Keeping On Our Toes

By now you all know how much we love and appreciate a sick sense of humor, and how we ourselves pride ourselves on our own. However, we do not appreciate when Mother Nature decides to try out her newest stand up act.

Tuesday was just another normal day. Sun shining, blue skies, and a little blob of clouds crossing the lesser Antilles south of us as a slightly disorganized tropical storm called Dorian. We were watching it and all forecast tracks were sending him around 100 miles to our south west.

Fast forward to Tuesday evening, and okay he’s grown a bit, but no storm advisories for the BVI. Our neighbors in the USVI and Puerto Rico were issued tropical storm warnings so we figured we would just get some nice rain and a bit of a reprieve from the scorching heat we have been having. All fine and good.

As we tucked in for the night on Tuesday the BVI Department of Disaster Management our out a notice to check the 11 pm tropical update as there just might be a watch issued last minute for the BVI.

11:15 pm: no update…. phew. Sleep here we come!

3:00 am Wednesday morning: wooooosh! Here’s the rain! Quickly jump out of bed and check the windows are all closed. Glance at the phone… well crap… there’s that advisory from the BVI DDM. BVI is now under a Tropical Storm Warning, and we can expect to feel the effects within the next 24 hours. Not much we can do at 3:00 am, so back to sleep.

6:45 am: Woooosh! There’s more rain! Okay getting a little blustery out there now. Quickly check the 5:00 am update and still looks much the same as the 11:00 pm update from last night, though looking outside tells a different story. BVI DDM alert: Flash Flood Warning issued for the territory…. well, we have all been saying we need some rain but Mother Nature took our rain dances a little too much to heart.

8:00 am: all scheduled staff clock in and get straight to work securing all of the patio furniture at the cottages and villas. Again we are so grateful for an extraordinary staff who always go above and beyond! They got everything put inside and headed home to hunker down (As you East Coaster’s say).

11:00 am: here comes the “breeze” … just a bit more than we anticipated! The governor has issued a curfew from 2:00 pm Wednesday to 6:00 am Thursday…. so that means it’s going to be worse than it is now… okay. Fill the sink and buckets and wait for the power to go off.

2:00 pm: update now says we are under Hurricane warning. **^%#*!

2:03 pm… electricity goes off. We were lucky enough to have power up until then anyway as it had been off in the north sound from 10:00 am.

2:15 pm… Tina calls Michelle …. “the power is out and I’m not turning on the generator until this evening, but now all the computers, server, and satellite equipment are beeping at me! What do I do?!” ….” it’s past curfew Mom, sorry…. not coming out 🙂 power off the battery backups and the beeping will stop. “ Now, not many of you know this… but Tina is not so electrically inclined. Surprising we know, since she can do just about anything! Michelle can usually figure this stuff out…. when she’s looking at it, but it was the blind leading the blind. Tina: “which button on which thing do I press?” Michelle: “the one that’s beeping at you?” Okay, all comedy aside, Tina did press the right button in the end… well, we think so… tomorrow we will know for sure!

4:00 pm: the winds and rain start to subside a bit. Power is still out so just have to wait it out.

6:00 pm: Tina reports in that all is well at Guavaberry! Yay! No trees down, the beach tree stood strong, and the Deltecs took Dorian like a spa day!

8:56 pm… electricity is back!! Thank you oh so much for the hard working crew of the BVI Electricity Corporation!

Now we can rest well and enjoy the weather as we were EXPECTING to before… a cool breeze and soothing rain. Thanks Mother Nature, you sure do keep us on our toes!

(Jackson propping up one tree casualty)

(Ixora standing strong… missing foliage is thanks to a pesky bunch of goats)

(Hibiscus as good as can be)

(The tamarind tree still flourishing… the guinep tree had a bit of a mishap a few weeks ago)

(Water as calm as can be the day after Dorian. The waves were more rough than swells so the sand is barely disturbed!)

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Hello August!

