Thursday, December 27, 2007

Winston Jordan passes on

On behalf of Cheese-on-Bread, I would like to extend condolences to the family of visual artist and costume designer Winston Jordan, who died on Saturday after a battle with diabetes. He was 58.

Jordan, who was also a noted cartoonist, songwriter and calypso aficionado was described by the Nation Newspaper as a person who "represented through his illustrations and costumes the unique Bajan traditions and foibles of his time".

He was also the creator of the popular comic strips Bajan Bellylaff and Jones.

May he rest in peace.

Also, I came across this article on Winston Jordan in the Nation Newspaper's archives which makes interesting reading.

Benazir Bhutto assassinated


Hi, peoples, hope everyone had a blessed Christmas. Unfortunately I'm back on a tragic note, because as most of you must have heard, former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated this morning in a bomb blast in Rawalpindi.

The bomb was exploded by a suicide bomber and claimed the lives of at lease 20 other persons who were attending a campaign rally held by Bhutto. Click here to get the full details.

I wonder what implications this tragic act will have for upcoming elections in Pakistan, as well as for the relations between the United States and the nuclear-armed nation. Sad indeed.

Photo: www.achievement.org

Monday, December 24, 2007

Trading Hearts Pt. 19

Trading Hearts is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons in coincidental. Photo courtesy of www.islandhideaways.com.


Michael caught up to Natasha as she headed towards the parking lot.

He grabbed her shoulder. “Baby, I’m so sorry. That was unfair.”

She pulled away from his touch. “You’re damn right that was unfair!” she hissed furiously. “What do you think I am, some gold-digging w**re out to score a meal ticket? I loved you when I thought you had nothing and I don’t want anything from you except a promise that you’ll be there for this child!”

He rubbed his face and exhaled deeply. “I can’t believe it. You’re pregnant?”

She pulled her wrap tighter around her shoulders and glared at him defiantly. “Obviously you served up more than breakfast in bed that morning. If you’re wondering if it’s yours…”

He held up a hand. “No, there’s no doubt on my part. I was just angry earlier, I know what kind of a woman you are.”

He raised a quizzical eyebrow. “This is why your father took the original deal, didn’t he?” he asked suddenly.

She nodded. “He wanted me to have as many options as possible…in case you didn’t want to be a part of the baby’s life. I’m not trying to force anything between us, I just thought you should know you’re going to be a father. Our child deserves to have its father in its life.”

He nodded, touching her face tenderly. “And I will be. You’re not going to go through this on your own.”

He rubbed her exposed shoulders lightly. “But I’m not sticking around just because of this baby.” he said firmly. “I want to be a part of your life, Tasha. I love you.”

She began to protest but he placed a finger on his lips. “No, I’m not just saying this because of the baby. I’ve been going crazy these last two months without you. Even after the deal was wrapped I couldn’t head back to New York without making things right.”

“The way you treated me tonight I thought you hated me,” she countered.

He embraced her tightly and she wrapped her arms around his waist tentatively, resting her head on his bared chest. The scent of his cologne was wreaking havoc with her senses and Natasha thought briefly that being his arms felt like coming home.

“I’m sorry for lashing out at you. I was just frustrated, and seeing you standing in my doorway looking like Christmas morning and like you didn’t miss me at all didn’t help.”

She raised her head and smiled. “I missed you, I hated you, I wanted you back, I hoped never to see you again. I was one ball of conflicting emotions these past few weeks. The only thing I knew for sure was that I loved you.”

He responded by claiming her lips with his. Natasha gave in to the heady sensation of his passionate embrace before breaking away. “You have a way of making me lose all common sense, Michael, but let’s get one thing straight. If you ever lie to me again, I’m going to slap the black off you!” she warned.

He laughed heartily, nuzzling her neck before caressing her tummy. “You’re going to make one tough mummy. This kid is gonna need me to watch its back.”

He chuckled at the face she made and laid a hand over his heart. “I consider myself warned. I realise we have to get to know each other all over again, but I promise you there’ll be no more secrets, Tasha.”

She sighed deeply as she toyed with a button on his shirt. “I also have to be honest with you, and myself. Part of the reason I was so upset was because I was plain scared…that a man like you would wake up one day and realise I wasn’t what he wanted for a partner. I couldn’t face that rejection again.”

Michael caressed her face. “I’m not that fool Matthew. Money may open a lot of doors in this life, but it can’t buy the kind of feelings we have for each other. I could never trade what we have.”

“Good,” she replied, wrapping her arms around his neck. “You may now resume kissing me.”

The couple was interrupted minutes later by the snickering of a group heading to the house. Michael and Natasha grinned at each other dazedly.

“I think we better continue this in the cottage,” he whispered, as she re-buttoned his shirt. “I mean, can you…?”

She giggled at the concerned look on his face. “I’m fine, trust me. Besides, it’s not like you can knock me up twice.”

He hugged her close and steered her back to the cottage. “Well, you can ask my sister the doctor about that when you meet her. By the way, have you ever spent New Year’s in Manhattan?”

The End

Well, that's all folks. Thanks for sticking in there with me these past few weeks.
Be safe and enjoy all the season has to offer (within reason ;).
Si dieu veux, hear you in a few days.
Merry Christmas, peoples!

Trading Hearts Pt. 18

Hi, peoples, I'm cyber-ready again, thank God. Here we go with the final two parts of Trading Hearts.

Trading Hearts is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons in coincidental. Photo courtesy of www.islandhideaways.com.



Christmas Eve

“Are you sure you’re up for this?”

Natasha looked in the mirror at the worried expression on her sister’s face and shrugged. “I’m not sure about anything right now,” she replied. “I’m just going with the flow.”

She twisted her body and examined her side profile. The gold strapless Grecian-styled dress she was wearing accentuated her bust line, and drew attention away from her expanding tummy and hips. Her hair was swept up in an elegant chignon and delicate teardrop Swarovski crystal earrings sparkled in her ears as she moved.

She patted her tummy and cast an admiring glance at Kim’s slim figure, encased in a black, low-cut floor-length gown with gold rhinestones around its bust line.

“No, you don’t look fat,” Kim teased, handing her a shawl. “Let’s go before you change your mind.”

Frank and Marie Taylor looked up as their daughters entered the kitchen. “You two look gorgeous,” their father complimented as the girls kissed him goodbye.

“You’re sure you don’t need us to help out around here? I don’t like leaving you to do all this baking by yourself,” Natasha pointed to the baking pans and dried goods scattered on the countertops. The inviting aroma of ham baking in the oven already filled the air.

Marie shooed them out of the room. “We’ll manage. You all have a good time and make sure you talk to Michael,” she reminded Natasha sternly.

Twenty minutes later, the Taylor sisters swung through the open gates of Emerald Bay House. Natasha gasped in admiration at the thousands of fairy lights that adorned the tall trees lining the drive. The whole effect was of entering a Christmas wonderland.

“I know you told me the decorator outdid himself but this is unbelievable,” Natasha laughed in delight.

“Wait till you see the inside,” Kim grinned back. “I think the man bought every real and fake poinsettia plant in Barbados.”

After turning over their vehicle to the valets specially hired for the evening, the women were met at the main door by the butler Henry. As they exchanged warm season’s greetings, Natasha admired the beautifully decorated foyer, the centerpiece of which was a massive live Christmas tree adorned with red and gold silk poinsettias. The decorator had even entwined a garland of fresh red poinsettias around the staircase leading up to the upper floor.

Natasha refused a glass of champagne from a passing waitress and the sisters moved towards the rear balcony. It was packed with persons chatting or dancing to the jazzy rendition of “What Child Is This” being performed by a local songstress on a stage erected poolside. A large crowd clustered around the stage, matching the singer note for note. The Christmas spirit was definitely alive and well at Emerald Bay House.

Kim tapped her sister’s shoulder and Natasha turned to see Brian Goddard strolling in their direction with Jasmine on his arm. Brian cut a handsome figure in a tuxedo, while Jasmine was poured into a gold, knee-length sheath that belied her age.

“You made it!” Brian exclaimed, kissing Natasha and Kim on the cheek. Jasmine forced a smile and wished her nieces a Merry Christmas, and the women thanked her coolly.
Although they had come a long way from the open warfare of past weeks, thanks mainly to the concern expressed by Jasmine towards Frank, Natasha was still not at the stage of letting bygones be bygones.

Brian noticed Natasha scanning the crowd and smiled. “His flight was delayed so he’s still over in the guest cottage getting ready. Maybe you should go offer him a hand.”

Natasha nodded and excused herself, heading back inside the house. Just as Henry opened the main door to let her out, in walked Matthew and a woman Natasha recognised as Eve Whittaker. She stepped aside wordlessly to let them pass but Matthew halted in front of her.

“Natasha, you remember my wife, Eve. Eve, this is Natasha Taylor.”

Natasha extended her hand politely and the woman shook it limply. "When I met her she wasn't your wife but that's just semantics," Natasha said dryly.

The woman eyed Natasha’s dress enviously and clung protectively to her husband’s arm. “I remember you from functions held by my father’s firm. You used to date my husband, right?” she asked, her lips curled into a tight smile.

Natasha resisted a chuckle as she observed the other woman’s actions. Although Eve did not look as thin and sallow as she did five years earlier, her self-confidence had certainly not improved. “That was a long time ago,” Natasha reassured her. “In the folly of my youth.”

