Family and friends have definitely been the focus of the week. From Sunday onwards I have enjoyed the company of both, with visitors arriving from Canada and Barbados, and the wonderful hospitality of friends of friends. Jamaican hospitality is without question the warmest and most relaxed I have experienced, and one is welcomed with tremendous generosity and graciousness. Last Sunday I had the pleasure of enjoying such hospitality, as a friend from Kinark, back visiting the place that was home for him, invited me to join him at friends' for lunch. It was a delightful afternoon and wonderful to spend some time with Lloyd in Jamaica.
The begining of the week brought the, now typical, demand of completing a funding proposal, meeting with students, connecting with funders and trying to find some means of sustaining the Youth Programme. There is begining to feel some real urgency to this and it also feels as if funds are extremely scarce.
However, after a somewhat hectic beginning the week ended early. Easter weekend is an important holiday weekend here and on Thursday afternoon the roads were clogged, as offices closed and everyone seemed to be doing last minute shopping. Many people head out of town and I was included in the plan made by family and friends. So I have had the pleasure of spending the last few days in the Blue Mountains. It has been quite lovely.
The setting is magnificent with moutain peaks to the east and to the west, beyond the mountains, the view is of the plains and Kingston stretching to the harbour and the sea . There are houses and cottages scattered on the steep mountainsides, surrounded by wonderful gardens and bordered by coffee plantations. Despite drought and significantly less water in streams and rivers the moutains still look verdent and lush. The mountains have provided a retreat from the city for over a century and there are some wonderful old houses and properties. The quiet is delightful, particularly in contrast to the bustle and noise of Kingston. The days have been a gentle routine of slow mornings, with the sun coming up and warming the cool air, and later in the morning a walk to a higher point to see some place of interest and beauty, of which there are many. The days are punctuated by wonderful meals and visiting with others who are here and obvioulsy enjoying the relaxed informal company of holiday visiting.
One of the trade marks of the Blue Mountains is the rolling cloud that tumbles down the mountainsides bringing mist and a quick and significant drop in temperature as the sun is temporarily obscured and moisture fills the air. The clouds roll down the mountains, across decks, over gardens and even through the open houses. These clouds bring a freshness to the air rarely experienced in Kingston and it is a welcome relief particularly in the hot, humid summer months. The clouds are not the only cover for the mountains. there are trees, plant and flowers of enormous variety. Orchids and raspberries, ferns and fir trees, and an abundance of lillies. Sitting in the garden in the late afternoon the humming birds and Doctor birds hover around the flowering trees. It is a spectacular environment. This, coupled with exceptionally fine company, has made for a wonderful holiday weekend that has felt much more than that!