs, please keep your eyes peeled for the dog in the photo above. Her name is Bijoux (French for 'jewels'). It's pronounced Bee-joo (and not Bee-jowx as some Trinis might say). She ran away from home two days ago, terrified by a loud blast of thunder and we cannot find her anywhere (yet).

Black and brown body
White socks
White spot on back of neck
Smiling mouth
Solid physique (i.e. when wet she does not look skinny)

If found, please call 786-2539

With all the thunder and rain we've been having, the possibility exists that she may have been scared even further afield. So please forward this information to your friends and associates who live elsewhere on the island.

I will be making posters/flyers and sticking them up on lamp posts in the immediate St. Augustine area and environs. Someone may have taken her in and may wonder who she belongs to. She has a green collar. It used to have a tag with her name and number on it, but unfortunately she lost the tag.

When you see her she may be wet and scraggly from the rain. She may be looking lost and scared. But she is friendly and most likely will not bite if you go to her. Do not give up on her if she runs away in fright. This is natural for a dog unaccustomed to life on the streets. Pursue and call her name gently, extending your hand kindly and she may come to you. Please attempt to secure her and call 786-2539 so that she can be collected.

Thank you in advance.

I remember when my house mate at the time (Frances) and I were living in Woodbrook ... it was Fran's b'day (1995?) and a little brown dog wandered to the back step where our kitchen was. He walked in and she immediately fell in love with him and decided to keep him. We named him 'Happy' (short for 'Happy Birthday') and he lived a very great life (dying just recently) as 'Hap'.

Someone somewhere must have mourned for him (their beloved pet) when he disappeared, no doubt also terrified by some loud noise like thunder or fireworks. I was thinking today as I drove in the rain, keeping my eyes peeled for Bijoux ... maybe someone kind has found her and fallen in love with her too on their birthday.

Birth Day, Yoga Night, Muesli Morning

Raw muesli which T and I made for breakfast one morning.
The jar to the right contains sesame seed milk.
When T was here we made lots of simple and delicious raw eats/drinks on a daily basis, but the raw muesli with sesame seed milk which she showed me how to make was perhaps my favourite (see above photo of our gourmet prep).

This morning I made a large batch of it for breakfast (today and tomorrow) and I'm eating some now as I blog. It contains finely diced (firm) Graham mango, coconut, pear, apple, raisins, dates, cashews, oats. Mixed all of that up then topped with the sesame seed milk, some banana slices and a thin spiral of honey. Yum.

Yesterday for my birthday, all was quiet. I mainly stayed home, went to the Post Office to collect a package (raw food book ordered by my sister Vanessa), did some groceries and went to collect my French prize (which turned out to be an invitation for me and 'up to two guests' to attend the ceremony later this month where I will collect the prize). I'm curious as to what le prix français is. A book? A CD? A DVD? A trip for two to Paris?

The only thing I felt specifically like doing to celebrate my birthday was yoga - a kriya for working on the 7 chakras and aura, followed by the ra ma da sa healing meditation. Simple and powerful. I felt that would be a good gift to give myself. So in the evening I got together with friends Cherrymoka/webgrl/Kris and Glen on C.Moka's verandah with its view of the large playing field and mountains. We lit some candles and did a short version of the chakra kriya followed by the meditation and topped off with a smoothie I had made (cucumber, avocado, apple, coconut water, flax oil, banana, ice cubes) chilled and poured into wine glasses.

A yummy end to a birthday and a yummy beginning to the day after ...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Today is my Birthday

Sign at roadside on way to Castara on our first day in Tobago.
So far everyone who calls me is asking what 'special plans' I have for my birthday. I don't have any plans. I feel the Universe will pleasantly surprise me as I let the day unfold, ensuring that at least I do things that I 'want to do' and not 'have to do'. Therefore, no work today.

I got lots of lovely e-mails, messages and phonecalls - birthday wishes in general for health, love and happiness. I believe it when people wish me those things, so I look forward to enjoying these intangible gifts.

In terms of tangible gifts ... those I've received thus far are from my family and from T and they are all 'raw' related gifts. It certainly makes it very easy to purchase gifts for me now that I am 'raw'. Such a variety of possibilities ... from edible items to even small kitchen items (like a ceramic peeler), knives, etc. ... or larger kitchen items like a dehydrator, Cuisinart food processor, Vitamix blender, spacious fridge, etc. In fact you don't even have to buy gifts. I would be equally happy with those that are picked from nature (e.g. avocados, mangoes, spinach, etc.)

