Gosh Christmas is nearly here. That year went by so fast, so much so that it’s hard to believe I’ve been living in Bermuda for over a year already. My lovely husband has finished work and has a few days off until after the new year.
We have been thinking about what we are going to do with our days. The weather is a bit cooler now, and I find myself digging out trousers, extra layers and hoodies. I still haven’t succumbed to socks, but I truly thought about it the other day. My fluffy slippers are managing so far. It looked really nice out there yesterday, so I thought I’d try out my wetsuit. I read a joke once about a woman who decided to go to the gym. She gyrated, and twisted, and heaved and sweated, and then decided once she had her leotard on, that was enough of a workout for the day. Putting on my wetsuit was exactly that! Talk about tight, it’s been a while. I managed to get there by jumping up and down, and trying not to rip it. It stretches once it gets wet, so off I went down to the dock to jump in. Bloody hell, it was cold in the water (Note 1). But once the fabric absorbed enough to get soaked, it started to warm up, and I was pleasantly surprised, that I could move a bit freer. It’s still quite tight though, surely it must have shrunk in the cupboard. I only did a ten minute swim, and I have to say I was too wussy to put my head under. So a few minutes later I was in a hot shower to rinse off, and warm up again. Exhilarating. I might be able to snorkel all winter!
Last Saturday we went into Hamilton to do a final Christmas shop. What that meant was buying timber for the boat, and a pair of deck shoes for me. I have been trying to break them in since then, and decided I have precious feet. They are red raw on the heels and I’ve been fluffing about trying to lace them in a way that makes them more comfortable. It’s important that they break in the right way, because I have a lot of tasks planned for these shoes. But you’ll have to wait and find out about that next year. I thought ‘I’ll wear them home’, and I did, but halfway to getting tea, stopped and changed back into my old ones. I’m please I did, because we decided to go and have a look at the Belco Festival of Lights at the Botanical Gardens (Note 2).
Now I have two explanations here. First of all, Belco is the power company in Bermuda. There’s only one, and they put on a free display of Christmas lights each year in the gardens just outside of Hamilton. They support a local charity who was collecting donations at the gate. Secondly, the Botanical gardens are nothing like your or my idea of what Botanical Gardens should be. So you’re thinking of glasshouses, lots of varieties of plants, things like rose gardens, box hedges and rhododendron’s lining the dell in full flower? The first thing I noticed here in Bermuda, is that the gardens are devoid of flowers. There are a few, but they are sparse. The Gardens are spacious lawns, some borders, mainly trees. A few specialised gardens with local flora and fauna, but concentrating on palms, cacti, and tropical trees from around the world. It’s a nice area for families to have picnics, but was hard hit by hurricane Humberto, so they have done well to have it looking as tidy as it was on Saturday.
The lights were really something. Lots of people were visiting, and there was a traffic queue waiting to get in, and security directing cars to parking spots. We drove in and parked as directed on the lawn, then off we went to view the lights. Now Bermudians do bling really well. There were lights around trees, lights on fences, lights in the shape of reindeer and santa, a blue light grotto which made it look like a bluebell forest. This was so bright with the blue spectrum glare, my sunglasses came in handy for that one! My favourite was the Rasta decorated rubber tree. Yeah, very cool, and huge! I know I’m meant to say ‘Caribbean decorated’, but you knew what I meant. We had to be careful where we walked, because there were power cords everywhere on the ground, a bit of a trip hazard. One set of lights were out, so I guess that must have happened already!
So once around the circuit, a little bit of light rain started. Now everyone in Bermuda knows that you only have one minute before the deluge. Sure enough, everyone vacated, and were in their cars in a flash. Another traffic jam getting back out again, but worth the waiting time to see this spectacular display. We might pop into St George’s one night and check out their Christmas lights at the park to compare. It certainly looked bright as we drove past recently!
Merry Christmas everyone. Just a reminder to you all, that not everyone looks forward to Christmas as much as I do. My first Christmas away from my New Zealand friends and family was a drastic emotional roller coaster for me. I wouldn’t have managed how I was feeling without being embraced by my husband’s lovely friends, and time on Skype chatting to all the people I was missing. If someone gets in touch, and they’re a bit down, make sure you give them the time they need to help lift their spirits, even if you’re busy. You might even have a space at your table they might like to sit at, if they live nearby. This can make all the difference to a person who’s wobbly bottom lip might make a smile instead. Have a great holiday folks!
More soon – Sally
Note 1. I just checked out the water temperature and it was twenty degrees celcius yesterday. I must have acclimatised!
Note 2. Belco Festival of Lights – read more about it here: http://www.royalgazette.com/news/article/20191119/festival-of-lights-back-for-christmas