Matthew threw her a scowl and she smiled at him sweetly. “Merry Christmas, Matthew, Eve.” She excused herself and proceeded to the guest cottage at the other end of the property.

“Hold your horses, Brian man!” she heard Michael call as she rang the doorbell.

He threw open the door without looking out, bending over to tie the laces of his black leather shoes. His expensive-looking black silk shirt was unbuttoned, leaving his toned abs on display. Natasha’s breath caught at the sight of this beautiful man who had turned her carefully-constructed life upside down in the past few months.

Realising that the cute, red-painted toes peeping out of gold heels most definitely did not belong to Brian, Michael straightened. A range of emotions flickered across his handsome face before a guarded smile settled on his lips.

“I didn’t know you were coming,” he said, his tone curt.

“I wasn’t sure if I was,” she replied. “May I come in?”

He moved aside to let her enter. “As you can see I’m in a bit of a rush so…”

She squared her shoulders, trying to hide how upset she was by his indifference. “I won’t keep you too long, I just need to tell you something, Mi...Alan...what do I call you?” she blurted out in frustration.

He put his hands on his hips and stared at her coldly. “Michael will do. Why are you here, Natasha? I thought you were through talking to me.”

She gave in to her irritation and returned his glare. “There’s no need to be so hostile, Michael Austin.”

He uttered a sardonic chuckle. “I don’t? I thought we meant something to each other, yet you wouldn’t even hear me out when I tried to explain. You put up your damn walls as usual!”

“With good reason!” she gasped in anger. “Because you were pretending to be some penniless handyman when you not only own King Properties but nearly half the luxury villas in the whole frigging Caribbean!”

His jaw tightened and he nodded slowly. “Ah, I see. So that’s why you’re here now, to cash in?”

Natasha felt as though she had been punched in the stomach. “This isn’t going to work,” she whispered tearfully.

She reached into her handbag and removed a folded sheet of paper. “I came here to show you this,” she said, tossing it at his feet. “When you get around to looking at it call my lawyer at Yearwood and Boyce and we’ll arrange how to proceed.”

She turned and stomped out of the cottage before he could see the tears streaming down her face.

Annoyed with himself, Michael scooped up the paper and unfolded it. His jaw dropped when he realised he was looking at an untrasound scan. Swearing loudly, he bolted out the door after his girlfriend.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Server problems

Hi, peoples, sorry to have disappeared on you but I've been having some internet server problems for the past few days. I'm currently "pulling a borrow", as we Bajans say, on someone's computer.

I hope to get back up and running soon because I have the final two chapters of Trading Hearts to post up. Not to mention the Prime Minister announced today that Barbadians will be going to the polls on January 15, so I'll have a lot to talk about after the holidays.

Hope to get back to you all soon. Happy holidays and stay safe!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Twenty fave Christmas tunes

Hi, peoples! Hope all the Christmas plans are progressing nicely and that you're remembering the true reason for the season.

It's easy to get caught up in the commercial side of Christmas; in Barbados we have some folks who toss out perfectly good furniture and redecorate just because it's Christmas. They must hate the postman in January...

One of my fave things about this time of year is the music. I'm a sucker for some parang and the Muppets, although I can't stand Alvin and the Chipmunks. And if I hear Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer or Christmas Shoes one more time...

Anyhoo, here's my list and this is probably the toughest one I've had to do so far. Many of these songs have been remade but these are the version I like. Let me know what are some of your fave holiday tunes.


20. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Andy Williams (www.allposters.com)


19. (There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays - Perry Como (http://image.listen.com)


18. Drink Ah Rum - Lord Kitchener (www.tntisland.com)


17. It's Christmas All Over the World - New Edition (www.rollingstone.com)


16. No Christmas Without You- Edwin Yearwood & Krosfyah (www.afromontreal.com)


15. I Wouldn't Trade Christmas - Frank Sinatra (www.boston.com)


14. Caroling Caroling - Nat King Cole (www.www.imdb.com)


13. Do You Hear What I Hear - Whitney Houston (http://us.ent2.yimg.com)


12. This Christmas - Chris Brown (http://img2.timeinc.net)


11. Oh Night Divine - Tevin Campbell (www.capitalentertainment.com)


10. Christmas Is My Favourite Time of Year - Kenny Rogers (www.udel.edu)


9. Little Drummer Boy - Biggie Irie & Natahlee (http://barbadostravel.squarespace.com)

8. A Cradle In Bethlehem - Nat King Cole


7. All I Want For Christmas - Mariah Carey

6. Who Could Imagine A King - Whitney Houston


5. Oh Come All Ye Faithful - Luther Vandross (www.allposters.com)


4. My Christmas Prayer - BeBe Winans and Rob Thomas (http://noted.blogs.com)


3. As Long As There's Christmas - Roberta Flack & Peabo Bryson (www.gregsgrooves.com)

2. Jesus Born on This Day - Mariah Carey


1. Born This Day - Yolanda Adams (www.wikimedia.org)

Trading Hearts Pt. 17

Trading Hearts is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons in coincidental. Photo courtesy of www.islandhideaways.com.


“I hope I’m not keeping you from getting ready for work,” Brian said hesitantly as Natasha entered the living room. “I just wanted to drop off invitations for you and your employees to attend our annual Christmas Eve party.”

King Properties was famous on the island for its Christmas Eve blowouts, when it feted all the individuals and companies it had worked with during the year at its most fabulous villa.

This year Emerald Bay House was the location for the party and for months she had been looking forward to attending. Now the thought of spending time in Michael’s presence, and at that particular villa, made her queasy.

She raised an eyebrow. “Really? Christmas Eve is two weeks from now. You could have mailed the invitation or gotten someone to drop it off at my office,” she replied coolly.

He gave a small smile. “I guess I’m pretty transparent, right? I needed to talk to you and I didn’t want to do it at your office. The walls have ears and all that.”

She smoothed the hem of her roomy dress, specifically chosen to camouflage her swelling stomach. “I hope Michael…Alan isn’t wasting your time by sending you here.”

He shook his head and Natasha noticed that he was wearing his blond hair longer than usual, and that his starched designer shirts and tailored slacks had been replaced by a colourful polo shirt and jeans.

Brian caught her perusal of his attire and grinned. “I’m on holiday, the first one I’ve taken in about four years. Jasmine wants me to go Christmas shopping with her in Miami for a few days.”

Natasha rolled her eyes. “Good luck with that,” she drawled. “You were saying?”

“I wanted to apologise for my part in all this,” he started. “I know you think Michael deliberately deceived you but that isn’t the case.”

She signaled for him to go on. “Only the board members of King Properties knew Alan…Michael owned the company. He and I go way back, when his father worked for mine here in Barbados.”

“Michael and his family left for New York and he made it big on Wall Street. He’s a financial whizz-kid and made a killing in hedge funds at Goldman Sachs before starting his own investment firm. That boy must have been on the cover of Black Enterprise five times,” Brian added proudly.

A confused frown appeared on her face. “So how did he end back up here working construction?”

Brian chuckled. “Well, he may be worth a few billion dollars but he still likes to get his hands dirty. Michael always had a love for building and it made sense to invest in property in Barbados, with foreigners longing to get their hands on a piece of the rock. He also has investments in Ocho Rios, Jolly Beach and Rodney Bay and he’s done some work at all those properties.”

“When we set up King Properties seven years ago we agreed that it would be best if I became the face of the company. You know what it’s like here; no one asks questions when a white man owns property,” he said sheepishly.

Natasha hated to admit that there was some truth to his claim. “So he used his middle names to prevent people finding out his link to the company?” she queried.

“Exactly. At first it wasn’t an issue because Michael was always overseas and more like a silent partner, but when he came home to see Emerald Bay and oversee negotiations for the mall project, well…”

She nodded absentmindedly. “So, he doesn’t actually live here, then?”

His lips curled in a smile. “Well he was pretty comfortable at Emerald Bay till you came along, but his real home’s a duplex penthouse off Fifth Avenue.”

Natasha’s head began to spin as it digested all this new information. How was she going to break the news of her pregnancy to Michael without appearing like some desperate gold digger? she wondered.

Goddard continued. “He had planned to return to New York when the relocation aspect was finalised but you changed all that. And I didn’t like it one bit,” his tone becoming serious.

She smiled wryly. “Let me guess, you were enjoying being the boss, right?”

He chuckled. “And then some. Being the head of a powerful company like King Properties is addictive, and having Michael here meant I had to surrender some of the control. I put my selfish desires before our friendship and I’m not sure if things will ever be the same between us.”

Natasha had to find out. “Did he approve that letter Jasmine sent to my father?”

Brian blushed, embarrassed. “No, he knew nothing about it. Trust me, my ears are still ringing over the tongue-lashing he gave me.”

She nodded. “I appreciate you coming here to explain. I don’t know yet what will happen between Michael and me but at least now I know the truth.”

Brian rose and grasped her hand. “Then my job here is done. And please, consider coming to the party. Michael’s in Ochi right now but he’ll be back in time for the party. Then he’s leaving for New York on Boxing Day to spend New Year’s with his family.”

She walked him towards the front door. “I’ll bear that in mind. We’ll RSVP as soon as possible. And don't forget Kim is the point person for liaising with the event co-ordinators.”

