A pivot to wood

The Honourable Member Keith Scotland - SUREASH CHOLAI
The Honourable Member Keith Scotland - SUREASH CHOLAI

THE EDITOR: As an advocate for alternative transport solutions and a pivot to cleaner urban living, I was intrigued to hear the Member's contribution re: bicycle use for daily commute.

Many of my generation and older would be familiar with the "Gentleman's Bike": the black and chrome Big Bens that were still prolific on the city streets in the 70s and even well into the 80s.

TT was a fitter population in the post-WWII era, and Port of Spain was a bike-friendly city, with bike parking at the Old Railway Station (now City Gate) and all over the high school I attended, St Mary's College, PoS.

My father often regaled us of his own proud moment of graduating from the 26-inch single-speed he rode as a youth, to the 28-inch Big Ben he bought with his first paycheques as an estate constable in the Santa Flora oilfields of the 50s. He rode that bike all across the southland, and often would park it in San Fernando to take a train up to town to compete with the Yankee sailors on the Carenage strip on his month-end jaunts for poontang.

Decked out in Panama hat and bleached white linen suits, he seldom drank alone – probably fit from all that riding to work, too, I can well imagine...

But I wondered aloud at the Member's other comments – those about using coals to fuel a coal pot for daily cooking, instead of LPG stoves.

Of course, being a good citizen of our fair islands, I took the Honourable Member's contributions at face value, and pondered what it would take for this nation of 1.4 million souls to pivot to wood.

Right away, in support of the MP's trend towards living lite – immediately I scrapped one meal. We only need two squares in these austere times.

So, to cook for my family of three, I would need to plan this thing out. Roasted tubers would form the basis of future dining. At $6-10 per pound for dasheen, I cast my imagination more to cassava (three lbs for $10 most times) and Irish potatoes, with the occasional green fig and mokos thrown in for variety. On Sundays, we can indulge in sada; seeing that wheat is also subsidised by His Honourable's government as well, why burden the State unduly?

I think a crocus bag of coals should get us through a week just fine!

Does TT have enough mora and teak to make bags of coal each week for 300,000 households? I am guessing we will soon find out, ent? I hear that rose mango wood lends itself to a delightful flavour on barbeque meats. I guess I will have to take that on the word of others, because I am a Rasta and do not eat pork (which seems to lend itself most to that sweet mangoey goodness).

I am glad that wifey chose to live up here in the hills because of the readily available wood stock on the slopes, resplendent in yellow poui. I don't know what the poui tree looks like without its telltale plumage, however, so I am guessing I would have to research that.

By my crude calculus, three or four trees should get me through fiscal 2023. Place would look less joyous come Easter, but around that time fish prices go up, so I imagine we can put up a remaining poui branch out back...maybe it would start a new Trini tradition. Hashtag Poui Day?

But this Vision 2030, with its homage to the giddy 1930s of steel bikes and iron pots, brings tears to my eyes – as I imagine that poui and rose mango smoke also would, soon enough.

Fitter. Stronger. Better.

The new watchwords of the nation.


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"A pivot to wood"

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