Caribbean, Countries, Music

Rainy Days and Songdays – Angie in Barbados

Angie, Angie , where will it lead us from here? – The Rolling Stones

Usually late for whoever, or wherever, we were meant to be in Barbados.

Angie Greaves popped up again over the weekend when I fell upon her radio show on Smooth FM.

Cheryl on the top: With Cheryl Carter

It’s been a couple of years since I last came across Angie, randomly, as a guest on Celebrity Pointless.

Where as I would have expected she scored a Pointless answer.

The Fun Five

Angie lit up our Barbados Crop Over trip along with the Fun Five of Extra Miley Kylie, Chippin’ Charlotte, Ab Fab, Laura Disorder and Hayley the Soca Blogger.

Angie, I christened Early Angie, for reaaons I will now explain.

Sunshine smile: Angie. www.angiegreaves.com

Our smooth-voiced DJ was hosting a charming old couple who had won a holiday back to Bim from where they hailed.

And was also gathering material for her radio show which meant she would always start an interview just as we were about to leave.

Soca stars

Angie, to be fair, was great company as was Champion Cheryl Carter who introduced us to Soca music.

And we were not to be disappointed.

While they both waxed lyrical on modern great Prince who had died that year, and his music…. hence the above clip.

While Prince doesn’t have a song dedicated to Angie (that I know of), The Rolling Stones do.

Mick’s pick

Mick Jagger is a big fan of the island, the cricket, the rum shops, and the women I dare say!

The story goes that it was about David Bowie’s wife as an apology when she apparently burst in and found him in bed with David Bowie.

Right at home: Mick in Barbados

Which Jagger denied.

But Keith Richards, who wrote the song, debunks that myth or that it was about his own daughter, and says it was an everywoman song.

I can’t rule out that Mick or Keef wrote it about Angie Greaves!

Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Deals, Europe, Ireland

Holiday Snaps – Black Magic Friday

And we’ve had many a black Friday this year. Saturday through to Thursday as well, it must be said.

So let’s make this a Black Magic Friday, home and abroad, with these offers for the day that’s in it.

Donegal is so on point

And your own lake

Harvey’s Point, Donegal: And Donegal is the magical Irish county to escape life for a while.

The award-winning Harvey’s Point ate offering a 10% discount on all gift vouchers purchased online through Monday.

And the vouchers are valid for three years.

Inter the InterContinental

Dip your toe in

InterContinental, Dublin: And not just because of the picture above, although it doesn’t harm it.

But because i was able to bring my own lady of leisure, and today’s birthday girl as it happens, here for a bit of spoiling in the past.

While I also enjoyed many a function there too, an oasis next to my work in Ballsbridge.

The refurbed InterCon is offering a €290 dinner, B&B, complimentary suite upgrade for two.

Book between now and December 2 for a stay between December 2 and March 2021.

Get your Sandals on

Sandals, West Indies: And after the year we’ve had we owe it to ourselves.

Sandals will always be about the hot tub, and bottle of Champagne and free mini-bar which got replenished every day.

On an unforgettable first trip to Barbados.

Well, Sandals are all over the Caribbean and have some tasty Black Friday treats.

Seven nights at the Caribbean Grand Luxe for the dates May 1-June 30 from £1865pp.

Jamaica is one that has got away in the past but won’t in the future.

Stay seven nights at the Riviera Bamboo Grove Premium from £1399pp for the sane travel dates.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

America, Asia, Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Deals, Europe, Ireland, UK

WTM Holiday Snaps and a beautiful wrap Donald

And the last word is from Donald, a bit of a scoop from your favourite Travel blog.

While the rest of the world has been trying to talk to the Big Mouth we got him… well, we are old pals.

And Donald has a message for the world: ‘I love you all and I want you all to come and see me again soon in America.’

The Happiest Place on Earth is now also the Safest on Earth with reservations, social distancing, alternate rollercoast carts and new hospitality measures.

While Mickey, Minnie, Donald and the Gang aren’t about to let the virus turn their smile into a smell.

And are dancing, waving and welcoming us all in their own inimitable way.

