Updated: Jul 15
It's funny how many times you can look back at life at what was a very stressful time and say "If I only knew". My husband is usually very good at taking life's challenges with a positive outlook, me not so much. This post is about a crazy time we had just before the COVID-19 drama which I meant to post at the time but just never actually got around to it.
So we are going back to the end of February, there is news about the whole new coronavirus, but on our little island of St. Lucia we are pretty much going about life as normal. One of our mares, Temperance just recently had a foal, a beautiful colt but with the worst conformation in his hind legs that I've ever seen. I'm worried that he won't develop properly and it's difficult for him to get up sometimes. He lies down often and I know it's to rest his legs. I'm researching as much as I can and I'm torn between being mortified at my findings but also hopeful that he still has a chance.
Our landlord shows up at the the stables with a contractor, he's decided that he's going to knock down one of the buildings that we rent to build apartments and he's laying out the markers. The landlord says in a couple months work will start so my focus goes back to our new little foal and his interest in making friends with his half sister. I know this little guy is going to be fine no matter what because despite his setback he's still looking to have some fun. A couple of days later the landlord shows up again and says hes going to knock down one section of the building in two weeks and we should divert the plumbing to accommodate the bathroom and kitchenette into another part of the building. Some colorful words pop into my head but they don't pass my lips, we don't have anywhere else to keep the horses and I know without hesitation he'll kick us out so I take a breath and keep my cool.
Two days later the story changes drastically! The landlord shows up with a backhoe and begins demolition. We are literally ripping out the toilet and kitchenette sink while the building around us shakes. "Should I of cancelled the mother and daughter that are coming to ride in 20 mins!!??" I shout but get no response. It's a mad scramble getting all of Stefon's stuff out of the way and trying to close up the opening in the wooden wall that used to lead to the bathroom. There is a cloud of dust over the stables and a car pulls into the yard. That would be the guests now! JayR brings the horses out and we get them on as quickly as we can while the backhoe demolishes the kitchen and bathroom. A mass of noise and dust and the horses stay as cool as cucumbers. Thank God for that I think to myself with the biggest smile on my face as I wave them on their way down the trail, I hope it outshines the mess behind us.
Reality hits and we realise that there is no option of occupying any part of the building any longer, if we want to use any of the materials we only have 3 days before the landlord takes it all down. We have lots of rides booked coming up and we need to make sure we can receive our guests and at least have a bathroom. Full on project mode kicks in and with Nye (our highly talented go to construction dude) on our team we feel we can accomplish just about anything. The next three days are insane! Anyone who's done construction knows that it is FAR easier doing a build from scratch than trying to disassemble a building that you want to use parts from (did I mention in 3 days). Nevermind trying to keep all the contents relatively safe and dry (of course it rained) during the process. Stefon and JayR had some unplanned camping and things inevitably got destroyed in the wet and mud.
So what was so great about this time before COVID-19 lockdown? After all my heading does say Paradise right? Yea well at the time I was so stressed about the conditions that Stefon was living in, the money being spent and the unbelievable state of the stables. Alarm bells kept going off in my head for saftey issues as it had unexpectedly turned into a construction zone and I was so embarrassed that we didn't even have a bathroom. We just have to survive this I thought because we can't afford to cancel rides now. I was too stressed to really appreciate that we actually had bookings coming in (this was going to be a great season) and the big smiles that our guests kept coming back with after each ride. Our guests were so understanding that we were obviously going through a tough time. Our staff were intent on helping us get past this hurdle while taking care of the horses. We had friends show up to help pull down bits of the building and move it and get it back up again. The jokes and the laughter between everyone during the day and the conversation at the end of the day over a beer or two. This was our own little paradise despite the struggle we were going through, we had no shortage of work, promise of money coming our way and lots of support. Oh and that little foal I was talking about earlier, mother nature took her course and his legs straightened out properly. There was never a reason to worry.