As I recently wrote, you’ll spot hints of Green Turtle Cay’s history all around. One glimpse into the past can be found right in the center of town. Across from the basketball court is a small pink building, with stone stairs that seem to lead nowhere. It’s the old New Plymouth gaol.
The old jail, Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, Bahamas. Originally, this building was two stories — government offices upstairs and the jail below. During the 1932 hurricane, however, the top of the structure was destroyed, leaving just the jail standing.
Original wooden shutters at Fish Hooks Cottage (prior to the house’s most recent painting.)
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Before Tom and I bought Fish Hooks, our home-away-from-home on Green Turtle Cay was Roberts Cottages in Black Sound. Having stayed in all three cottages at one time or another, we love them all. Though they’re conveniently located a two-minute walk from “town”, they’re incredibly private and quiet, nestled within the trees at the water’s edge.
I must admit, when the time came to move into our own place, I felt some last-minute pangs.
Would we miss the peace and privacy of Black Sound? Living across from the ferry dock, would it feel as if we were in a fish bowl?
The short answers? No and no. The truth is we’ve gotten to know many more local folks than we did before. And we have a delightful front-row seat to island life. Continue reading
One of my greatest worries about moving into Fish Hooks during our ongoing restoration was creepy-crawly things. Ants, sand flies, mosquitoes, lizards, roaches, spiders, bees, wasps, spiders, centipedes, scorpions – the list is endless.
Other than its original wood shutters, our little house had no windows or doors. And — for the time being — the ocean breeze is our only air conditioning. Keeping the shutters closed is simply not an option.
To repel unwelcome visitors until we install proper windows and doors, I bought a roll of screen, cut rectangles to size and attached them to the insides of the window frames with Velcro. The doorways, however, presented a much greater challenge.
We had found a couple of screen doors in the attic, but when the time came to use them, they were in worse shape than we’d thought. And in any case, the house had shifted slightly during the move, so these old doors no longer fit.
Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue, since the local hardware stores stock screen doors. In the case of Fish Hooks, however, there are few straight lines or square angles. Not a single opening is standard size. In the end, our only choice was for Tom to custom-make three screen doors. He fashioned a sturdy workbench from an old wooden door and got to it.
For the next few days, he worked from morning until dusk. Without the necessary power tools, he did much of the work — including chiseling 36 pieces of wood for 18 lap joints — by hand. To ensure a perfect fit, he assembled the doors vertically within their respective, imperfectly shaped frames.
After sanding, priming and painting the doors and installing screens, he finished them off with moldings and hardware. He even installed pneumatic closers to ensure the doors would close automatically — keeping the bugs out and Wrigley in.
Now I knew Tom was handy, and that he enjoyed woodwork. Even so, I was amazed at his attention to detail and meticulous craftsmanship. And it wasn’t just me. Several local folks actually stopped by to admire our screen doors and ask whether Tom was taking orders. (Great to know he’s got a Plan B if the whole television thing doesn’t work out.)
Funny enough, while working outside on these doors, Tom said he wasn’t bothered by a single sand fly or mosquito. Still, as the household member who’s apparently irresistible to all sorts of stinging and biting pests, I can’t thank him enough for his wonderful work.
His screen doors having been a resounding success, Tom plans to tackle kitchen cabinets on our next trip. Stay tuned!
View from our bedroom window at Fish Hooks Cottage, Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, Bahamas.
As a young man, British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, lived in this home on Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, Bahamas.