Natasha closed the door behind Brian and leaned against it, sighing heavily.

“I guess I’m going to a party,” she whispered to herself.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Trading Hearts Pt. 16

Trading Hearts is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons in coincidental. Photo courtesy of www.islandhideaways.com.


Six weeks later

Marie paced worriedly in the hallway outside Natasha’s room. It was 7:30 a.m. and her daughter had not yet made an appearance.

She knocked on the door. “Tasha,” she called. “You okay in there? You’re going to work today?”

No reply.

Kim joined her mother, already dressed for work. “Maybe she’s sleeping,” she reassured her.

“At this hour? By now she would be finished breakfast and heading out the door.”

Marie bit her lip anxiously and tested the doorknob. The door was locked.

“Lord have mercy! What if she did something to herself!” she cried.

“Calm down, Mummy. She’s had a rough few weeks and probably just needs to lie in today.”

Just as Marie started to bang on the door again it flew open and a pair of bloodshot brown eyes surveyed the two women.

“Thank God! You scared the life out of me!” her mother breathed in relief. “Why you didn’t respond to me earlier?”

Natasha moved aside to let them enter the room. She was still dressed in a bathrobe and her natural twists were piled on top of her head.

“Sorry, I was in the bathroom,” she muttered, plopping down on the bed and curling into a ball.

Kim and Marie exchanged a concerned look. Over a month had passed since Natasha and Michael had broken up and that traumatic event was obviously beginning to take its toll on Natasha.

Although she would have liked to cut all ties with King Properties, Natasha realised that to breach her two-year contract would not only have legal ramifications, but would also impact negatively on Taylor Property Management’s bottom line. So, for the past few weeks she had been forced to see Michael, who used business as an excuse to visit her office almost every day.

Each time they met, Natasha made sure than one of her employees was in the room, frustrating his efforts to speak privately. Her only saving grace was that her family had moved into her spacious home in St. George and their company prevented her from concentrating too much on her broken relationship.

After Frank was released from the hospital and had regained some of his strength, he and Marie attended a meeting with Michael, Brian and Matthew. Frank listened wordlessly as Michael apologised profusely to the Taylors for the way the business deal had been conducted and then stunned the group by accepting King Properties’ proposal to buy his property, providing it was the original offer of $5 million.

Brian Goddard began to protest but Michael silenced him with a look, and shook the older man’s hand to seal the deal. However, Frank refused Michael’s offer to be housed in one of the company’s villas, explaining that Natasha had invited them to move in with her until they decided on their future living arrangements.

“Sweetie, you can’t go on like this, you’ll make yourself sick,” Marie chided as she rubbed her daughter’s back gently. “You have to either try to get past this or just give in and call the man.”

Natasha rolled over to face her mother. “I can’t go begging back to him, not after what he did.”

“I think he’s genuinely sorry for what happened. You found out why he lied in the first place?”

“It doesn’t matter why he did it. Can we not talk about him anymore, please?” she begged, pulling a pillow on top of her head.

“If your father can forgive that ungrateful sister of his surely you can forgive Michael,” Marie pressed on.

Natasha yanked the pillow off her head and glared at her mother. “No disrespect to Daddy, but he’s not the one knocked up by that bastard!”

Just then, a wave of nausea swept over Natasha. She sprang from the bed and bolted towards the bedroom, reaching the toilet bowl just in time for her stomach to empty its contents. She clutched the bowl weakly, tears pooling in her already swollen eyes.

Life can play some cruel jokes, she thought. To conceive and break up on the same day had to be some kind of record. Damn Michael and his breakfast in bed!

As Kim ran downstairs to prepare some ginger tea for her sister, Marie aided Natasha back to the bed. “How could I have been so stupid?” she sobbed. “I was always so careful when I was with Matthew!”

Marie hugged her tightly, wiping her tears. “Love makes you lose your head sometimes,” she said softly. “You really love him, right?”

Natasha nodded, beginning to sob even harder.

Her mother continued. “Then you have to put aside your pride and go to him. If not for yourself, for your child,” she said firmly.

The doorbell rang and Natasha buried her head under a pillow again. “Please God, don’t let that be him,” she groaned.

The two women heard muffled voices coming from the foyer downstairs, then the sound of footsteps on the stairs. Kim entered the room, carefully balancing a tray with a steaming cup of tea.

“You have a visitor, Tasha,” she said as she placed the tray on the bedside table. “Brian Goddard’s downstairs to see you.”

“Great. Michael’s sending his henchman now,” Natasha retorted sourly. She heaved herself out of bed and headed to the bathroom to make herself presentable.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Trading Hearts Pt. 15

Trading Hearts is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons in coincidental. Photo courtesy of www.islandhideaways.com.


Natasha was so engrossed in her argument with Jasmine and Matthew that she didn’t realise that Michael was in the room. Not that she had forgotten him for a second, though.

When he had burst out of Matthew’s office she had nearly dropped her teacup in shock. What the hell was Michael doing in a meeting with Goddard, Matthew and Jasmine? A picture was starting to develop in her mind that she didn’t like, and she prayed that she was just jumping to conclusions. However, the guilty look on Michael’s handsome face was a sign that she wasn’t far from the truth.

He came over and grasped her shoulders lightly. “Before I say anything, Tasha, I want you to know that I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.”

She shrugged off his hands impatiently. “Get to the point, starting with why Matthew called you Mr. King.”

He rubbed his shaved head in frustration and heaved a sigh. “My full name is Alan Michael Austin King. I’m not just a handyman working for King Properties…I own the company,” he admitted, his voice filled with emotion.

Feeling her knees beginning to weaken, Natasha clutched at the nearby conference table for support. Michael rushed to her side to prevent her from falling and was met with a resounding slap to the face.

“You deceitful son-of-a-bi*ch!” She shook with anger. “You were never interested in me, you only wanted to use me to get to my parents!”

Rubbing his sore cheek, Michael shook his head furiously. “Will you please listen to me?” he pleaded. “It was only after you were hired to manage Emerald Bay that we found out the connection. It was a coincidence!”

“But one I’m sure you were happy to exploit.” She threw her hands in the air, aiming a contemptuous look in his direction. “My God, I can’t believe I fell for your bullsh*t! All this time you were encouraging my parents to take the deal, a deal your company offered. You make my stomach sick!”

“Natasha, please, I know I was wrong not to tell you, but I was just scared of losing you. I tried to find a way around your family relocating. Trust me, I racked my brains over this.”

“Oh, poor you," she mocked. "You could have just told me the truth and saved yourself a headache. Did you get off on pretending to be some poor yard boy? Did you and Brian Goddard and Matthew have a good laugh at my expense?”

“It wasn’t like that! I admit I handled this whole thing badly, but you need to know that everything I told you about myself, my family, my feelings for you is true. I love you, Tasha.”

She gave an angry sob. “F**k you, Michael, or whatever your name is. You think telling me you love me is going to make me melt at your feet? You rich guys may be accustomed to getting what you want, but I’m not for sale.”

His jaw tightened. “That’s unfair, Tasha. I’m not like that.”

“How the hell would I know what you’re like? I don’t even know your real name!”

Conceding defeat, Michael slumped into a chair. “I don’t what else to tell you, Tasha. I messed up and all I can do is beg for forgiveness.”

Her face twisted in disgust. “Under normal circumstances I might consider forgiving you for keeping who you are a secret, because for all you knew I might have been a gold-digger. But you came into my parents’ house, ate their food and smiled in their faces, all the time conspiring to get your hands on their property, and that I can’t forgive. We’re done.”

Michael buried his head in his hands as she stalked out of the room. He had just let the best thing that had happened to him in a long time walk out of his life, and he had no one to blame but himself.

Rihanna cancels concerts


I told you all that child was gonna get sick if she wasn't careful. According to the blog Young, Black and Fabulous, 19-year-old Rihanna was forced by her doctor to pull out of a concert scheduled for last night at Birmingham's NEC Arena.

The star, who plans to reschedule, also pulled out of last Saturday’s Nottingham show. Tuesday’s Bournemouth show was also postponed. Birmingham’s NEC Arena said the Umbrella star “appreciates the love and support of all her fans and wants nothing more than to see and connect with them”.

Fans with tickets are advised to hold on to them until further news is received. A spokeswoman for the star was unable to comment. Rihanna began the tour in Paris last month and was due to end it on 21 December in Moscow, Russia.

Cheese-on-Bread wishes you a speedy recovery, Rih-Rih.

Photo: www.theybf.com

A friend in need

Hi, peoples. I hope that you're all in the Christmas spirit and that your holiday plans are going well.

If you've been following the Primaries in the USA you would have heard that Barack Obama is trailing behind Hilary Clinton in the polls for the Democratic nod. Just when I was getting depressed my boy Barack decided to bring out the secret weapon, the unstoppable, mass appealing force and influencer of public thought....Oprah Winfrey!

Oprah's been hitting the campaign trail with the Obamas, and most recently joined him at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, Rhode Island.




This is pure genius. If there's anyone who's loved and admired by a huge cross-section of American society, it's Oprah. Of course, there're some people who feel she'll overshadow the Presidential hopeful but I doubt it.

Well, Hilary has Bill and now Barack has Oprah. I think the playing field is looking a little more level now....

