Family ties

My last few days in Barbados were a blur of beaches and Concord. Yes, Concord. You may not know but Barbados was the only scheduled ‘holiday’ destination of Concord so they Bajans’ are pretty proud of it. I must say I’ve never given it much thought as I was too young to fly on it when it was at it’s peak and have never had the £8000 for the one-way ticket to travel on it when i was old enough! There are apparently another 6 Concords in the UK so if you live near one or hear of a showing, I’d go. Especially if you remotely interesting in physics and aerodynamics etc. On my last night we ate at the Lonestar. A converted 50s car garage that is now one of the trendy eating joints on the island. My Grandma refused the cocktails I tried to force on her, as she couldn’t stand the thought of another headache like the Cin Cin night.

 I left Barbados rejuvenated and ready to tackle London. It wasn’t a luxurious holiday, far from it. But home comforts combined with the magnificent landscapes and adventures was just when I needed.

 I know I mentioned before but it’s been nearly 10 years since I’d seen my grandparents and I’m so happy I went over. Knowing them in a more adult capacity makes them even more brilliant and I’m proud to say that I’m their Granddaughter. They both over came immense strife as children with grandparents who themselves were slaves on the island, and they faced immense prejudice moving to the UK in the 1950s. Through all of this they are both still witty, sharp and full of the best tales and anecdotes I’ve ever heard.

I’m now sat in my bed in London having been back at work for a few days, excited for my birthday.. Time flies when you’re having fun hey. Who’d have thought the end of March would come around so quick.

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Out on the open road

My coastal drive adventure was one of the best days I’ve had in I don’t know how long! My grandma and I set out early to travel to the north of the island to the Animal Flower Cave. Omitting a certain mistake on my part where I realised I’d left my SD card in my room (a mere 45 minutes away at home) we were some of the first to arrive. The cave still fills up at high tide, it’s obviously closed at this time, and has been open since the mid 50s - apparently there’s even been a wedding down there! The best part of the start of the day was however the views; Christ, I’ve never seen landscape like it! Especially when juxtaposed with the calm seas of the west coast, you wouldn’t believe you were on the same island.

The rest of the day was spent traveling down the east coast. I’ve always believed in intuition but this day I totally proved to myself that a good sense of direction beats any map. It’s well known that there aren’t any real maps of Barbados, most are just touristy and point out the major landmarks. Roads and built and not really documented and as you’ll see from the photos sign posting isn’t really a Bajan thing! It seemed I’d chosen to stop off at all the weird non-tourist attractions after that (disused lighthouse anyone?). It took us all day to get to the South Coast (quite the achievement when you think they island is only 21km long!), with just two wrong turns, but I was rewarded with the best beach I’ve ever laid eyes on at Bottom Bay. My Grandma refused to descend the stairs to the beach so I had an awkward tourist photo taken by a kind (read – strange) man who was seemingly approaching all those alone on the beach to take their photos - this isn't included as it was out of focus and cut me from my knees!! The sea was rough but crystal clear with the whitest, finest sand. Definitely somewhere to visit if you’re ever in Barbs.

Now I’m sitting on the veranda watching Granddad cut the grass (‘All for show’ my grandma says) whilst Grandma is cooking jerk pork for dinner. I do wonder if people would mind if I never came home!

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Back to the Island...

Here begins the Island Adventure. My grandparents, though older, haven’t changed a bit in the nine or so years since I’ve seen them. My Grandmother remains sharp, witty and the biggest and best baddie in town, whilst my grandfather is stoic, quiet and profound in his well thought out statements.

It’s easy to forget how brilliant Barbados is, diverse and exciting with music and crowds at every turn in the towns. The other side of the island is serene and vast. Twisting roads and rolling hills in the Scotland district are contrasted with the wild, savage seas of the east coast.

My first day however, it rained. A lot. We went for a walk up the beach in the morning, which started out, fine, and ended in us wringing our clothes over the bath! Monday was markedly better. Bright skies and clear calm seas in St Michael made for the perfect day of reading on the beach. I also managed to meet up with my cousin from Nottingham, which was a brilliant surprise.

Visiting family (most of whom I have no clue who they are!), some of my Grandparents old haunts, the beach and the shops were the perfect way to spend my first few days. Last night I also managed to get my Grandparents savagely drunk when we were out to dinner at a superb restaurant Cin Cin, a real highlight in my eyes. In her drunken stupor my grandma managed to say what I think may become my new life motto – ‘Pump it up, and go with the rum’. If that’s not a statement to live life by I don’t know what is!!

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