Does anyone else feel like time is flying? We have NO idea where July went. We have been steadily busy so that has helped the time pass so quickly. This week we got to enjoy a visit from our Puerto Rican neighbors. They have an annual event called Christmas in July where they host a massive beach party at Pond Bay. While we didn’t personally attend, we had many guests who came in for the event. It sounds like it was a great success. We enjoyed having an almost full house for that weekend, and who doesn’t like a good party?

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Now that the party is over we are winding down for the slow slow season. We are excited though to welcome back Mac and Denise. They were two of the four guests who rode out Irma with us and were a major help in the initial clean up. They haven’t visited since they were evacuated a few days after the storm so it is amazing to see them again.

On the construction side of things, the foundation for Plum has been poured. It’s an amazing sight to see the concrete pump truck in action. It’s like a real life over sized video game. Now that it is set and the forms are off, it gets to cure for eight weeks.

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The foundation for Lime tree is being formed by Princess Quarters while they await the shingles and siding for Gardenia. Once Lime is formed and poured the Deltecs will hopefully be here. Princess Quarters will be putting those up too.

Tina’s house is taking great shape. The center post is up to mark the center of the roof line. The beams for the rafters were delivered this week, and arrangements have been made for the logistics of getting concrete to the site. For those of you who don’t know where Tina’s house is, it’s en route to the beach. The road up is narrow, curvy, and has rocks on each turn. Needless to say neither a concrete truck nor a pump truck can make it up there. So, it’s going to have to be a well orchestrated ballet from a concrete truck, to a backhoe, to buckets poured by hand. I think for all the guys working on the house it is turning into a true labor of love. They are all very attentive and making sure everything is done to Tina’s standard… and you all know how high THAT is!

Tina and Ian are off on the first shopping trip to get the tiles, kitchen, bathrooms etc. Usually Michelle would get to take that trip, but alas Connor isn’t a great shopping partner. So, Ian is in charge to make sure Tina steps a little outside her normal comfort zone. After 28 years of her original 1989 Formica kitchen and the ORIGINAL fridge, and two years at the tiny office kitchen, it is time to get something shiny and new and maybe a little fancy. One thing we know for sure, no matter how persuasive Ian is, Tina will not come home with an 80″ TV!

On the baby side of the news, Lennon came for another day with granny this month. He’s getting to be such a big boy already… a whopping 17 lbs already! Connor is a mere 24 lbs and a full year older, so he’d better look out! They did have a lovely day together and shared Granny very well. Roxy enjoyed babysitting too it seems. Lennon is teething, so to save her fingers being used as chew toys, Michelle came up with a pretty genius set up so she could get some work done.  You have to get pretty creative in our office! We promise it didn’t go back on the commissary shelf.

We hope you all have a great weekend. We are headed into the longest long weekend of the year – the Emancipation Festival! We will tell you all about it in a few weeks!

Full Speed Ahead!

Belated happy Territory Day, Canada Day, and Fourth of July! What a difference a month makes! Things are well underway on phase 2 now.

Gardenia is UP! Not up and running, but walls and roof are on. It was like watching a good ol’ fashioned barn raising when they brought the walls over. Princess Quarters built them in their workshop and trucked them to Guavaberry. Guess they learned a few tricks after putting up the Deltecs last year. The deck is most impressive too. For those of you who stayed in Gardenia before, you’ll recall the deck had a walkway over to the boulder. Now, the deck goes all the way to the boulder, so it’s basically doubled in size! This could be our new favorite deck out of all the houses when it’s completed.

The foundation is being formed at Plum Tree. Mermaid Pools is on that job site. Next door to Plum will be Lime Tree and Princess Quarters will be jumping over there when they get a little further along on Gardenia. The exterior wall material and shingles for Gardenia have yet to arrive, so while they wait for those they will get started at Lime.

Tina’s house is taking shape quickly too. Walls are coming up, columns are formed, plumbing is being run as is the electrical conduit. The back stairs have been poured in concrete so no more ladder needed to get in either. Roxy was the brave one to test out the stairs, Pearl still isn’t sure about the idea of going in so she stood guard outside during the tour.

