Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Birthday, Mortality and Forgiveness!

I wrote this a few minutes ago on Face Book so would like to share it here.

I am copying and pasting (because it's easier and late in the day) so there will undoubtedly be a white background.  That is the least of my worries.  It's the message I want to get across!!

Over the last two weeks, many of us friends here in Trinidad (and probably further afield) have unexpectedly lost family, friends and acquaintances which has more than shocked us. For me, especially as I have a birthday tomorrow, it has made me realize once again, my own mortality. I normally manage to put that to the back of my mind but today, as I have been doing for the last several weeks, I am facing it head on because the one certain thing in this life is that death is inevitable. No one can get around it and bargaining with the man upstairs doesn't actually cut it!
No there is nothing wrong with me - I am not ill (maybe a little off my rocker at times and for those of you who follow me, know I fall alot!!) but I have decided to put certain things that I thought I had overcome and obviously had not, behind me. I am extending my hand in friendship to those who have hurt me and to those I have hurt. You know, at the end of the day, we can either be forgiving or remain remain hard hearted. I have seen what hard heartedness does and it's not pleasant. It manifests in so many unsuspecting ways, including physical illness. Me? I want peace and harmony and wish the same for the people in my life, be they family or friends. Extending the olive branch is never a sign of weakness.
Life is not a rehearsal people! Decide today what you want out of the rest of yours! With love xxx

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Our House - Of Sneezes and Panda Eyes

So yesterday morning whilst on my way to work, completely out of the blue, I had an attack of the sneezes.  Not one, not two but many, many atishoos!  It seemed to go on forever and I could feel very wet eyes.

We are stationary at a traffic light. I turn to husband:
Me: Is my face black?
Husband: Black?
Why nine times out of ten does he answer a question with a question??
Me: Yes, black!
Husband: What do you mean?
Me: Do I have black on my face?
Husband: Where?
Exasperated now!
Me: Do I have smudged eyes or mascara running down my face?
Husband: No.
Me with watering eyes thinks to self  'he didn't look'.
Get into office, look in mirror and guess what! 
Yup - got it in one! Panda eyes!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Our House: A Sky in the Cloud?

( I have absolutely no idea why there is a white background to my post!!)

Heard on the way home from work. Talking about computers. Yes apart all day and talking computers:
Me: The desk top is going to give in any time now. I need to back it up.
Husband: Huh?
Me: Well it's on its last legs so better done now.
Husband: There's nothing on it.
Me: Photos, files...
Husband: That's true. Put them on an external hard drive.
Me: You've seen the price of an external hard drive?
Mentions cost of one I bought for the office.
Husband: Well you can put them in the sky.
Me: Pardon???
Husband: In the sky.
Me: Sky?
Husband: That thing you're always talking about in the sky.
Silence. Followed by total silence.
Me: You mean cloud?
Husband: Whatever..... I knew it had something to do with the sky.
And this from a man who computer literate, insisted we had computers in our house in the mid 80s, long before they were as common as they are today and long before lap tops.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Shubh Divali 2015!

Tomorrow, Tuesday 10 November our Hindu brothers and sisters celebrate Divali, the Festival of Lights.  I have always been fascinated by the different spelling of this day.  I suppose it depends on where you live as to whether it's Divali or Diwali.  I notice in South Africa, it's Diwali whereas here in Trinidad, it's Divali.  No matter.  It is a wonderful feast depicting light over darkness.  No matter what one's religious belief, light over darkness, good over evil seems like an extremely good idea to me.

Divali was brought to Trinidad by the first indentured labourers in 1845.  It is an eight day festival and the word Divali itself  means  'row of lights'.  During the festival, homes are cleaned and windows are opened to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of richness, opulence and overall wealth. .Lamps known as deyas are lit in greeting, gifts are given and  wonderful, festive meals are prepared.

The climax of Divali is the lighting of the deyas after sundown.  Deyas are normally made from clay with a cotton wick which has been dipped in ghee.  They are to be seen in Hindu households  and non Hindu households: in gardens, open spaces, windows and porches.  The explanation of deyas which are lit in their thousands,  is here:,109229.html

Deyas are also placed in public - on bamboo stalks and in predominantly Hindu villages here in Trinidad, it is common to see entire streets decorated in this way.