Photos: www.theybf.com

Monday, December 10, 2007

Trading Hearts Pt. 14

Trading Hearts is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons in coincidental. Photo courtesy of www.islandhideaways.com.


Michael squeezed his eyes shut, silently cursing his rotten luck. If ever there was a moment he wished the floor would open up and swallow him, it was now.

His day had started pleasantly enough, treating Tasha to breakfast in bed ahead of what he knew would be a hectic day for her. His good mood had changed when Brian invited him to a meeting with Matthew Sealy and Jasmine Taylor.

As he sat and listened to the group’s plan to gain control of the Taylor’s land, he found himself becoming angrier and angrier. The odd thing was, once upon a time Brian’s ploy would have made perfect sense. But not now, and certainly not once the Taylor family was involved.

Brian explained that with Frank Taylor forced to sell his house and land to pay out his sister, King Properties would be in the wings waiting to scoop them up, and was willing to offer Frank more than twice the sum he would normally receive. Consideration would also be given to relocating the family to one of the company's villas until the Taylors finalised their new living arrangements. Despite his earlier protests, Frank would be a fool not to accept the proposal.

Michael objected vehemently to the plan, and focused the brunt of his wrath on Brian, who had approved the letter sent to the Taylors without his knowledge. He reserved a few choice words for Natasha’s aunt as well; he couldn’t believe Jasmine could so easily shaft her own family for a buck. Determined to tell Natasha the truth before the situation got even more out of control, he was shocked to find his girlfriend waiting in Matthew Sealy’s ante-room.

“Tasha, I can explain,” he began, his heart plunging when he saw the hurt look forming on her face.

“I can’t wait to hear, because I’m jumping to all kinds of conclusions right now,” she retorted tightly.

The group moved aside wordlessly as she stalked into Matthew’s office and stood at the head of his conference table, her arms folded defiantly.

Brian grabbed Michael’s shoulder before he could return to the office. “Do you want me to stick around, or...?”

Michael glared at his friend. “No, I think you’ve done enough for the day. I’ll do my own damage-control, if you don’t mind.”

Brian lowered his head, ashamed. “I did what I had to do, Alan. Left to you this project would fall apart, and all over some woman.”

“Not some woman, my woman,” Michael countered hotly. “And you should be the last to talk. Jasmine Taylor has you whipped already.”

He headed into the next room, where Jasmine and Matthew were already seated. He stood silently in the doorway and watched as Natasha slapped a white envelope on the large mahogany table.

“I came down here to ask Matthew what the hell he was thinking sending us this letter, but since you’re here I can get it straight from the horse’s mouth,” she said, staring coldly at her aunt.

Jasmine sucked her teeth. “That wasn’t addressed to you, Natasha. Why you always trying to get into big people’s business?”

Matthew laid a restraining hand on his client. “Natasha, I could get security to escort you out of here since you barged in uninvited. State your case before I change my mind.”

It took all of Natasha’s self control not to slap his self-righteous face. “I had to come, Aunt Jasmine, because your brother took one look at this letter and had a heart attack.”

Across the room, Michael groaned in dismay, and even Matthew’s composure fell.

Jasmine turned a stricken face to her niece. “Oh my God! Is he going to be alright?”

“As if you give a f**k!” Natasha hissed. “I thought you’d be happy, because with him out of the picture you’re one step closer to getting what you want!”

“Look…,” Jasmine began to protest, but her niece cut her short.

“No, you look,” Natasha retorted, leaning over the table. “The only reason I haven’t snatched that weave out of your head is because I know you didn’t think up this ridiculous scheme. You may be a money-grubbing bi*ch, but I wouldn’t label you as conniving.”

Jasmine rose stiffly. “I don’t have to stay hear and listen to these insults. If you have anything else to say to me, speak to my lawyer.”

As the older woman marched out of the room, Natasha turned a scornful look on Matthew. “Well, you must be happy. If you wanted to hurt me, you succeeded.”

He leaned back in his chair, regarding her smugly. “Who says this has anything to do with you? You think way too much of yourself, Tasha.”

“I know you. I made something of myself instead of falling apart when you dumped me for Eve Whittaker, and you resent me for that.”

He snorted. “Whatever. Anyway, I see you landed on your feet in a big way.”

Before she could find out what he meant by that remark, Michael broke in. “Sealy, I need to talk to Natasha. Alone.”

Matthew sat up, startled. “Sure, Mr. King.”

He hastened out of the room and Natasha stared at Michael incredulously. “What did he just call you?”

Michael took a deep breath. “Babe, we need to talk.”

Friday, December 07, 2007

Face Value Pt. 13

Trading Hearts is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons in coincidental. Photo courtesy of www.islandhideaways.com

.

An elegantly dressed receptionist buzzed Natasha into Whittaker Mason Sealy’s law chambers and Natasha wasted no time in asking to see her former boyfriend. She gazed around the tastefully decorated lobby as the woman called upstairs to Matthew’s office.

“Ms. Taylor? Mr. Sealy’s secretary will be here shortly to escort you up,” the woman smiled warmly, indicating that she could have a seat.

Surprised, Natasha thanked her and sank into a plush loveseat. She had come to the firm expecting obstacles to be placed in the way of seeing Matthew; lawyers' secretaries were notorious for closing ranks around their bosses, especially if guests didn’t have an appointment.

She turned when she heard footsteps approaching and smiled broadly at the plump, dark-skinned woman before her. No wonder she had gotten into the inner sanctum so easily, she thought.

“Pamela? You’re his secretary now?” she asked in surprise, throwing her arms around the woman.

Pamela Archer rolled her eyes and returned the hug. “Girl, I’m the only one left who can work with that pompous fool.”

Pamela was a junior secretary when Matthew first joined Whittaker Mason, and she and Natasha had developed a friendly acquaintance. When Pamela and her family lost all their possessions in a fire, Natasha had pushed Matthew to organise an in-house donation drive to assist the family, and had personally driven around to collect clothing and food items for the Archers. Pamela had never forgotten the young woman’s selfless efforts, and had stayed in touch with Natasha for a few years after she and Matthew had parted ways.

The two women walked arm-in-arm up the staircase, chatting animatedly and catching up on each others’ lives.

“You two aren’t getting back together, are you?” Pamela asked suddenly, clutching Natasha’s arm. “I hear he and Eve fall out and heading for divorce court.”

Natasha made a face. “Trust me, this visit is strictly business,” she retorted dryly.

Pamela escorted Natasha into her small, tidy office just outside Matthew’s private chamber. “He has a group with him now, but as soon as they leave I’m going to sneak you in before his next appointment.”

The sound of a heated argument could be heard coming Matthew’s office. Natasha raised an eyebrow and nodded towards the closed door. “Someone else decided to kick his *ss before I got my turn?”

Pamela looked up from pouring a cup of tea for Natasha and snickered. “Girl, they’ve been at it for the past hour. Some business deal or other.”

Natasha accepted the cup of tea gratefully, sipping lightly as she gazed out the window of the office on to busy Pinfold Street. In the distance, she could see a man on a small crane stringing lights in the trees across from the Magistrates’ Courts, preparing for the lighting up of Bridgetown in blue and gold in another week’s time.

Suddenly, the door of Matthew's office was thrown open violently, shattering the tranquility of the room. A man stormed out, rage plastered across his face.

“If you do this you’re on your own. Count me out of it!” he shouted angrily back at someone inside the office. He stopped abruptly in his tracks as he saw the two women staring at him.

“Natasha? What are you doing here?” Michael gasped, a stunned look on his face.

Natasha set down the teacup and saucer on a nearby table with an unsteady hand. She took in the guilty look on his face, then looked behind him to see Goddard, Jasmine and Matthew entering the room. Goddard frowned in her direction, while Jasmine tossed her a hostile glare. Matthew’s look of puzzlement to see her in his office gave way to an undisguised smirk.

“I could ask you the same question,” she replied quietly, a sense of apprehension growing in her stomach. “Although I have a feeling we’re here for the same reason.”

More on Monday. Have a good weekend!

Recipe for juj-jug


No Bajan Christmas feast is complete without jug-jug, and here's a recipe I found on the site Caribbean Choice. Enjoy!

Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 1/4 hours
Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS:
250 grams pork
250 grams beef
2 litres water
1 whole hot pepper
500 grams pigeon peas
1 tbs. thyme
1 tbs. parsley
1 tbs. chives
1 medium onion
125 grams guinea corn
70 grams butter

METHOD / DIRECTIONS:
1. Cut up meat, chop thyme, parsley and chives.
2. Cook pork for 20 minutes then add beef, season with salt if fresh meat is used. Add pepper, peas and cook for 30 minutes or until peas are soft. Strain and reserve stock.
3. Mince meat finely. Add peas and pound in a mortar or put in an electric blender.
4. In a pot, add thyme, parsley, chives and onion to reserved liquid and boil for 5 minutes. Add guinea corn slowly and stir briskly for 10 minutes.
5. Add meat and peas puree to pot and cook over low flame for 20 minutes. Stir in butter.

RECIPE NOTES:
Serve in a heated crock.
Oats are a good substitute for guinea corn.

Photo: www.visitbarbados.co.uk

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Rihanna nominated for four six Grammy Awards


Talk about a Christmas present. On the heels of an American Music Awards win, Rihanna has scored another major achievement, not one but four Grammy nominations.

