WTNT34 KNHC 091451
HURRICANE ADVISORY NUMBER 29
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
11 AM AST THU SEP 24 2014
...EXTREMELY DANGEROUS HURRICANE HEADING FOR JAMAICA AND THE
WESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA...
AT 11 AM AST...THE GOVERNMENT OF JAMAICA HAS ISSUED A HURRICANE
WARNING FOR JAMAICA.
A HURRICANE WATCH AND A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAIN IN EFFECT FOR
THE ENTIRE SOUTHWEST PENINSULA OF HAITI FROM THE BORDER OF THE
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC WESTWARD...INCLUDING PORT AU PRINCE...
Jacmel’s a bit of a dump really. The beach is dirty but the girls wanted to stretch their legs and I needed to check the bilge pump so we hove to. Mind you it’s been a lovely place at one time. Built by rich merchants from Port Au Prince who used it for a weekend getaway and there’s some beautiful old houses. But now it’s looking very rundown. We wander through the market. It’s Sunday. I know that means the women will likely all be in church while the men go cockfighting. There’s a young bloke following behind us. He’s got a hyena on a piece of string. A very well behaved beast I must say. I ask him in my best Anglo/French if he knows anything about cockfighting. He looks puzzled so I jump up and down and flap my wings. A small crowd gathers. ‘Ah la gague’ says someone, ‘suivez moi.’ and off we go through the market past a lot of shacks till we come to a big tin hut. It’s full of people drinking rum and shouting and there’s a concrete pit in the center. Cockfighting is a big deal in Haiti. It’s come to symbolize the relationship they have with Dominica. Two roosters fighting over Hispaniola.
It was unbelievably hot and noisy in that shed but nobody seemed to mind. Next two blokes are holding hooded roosters, the excitement reaches a crescendo and everything goes crazy.
The human mind is a funny thing. I’m watching all this, the crowd, the roosters clawing and pecking at each other, the stuffy tin shed and for some reason I’m getting flashbacks to my first brush with the porn business.
I believe I told you about Aunty Doris and Uncle Archie and the naughty goings on in the living room. I wasn’t supposed to watch but of course I did. Later on Uncle Archie let me work the camera and move the lights around. Even gave me a few black and white still photos to flog at school.
When Auntie Doris got nicked and Dad in the Scrubs it was just me and Mum. Uncle Archie used to come round a lot to see how she was doing. He’d always slip me a couple of quid and send me out somewhere so I had a lot more personal freedom. Those were great days. One summer I borrowed Archie’s Standard Vanguard (and his driver’s license), and took mum to Butlins. She loved it didn’t she? Skegness! Bloody marvelous.
Funnily enough looking back I was a bit of a slow bloomer. Had me first real bunk-up at Butlins. (I’m not counting the messy knee-trembler with a Girl Guide from Crouch End. Saucy little piece from Brownhills named Thelma. Brummy accent. Met her on the roller rink. Black lace knickers and a real goer once I got her away from her mate.
Also, come to think of it that was the first time I saw a proper boat. Mablethorpe Yacht Club Annual Regatta. Posh bastards or so I thought at the time. I made a mental note to meself. Dicky Boy you’re having one of those yachts one day. Anyway the holiday camp was great. Remember Oliver Reed in Tommy? His haircut? I was a Teddy Boy...well not really but I caught the tail end of it. Drape jackets with velvet collars, bootlace ties, drainpipe trousers and suede shoes with thick crepe sole were on the way out. Italian suits and winkle pickers that was me. Duck tail and Tony Curtis sideburns. And the music…Gene Vincent and Bill Haley. Smashing up cinemas. Lovely. No internet in them days. Buddy Holly. Dancing of a Saturday night at the Palais. Jiving we called it. Best England had in those days was Petula Clarke and Frankie Vaughan. Unless you count Tommy Steele or Cliff Richard and the Shadows.
Then in the sixties some strange things started happening, Beatles, Stones, Kinks, The Who, and next thing I know we’ve all morphed into mods somehow. The lads were buying Lambrettas, putting on their parkas and Doc Martens and scooting off to Southend for punch-ups with rockers. Went there a few times meself, not for the fights so much but to look at the ocean. Loved watching the sailboats. Course like I say…it’s all a bit of a blur.
Back at the cockfight I notice they aren’t tying knives to the birds like they do in the Philippines and I also see a lot of the roosters don’t have spurs. They clip them or twist them off with pliers I’m told, which doesn’t hurt the bird too much. If it bothers you, you can use a hot potato. Put a potato in the microwave for 5 minutes, or until REALLY hot. Get somebody to hold the rooster upside down then quickly stab your hot potato onto the rooster’s spur. Hold it there for at least 60 seconds then when the spur is still hot and soft give it a sharp twist. The spur will pop off easily without harming the rooster.
Well we lost a few dollars in that hot tin shed but the girls loved it. It was interesting to see a slice of local life and make a contribution to the Haitian economy. Poor buggers need all the help they can get. Looks like we dodged a hurricane...now here comes another one. Time to find a decent harbour.