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Walk this Botanic way

Published: 
Monday, July 20, 2015
TRINI TO D BONE
Anthony Harford in the garden of good and exercise.

My name is Tony Harford and I’ve been walking in the Botanic Gardens since 1993.

I’m an undiluted “Town boy.” Cascade is as “City” as they get. I can simply walk down Frederick Street from home.

According to my sister, we now live in a flat house: the pillars, my parents, are gone and the four of us are left. In fact, four old people now. I am the eldest, fast approaching my allotment of three score and ten. Family means a lot to me but I have never “passed probation” so was never married.

I have a son, Jarred. He is 30.

I was born and raised and am a practising Catholic. I thoroughly enjoy the serenity of attending Mass, at least once weekly, usually more. My own life experiences, bad and good, convince me I am NOT in charge and a higher being is.

I wanted a red car since I was a boy.

I would pay a lot of money to see Billy Joel and Michael Buble.

People frequently confuse me with (longtime media professional) Tony Dennison. This is baffling as he is better looking and far more talented. Tony hosted Thursday night rock concert, while I hosted Saturday nights 10 pm–2 am on Radio 100, one of just two FM stations at the time. Both the rock concert and Shindig were immensely popular and made our bosses distinctly uncomfortable as FM Radio was expected to be “proper,” even “staid.”

Before us, Billy Reece had turned things upside down at Radio Trinidad. His sidekick would go on to become DJ legend, Rennie Bishop. I have seen radio go through irrevocable change.  

I enjoy going to the movies. Especially as I now get the TTARP rate!

In 1988, my friend Bruce Aanensen and I saw a need to offer ground-handling services and cheap accommodation to sporting clubs visiting Trinidad. We bought an 11-bedroom house in Woodbrook and offered teams US$10 per person per night and that was the start of All Sport. We have since morphed into sport management and sport television services.

I have been richly blessed to have travelled the world through sport. The two most beautiful places in the world are New Zealand and The Grenadines.

I have a club that should be in the Premiership, but we are languishing in the Championship. I am a big Nottingham Forest fan.

I’d started swelling like a roaring chorus and decided to do something about it, so I put on my shoes and have not stopped. As you can see, I have lost very little weight in that time, but I do feel so much better.

Over 22 years walking in the gardens I have met a miscellany of people. Without knowing one another’s names we have become a “Gardens family.” We have had several Independence and Republic Day breakfast picnics, everyone bringing something to eat or drink and doing what Trinis do best: enjoy humour and rumour! AND solve every political and world problem!

The Botanic Gardens is my sanctuary. I use the morning walk to reset and revictual before the challenges of daily life. I do a circuit covering roughly four miles per day. Always rest on Sundays. I find a botanic gardens wherever I go. My other favourite is Sydney, Australia, with the Opera House, harbour and harbour bridge as a backdrop. Just stunning.

I’ve never felt unsafe. The current gardens’ round-the-clock security company has the most portly set of officers you are likely to meet in the world. But they do offer a presence and that is a deterrent in itself. Walkers also look out for each other. Part of that authentic Trini caring trait.

In the past 12 years, 15 major trees have been cut down for reasons I can’t understand. And there has been no real replanting.

Nothing keeps me awake at night. In fact, I have trouble staying awake during the day. Seriously, I “let go and let God” and sleep soundly.

I have never in my life hit another human being in anger. But I could give you a list of people I would like to. It’s a short list, but I would hit them real hard!

A Trini is blessed with a gigantic consignment of humour. And a more than normal quota of patience.

Trinidad & Tobago is the only place in which I claim ownership. 

Despite manifold problems, all of which I am optimistic can be fixed.

• Read a longer version of this feature at www.BCRaw.com

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