Watch this space for new Disney features coming along soon.

While Visit Orlando also flagged up what’s happening up at Universal Orlando and particularly their Jurassic World feature.

All of which, and SeaWorld and Busch Gardens I’ll give you a taster of what’s in store… in my rollercoaster whizz around Florida.

Golden vision: Florida Kets

I had all planned to take a whizz around the Florida Keys before the other Donald closed America off in March but hope to put that right when I get the chance.

And it’s those areas with natural distancing like the Keys and island nations (and yes a lesson here to the UK and Ireland too) who have an advantage.

Sail away in Croatia

Water wonderland

And when you’ve got 1200 islands then there’s ‘one for everyone in the audience.’

As they like to say in the world’s longest-running TV chat show, Ireland’s The Late Late Show, or whatever the Croatian equivalent is.

But here is a country which, as a Balkans state, dealt better than the rest of Europe with the virus.

And which is perfectly placed to host the tourist’s new requirements during and post-Covid.

One area is in small boat holidays and yachting around the islands, another adventure in the Great Outdoors.

Kayak attack: In Croatia

My go-to people in Ireland for Croatia are Croatia Tours, and I went on pilgrimage with them to neighbouring Bosnia & Herzegovina where I started out on the road to Dubrovnik.

They have a seven-days Rivers by the Sea package, making the most of where the area where the Krka River enters the Adriatic, on June 26 £1255pp.

Where you’ll get to sea kayak, cycle, canoe, rock climb, hike and raft.

The Tuscan Islands

And Firenze too

We’ll also be spreading our wings more next year even when we do visit our favourite cities.

And that’ll help hotspots like Firenze breathe as we explore greater Tuscany, its adventure trails, cycling opportunities and thermal waters.

And its seven islands, chief among them Elba, the first island of exile for Napoleon, and Montecristo, it of Alexandre Dumas’ Count.

Able was I ere I saw Elba.

As every schoolchild, well, at least those of  certain age and lexical bent, will tell you.

And Tuscany was, and is, ere able to thrive in ‘il novo normal’.

And, of course, the Caribbean

Daddy’s Little Girl, as all our little girls do these days, is wont to show me amusing things she finds on the internetty thing.

And one we both find funny is a Jamaican tour guide who extols the benefits of inhaling the island’s plants.

I grab every chance to hook up with my Caribbean friends, Barbados, Tobago, Anguilla (heck, all of them) albeit these days over Zoom, if only to hope that I can draw some sun out from the screen.

And as usual their warmth came flowing us out as they reminded us that in their island their neighbourliness has helped them through this crisis and referred in passing to London where ‘people don’t know their neighbours but had been getting to know each other this year.’

Los Filipinos

For those of us too who in the second half of the century of years some of us are blessed to live, our cultural touchpoint for the Phillipines is the Thrilla in Manila, the nation’s capital which hosted Ali-Frazier III.

And of course the Philippines are knockout and our old friends at G Adventures are all over it.

Manila is on the island of Luzon, one of 7,641 in the archipelago.

And you’ll not be surprised to learn then that out of 7,641 islands that it should have boasted the world’s most beautiful island, courtesy of Conde Nast Traveler in 2016.

The exotically-named Atty. Maria Anthonette C.Velasco-Allones, the Tourism Promotions Board’s COO has an equally lyrical way about her.

As she described her islands and what they have to offer.

‘When the dark night is over and the sun rises, wake up in the Philippines.

 

 

 

 

 

Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Flying, Food & Wine, UK

Nailed it in the Caribbean

For all those poor souls going into lockdown in England today I too nailed it and spent yesterday getting my nails done.

Ot more accurately got my nails off.

After tripping when I was pressing down on the shopping trolley and then have it collapse on me.

Solo activity: Cocktails in Barbados

As is the way of such accidents (and there have been many) I was reminded constantly through the day of my plight.

Nail-biter

Not just by the tingling and throbbing in the tips of my middle and ring finger but also by how often fingers and fingernails come up in conversation.

From the This Morning presenter showing off her nails to Democrats and Republicans biting their nails about the Presidential race.

