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Half Way Tree



“The village of Half Way Tree about 2½ miles from Kingston, contains no more than 16 or 18 houses. There is a genteel new room here, where assemblies are held.” William Beckford, A descriptive account of the island of Jamaica, 1790, p. xxi.

That sounds very different to the Half Way Tree I know. That Half Way Tree is busy, full of busses and hustle, Kingston at its most intense. I have an image of soft, hot tarmac burst open with potholes, old busses leaning on their exhausted suspension and tilted as if struggling their way through rough seas. High, sharp pavements and commercial concrete, painted in garish colours, showing black interiors or grilled windows. Along their edges the ladies walk loaded with shopping bags, countless small plastic bags full of stuff. And weaving themselves through this semblance of ordered movement there are lots of men in trousers that saw their best day long ago. It must have been brief.




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