Bamboo bending is an art.  Not any old bamboo will do.  The bamboo has to chosen carefully.  It is important op have long bamboo that is not very wide in width as it has to be split into eight pieces.

Celebrating Divali in Trinidad is unique.  We are a nation that takes the customs and traditions of every faith very seriously and that goes a long way to making us special.  Nowhere else in the world do non Hindus and non Indians actively take part in the lighting of over ten  million deyas in a single night of the year.  At times like this we are truly a united nation and Divali is the one defining event that marks Trinidad as a multi religious,multi ethnic society.  Whilst Divali is a Hindu festival, people of all faiths actively join in celebrating the light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and good over evil.  At times such as this, the local mantra of  'all ah we is one" could never be more appropriate.

For more in depth reading on the Festival go to: That is only one of my previosu Divali posts.

To my many Hindu friends celebrating this beautiful festival, Shubh Divali.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Birthday Wishes and All Souls 2015

It's All Souls today and my husband's birthday!  I have posted about All Souls and Richard's birthday several times  over the years so  if you want the history of both, here you go!

Happy, Happy  Birthday to my husband who many of you may know from my Our House series here on Blogspot!

We have just had a lovely impromptu Chinese supper at home with our daughter and her boyfriend and our son.  Much discussion, opinions, laughter and love over the table. I love it when family comes together.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Magic Exposed!


photo Elaine Usdin
Photo courtesy Tess Kinkaind, Magpie Tales on Blogger

So you think you can
Surprise us
Producing a rabbit

Not a hat in sight
Which is
The magician's trick

The boxy floral short shorts 
Cannot hide
The hutch in

Barbara M Lake
Trinidad WI
November 2015

All Saints Day 2015

Today 1 November is All Saints Day which is believed to have been established in the early part of the fourth century and was known as 'Martyrs Day'.  It is the day when all Christian saints, those we know and those we don't, are honoured. Western Roman Catholics, Anglicans and Lutherans celebrate this feast today whereas the Eastern Orthodox churches observe it on the first Sunday after Pentecost.

All Saints is not a Public Holiday in Trinidad but the tradition of the living, visiting the family grave in preparation for All Souls on the 2 November is very much part of its culture. Tonight some Trinidadians will be putting lighted candles in their windows carrying out the age old belief that 'lost souls' will be able to find their way home.

For more detail of origins:

Saturday, October 31, 2015


It's Halloween folks.  I don't have any grandchildren to go trick or treating with which is probably as well because I never really liked it - even as a child.  These days from what I can see, it's far more commercialized than when I was growing up.  Parents hire costumes, bags have been replaced by baskets which seem to get bigger every year.  One toffee apple, a few sweets or a biscuit is no longer acceptable.  It has to be several of each!  This custom goes back to when people would offer sweets to the imagined spirits supposedly walking among the living.

Halloween seems to have originated over 2,000 years ago with an ancient pagan Celtic festival during which people would don costumes and light bonfires to ward off invisible ghosts and demons. The dark festival was called Samhain and thousands of Wiccans still call the festival by that name. Carved turnips holding a burning candle were used to repel the spirits. The belief was that the candle in the turnip represented a trapped soul in Purgatory.

Later pumpkins replaced the turnips.

It is interesting that when the Romans conquered the Celts in the first century, they adopted Samhain incorporating it into their festivals.  The first was Feralia when the Romans commemorated  the dead and the second was  the feast of  Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees. Pomona's symbol is an apple and so the apple bobbing came into being.

Halloween is the Christian name for Samhain although it did not appear until the 1700s. In the seventh century Pope Boniface established All Saints' Day to honour Christian martyrs.  After the establishment of All Souls on the 2 November, the period became known as Hallowtide.  With the spread of Christianity, some of the old pagan customs remained until now when All Hallows has become big business and sweet manufacturers in the US sell more candy than at any other time in the year!

Happy Halloween to those who are partying, accompanying children as they go from door to door or just sitting back and watching the fun.