With my friend Cheryl from Barbados

To the Great British Bake Off making finger doughnuts to Family Fortunes and picking noses.

But sometimes it’s better not to fight it and rather just accept that long nails are best on women.

Crystal clear

Such as the legendary Crystal from Barbados.

Who I got to pose up with her fancy talons which she’d got done for Crop Over on my first visit to Barbados.

I’ve been back as you know and also partied with them in Dublin and now on Zoom meetings.

Alas, I couldn’t join them when they invited out a party of Friends of Barbados. I was out in Bergamo at the time.

Happy though to report that my friends at British Airways have joined Virgin Atlantic in flying out to Barbados.

And when you do you you can be sure you won’t lose out any on your experience because of Covid.

Anguillan bubble

We’re out of carnival season so maybe it’s time to stay on site anyway… at Club Barbados they’ve got the three Rs you’ll need for a fantastic holiday.

Social distancing all right

Rum, relaxation and Ruby the cookery teacher.

While I honed up on those skills in Tobago with ‘Uncle’ Kenneth.

On Anguilla, where they’ve not had a Covid case for months, they even got to hold their carnival this year back in August.

And the Anguillans have a Covid bubble thing going where you can do all the things you would do anyway…boat trips, snorkelling, golf.

And, of course rum on the beach. Irie!

America, Asia, Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Europe, UK

Sir Sean’s iconic sets (or should that be shets?)

Resht in peash, Shir Sean. And I hope Shaint Peter understandsh your acshent.

Living in Portobello, Edinburgh’s beach suburb for ten years I never heard anybody spik like Sir Sean.

But maybe thatsh moviesh!

Preparing for the role: In Portobello. www.twitter.com

First Porty of call

Portobello: And Porty is as good a place as any to talk about Sir Sean’s sets.

Because it was here in his hometown, and as a lifeguard at Porty’s outdoor swimming pool that he had his first stage.

The pool is now a five-a-side football complex, and we have both moved on.

Visitors to Edinburgh rarely go any further out of the city than Leith where the Royal Yacht Britannia is kept.

But they should. Porty is bohemian while still being grounded “, and if you can’t get to those beaches Bond did you can walk in Sean’s sandsteps here.

Bahama Mamma

Bahamas: And it’s fitting that Sir Sean saw out his days in the Bahamas.

He clearly enjoyed the island lifestyle as much as Ian Fleming who penned the spy which would propel Connery to fame just down the road in Jamaica.

We’ve all, of course, been reminiscing about who until today was the second Greatest Living Scot (it’s Billy Connolly now).

And my old pal, Rebecca Lee, who I sent out to the Bahamas reminds me of how she stayed at the hotel where he still played the tables.

And was beloved by the locals which is as it should be.

The daddy of them all: Indy’s Dad in Jordan. www.pinterest.com

Jordan and crusaders

Jordan: Sir Sean was always unmistakably Scottish… all Jocks look like movie stars after all.

And share his dry wit.

Sir Sean upstaged Harrison Ford in the Last Crusade, the climax of which is staged at The Treasury in Jordan.

Hardly surprising that proud nationalist Sir Sean should star in an Indy film!

For hire: With Kevin Costner

Untouchable in Chicago

Chicago: And the film for which he won his Oscar as Best Supporting Actor above the wooden acting of Kevin Costner.

You can truly believe Sir Sean as a gritty Chicago cop.

So we’ll pass over that he’s meant to be Irish.

Whodunit: In Orient Express. www.imdb.com

Murder on the Orient Express

Istanbul: The Albert Finney version of course where Sir Sean plays Colonel Arbuthnot.

And Istanbul is the terminus for the Orient-Express, although we all know that Poirot and his fellow passengers were on their way back to London.

And an example of how less is more… with Sir Sean, the upstanding stiff military man rather than than the dashing, reckless Bond.

Anyone for Venice? James and Tatiana. www.pinterest.com

From Russia (really Istanbul and Venice) With Love

Istanbul and Venice: And this being released in the mid-60s and in the middle of a real Cold War the filming was done in the West.

There are some iconic scene in this my favourite Bond.