Today I will collect an unknown 'gift' from CLL at the University, where I do French. While we were in Tobago I got a phonecall from a woman telling me that I won a prize for French and that there is a package waiting for me at the office. I was surprised. I didn't even know they gave prizes for French! She didn't know what the prize was (the package is sealed) ... but I will find out today.

If there is one gift I would specifically ask for today it is that Bijoux returns or that we find her (alive). Bijoux is one of the three dogs (one of Hindi's pups) and Pippa's main playmate. She is terrified of thunder and, once it starts rolling, she normally comes banging on the door to be let in. But somehow this time, maybe the thunder was too loud yesterday ... and she disappeared. Driving around the area last night proved futile ... as did an early drive this morning to drop my sister to the airport.

At best she will return/be returned. At second best, someone kind and loving has found her and will give her a good home.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Dream Cat-cher 2

I came back from dropping T off at the airport and saying godbye ... to find a gift on the bamboo mat in front of my bedroom door. Another lizard (courtesy Jasper who clearly didn't want to be outdone by Herman). Confirmation that dreams are on course.
Lizard is about dreaming. In our dreams we imagine different futures and choose which we will materialize. Lizard teaches us the importance of respecting and remembering our dreams, incorporating the messages from our dreams into our lives.
(Extract from here).

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Dream Cat-cher

Elspeth Duncan & Tresa Yung
Herman, the cat at Lillibet's (Castara) where we spent our first few days in Tobago.
On our day of departure from Lillibet's, Herman THE DREAM CATCHER caught a lizard which he laid in our path as a goodbye gesture. Having had lots of experience with my cat Jasper and his gifts, I immediately saw Herman's lizard as a power animal. The lizard as a power animal is about dreaming and intuition ... and I've been having some very notable dreams on this trip.

I'll now hand over to Tresa to write a few words ...
Not only have Elspeth's dreams been vivid and telling of intuitive messages, but we've come to find a mutually inspired and inspiring purpose; suddenly, it feels as if a door has opened ... as if our "life purpose," "life dreams" and the revelation of each is now further unfolding in the subtle realms for both of us. It has truly been a unique, magical and exciting trip, each day filled with the synchronicity & divine guidance that being open brings. Now, it's time to let go of limiting beliefs and trust in faith.

Back to you, Elspeth ...
I agree totally with everything that Tresa just said. Being here, stepping out of 'life as we know it' has revealed the many possibilities that exist in 'life as we don't know it' (yet) when we find the courage to surrender to the calling of our hearts. Here we had 'nothing to do' and 'nowhere to go'. This has nothing to do with being bored, being lazy or being uninterested in the rush of life. For us, having nothing to do created the space for anything and everything to be possible, even if just in our imaginations (for now) ... and having nowhere to go meant that we could go anywhere (if we wanted to) or stay right where we were.

One of the things that makes it possible to live in, enjoy and flourish in apparent nothingness is living by what we referred to on this trip as 'third eye time'. It is a completely different time that has nothing to do with the clocks we become accustomed to and dependent on in 'everyday life'. Some of you may already be familiar with kronos (chronological time) and Kairos (Divine Time). We did not live by Kronos time here ... and hopefully, upon returning to 'civilisation' we will not lose our awareness of Kairos.

There is a lot that is unfolding and all will be revealed in Divine third-eye time. Being here has reminded me that we are visionaries. From wherever we are, we can extend ourselves beyond that time and space to a reality that may not exist yet in our material surroundings, but is no less 'real'.


Back to you, Tresa ...

Yes, Elspeth, I concur. This experience has made me take pause and see how I, as well as many people I know, can sometimes become so driven, attached to or focused upon our current lifestyle, purpose or status that we can no longer see the unlimited number of things possible in our lives (besides just that which we currently hold on to).

It's also been such a relief to see that creativity can come through things other than pain or suffering. This has been a very light and joyous trip and it's been filled with brainstorming potential. I know so many creative artists who think that they have to remain connected to their struggle in order to create something amazing.

I've done the same thing and I'm ready to step off of that path. When I let go of my self-created limits, anything is possible.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Raw and restful

Sunset on the beach in Castara (on our first evening there)

Dear All,

Sorry for not having blogged lately. This is a quick update. I am currently in Tobago with my friend Tresa, who has come to visit for 2 weeks - her first time in T & T. We are having a great time.

Among other things, we've been creating and eating delicious raw meals. With T being a raw vegan chef, I've been picking up some new tips, tricks and simple recipes.

Only just got internet access today at our new location (closer to 'civilisation'), so may blog again tomorrow. Hope everyone and everything is well.