When I think of the exhaustion of the month before we arrived here: the packing up of a house and a life into cardboard boxes to be stored, selling cars and furniture and explaining to the children that still don’t understand what is going on. It was a tough time. I vow to never put my family through that again.
Our first week in Antigua is a blur of jet-lag and emotions. Now though, I can feel the sand between my toes and the sea salt in my hair. As a family, we are finding each other again and embracing our new life.
A friend told me today that life is slow in Antigua and there is time to stop and look at the flowers with the children. What a wonderful thought!
So I took some pictures of the trees around our house for you today.
|Flamboyant tree, Antigua|
This is the Flamboyant tree – isn’t that a great name! I have just read an accurate description of this tree as ‘one of the most dazzling red trees in the world’. They are everywhere on the island and the locals use the big long seed pods to paint and sell to tourists as souvenir rattles. We were unrespectfully using one of these seed pods today as a perfect ‘stick’ to play fetch with our fearless dachshund. Can you believe this dog has flown with us from Switzerland?
|Bougainvillea flowers, Antigua|
Another common, but no less stunning flowering plant, is the Bougainvillea, named after the French navigator Louis de Bougainville, who took a sample back to France in the 1700s. As I am such a francophile, of course this is a perfect name. All of the locals are talking about the drought in the islands at the moment, yet this plant is a blaze of glory and seems to flower in the arid conditions. We picked the dried petals that fall on the ground and decorated the table for our ‘dinner party’ last night – the children and I sitting by candlelight eating homemade garlic pizza bread and steamed vegetables. So much fun!
|Hibiscus flower, Antigua|
The Hibiscus is a personal favourite of mine. I used to have some iguanas when I was in Fiji and each morning I would go out and pick some Hibiscus flowers for their breakfast. The iguanas would devour the stamens only, and leave the petals to wilt.
My husband and I lived in Menton in the South of France when we met, and we had the most wonderful terrace under a big oak tree with a glimpse of the sea. I was so excited to grow a Hibiscus plant there, especially as I had freshly returned from the tropics and it made me feel at home.
I am trying to cultivate more mindfulness in my life. Taking time out to look at the flowers and show them to the children is a tiny step in an forward direction and I enjoy it immensely.
I’d love to know about your favourite plants that bloom near you!
Bisous from Antigua x