2012 Deck – Week 24

A Drive up the Rupert Craig Highway carries you past the villages of Plaisance and Sparendaam on the East Coast of Demerara.  My dad had once pointed out that what most people referred to as the “Catholic Church in Plaisance” was actually situated in Sparendaam (this would be the Church of St John the Baptist), and I couldn’t help but notice that the Saint Paul’s Anglican Church at Plaisance is also in Sparendaam.

I suppose that quibbling about the name of the location is minor since the street that marks the division of the two villages is the same street that both churches are on.  Now the street, that has name issues of its own…

As with most of the place names in Guyana, they reflect our past colonisations and our change from Colonial rule to Independence, the name Plaisance is of French origin, and Sparendaam comes from the Dutch.  Our last colonial masters were the British, when our country was known as British Guiana, and the two main streets running the length of Plaisance were (and to some extent still are) Queen Victoria Road and Prince William Drive.

During the “Burnham years”, one of the changes (some might call it an attempt to eradicate our history) was to rename streets that held “colonial names” to names that were more meaningful to a country emerging from colonial rule and striving for successful Independence.  In Georgetown one of the more notable changes was the renaming of Murray Street to Quamina Street.  John Murray was the Lieutenant Governor of Demerara from 1813 to 1824, Quamina was a slave involved in one of the largest slave revolts in Demerara during that time (in 1823 actually).

In Plaisance, Queen Victoria Road was renamed to Ben Profitt Drive, and Prince William Street was renamed to Andries Noble Avenue.  Ben Profitt was a notable village chairman of Plaisance, and Andries Noble is touted to be one of the best midwives of Guyana, there’s probably very few people over the age of 35 from Plaisance and Sparendaam whom she didn’t help bring into this world.

Although the name changes were made more than a couple of decades ago, the streets are still referred to by many using the original names, although most people who have grown up in the villages know them by both names,  So St Paul’s Anglican Church is sometimes referred to as being on Queen Victoria Road, and sometimes on Ben Profitt Drive, likewise it is also sometimes referred to as being in Sparendaam, as well as being in Plaisance..

I started this blog post just wanting to say something about St Paul’s Anglican Church other than “Here is a photo of the church with it’s cemetery as seen through a gate in its fence”, one thing led to another and now the post is almost 500 words long.

Without further ado; “Here is a photo of the church with it’s cemetery as seen through a gate in its fence” 🙂

St. Paul’s Anglican Church

Click on the image to see it better in the Gallery, along with other images from this year’s Deck Project.

Airwolf

In my youth, which sometimes seems not so far gone (and the rest of this sentence will tell you how far), I looked forward to Saturday afternoon to see an episode of Airwolf, a television serial about a high-tech helicopter, it starred Jan-Michael Vincent and Ernest Borgnine.  I was recently reading an article about the Harpy Eagle and it was referred to as the “Flying Wolf”, and I thought Flying Wolf = Airwolf.

Of course, I would not have had an opportunity to photograph the “Airwolf” of the Television series, so this blog post is obviously about the Eagle 🙂

The Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja) is one of the largest and most powerful birds of prey in the world (one of the reasons it is sometimes called the Flying Wolf), it is a grey bird, its plumage consisting of feathers from slate-black, to grey to white.  They make their nests high up in the canopy of the Rainforest in the forks of the trees, and are a monogamous species, mating for life, they raise one chick at a time, providing for that chick for up to ten months before sending it off on its own.

I’ve had the privilege of seeing a Harpy and its young in the wild, and of being able to view a young one up close (not in a cage in the zoo), they are marvellous birds, with talons that certainly scare me!

I’m not sure which would be scarier, seeing Stringfellow Hawk in a chopper diving towards me or one of these guys swooping, wings pulled back and talons poised…

The Harpy Eagle

2012 Deck – Week 23

I’ve heard people say (this would be either in person, in books or on television) that they can tell a lot about a person by “certain things”, like their shoes, their watch, their friends, what they read, etc. etc. etc.

I’m sure some psychiatrist / psychologist / psychic can probably try that, I won’t even think of trying, given the wide range of books that I’ve read so far, I’d probably be classified as insane or at least as having no particular taste….  I was going to indicate here what I have read, in a broad sense, but I think I’ll keep the idea of me being insane to a minimum for now.

Recently they were tidying and packing up some books that belonged to persons of significance in Guyana’s history, the books belonged to Forbes and Viola Burnham.  They have both died, Viola outliving her husband by a number of years.  Forbes (Linden Forbes Sampson) Burnham, was the second president of Guyana, although he preferred to be known as the first Executive President, that made Viola the First Lady of the time.  Under his presidency our country saw a lot of change, mainly the change that means losing what was then known as British Guiana to the new identity known today (and I use “today” to span the last 30 years) as Guyana.  The politics of it I will avoid, as there is no end to that type of discussion (it’s as bad as or worse than discussing religion).

A few books on the table caught my eye and I took a photograph, I just thought it strange to see those titles together, or maybe not so strange?  🙂

Forbes was quite likely Guyana’s greatest orator, one of the brightest, some of the books I saw were prizes won by him through his school years, and all looked “read”, not for show.

Due to the condition of the dust covers, some of the titles are not complete; they are:  Picket and the Pen, Jurisprudence, Mauritania and Profile of a Prodigy.