The Bajan singer was nominated in the categories Record of the Year for her hit Umbrella, Song of the Year, also for Umbrella, Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals (Hate That I Love You featuring Ne-Yo) and Best R&B Song (Hate That I Love You featuring Ne-Yo).

The category Record of the Year will pit her against heavyweights Beyonce (Irreplaceable), Amy Winehouse (Rehab), Justin Timberlake (What Goes Around...Comes Around) and the Foo Fighters (The Pretender).

The 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards will be held on February 10, 2008, at Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be broadcast live on CBS from 8 – 11:30 p.m. (ET/PT).

To see a complete list of the nominees, click here.

I think Rihanna has this locked down. She's already beaten Beyonce and Umbrella was such a monster hit it that it should run right over the other contenders. I have a good vibe about this....

AMENDMENT
I'm a tad confused because now I see that Rihanna's label Def Jam is reporting that she received six nominations. Anyhoo, she was nominated and that's all that matters. On to the winning stage now!

Photo: www.think2wice.org

Trading Hearts Pt. 12

Trading Hearts is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons in coincidental. Photo courtesy of www.islandhideaways.com.


Humming happily, Natasha closed the door behind her final interviewee for the afternoon. It had taken her three weeks of meetings and consultation with a recruitment agency, but she had finally decided on the persons to staff Emerald Bay House.

Since receiving its first guests over two months earlier, the luxurious west coast property was proving popular with both the local and overseas market, and Natasha and Brian Goddard felt it required its own housekeeping staff, as well as a gardener and security guard.

Natasha was about to call the recruitment agency with her decision when Kim burst into the office, a frantic look on her face. “Tasha, we need to get to the QEH! Daddy had a heart attack!”

“Oh my God!” her sister gasped. Her knees began to buckle and she clutched weakly at the edge of her desk. “What happened?”

Not wanting to waste any more time, Kim grabbed her sister’s handbag and steered her towards the door. “Come on, I’ll explain in the car.”

Natasha paused briefly to tell her secretary what was happening before the two women raced out of the building. As Kim piloted the SUV in the direction of Bridgetown, Natasha breathed deeply, trying to calm her shattered nerves.

“Mummy called from the hospital. She was upset and crying but from what I understand it seems that they received a letter from a lawyer on Jasmine’s behalf. Apparently she’s asking for half of the property.”

“You have got to be kidding!” Natasha exploded angrily. “When Daddy was working his tail off to pay land tax and house insurance she was off jet setting around the world. He just spent thousands to remodel that house and she never contributed a cent!”

Kim nodded in agreement. “But you know how the law is. Granny left it to both of them so she may be entitled to her share.”

The sisters drove the remaining miles to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in anxious silence. Entering the Accident and Emergency department, they saw a tearful Marie sitting in the lobby. The girls ran to their mother, who burst into tears as she embraced them.

Gathering her composure a few minutes later, Marie explained that Frank had regained consciousness and was being attended to by a doctor.

“How Jasmine could do this, after all your father do for her? At the current market value he can’t afford to pay her out, he would have to sell the whole property and give her half!” Marie wailed.

Natasha shook her head vehemently. “I don’t care if I have to mortgage my home and sell the business, you’re not selling that house!”

Marie patted her daughter’s cheek tenderly. “You know your father would never let you do that. You now getting started in life. You don’t need to be dragged into debt over this.”

Natasha began to protest when a young doctor approached the women. “Mrs. Taylor, I’m Dr. Holloway. You can come in to see him now,” he said quietly, nodding a greeting to Natasha and Kim.

The women muttered their thanks and followed the doctor through a sliding door into the inner section of the emergency department. They tried not to stare as doctors and nurses rushed in and out of curtained areas, tending to groaning patients and screaming children.

“Mr. Taylor had what we call a mild myocardial infarction. It was aggravated by high blood pressure, and led to him losing consciousness. We’re going to admit him for a few days for observation and put him on a regimen of meds,” Dr. Holloway explained, halting at an open door.

Natasha, Marie and Kim tried not to gasp out loud at the sight of Frank hooked up to several machines, an oxygen mask obscuring half of his face. He opened his eyes and gave them a weak smile. “I’m still here, you haven’t gotten rid of me yet,” he joked.

His family chuckled, relieved, and Dr. Holloway left the room to give them privacy. Marie promptly climbed on to the bed to embrace her husband, while their daughters came over to plant kisses on his face and salt and pepper hair.

“Thank God you’re able to crack jokes, even if they’re corny,” Natasha teased.

Frank pulled her nose playfully. “You think I would check out before I see my grandchildren? That boy Michael going to marry you just now, you know. I can feel it.”

She blushed, rubbing his feet through the sheet. “We’ll see. Let’s concentrate on getting you better first.”

He frowned. “I’ll be better when I tell Jasmine how I feel about her. She lucky I’m a Christian or I would ‘buse her!”

His heart monitor began to beep loudly and Marie begged her husband to calm down. “We’ll deal with Marie, Frank. Don’t even think about her.”

He sucked his teeth. “And while you at it, ‘buse that boy Matthew for me too. You would think after we help to feed him when he was growing up he wouldn’t get with my ignorant sister and plan foolishness.”

Natasha looked up sharply when she heard Matthew’s name, but her mother silenced her with a slight shake of the head. “Kim, keep your father calm till we get back. Tasha, a minute, please.”

The two exited the room and Natasha whirled to face her mother. “What does Matthew have to do with this?” she asked, her eyes flashing.

Marie pulled a white envelope from her handbag and presented it to her daughter. Natasha glanced at the Whittaker Mason Sealy letterhead before quickly reading the one page document.

“I can’t believe that boy would do this to us,” Marie said despondently. “He getting on as if we did him something instead of the other way around.”

Natasha folded the letter and shook her head. “This has nothing to do with us personally, I bet you. Matthew’s all about money, not mere revenge. It can’t be a coincidence that he’s representing both King Properties and Jasmine. I think he put her up to this to help them out.”

She checked her watch. It was just after 3 p.m. “Mummy, I’m heading to his office to get some answers. Tell Daddy I’ll be back soon.”

After retrieving her car keys from Kim, she hurried to the parking lot. On the way to Matthew’s chambers on Pinfold Street she dialed Michael’s cell. His phone went directly to voicemail and she left a brief message explaining what had happened to her father.

She pulled into the last available spot in front of the law firm and tried to calm her nerves. Five years had passed since her shadow had darkened the doorway of Whittaker Mason, as it was then known. Now that Matthew was a partner she was aware that he had home ground advantage, but she had no intention of leaving without some answers on his latest treachery.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Midweek links



Hardwood finally debated in Barbados' Parliament
Speaker of the House Ishmael Roett blue vex
Another aftershock felt in the region
Good job, Ms. Trinidad
An interesting article on UK Expats
Selita is from the Caymans'?
Welcome back, Rene

Photo: Victoria's Secret model, Selita Ebanks (www.hardbeatnews.com)

Trading Hearts Pt. 11

Trading Hearts is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons in coincidental. Photo courtesy of www.islandhideaways.com.


“Damn, woman, you nearly broke my back!” Michael gasped. He released his hold on Natasha’s waist and they both collapsed on the bed.

She grinned devilishly and stretched, sated. “I warned you you were breaking a five year drought. I have a lot of catching up to do.”

He chuckled, caressing her flat stomach tenderly. “I’m not complaining. Knock yourself out, babe.”

Sighing contentedly, Natasha laid her head on his chest. She had told Barbara that things so far were good, but they were better than good. Michael was as attentive and generous in bed as he was out, and in the past few weeks she had been experiencing a sexual rebirth in his arms.

Hugging Natasha close, a troubled Michael stared at the ceiling of her bedroom. During their passionate lovemaking he was able to forget his deception, but once his ardour cooled reality came rushing back. The truth hung like a cloud over their blossoming affair and was preventing him from fully enjoying what should have been one of the happiest times of his life.

Resolving to end his agony, Michael rubbed her shoulder. “Babe, we need to talk.”

A light snore greeted him. Making a frustrated sound, Michael eased away from her warm body and sat up. He never thought of himself as a coward but he was beginning to feel like one. He slipped on his jeans and strode downstairs, searching for his cell phone.

Brian Goddard picked up on the fourth ring. “You better be sick or dying, Alan, to be calling me at this hour,” he growled sleepily.

“Sorry, I didn’t even realize the time,” Michael apologised, glancing at the clock on Natasha’s living room wall. No wonder Brian was upset, it was 2 a.m.

Brian heaved himself out of bed, trying not to wake the sleeping woman next to him. “What can I do for you, oh master and commander?” he asked dryly as he moved into the kitchen for a glass of water.

“I’ll ignore that because it’s late. Listen, I’ve been thinking about the project. How can we proceed with the mall and still accommodate Frank Taylor and the other residents?”

Brian sighed. “Alan, which head are you thinking with? How are we going to develop a major shopping complex with six houses sitting right out front?”

Michael rubbed his head in frustration “Then give me some options, man. It’s what you get paid for!”

His friend snorted. “Now you want advice. I told you ever since what to do but you ignored me. Didn’t I tell you to forget Natasha, especially since her family was so opposed to the relocation? I should have known this would happen anyway, when I saw the way you two were eyeing each other. I thought you could simply persuade her to see things our way but now you’ve gone and fallen in love with her.”

