Daily Archives: December 1, 2013

Good, Better, Best in Grenada

In the 1700’s an enterprising soul put two and two together, sugarcane and abundant water and wood and created a state of the art rum factory here in Grenada. Now it’s a living breathing 300 year old antique whose product comes in three flavors, Mango Rum Punch 30 percent, airplane legal 69 percent, and 75 plus percent kick-a-poo joy juice rum which, if taken in imprudent quantities, I’m told, will make you sterile before your time.

When arriving at Rivers Rum one can only think, oh it’s the Ponderosa estate with waving fields of sugarcane instead of cattle, featuring an elegant restaurant with table cloths and napkins. It’s all so refined up on the second floor of a stone building where the breeze cools everything down, not inexpensive but you can pay a lot for a cool breeze in Grenada.

After a nice lunch with lots of cool breeze we walked along a shaded, gently curving drive where the first of several original out buildings could be seen, old grayed wood covered with flowering vine, just the look New England strives so hard to affect. As we approach the Rummery ® ( remember you heard it here first) I’m overwhelmed by the massive piles of wood and shredded wood products piled several stories high but the thing that catches one’s eye is a three story high water wheel still used to crush the sugarcane while the juice runs down a narrow stone gutter. I can only assume that it’ll be heated up enough at some point…and there it is dear Escapees, huge copper kettles with smoke wafting up from somewhere underneath and it’s hot…no, very hot in this building. And smokey. The lads have to use huge long handled ladles to manually move the cane juice, which the nice young man assured is becoming molasses, from one eight foot wide kettle to a hotter eight foot wide kettle and so forth. They all seem to be dedicated to the concept that if it was good enough when they started River Rum in the 1700’s it was, well…good enough, so every time an electric motor is used, Whitfield, our guide for the day, practically apologized. There’s a lot of to-ing and fro-ing with a maze of plumbing so I say let’s cut the bloke some slack.










So, as I say the process is very labor intensive as evidenced by the number of strapping young lads about, what with hauling great piles of logs, ladling and such, so I’m not surprised when informed that they don’t make enough River Rum to export any, which could mean a rethink of the 1700’s production process is in order or that Grenada has a drinking problem.

So when they say please exit via the “gift shop” you just know what’s going to happen. Free Rum in plastic cups, a couple of T-shirts just to keep it legal and stacks of cardboard boxes filled with, I’m going to take a flyer here…RUM. So the average rum addled tourist, by this point, has little resistance. Even I almost bought the T-shirt, at least until I saw the price tag.

What does it all mean? I don’t know. Like most Grenadians I like a wee bit of rum now and then and the antique rum factory is awfully picturesque and I’m just glad it still exists.


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Deep breathing in Woburn

I took a deep breath along with a serious reality check. Maybe it was yesterday’s comedy of errors collecting our new exhaust elbows or maybe it was the leaky new raw water strainers I’d just installed, a five minute job that just took me two and a half hours, but I was certainly in need of a shot of confidence. I call these small victories because sometimes you just need something to go according to plan. Well, dear Escapees, the truth is I installed them twice. The first location was convenient to check for debris but it could cause a vapor lock so far above the engine. The second location was at the waterline and caused me to work in the tightest spot imaginable even though EV has great access to the beast normally.

My good friend and mechanical spiritual guru Kris warned me that one of the four nuts that hold the exhaust elbow onto the heat exchanger would be almost impossible to get off. It was one of those, turn it a sixteenth of an inch and then flip the wrench around and turn the nut another sixteenth, repeat ad-infinitem, kind of like an inch worm only it was more like a sixteenth worm. Eventually I was able to unscrew the bugger by hand. A slight tap and the elbow was loose in my hand. Amazing! It was quite clogged and rusted but it was out and the new one was a perfect fit. Two new gaskets and “Bob’s your uncle!” I had my small victory and with that my mojo’s back.

Now if it would only stop blowing so hard we could change out our toggles on the shrouds and be off to Carriacou.


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