Me? This old witch is off on her newly refurbished, ten cylinder broom!!  Watching from above!!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Made The Bed


photo: Daniel Murtagh
Courtesy Tess Kinkaid,  Magpie Tales on Blogger

The eyes are closed
Fists clenched tight 
Events of the day
Taking their toll

Uncurl those fingers
Stretch them out
Let the blood flow
Dispel the numbness

Made the decisions
Lived to tell
The tale; made my
Bed, lying in it.

Barbara M Lake
Trinidad WI
October 2015

Ther First Stainforth Manor Ball

For those of you who attended in the past, the annual ball held at Willow Manor hosted by Tess Kinkaid there has been a change..

This year our Tess is across the pond and the Ball is taking place right now at Stainforth Manor in Manchester, UK  being hosted by the lady herself and Ronaldo Stainforth.

I am now there having arrived by private jet earlier io the day.  Much fun and hilarity..

My dress and shoes for the evening.

With of course my beloved scent!

And of course it goes without saying I sent the Trinidad aged rum ahead!!

My date did finally catch up with me after I decided to take off in the private jet. I cannot do with  his constant promises of "I'm coming, I'm coming"!  I have heard it so many times before but in  this instance, time is money! Famous opera singer or not!!!

So be on the safe side, I picked up a few extra dates up whilst winging my way to Manchester for the first Annual Stainforth Manor Ball - just in case.!!!

I wasn't too worried as Ronaldo Stainforth had Clint Eastwood's plums  stewing. There is of course absolutely no answer to that.  

I did, bring my treasured chandelier in on the jet and people who know me well, understand that I do this only for the favoured few!We probably won't use it until much later.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Nerve Endings

Magpie 290

No 8, Black Flowing, Jackson Pollock
Photo courtesy Tess Kinkaid, Magpie Tales on Blogspot

Sensitive nerve ends
Tangle weave skimming tremours
Electric shock waves

Barbara M Lake
Trinidad WI
October 2015

Saturday, October 17, 2015

For a Sick Friend

I have heard within the last hour that a friend who lost her mother this morning, is now in ICU at a local private hospital.  She had had a bad headache.  I don't know what she put it down to but when her mother died, she collapsed and has since been diagnosed with bleeding in the brain.  Her husband told a mutual friend that it's not looking good.

I lost a dear friend earlier this year to the same illness.

Come on beautiful lady, you can do this.  You can beat the odds.  We are here rooting for you.

Lord hear our prayer.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Tooker Took!

Magpie 289

George Tooker, self portrait
Magpie Tales: courtesy Tess Kinkaid 



Barbara M Lake
October 2015
Trinidad, WI

Saturday, October 10, 2015


Yes this time, I mean it.  All technology back in order and I am raring to go!   No more excuses!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Republic Day Trinidad and Tobago

Happy Republic Day Trinidad and Tobago.

For a little history, visit:;postID=2890800452166122880;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=325;src=postname

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Track Spirit

Magpie 278

Photo courtesy of Tess Kinkaid, Magpie Tales on Blogspot

Whispy and silent
Out of nowhere
She comes
Making her way
To where
She doesn't rest

Intense black eyes
Pierce the driver
Burning stare
Holding his gaze 
Fixed hard
Locking him in

Brakes will squeal
Just as before
Danger averted
But nothing there
He will
Say, she disappeared

Barbara M Lake ©
Trinidad WI
July 2015

Friday, July 3, 2015

Joy Followed by Sadness

How does one deal with a shock and deep sadness that follows on the heels of great joy?

Earlier this evening members of the family celebrated my daughter`s birthday as guests of her boyfriend.   It was a beautiful evening.  She was taken by complete surprise  and I will share how in the coming days. During the celebration, news arrived of an addition to the family by way of an 8lbs 2.ozs baby girl. So all was wonderful in the world.

At home,   much later I learned via a Face Book post appearing in my News Feed that a friend of the last 20 years is longer with us.   To say I am in shock is an understatement.

Life is unpredictable as is death. A lesson for us all.  Carp Diem.

RIP Cathy Busst, lovely lady and dear friend.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Our House. A Week of Birthdays!