“Who said anything about being in love?” Michael asked gruffly.

Brian sucked his teeth. “Boy, you have it so bad for that woman it isn’t funny. You’re so much on cloud nine that you didn’t even object to the expense reports from the last board meeting. Not to mention you’re holed up in some crappy little apartment instead of going home.”

“Whatever. Look, I plan on telling her everything. I’m just trying to…”

“Find a way to lessen the blow,” Brian interjected. He softened his tone. “Alan, I feel for you, that’s the truth, but you have to remember we have a lot of money riding on this, not to mention hundreds of prospective jobs for locals. The fact is that even if you cancel the whole project you can’t guarantee that Natasha’ll forgive you.”

Michael rubbed his eyes wearily. “I know. That’s what I’m afraid of.”

Brian heard some movement in the next room and lowered his voice. “Don’t do anything till you hear from me. I’m working on something. I’ll fill you in later.”

He hung up just as his companion came into the room. He moved towards her and pulled her body close to his, planting a kiss on her lips. Her arms came up around his neck and she stroked her fingers through his blond hair.

“Is everything alright?” Jasmine Taylor asked. “I saw the light on and realised you were gone.”

“Everything’s fine, just work,” he reassured her. “Let’s get you back to bed.”

Jasmine grinned saucily. “For an old man you sure have a lot of energy.”

He slapped her behind. “That’s funny, coming from a woman who’s only a few years younger than I am. Besides, age is just a number, trust me.”

She rolled her eyes. “Not for a woman. That’s why we need to be financially secure in our old age, when you men don’t want us anymore.”

He pulled her back into the bedroom. “Jasmine, I don’t think you’ll ever have a problem finding a man to wrap around your finger.”

She paused from un-belting his robe. “There’s only so far a woman’s looks can take her, and thanks to this deal of yours I won’t have to depend on them anymore.”

As she began to plant light kisses down his chest, Brian Goddard remembered a past conversation with Alan about how to mix business and pleasure without getting emotionally entangled, and hoped this beautiful woman wasn’t going to make a liar out of him.


Trading Hearts is the sole property of Bajegirl. Any reproduction of this story in any form without the author's permission is prohibited.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Trading Hearts Pt. 10

Sorry for the late posting today, peoples, but my internet connection crashed out. Here we go with the story.

Trading Hearts is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons in coincidental. Photo courtesy of www.islandhideaways.com.


An hour later, Jasmine sat at the bar of Café Noir in St. Lawrence Gap, fuming over a piña colada. How dare that upstart of a niece speak to her like that? Just because she had her own business and drove a fancy Jeep didn’t give her the right to treat her like dirt!

Her inner tirade was broken by the sound of a male calling her name, and she turned to see Matthew Sealy standing next to her bar stool.

“Jasmine? It is you! When did you come in?” he asked as he gave her a warm hug.

She grinned, her spirits lifted for the moment. “Earlier today. It wasn’t the warmest of homecomings so I decided to get out of the house for a bit.”

The young man ordered a gin and tonic from the bartender and drink in hand, beckoned to Jasmine to follow him to a booth at the back of the room. As they wound their way through the dimly lit room, Jasmine was amused to see that for a Wednesday night, the bar was filled with as many locals as tourists. Probably working up the nerve to go back to their dead-end jobs tomorrow, she thought.

After surveying the room and nodding her head to the reggae music playing on the overhead speakers, she fixed her eyes on her companion. “So, what brings you to the Gap on a work night?”

Matthew took a gulp of his drink before replying. “I had a business dinner up the street and I didn’t feel like heading home yet.”

Jasmine eyed his lined face and receding hairline critically. Matthew was still a good looking guy, but he was a far cry from the Adonis she remembered when he dated Natasha.

“How long have you been having trouble at home?” she asked bluntly.

He paused with the tumbler halfway to his mouth and placed it back on the table wordlessly.

Jasmine pressed further. “Matthew, I may not be as smart as you lawyers but I do know that happily married men don’t hang out in bars drinking by themselves.”

He shrugged, turning the glass slowly in his hands. “It’s nothing that won’t blow over eventually. It always does.”

He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “From what you were saying before I take it the Taylor clan wasn’t too happy to see you?”

She snorted angrily, and gave him the short version of what had occurred earlier that evening.

The man regarded her thoughtfully. “Jasmine, I remember years ago Frank was suggesting that he buy out your share of the property. Did you do it?”

She shook her head. “I was traveling a lot and never got around to hiring a lawyer and all that stuff. Why?”

He leaned over, suddenly excited. “So you’re telling me that you and Frank still jointly own the Taylor property?”

“Yes, seeing as it was left to both of us by our mother. Why are you asking all these questions?” she asked, puzzled.

Matthew raised a finger and fished his cell phone from his pocket. “Mr. Goddard, sorry for calling you at home, sir,” he said after a brief pause, “but there’s someone I need you to meet.”


Trading Hearts is the sole property of Bajegirl. Any reproduction of this story in any form without the author's permission is prohibited.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Trading Hearts Pt. 9

Trading Hearts is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons in coincidental. Photo courtesy of www.islandhideaways.com.

Sighing wearily, Natasha climbed out of her Lexus SUV and walked slowly towards her parents’ house. After the long, hard day she had, she would have preferred to head straight home to shower and have an early night. However, she was feeling guilty for missing evening dinner with her family in recent times because she was spending most of her free time with Michael.

In the weeks following the incident at Emerald Bay House, the couple finally went on their first date, and she had made good on her promise to cook for him as well. Michael even accompanied her to a family wedding, where he proceeded to charm the entire Taylor clan.

His work finished at Emerald Bay, Michael had moved back into his tiny rented apartment in St. Michael, and when he wasn’t working on one of the other villas or apartments owned by King Properties, he spent most of his time at Natasha’s house in St. George.

Before Natasha could place her key in the lock, the side door was thrown open by Kim, who wore a pained expression.

“We have company,” she said, pursing her lips. “The black sheep has returned.”

Natasha stared at her blankly, then sucked her teeth when realisation dawned. “Let me guess. Her latest sugar Daddy left her and she’s out of money?”

“You should play the lottery,” Kim retorted, closing the door behind her sister. Natasha eased off her Balenciaga sling-backs and hung her jacket over a nearby chair before following the sound of raised voices coming from the living room.

“Aunt Jas, I see you’re only back a short time and already raising my father’s blood pressure,” Natasha interjected as she walked into the room.

Jasmine Taylor turned and gave her niece a forced smile. “Well, hello to you too, Tasha. Is that any way to greet the aunt you haven’t seen in ages?”

Natasha raised an eyebrow. “And whose fault is that? Strange how you only remember you have family when you want something. Or don’t phones in New York dial out?”

Frank broke in before Jasmine could reply. “Tasha, Jasmine is still your elder and you must respect her, regardless of her shortcomings,” he chided.

Jasmine scowled and Natasha couldn’t resist smiling. Her father’s younger sister hated to be reminded of her age, and took every cosmetic and pharmaceutical opportunity available to erase the signs of her age. At forty-five, she was still as svelte as she was in her 20’s, and her expensive taste in clothes, makeup and hair weave assisted her in presenting a polished front to the world.

Marie chimed in. “My children have to show you respect, Jasmine, but I sure as hell don’t have to. Your brother is the only family you have left in this world, and for three years you don’t call to see if he’s still alive, but turn up here out of the blue asking for money. We look like we own a money tree to you?”

Jasmine gave her family a frustrated look and ran her manicured fingers through her sleek, shoulder-length weave. “Look, I apologise for surprising you like this, but I didn’t have anywhere else to go. Lionel threw me out of the apartment, repossessed my car and froze my accounts. Good thing I had a meeting-turn going with some friends or I couldn’t afford the ticket back to Barbados!”

Frank snorted. “That’s what happens when you want to be a kept woman. Why did this Lionel fella throw you out, anyway?”

Jasmine blushed and averted her eyes. “I, umm, we had a difference of opinion,” she muttered.

“Yeah, right. She was probably horning the old guy with a younger man,” Kim snickered quietly to Natasha, who nodded in agreement.

Frank sighed. “Mummy would turn in her grave if I turned my back on you. All I can offer you is food and shelter till you get back on your feet, though. And maybe a job, if Natasha approves.”

Hell, no! Natasha wanted to protest but decided not to upset her father further. Jasmine Taylor had never worked a day in her life, except at looking beautiful. The idea of her far from industrious aunt going anywhere near her clients filled Natasha with horror.

The Taylors went through the nightly ritual of family dinner, but the conversation around the table was strained. Her mood ruined, Natasha decided to make her escape after helping to clean up. Jasmine followed her to the door.

“Leaving so soon, Tasha? I was hoping you could give me a lift to the Gap. I need a change of scenery for an hour or two,” she pleaded.

Natasha shrugged on her jacket. “I’m going the other way, sorry.”

Jasmine pouted. “I guess I can ask Kim to take me. I was hoping we could have some time alone to talk.”

Natasha gave a sarcastic chuckle. “No, I’m not going to try to convince Daddy to give you any money. If you want money, you’re going to have to work for it like the rest of us. Conversation over.”

A malevolent sneer appeared on the older woman’s face. “You know, you grew up to be a real b*tch, Natasha. It’s no wonder Matthew dumped you and spared himself some aggravation.”