 

Lennon got to spend the entire day at Guavaberry a couple of weeks ago. His mommy took a couple days to go shopping so daddy was in charge. For those who don’t know Lennon’s dad is a hair stylist and occasionally gets some VIP out calls. Just so happened that he got a call out when Christine was away so it was a mayday call to Granny and Auntie Valerie. What was supposed to be a couple of hours turned into a full day thanks to boat schedules. You’d think after having Connor in the office all year they’d be old pros at this baby thing…. different baby… different ball game. Lennon much prefers to be watching everything from the comfort of someone’s arms rather than having ANY naps. Sleep is for sissies, right?

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Connor is starting half day school/daycare in September. Time to get him familiarized with other children we figure. He will be going to Ciboney Center for Excellence. They have an Amazon wish list if anyone would like to send them a donation. This is the same school that has taken scrap wood and make cute little signs to put up over the island. They even made one for David, Lennon’s daddy, for his hair salon.

We have been working feverishly on getting new villa pictures done. We finally launched our new website last month (check it out!) so now we will turn our attention to the villa pages. Here are a few that have been done already (Beach House, Beso del Sol, Holly House, Casa Luna, Mondelo, La Cachette)…. just for a little taste of what’s to come. Now we will sign off until next month. Hope you are still enjoying the blog!

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Gearing Up

Phase 2 is in the works! Plans are being drawn up for the Lime and Plum rebuilds and the contract for Gardenia is due to start any day now! Time for Ian to trade in his plunger for a hard hat again.

Gardenia is going to be rebuilt as it was before. A Deltec wouldn’t fit on the slab that is currently there so it is going to be wood again. Lime and Plum however are being Deltec’d! They are going to be triple pods as they were before, just a little different. No more walking through the bathrooms to get into the bedrooms. We are also going to “move” Lime over as far as we can to get some space and privacy between the two houses. They were notoriously close before. Guess there’s a silver lining after all!

Tina’s house has begun too. Rebar is being placed to form the exterior walls. She still has to decide what kind of windows to put in, but she has already researched hurricane shutters to go over whatever she picks. Priorities you know!

Ian’s workshop is getting some TLC too. Can’t have him feeling left out. He’s adding a loft inside to get some more storage space. He finally cleared out the stack of old mattresses and fridges, but Tina is shopping again soon so the open concept of his workshop will be short lived. (Shhh… don’t tell him!)

Remember those benches we said we had for the beach? They too were stashed at the workshop so they finally got put together and moved into their rightful positions.

Sugarcane restaurant has reopened, now called Nail Bay Sports club. They have completely redone the restaurant  and menu. It is a beautiful setting looking out onto the water. They are working on their menu but selections include lobster fritters, roasted beet sandwich, burger, panini and chocolate chip cookies with ice cream for dessert. They also do Sunday brunch. We spent a lovely afternoon there for Mother’s Day! Ian also tells us they have a great beer selection.

The Leverick Bay Poker Run was last weekend. We are told that it was a great success. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see much of it this year due to nap schedules, but it was still fun to see all of the boats zipping down the channel. We instead opted for a dip at the beach in the afternoon. The water is warming up, which Lennon is thankful for. He enjoyed his sea soak without a single whimper.

Connor has finally learned that sand isn’t half bad. Until recently he wouldn’t put his feet down to touch it. His mom isn’t that big a fan of sand herself though, so maybe it’s a family trait. Ludwig used to wear his flip flops down to the water to avoid sand in his toes! As much as sand might bother some of us, it still beats the snow any day!

Speaking of snow, winter will be here before you know it! Have you gotten you winter holidays booked yet?? We still have space at Christmas and a few gaps in February too! Those are the two most sought after times so if you want in, now’s your chance!

Welcome to May!

Well April whipped by just as fast as the Easter bunny!