I love Commie kicker Hleb’s kickathon with Bond and who can forget Bond and Tatiana sailing under the Bridge of Sighs in Venice.

There’s definitely something about James… or should that be something about Murty!

Africa, America, Asia, Australasia, Canada, Caribbean, Countries, Cruising, Culture, Europe, Flying, Ireland, UK

Our New Common Market

Back in the days when Britons got on with Europeans (a lot of us still do) we called it the Common Market.

Alas, Cummings and Johnson have forced us all to pack up our stalls and leave the Common Market (or European Union)

But in a parallel universe, the one all of us Travel nuts inhabit, there is a much bigger market still, the World Travel Market.

The way it was: WTM in London

Which I’ve admired from afar for years but not been able to get to because of The Man who wouldn’t give me the time off.

This year though I’m my own Man and as for getting there all I’ve got to do is travel to the West Wing of New Murty Demesne.

This year’s Virtual World Travel Market won’t have the bright lights and entertainment of London.

And the Great Old City only grows in our affections because we can’t get there.

But I’ll thrust my London mementoes to the front of my desk, chief among them my Peter Pan piggy bank.

And only promote my international keepsakes when meeting up with the representatives from Jamaica to Japan.

Life as a Wanderer is a different normal to most at the best of times and while these are anything but we’ll make the best of it.

We’ll have the staple of travel fairs, the presentations, talks and stall visits.

And the meeting up between old friends who see each other every second week of November in London.

Now you know what they say, if we can’t get out to see the world let the world come to us.

America, Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Ireland, Music, UK

Rainy Days and Songdays – Holly Dolly Christmas

So how many days out can you release a Christmas album? 84 if you dress up like a Christmas Tree like Dolly Parton.

Dolly has been trailing her Christmas album which she released at the start of the month.

While her god-daughter Miley Cyrus who herself has a new album to promote at the moment followed her onto the Graham Norton Show in the UK.

I know all about Christmas in Dolly’s neck of the woods, Tennessee.

Of course the best place for all things Dolly is Dollywood.

I visited there, Tennessee, though Dollywood itself is a pleasure I’ve yet to savour, and Mississippi.

And my party was treated to a Christmas song recital in an antebellum houses in the Deep South.

There’s some of the old standards on the Dolly album like Holly Jolly Christmas, All I Want For Christmas Is You and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.

But there are more Dolly originals.

There are others who are getting their Christmas requests in early…

 

It’s usually all about the bass with Meghan but but this proud daughter of my beloved Massachusetts is all about the gifts in October,

She has a new album A Very Trainor Christmas.

The Dolly that we know and love has always been adorably irreverent.

Although not as saucy as Tobagonian Soca Parang music.

We’ll bring you more about the culture and traditions of Parang as Christmas comes closer.

But for now I’ll leave you with something that will definitely lift your spirits, a hot new 2020 Soca Parang Mix.

America, Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, UK

The travel pack – the birds of the world

Does anyone else here feel like Burt Lancaster in the Birdman of Alcatraz? Oh, to be that little birdie with his freedom.

So let’s take wing and celebrate our feathered friends around the world.

The Spoonbill

Scoop of the day. www.algarve-birdwatching.com

Rio Formosa, Quinta do Lago, Algarve: And anyone who didn’t think that God has a sense of humour hasn’t paid attention to how he made us all.

For every pink flamingo there’s a Spoonbill.

I found these fancy snouted fellas in the Via Formosa in Quinta do Lago in the Algarve…

Their bills, of course, are purpose-built to scoop up all that pond life to give them fuel for the skies.

Yes, Pink Flamingoes

In the pink: In Busch Gardens

Pink Flamingoes, Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay, Florida: And for those Fiftysomethings among us the opening shots for the Florida soap Flamingo Road made us fall in love with these birds

Yes, and Morgan Fairchild, to be fair.

I got up close with a flamingo out in SeaWorld and again he is a reminder of God’s Grandeur.

Heron good things about you

You’ll have a long wingspan then

Herons, Kuramathi, The Maldives: And you know when a bird has her eye on you.

She even came into the pool with me every morning.