Momentarily taken aback by her aunt’s outburst, Natasha recovered quickly and gave her a cold smile. “Better to be a b*tch with her own money than a rich man’s w*ore.”

Ignoring Jasmine’s sharp gasp, Natasha stalked out of the house and headed towards her vehicle.

Trading Hearts is the sole property of Bajegirl. Any reproduction of this story in any form without the author's permission is prohibited.

Trading Hearts recap

I know I'm long overdue with the continuation of Trading Hearts so thanks much for your patience. Anyway, what better time for romance than Christmas, right?

Anyhoo, since I know most of you have forgotten where we left off in Part 8, here's a recap of Trading Hearts. You can also check the sidebar if you need a quick read through.


Previously, on Trading Hearts...
After surviving a dramatic breakup with her longtime boyfriend Matthew Sealy five years earlier, Natasha Taylor has become a successful property manager, and she runs the Taylor family's business. Focussed and independent, the last thing she expects is to fall for Michael Austin, the sexy handyman at her most exclusive property, Emerald Bay House.

Meanwhile, King Properties, the owners of Emerald Bay House, want to develop a mega mall in the neighbourhood where Natasha's parents reside, but her father Frank and some other residents refuse the substantial sums offered as an incentive to relocate. The proposed development also brings her back in contact with Matthew, who is one of the legal counsels to King Properties.

After a near tragic occurrence at Emerald Bay House, Natasha and Michael explore their relationship further. However, what Natasha doesn't know is that handyman Michael is in fact Alan Michael Austin King, the owner of Emerald Bay House and King Properties. Michael's caught between a rock and a hard case, because he knows he's unlikely to get the Taylor's land and keep Natasha at the same time.

Can Michael have his cake and eat it too? How will Natasha react to her man's betrayal? Stay tuned for Part 9 of Trading Hearts later today.

Seasons greetings, ya'll!


Hi, peoples. Hope everyone had an enjoyable Independence weekend. Thanks for all the good wishes sent my way.

Christmas is here again and it couldn't have come soon enough for me. After the very eventful year we've had we really need the joy and merriment of the holidays. Already the poinsettia and snow-on-the-mountain are beginning to come alive, fruits are being soaked in rum in preparation for the famous Bajan black cake and Christmas music is in the air. Of course traffic into the City has increased as well but who's complaining...

Enjoy the hustle and bustle, peoples, and be safe out there!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Two new Knights for Barbados


Professor Hilary McDonald Beckles (left) and Kyffin Donald Simpson, CBE, are Barbados' newest knights.

They have been conferred with the honour of the Knight of St Andrew, the highest award on the occasion of Barbados' 41st anniversary of Independence.

The 52-year-old Beckles, principal of the University of the West Indies Cave Hill, has been recognised for his distinguished service in the field of education, in particular at university level, and his dedication to the furtherance of the arts and sports, in particular cricket.

Kyffin Donald Simpson, founder of Simpson Motors and head of Interamericana Trading Corporation, has been recognised for his extraordinary contribution to the development of Barbados, seen in his establishment of the first Caribbean company in the energy industry and his lifelong contribution to business and philanthropy.

Also honoured in this year's Independence honours were Oliver Miller Browne,QC, for his contribution to the legal profession and the public service and Dr Leonard Alfred Nurse, for his internationally recognised work on climate change. They were awarded the Companion of Honour of Barbados.

The Gold Crown of Merit was awarded to Paul Bernard Altman, BCH, JP, Winston Hudson Bayley, Robert Livingstone Morris and Professor Velma Patricia Scantlebury-White.

Story & photo - www.nationnews.com

Happy 41st Independence Barbados


On behalf of the Cheese-on-bread family, I would like to extend best wishes to all Barbadians at home and abroad as we celebrate another milestone in our development.

Today we're especially thankful for having been spared the worse of yesterday's earth tremor and for making it through another hurricane season unscathed. To God be the glory.

To all those persons, Bajan and otherwise, who have contributed to our development, we salute you.

Just to give you a snapshot of how Bajans celebrate their Independence Day; the Independence Parade at the Garrison Savannah began at 8:00 a.m., and all the armed and unarmed units will put on quite a spectacular show there before marching down Bay Street to Government Headquarters, where the Prime Minister will be saluted.

All day long communities will be having sports and other fun activities and of course plenty of conkies, fish cakes and other delicacies will be consumed. In the east, the annual St. Philip Carnival will be taking place (from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.)

Again, Happy Independence all, and stay safe!


Photo: http://barbados.gssites.com

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Earth tremors felt in Barbados


Okay, peoples, now that the nerves have settled I can tell you that around 3:00 p.m. an earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter Scale hit near Martinique, at longitude 14.9 degrees North, 61.2 degrees West. It was also felt as far away as Venezuela, Guyana and Trinidad.

In Barbados, reports are still coming in but we seemed to have been spared the worse of it. Traffic is gridlocked, especially near the City, and there were reports of roof tiles falling from the Royal Bank of Canada in Broad Street, damaging a car and blocking the street. Part of a house in Ellerton, St. George reportedly fell into a gully. People are in the streets and walking to open areas. The cellphone system is partially down so persons are having difficulty communicating. Some patients were also evacuated from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

In Guadeloupe there are reports that a 3 year old girl was killed and her sister injured.

Here is a report from Caribbean360.com:

The United States Geological Survey has reported that a magnitude 7.3 earthquake has struck near Martinique.

ABC news is also reporting that a 3 year old girl was killed and her sister is in critical condition when a wall collapsed in Guadeloupe.

The earthquake struck the island at 3 p.m. local time approximately 13 miles (21 km) northwest of the island, at a depth of 90 miles (145.4 km).

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a statement for Caribbean countries excluding Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands indicating that a tsunami was not expected in the Caribbean due to the depth of the quake.

In addition, the U.S. West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center noted that no tsunami warning or watch was in effect. According to the centre, no Tsunami's were expected along the coasts of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the U.S. Atlantic.


We Bajans are novices when it comes to earthquakes and tremors, never having experienced any significant ones before. We have to get educated fast, because the earth seems to be on the move in the region and other parts of the world.

Map: Barbados Underground

Will keep you all posted, but folks overseas can rest assured that there are no reports of deaths or serious injury here.

For details on the quake, click here.

Earth tremor hits Barbados

Hi peoples at around 3: 04 we had an earth tremor, so had to exit the building hastily. Was in the midst of posting but will get back to that later. Will keep you posted. Information coming in.

Forty-one fave Bajan personalities Pt. 5

Here are my five remaining fave Bajan personalities:


Tessa Chadderton-Shaw - As the Manager of the National Council on Substance Abuse, Tessa Chadderton-Shaw (pictured with daughters Miah and Haylee) leads the fight against substance abuse in Barbados. Her passion for her cause is one addiction we should all have.


Timothy Callender - One of the most creative and prolific storytellers and playwrights that Barbados has produced, Timothy Callender's tales are so colourful that they transport the reader to a Barbados past.


Wendell McClean - Heroes come in all kinds of shapes and sizes; sometimes they're just people who do the right thing. The late academic launched a now legendary battle with the Public Utilities Board against the telephone company Bartel's attempts to raise telephone rates. Thank you, Wendell McClean.

Wendell Smith - The late actor performed in many plays, but I will always remember him as Cranston Browne Esquire Proprietaire of the Laff-it-Off productions. Another talented actor who's sorely missed.

Wesley Worrell - Paralympian Wesley Worrell may be wheelchair-bound, but he doesn't let his disability prevent him from participating in the Fun Ride and other sporting events. I understand that he's recovering from a recent illness, and I wish him well.

More accolades for Rihanna


Kudos to homegirl Rihanna, who rounded out a successful 2007 by winning Seventeen magazine's first ever style awards.

She was also nominated for three NRJ Awards, which are given out by the French radio station NRJ to popular musicians.

Rihanna’s up for International Female Artist of the Year, International Song of the Year for Don’t Stop the Music and International Album of the Year for Good Girl Gone Bad.

The ceremony will be held on January 26 and will also be broadcasted live.

I sense a Grammy's coming her way next year....

Photo: JustJared.com

National heroes: Sir Hugh Springer & Sir Frank Walcott


SIR HUGH WORRELL SPRINGER, GCMG, KCMG, GCVO, KA, CBE, OBE
(1913-1994)

In life he was a portrait of greatness. In death his image looms forever large.

From educator, to politician, leader of organised labour, parliamentarian, member of the Government and, finally, to the pinnacle of public life as Head of State. This was the spectacular and unexcelled rise of Sir Hugh Worrell Springer, Barbados' third native Governor-General. For six years up to 1990, Sir Hugh held that post, following the death of his predecessor, Sir Deighton Ward.

In recognition of his "good work for Barbados in general and for the Barbados Progressive League in particular", Sir Hugh is complimented by historian F.A. Hoyos. In his book "The Story of the Progressive Movement", the author points to Sir Hugh's "impressive contributions to the common stock of policy and counsel".

His long and distinguished academic career and public service mark Sir Hugh as among the greatest Barbadians of all time. A 1931 Barbados Scholar in Classics achieved at his alma mater, Harrison College, he later stood in the vanguard of public education policy-making throughout the Commonwealth for most of his life.