It's my daughter's birthday today. A whole 29!  She's panicking because she's going to be 30 next year!

It was my son's birthday last Sunday. A whole 37! He's panicking because he's going to be 40 in three years!

My son with his wife

Brother and sister on son's wedding day, December 2010.

Happy Birthday to them both with much love and many blessings. xxxx

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Birthday Remembered.

On the 1 July 1921 John Joseph Gerrard came into the world and went on to do great things in his life.  Gone unexpectedly too soon, 13 Saturday 13 December 1986.

You loved life and today Daddy, I raise a glass to you in celebration of your life and the contributions you made to the world whilst you were here.    A mentor to many, you are still remembered with love and affection by those whose lives you touched in some way or another.

I know you are resting in peace - even if you do occasionally give the odd order to the other inmates of heaven!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Wishful Thinking



                                                                     Artwork by Ulrike Bolenz
Courtesy Tess Kinkaid, Magpie Tales on

Of course I can fly
Anytime I want to
Look at my wings
You can't see them?

I can fly absolutely
Take off anytime
I choose to
Whatever you want 

It is very hard
To make that first
Flight on my own
From what I know

It is fine for you
To sit and judge
You don't know
Holds me together.

Barbara M Lake  ©
Trinidad, WI
May 2015

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Hail Mary


Photograph courtesy Tess Kinkaid

Hail Mary
Full of grace
They likened you
To a bubblehead

Hail Mary
The Lord is 
With thee, blessed
Those who understand

Holy Mary
Mother of God
Pray  for those
Who are blind

Mother Mary
Pray, forgive them
They know not
What they do 

Oh tender Mary
Those begging intercession
Were never left
Unaided and bereft

Lady of Nations
Queen of Heaven
I beg you
Ignore the headset

Filled with confidence
I approach you
To pray for
Them, me, Amen.

Barbara M Lake ©
May 2015 
Trinidad WI

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

My God, But You're Lovely!


Magpie Tales:

Oh my God
You're bloody gorgeous
So handsome
Even though stoned!

Oh my Lord
What chiselled features
Highly polished
Smooth and suave!

Oh sweet Jesus
Mirror doesn't lie
Cannot look
At me anymore!

Oh hell fire
World must see
Let me snap
A pretentious selfie!

After thought!

I don't have
A better side
I'm Greek
Get over it!

Peter Sellers in 'There's A Girl In My Soup'  British Comedy 1970

Barbara M Lake ©
May 2015
Trinidad, WI

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Reflection on Palm Sunday 2015

Tomorrow Sunday 29 March is Palm Sunday.  It is the day when Christians throughout the world commemorate Jesus's triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  According to the Gospels Jesus rode a donkey into the city.  Some say an ass, others a colt and the scene has been depicted in hundreds of illustrations since that time. The donkey may have been a representative of an animal of peace as opposed to a horse which was seen as an animal of war.  It is written that those in the path of Jesus laid garments and branches in the path of the procession.  John in his Gospel, specifies fronds of palm which I would think of as being right given the part of the world in which this took place.  The palm branch in ancient times  was not only a symbol of triumph but that of goodness.  In the Roman Catholic Church the feast of Palm Sunday coincides with Passion Sunday  which is what it was called when I was growing up.

Palm Sunday precedes Holy Week.  Its significance is that is shows how people can be. Jesus was given this grand welcome into Jerusalem and within days was the target of hostility by a few who were against him and succeeded in winning because of their trumped up charges.  If we are to learn a lesson from this it is about how circumstances can change so very quickly.

The people as we have read, expected the Messiah to come in great glory - with power as a king but he came in very humble way. People didn't understand.  Even though they must have heard about him and known about him, they didn't understand the simplicity and the humility of Jesus.  

As we go into Palm Sunday and then Holy Week, it's a time for those of us who believe, to reflect if we haven't already done so during the Lenten season, on how we live our lives and where we can improve.  Not one of us is perfect and we can all improve  in some way or other - our behaviour, our outlooks, the way we treat others, our selfishness and a host of other things that I am sure, if we dig deep and don't flinch, we can find!

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