Kuramathi is a bird-watcher’s dream, big, small, skinny, plump, and every colour.

And as bird-watching is a stationary pastime isn’t it a relief that you don’t have to freeze your whatsits off either?

Caribbean wood doves and mockingbirds

The West Indies: Rihanna, my wood dove used to join me in my hot tub in Barbados of a morning… and leave a mess in the bedroom.

I would forgive Rihanna anything though.

The West Indians take their nature very seriously, just as seriously as their rum and their music.

And Ean The Birdman of Tobago will show you around his Adventure Eco Villas where the birdies will twirl and tweet around your head.

You can stay too and awake to birdsong.

And not forgetting the Duck

Ducks everywhere: Whether they’re the rubber ones in your bath at Hastings Hotels in Northern Ireland (or in mine).

Or with The Donald in Epcot in Florida or in Anaheim.

Following the Duckmaster and the quackers down to the fountain in the hotel lobby in the Peabody Hotel in Memphis.

MEET YOU WITH YOUR BINOS

Adventure, Asia, Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Ireland, UK

The travel pack… we (you, me and the turtles) came from the sea

If I could talk to the animals, learn all their languages, maybe take an animal degree, I’d study elephant and eagle, buffalo and beagle, Alligator, guinea pig and flea – Bobby Davro

And this is one I’ve been thinking on, and I’m possibly spurred on my old pal, Ireland’s Travel Writer of the Year Isabel Conway of Travel Times.

She is walking in Kinsale, Co. Cork for endangered animals. Although while she’s doing something I’m more Mr Do Little than Dr Doolittle.

So to launch this series (and I’ll try and stick to this one this time) I’m starting at the beginning…

Where we came from, the sea, and celebrate all things who live there, big and small, colourful and grey, beautiful and those who only a mother could love. First off turtles…

Turtley Japanese

It’s easier when they come to the surface

Yakushima, Japan: Now my first issue in getting to know our old friends from the sea is that I’m not a great swimmer, and an even rubbisher snorkeller.

And more of that later but here’s how you can see a sea turtle without even getting your feet wet.

The rainforest island of Yakushima, off Kyushu‘s southern coast, is home to the largest spawning grounds for loggerhead turtles in the North Pacific.

Between May and August, more than 500 turtles take over the shores of Inakahama Beach and lay their eggs.

And here’s where it becomes a spectator sport.

Because later in the summer we get to see the newly-hatched infants scramble their way to the ocean.

Turtley Bajan

And we’re limin’ in Barbados

As magical as that sounds you really want to try and dip your toe in the ocean.

And strap on that big rubbery snorkel and mask to the face… and believe me if I can do it you can too.

The first encounter I had with turtles in their natural habitat should have been on my first trip to Barbados.

Only I’d overdone it on the rum, both that early morning at Foreday Morning.

That’s the booze, mud, paint and Soca festival for the locals.

And then on the boat which took us out to meet our heroes in a half-shell.

And so while I did see schools of beautiful fish I never did get to meet Mr Turtle.

Fast forward a year though and I was back and determined to catch me me turtle.

As fate would have it I didn’t just get to shake snorkel and shell with one turtle but two.

I was staying at Club Barbados couples hotel, alas alone…

I had invited the Scary One, perhaps not very clearly.

And maybe when one of her beloved gardening or interior decorating shows was on and she had distractedly said no.

Before coming back at me a few days before I travelled to ask me why she couldn’t come.

Anyhoos I went out solo and found that I was the only single in the hotel… and the ocean.

Like the Scottish buses you wait all day for one, and two come along the same time, Mr and Mrs Turtle.

And because this is a family blog I’m not going to tell you what they were up to.

Turtley Floridian

Paradise Coast

And you’d better bring your fins with you when you go to SeaWorld in Tampa Bay in Florida.

That is where I met me sea turtles that were recuperating (and few better places) before being returned to the sea.

Where they’ll swim for years in a loop from the Atlantic Ocean to North Africa.

Before using magnetic fields to find their way back to within 40 to 50 miles of the beaches where they had been hatched.