That scholarship qualified him for entry to Hertford College in Oxford where he gained a B.A. degree in 1936. He obtained the M.A. degree from this institution in 1944, studied law at the Inner Temple, London and was called to the Bar in 1938.

Sir Hugh Springer, already recognised as an outstanding administrator, was the organiser and first General Secretary of the Barbados Workers' Union from 1940 to 1947. He left Barbados that year to take up the post of Registrar of the newly established University College of the West Indies in Jamaica.

He worked in a variety of professional and political capacities, including being a Member of the House of Assembly; General Secretary of the Barbados Labour Party; Acting Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Barbados, as well as serving as Director, Commonwealth Education Liaison Unit; Commonwealth Assistant Secretary-General and Secretary-General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

By 1940, the Barbados Progressive League, whose labour programme had been outlined the previous year by new president, Grantley Adams, had won seats at the General Elections. Adams had also rededicated the League to political education and organisation as well as the development of trade unionism. Among those capturing a seat in Parliament was Hugh Springer who won on the League's ticket for St. George.

His administrative skills greatly benefited the Progressive League, of which he was General Secretary and which had created an economic section later registered as the BWU. So remarkable was his stewardship as the union's first General Secretary, that Hoyos wrote: "Hugh Springer's organising genius at this stage was of the first importance to the labour movement ...."

His already distinguished career advanced even further in 1944 when he was appointed a member of the Executive Committee, thus increasing labour representation as Mr. Adams had become a member two years earlier.

In a 1946 Barbados Progressive League-Congress Party coalition, led by Mr. Adams as the first Premier in the annals of the colony, Mr. Springer held responsibility for Education, Legal Departments, Agriculture and Fisheries.

It was impossible, however, to limit the services of so talented a son of the soil to Barbados alone. In response to the obvious regional need, he resigned from the League and the Union in 1947 to take up duties as Registrar of the University College of the West Indies, at Mona in Jamaica, a development regarded by the historian as a "severe blow to the labour movement".

But Springer had laid a solid foundation. For the BWU, he had bought properties including the first headquarters at the corner of Fairchild and Nelson Streets and the former Beacon building or "Unity House" on Roebuck Street.

Along with Frank Walcott, who was assistant to the General Secretary of the League and the Union, Hugh Springer had roped in the agricultural workers from the mid-1940s; consolidated divisions in the docks, and attracted membership from utilities, government, and clerical as well as white collar workers.

A published academic, Sir Hugh's work appears in regional publications such as "Caribbean Quarterly", "Pelican Annual" and "Torch" and in international publications such as "RSA Journal", and "Universities Quarterly", among others.

The former Governor-General was married to Dorothy nee Gittens and had three sons and a daughter.

Sir Hugh died in 1994.




SIR FRANK LESLIE WALCOTT
(1916-1999)

Building on the foundation laid by such stalwarts as Sir Grantley Adams and Sir Hugh Springer, Sir Frank Leslie Walcott has become an heroic trade union fixture as much in recorded history as in folk memory.

A tough, principled negotiator with a visionary approach to bargaining for improved conditions for the working population, he served the island's first trade union - the Barbados Workers' Union - for 50 years.

Beginning as an active unionist in 1941, he rose from the status of a humble clerk at Lashley's on Swan Street to become assistant to Sir Hugh Springer, the BWU's first General-Secretary. He succeeded Springer on July 25, 1948.

Born on September 16, 1916, in St. Peter, the son of a policeman who died when he was very young, Frank was raised in Bridgetown and attended Wesley Hall Boys' School where he came under the strong influence of legendary Barbadian Headmaster of revered memory, Rawle Parkinson.

Walcott gained a reputation for being a good mathematician and skilled craft worker. In the late 1920s, when he was seeking employment, liberal and progressive forces were asserting themselves in a quest for democracy, including organising workers into trade unions.

In the 1930s, he became an active member of debating groups such as the Weymouth and Riverside Clubs where his fearless views attracted the attention of some progressive leaders. Hugh Springer who, along with Grantley Adams, led the Progressive League, formed in 1938, soon invited Sir Frank to join the labour movement. He showed promise as a union worker and from January 1, 1945 became assistant to Springer who was also General-Secretary of the Progressive League. After March 10, 1946, he was fully employed by the BWU and spent 45 years as an employee, initially being involved in grievance handling and later negotiations and all the administrative duties which fell under Springer's control.

Thus when Springer left the union in October 1947, to be the new Registrar of the University College of the UWI, his successor was obvious. Frank Walcott was appointed to act as General-Secretary on November 5, 1947, and the following year on July 25 was elected General-Secretary at the Annual Delegates' Conference.

Sir Frank distinguished himself locally, regionally and internationally. He consolidated the union's internal administration while engaged in organising workers and negotiating on their behalf.

It is significant that he acceded to the position of General-Secretary at a time when the union was fused with a political party. Over the next six years, he quietly achieved three objectives:

extricating the union from its junior position in the partnership with the Barbados Labour Party,

organising an effective accounting system which could pass the closest scrutiny of independent auditors, and

making the union more militant.

Describing himself as "frank by name and frank by nature", Walcott adopted a forceful but reasonable approach to trade unionism. By 1954, as they were captivated by his dynamism, workers in the utilities, in government as well as clerical and white collar employees became substantially unionised.
As General-Secretary in those days, when Barbados moved from being a British Caribbean colony to being a proud independent nation by 1966, Walcott embarked on a process of self-education, study tours, seminars and longer courses, including one at the University of Miami's Centre for Advanced International Studies, in preparation for his arduous task in the field of industrial relations.

Walcott had only an elementary education when he entered the BWU as a paid functionary. It is therefore remarkable testimony to his outstanding abilities, energies and character that he rose steadily within the organisation and expanded the role which he inherited from Springer.

In continuing the difficult task of organising sugar workers on plantations throughout the island, it was clear to Walcott that only organised labour and strong, capable leadership could reduce the power of an entrenched oligarchy which was accustomed to having its way in every confrontation with workers. Walcott proved himself more than a match for the planter-merchant oligarchy.

As Dr. Francis Mark points out in his book "The History of the Barbados Workers' Union", Sir Frank came to the post of General-Secretary "with none of the social or educational advantages or mystique of the Founding Fathers (Adams and Springer) and with none of the 'externals' which was linked in the Barbadian consciousness with traditional leadership, yet after five years in the post he was clearly the union's most forceful personality."

Walcott established the administrative authority of the General-Secretary and gained full confidence of the Union's Governing Council. By 1953 he was elected to the Executive Board of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, a capacity in which he served until his retirement in 1991.

Recognition of his stature as a regional and international trade unionist followed quickly. He served as President of the Caribbean Congress of Labour for three terms 1960-1963, 1966-1969, 1977-1980.

Few other Caribbean trade unionists gained such honours as listed here, either before or after this period: Member of the Governing Body, International Labour Organisation; Vice-President Executive Board, ICFTU; Member of AIFLD (American Institute for Free Labour Development), Board of Trustees and Chairman, World Employment Conference.

He also made his presence felt at important regional and international conferences, among them the Inter-American Ministers of Labour and Trade Union Hemispheric Conferences, Commonwealth Sugar Conferences, LomT Convention meetings and a Special Session of the United Nations in South West Africa.

In a 1958 study entitled An Analysis of the Political Situation in Barbados, eminent author and political scientist, C.L.R. James, noted: ôWalcott impressed me as one of the ablest and most modern-minded labour and political organisers I have met in the West Indies. ... In reply to my question as to what he wanted, say for the next five years, he replied unequivocally that he saw himself as devoting his energies to the trade union movement."

Indeed, Frank Walcott never wavered in his quest to expand the union's role and consolidate its gains. Between 1958 and 1991 he made the BWU as strong as any in the region, concentrating not only on collective bargaining but on worker education and housing, as well as on evolution of the professional trade unionist and improvement of the quality of life in Barbados as a whole.

The Labour College at Mangrove in St. Philip, established in 1975, owes its existence to Walcott's progressive thinking, and he organised scholarships there for members of the BWU and their dependents. His guiding principle was: "Unity is strength. Where there is no vision, the people perish.

Arguably the single most important factor in the development of Barbados' unionism as a bulwark against a return to the entrenched exploitation of workers, he won the union's right to be represented on all important national developmental projects. He himself served on many Boards and Committees, including the National Insurance Board, National Economic Council and the Immigration Advisory Committee. He was a Director of the Export Promotion Committee and the Barbados National Bank, besides being a member of the University of the West Indies' Finance Committee. Walcott was also a Privy Councillor from 1970 to 1976.

He became a Member of Parliament form 1945 to 1966 and again in 1971 to 1976, and played a role in the famous Bushe Experiment as a member of the Executive Committee, the precursor to the modern Cabinet from 1948 to 1954. During 1966 to 1971 he served as a Senator and was President of that Chamber from 1986 to 1991. When Barbados gained Independence in 1966 he was appointed the island's first Ambassador to the United Nations.

It is not often that a Barbadian has stood out as extraordinary while working in the company of great patriots in their struggle for social justice. Yet, Sir Frank did just that alongside Sir Grantley Adams, Sir Hugh Springer and Mr. Errol W. Barrow. With them, and in his own right, Sir Frank Walcott made a truly remarkable contribution to modern Barbados.


Photos & copy: www.barbados.gov.bb