Though you’re meant to have a dental checkup twice a year, I usually only remember once at best. Indeed, I’ve gone two full calendar years without taking my mouth in for a tune-up, but I did have my teeth given their supposedly-semi-annual straighten-and-paint this afternoon. They’re now as close to white – a kind of off-yellow – as they’ll get at my age and with my coffee habit (which isn’t so bad, really, just three cups – cups, not mugs – with the crossword in the morning, but when you’ve got poor-ass – i.e., porous, as pronounced by my Guyanese dental hygienist – when you’ve got poor-ass teeth, they suck up anything dark…
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For someone who remembers the great West Indies teams of the 70s and 80s from direct personal observation, these are lean and challenging times to be one of our supporters. Every time we have a new Test series, I tell myself that the last people who must have felt something like us was them Cherokees, going up against the US Calvary to get cut-ass… ah-gain! So we have to take what good we can from bad and the first Test against New Zealand offers
Sitting at my desk, I can see our dogs – pothounds, both, rescue dogs from the RSPCA that are classified, in Barbados, as “cane dogs” – playing in the front yard. (It’s a long way from a garden, yet, with exactly three plants in the lone flower bed so far made, by me, and two of those three are heliconias, and the other, which I’m hoping is some kind of lily, may actually be a piece of young sugar cane; and there’s no grass at all.) The dogs are bounding joyously around what will hopefully become the front lawn, kicking up dust and totally oblivious to the fact that they helped steal my sleep.
We have neighbours for the first time since August and one of their dogs – some sort of giant breed that could get a part in a Harry Potter movie – has taken over
With the interruption of only a few months at a time, I’ve been doing the Telgraph cryptic crossword, which has been appearing in the Trinidad Guardian since Lord Thompson owned it, perhaps since the paper itself started, since 1985. It was the only cryptic crossword in any Caribbean newspaper when my pardner Mark (M-o-r-g-a-n) got me into it when our families were on holiday at the same time in Tobago back then. it still is. And, for most of the time I've done it, I've done the printed version in the Trinidad Guardian. Familiarity, then,
Though its puzzle website, “Clued Up”, has apparently been overrun by hackers in the last week or so, the Telegraph has set up a link to allow its online addicts, like me, to print the cryptic crossword that completes my coffee. Actually, it’s the crossword that really matters. If I can’t get to do the crossword with it, I’ll usually not bother with coffee; in Ramadan, for the duration of which I stop coffee – Allah asked me to do it personally, and I really felt I couldn’t refuse, having stiffed him already on bacon – I’ll happily do the crossword without coffee