And to think that I can’t even get to the end of my road.

Without having to either ask someone for directions or call for a search party.

Hatch of the day

Now again because it’s all about us the turtles have been known to make their way to the nest beaches of Marco Island and Naples.

And those who make it their life’s mission to know and protect our turtle friends say.

That the Paradise Coast at the southernmost tip of Florida is where to go for your turtles.

Turtley Maldives

And here in Kuramathi and its wee sister island the 1.2km Kandolhu you get so close to the turtles they become your friends.

Which obviously means giving them names.

Selma was the superstar in Kuramathi in the Maldives when I visited, well the half-shell superstar.

Her keeper Vanessa, a German from the Black Forest, well away from any sea, is the human superstar as she runs the Island Eco Centre.

If you can snap a new turtle with your Go-Pro camera.

It is left out in your room for you on Kandolhu then you too can adopt a turtle.

Now since us humans are all making such a mess of it since we wriggled out of the seas and evolved.

Into the flawed form we now occupy, wouldn’t it be better if we slithered back into the seas.

Only, the turtles probably prefer us to keep our distance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caribbean, Countries, Deals, Ireland, UK

Holiday Snaps – Staycations and Dubcations

So one of you loyal Bandininis and Bandanettes has asked where the term Staycation originated?

And the answer is Stacey Shun!

The more prosaic explanation is that it belongs to the Canadian comedian Brent Butt from the TV show Corner Gas in the episode Mail Fraud from 2005.

And a view of the gardens

I guess he’s the Butt of all jokes!

Of course the times we’re in has thrown up a whole plethora of new terms.

I’m hungry

To which our friends at our fave Dublin hotel, the InterContinental Dublin, have added Dubcation.

The InterCon, as anyone in Dublin’s rugby heartland knows, is the old Four Seasons.

And that it is Ireland’s greatest international that never was Ross O’Carroll-Kelly.

I’m looking forward to, as I always do at this time of the year, to the new Ross book with COVID at the heart of it, and Staycationing and Dubcations.

Bed down

Try out their new Lobby Lounge among all the other old faves including ESPA pampering, and watch out for my interview with ESPA founder soon.

Their Luxury Dining Escape Package is available from €145pps per night, including bed, breakfast, dinner, complimentary car parking and access to the Wellness Area.

Sing Montego Bay

I think I remember but it’s twice as good, Like how cool his rum is from his silver tray, I cool to be thirsty in Montego Bay – Bobby Bloom

It‘s the first thing you’ll be offered, even before water… a rum punch, and usually. a steel pan band.

Jamaica has long been on the radar. I recall being asked in Barbados what my favourite Caribbean island was.

The answer had, of course, to be Barbados, but there was an onus on me to collect islands with which to compare. Which led me to Tobago.

Irie. So this brings me to my old faves Sandals and their new Montego Bay On Sale package.

Seven nights at the Sandals Ochi Beach from €1445pps. Travel dates: June 1-July 31.

You’ll stay in a Riviera Bamboo Grove Premium with Virgin Atlantic flights thrown in.

And a big welcome here to to the new Barbados Minister for Tourism Lisa Cummins… you know where I am, Minister!

Virtual odysseys

And with our leaders around the Western World keeping us under house arrest, for fear that we might catch foreignavirus, we’re all going on a Virtual Odyssey.

It does allow more of the world into our homes though while we wait to get back out there.

Japan, where it will be next year with the Olympics in Tokyo, have a Matsuri Presents weekend live streaming on website and social media channels.

A Virtual AsianCation of you will.

You’ll get to see martial arts, kamishibai theatre performances and food demos.

The programme will run from 10am-8pm on Saturday, September 26 and 9pm-8pm, Sunday, September 27.

I’ll get my kimono out or borrow one from my old friends Stewart and Hisayo.

I’m sure they’ll have one in the wardrobe from their Scots-Japanese wedding on the island of Islay.

When we broke the sake box and wished them Koun o.

And now I have the bit between the teeth and I know you like a series why don’t I kick off a series Virtual Odyssey.

MEET YOU ON THE VIRTUAL ODYSSEY