The first half of the month was a quiet two weeks, but our regular April guests have returned! Most of them dodged the Easter weekend though. Easter festival is over for another year. It was rather loud this year, but we just have to tell ourselves “it’s only a couple of days”. The general feedback on the island is that it was a great show and one heck of a party. We went and took the kids to their first parade. Not too sure what Connor enjoyed more… the big trucks or the dancing ladies! Lennon enjoyed the fact that he got to be strapped onto mommy. That’s his happy place for sure. The parade was short and sweet but a good first post Irma parade.

Valerie, Ian and Tina all enjoyed their time off the rock… and yes Valerie even brought back a whole box of French pastries for us! OMG were they tasty! The entire box only lasted two days. What can we say… all of us have a sweet tooth.

Island time has had its “soft” opening! They welcomed their first guests last week. I would show you pictures, but you guessed it… right down to the wire again! The master bedroom still has work to complete so the house will be closed again until June. We promise to get some pictures next month.

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The final villa to come back on rental will be Virgin Oriental. They are still doing major renovations. We are hoping it will be ready for the winter season though.

The rebuild of Plum Tree, one of our two bedroom houses, is now in the planning stage. It will be the same “triple pod” concept as before. Deltec is at the drawing board now getting the plans ready. While they work on that, Ian is on site here making sure it will actually fit. How you ask? Very creatively with some scrap wood and left over festival flags! We have to make sure the roof height will not obstruct the views from the houses behind it. Fingers crossed but it looks like we are in the clear.

Work has begun to water proof Tina’s basement apartment at her house, and a contractor has been selected for the rebuild of the upstairs. Ironically, the selected contractor worked on the original house! He was determined to do the rebuild since the original house was one of his all time favorite builds. Not sure the timeline for construction, but maybe we can convince him that a nice Christmas bow would be a lovely touch!

Up at Oil Nut Bay they have opened their new restaurant, Nova. Christine and David checked it out for us at the grand opening. (Lennon got to hang out with Auntie Michelle, and they both did great!) They will be serving lunch and bar snacks Saturday – Wednesday, as well as a Sunday Brunch Menu… obviously on Sundays! There is a pool that you can enjoy, as well as over the water hammocks. They still have their beach club and restaurant, but be forewarned they are charging a day pass fee ($125 p/p) for access to that side now.

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Photo credit: http://www.bvitraveller.com

Sugar Cane restaurant is also preparing to reopen. They are diligently perfecting their menu and service staff. We are excited to try it out when they officially open. Of course, if they want guinea pigs prior to opening… we are totally game for that too!

At the end of this month (May 26) the annual Poker Run is being held at Leverick Bay. This is an amazing event to watch or partake in. We prefer to park up at Hog Heaven and watch all the boats take off and then head down to Leverick to check out the boats and the afterparty at the end of the day. If you’re interested in coming in for the event we do still have space for that weekend. Hope to see you here!

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Time to Catch Our Breath

The 2019 season has come to a close. We have a few weeks of quiet time now before the spring rush begins. Winter sure went by quickly!

The new Deltec houses have been solidly booked this winter, and we have had a bit of feed back for thing that need to be done this summer. Luckily it’s nothing harder than a bathroom hook here and there and a little touch of paint. Everyone loved them!

Tina, Ian and Valerie are taking this quiet time as an opportunity or a quick getaway. Ian tried to take a relaxing trip to Cooper Island the other day, but came home with a boo boo! Luckily Christine and Michelle were in the office the next day to perform splinter extraction surgery. We think Ian might have wanted a little anesthesia though. How can a grown man, who has numerous tattoos, wince so much over a splinter?!

Tina is heading to the “mainland” to start scouting out materials for her house. Work in her downstairs apartment is under contract and beginning any day. Upstairs is still getting final details worked out bust “soon come” as they say around here.

Valerie will head out when Tina returns and recharge her batteries in St. Martin. We are already jealous of the fresh baked goods and French Cuisine she will be enjoying. (Pssst…. Valerie… Chocolate Croissant travel really well! Hint hint!)