For anyone trying to “read” anything into this, it’s just a photograph, honestly!

Walk and Talk

I was processing this photo from 2009 and the title that immediately sprung to mind was “Walk and Talk”, obviously because that’s what the girl was doing; walking leisurely on the jetty, and talking on her cell phone (or mobile phone, or cellular phone, depending on your custom).

Then, of course, being a Caribbean Man, the song from “reggae great” Pluto Shervington popped into my mind as well; that would be “Ram Goat Liver”

As I am fairly certain that not many people outside of the Caribbean would know the song, I’m including the lyrics from the chorus:

Ram goat liver good fi mek mannish water
Billy goat teeth mek the earring for you daughter
Curried goat lunch put de bite in your bark
It mek you daughter … It mek you daughter walk and talk

I think that it is a good bet that the young lady in the photograph may likely be of East Indian descent, so the idea that she might have had Curried for lunch would not be too far fetched, and she can certainly walk and talk 🙂

Walk and Talk.
A cropped telephoto image. Click on it to see it better in the Gallery.

These days I have to wonder if the cell phone is more of a convenience or an intrusion.  As it is, they are now more than just phones, they’re basically what was once your home computer, now in the palm of your hand.  I remember when I owned a PC with a 386 processor that had an 80MB Hard Drive and at the time, that was considered large; now my smartphone has more than that amount of memory built-in and an additional card that can hold an additional 8GB of data.

But I digress.  It is convenient to have a phone always with you, rather than being tied to a land-line.  It is convenient to be able to check your e-mail, your Facebook and Twitter accounts, check stock trades and the latest news, and so much more.  There are, however, times when you can do without the constant interruptions, the unpredictable yet persistent “ping” or “bleep” or whatever “ring-tone” you’ve chosen to notify you of every event that the phone is now capable of alerting you to.  After weighing the Pros and Cons, I came to a decision that the mobile phone is as much as a convenience as you want it to be, and conversely, as much of an inconvenience as you want it to be.

My phone goes on silent when I go to Church, to meetings and to various functions where I prefer not to be disturbed, I feel the vibrations and I am aware that when I finish whatever it is I am doing that, after the hour or two, I will have a few (or quite more than a few) messages to read and maybe calls to return.  But I am the master of the phone, it is not the master of me, and quite frankly, that is how it should be.

Now I’m hungry for some Curried Goat!

2012 Deck – Week 22

All of my photographs from this week came from two family functions, so, not surprisingly, it will be a photo of a family member (members).

I had just gotten hold of a 50mm lens for my camera, what many call a Nifty Fifty, having never shot with a fixed lens on the SLR before I thought it was a good time to try my hand out.  It was fun, I had to “zoom” with my feet, but the framing and composition were easier to deal with than I had originally thought, since I’ve always used a zoom lens of one type or the other (wide zooms and telephoto zooms)

Since many people who have seen my photography know that I don’t do photographs of “people” a lot, this is quite a departure for me, I hope you like it.

Nathan and Grandpa

The Long Shadows

With the sun far past its zenith and fast approaching the horizon, long shadows are cast upon the ground.   Although I knew that I wouldn’t get what I wanted, I simply had to try.  The sun was still a bit too high, and it cast a fiery glow to the edge of the roof, but the shadows created by the posts drew me in and I simply HAD to take a photograph.

In the dirt there are furrows from bicycles or possibly wheel-barrows and scattered across are flower petals from a nearby tree.

Promenade Gardens, August, 2011.  Click on the image for a much better view in the Gallery.

OK, for those of you who have watched way too many sequels and prequels (and even re-makes) of Nightmare on Elm Street, yes, the three “long” shadows did put me in mind of Freddy reaching from the world of dreams and darkness into our dimension.

2012 Deck – Week 21

Georgetown is changing, every day; some may say it is for the better, newer buildings, more businesses, a boost to the economy, others look at it as a neglect of the traditional, our history, our heritage and, ultimately, our past.

While others countries, even other Caribbean nations, strive to preserve and maintain the “Heritage” buildings, our politicians can’t seem to grasp the idea of Tourism generated by the longing to see just such buildings, they apparently think that tourists come here just to see the Kaieteur Falls.

Although my photograph for this week is not one of the exalted buildings, I think the point can be made that there are many buildings worthy of being preserved, saved and cherished.

There is a Heritage Building Corridor that runs through the heart of historic Georgetown, it stretches from the head of High Street where the building that houses the Canadian High Commission marks the first notable Historic building, and stretches down through Main street and into Avenue of the Republic where the Parliament buildings and Saint Stanislaus’ College mark the end of the designated corridor.

Among the numerous buildings in the corridor are the Prime Minister’s Ressidence, Red House, City Hall, the Demerara Mutual building, City Hall, Cameron and Shepherd, The Victorian Law (High) Court and St Andrew’s Kirk.  The National Trust of Guyana has earmarked twenty-four sites along the corridor as Heritage sites.  Some are kept in good condition, whilst others are falling steadily into disrepair.

This photograph is of a junction off the corridor, and while it may not be a historically important building, or of architectural value, it shows that many buildings are ageing, and unlike rum, some of which are said to be “aged to perfection”, this one has passed its prime, and is definitely somewhere the other side of perfection 🙂