It's a story by Frank Collymore from The Oxford Book Of Caribbean Short Stories. Is it true? I don't know. There's a little bit of truth in nearly everything isn't there. Perhaps in this little chattel house. Out the road from Mullins Bay in Barbados, heading for Speightstown. I pass it and wonder who lives there every time. Such a preposterously small abode. One day on local leave we're flip-flopping back to Bird and Delias. I'm admiring the blue house as we approach. Suddenly a preposterously tall man throws his bicycle against the white pickets and let's himself in under the tiny front door. I'm quite thrilled. The tallest man in the West Indies lives in the smallest house in Barbados. Now what were the chances of that happening. I want to knock his door and demand to be asked in for tea so that I can look at him properly.
Chattel House is Bajan batter for small moveable wooden houses that date back to the plantation days. Chattel being moveable property of course. Assembled without nails and set on blocks rather than anchored to the ground they could be disassembled quickly by their working class occupants in the event of a dispute with the landowner. Then moved right along to the next place flat packed on the back of a cart. The original Ikea. There are wonderful chattel houses all over the island. Often carefully tended in terrible colours. Some people were meant to live alone and some Little Sheds were meant to move along.
Later we are chewing the jaw with Bird and Delia on the warm drive. The Palm trees look down sternly. Then like the fall out from a bomb blast that's a hundred miles away there is a quiet implosion in the air pressure. A swoosh you feel rather than hear. Instinctively we all look up and silently see two unseasonably large blue birds fly right overhead taking the warm evening air with them. Time stops. It's a pair of parrots they tell us. Off to who knows where. Then goodness me if the tallest man in Barbados doesn't cycle up the path and disappear around the back yard. It was turning into rather an unusual day altogether.