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Christine has been coming over with Lennon more frequently now that he doesn’t have her hostage on the couch so much. Connor has enjoyed the visits too. He’s learning how to play soccer (sorry, football …if you ask Lennon) from his auntie, and showing Lennon how to look super cute in his sit me up chair. Lennon is enjoying the new perspective.

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Connor this last week has also found a new perspective… walking! He’s still a little timid, but we’re cool with that. He’s fast enough on all fours. Once he gets more comfortable on his feet though Kingsley better look out. Connor LOVES to pull Kingsley’s hair, and for a new months he’s been able to stand up and run away… but that is soon going to end. Kingsley did get his first hair cut in anticipation for this upcoming came of extreme tag.

Coming up on Virgin Gorda is our annual Easter Festival. They are still running a scaled down schedule this year, but are going to be having a parade they say. That is our favorite part of it anyway. Connor loves watching cars, so he will enjoy being able to sit and watch the parade too. When we get a full schedule of events we will post it over on Facebook so keep and eye out for that.

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Have You Missed Us?!

We promised we would touch base with everyone (at least) once per month and we are writers of our word!

Not quite sure where February went. It was a whirlwind of returning guests, new guests, visitors, and final touches on Holly and Beso del Sol.

Holly House welcomed its first post Irma guests a couple of weeks ago. They are regular guests to the house and they were thrilled that it is just as they remember it, with some nice new upgrades. New kitchen WITH a dishwasher, new couches in the living room, new mattresses and bedroom furniture, all while retaining the house’s signature eclectic charm. The pool is sparkling and the shade trees are coming back too.

Beso del sol reopened this week. Final touches on the furniture, a fresh coat of paint and a good deep cleaning and it finished in true Guavaberry fashion… just in the nick of time.

We are working ferociously on getting pictures taken of all of the houses as we prepare to launch a new website. We are ever so grateful to have talented photographers stay with us who are willing to keep their skills sharp while on holiday. The best part is we are getting a collaboration of different perspectives, as every photographer is unique. The photos we have seen so far are fantastic! Here is a taste of one of them:

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That’s the inside of Flamboyant. It just might be our new favorite house! (Just don’t tell the others!) Nice and spacious, great for families, couples, parties, or whatever you can think of. The back deck has a sunken patio which we can already envision being the ideal location for a sing-along. We have even tested it out. It just so happens that our February crowd does an annual sing-along night and they did it this year at Flamboyant! Our schedules didn’t allow us to attend this year, but babies should be old enough next year to join in the fun.

Around the grounds Verdan is planting away like a mad woman. A good mad woman though! She is planting out all kind of unique flowering bushes and shrubs. Most she starts from cuttings which collects from mature plants. She tends to them in the nursery, which is in front of Jasmine. Once they are big enough she lays out the pots, and then Tina gives the final okay on their location. We can’t wait for all of the new foliage to take shape. It is going to be stunning.

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Back in the office Connor has claimed his spot. He and Kingsley have outgrown the playpen, so they have gotten an upgrade. Some call it a zoo cage, but we like to refer to it as the granny pen. She fits quite well in it, don’t ya think?! When Connor isn’t in there with her he is usually supervising granny at her desk. He has a keen fascination for her computer mouse, so maybe we have a future IT manager for Guavaberry? He also enjoys going to the laundry and playing in the empty laundry baskets. That must be a genetic inheritance as Beulah and the girls can attest to his mother and auntie doing the same thing years ago (obviously in different baskets).

Lennon comes by the office about once a week for snuggles with Granny, Auntie Michelle and Auntie Valerie. Connor is still adjusting to having to share his granny but he is getting used to the idea. In the rare occasion that Lennon dozes off, Christine takes a much needed “baby free” trip to the store. Lennon also had his first swim last weekend. It was a quick dip since it was cold. He was not impressed with the temperature, but neither was his mother…. winter water – brrr! He really is a Caribbean boy inside, despite his “British bloke” look on the outside.