Caribbean, Countries, UK

Bajan Auld Rummie in Edinburgh

The Fringe faithful are wading through the rubbish from the strike… we though take to the water, it’s Bajan Auld Rummie in Edinburgh.

The Union Canal in the West End of Edinburgh is bathed in sunshine and the office buildings are reflecting off the water.

OK, it’s not Bridgetown.

But we’re with a true Bajan, Shane, and we’re drinking Barbados rum and cocktails.

Auld Reekie: Edinburgh

And filling ourselves with our favourite drink and filling up on Scottish links with the Bajan rum story.

All with the help of Jamie and the two-hour Summerhall Drinks Lab Rum Cruise.

Labbing it up

Stir it up: The rum mixology

Now you remember how gin had its hour with juniper (and more of that later) the tipple du jour of the Twentyteens.

Well, now that’s rum and hence why Summerhall Drinks Lab have added a rum tour to their popular gin cruise.

And why where Dark Matter in Banchory, Aberdeenshire, started pouring in 2015, a raft (well we are on a boat cruise) of rum distilleries followed.

And a shout-out here to my work colleague Michael.

His Jacobite Spirits business and their new spiced rum Charlie’s Chopper Clean Cut.

For the day and the company that’s in it we’re on the Bajan rum.

Well it is the birthplace of rom.

All roads lead to rom

Abbey days: At St Nicholas Abbey

And that means kicking off with Cockspur Old Gold which we taste.

As a sample to warm our palates and throats, a la a whisky or bourbon.

And if you’re getting that bourbon hit then it’ll be because one-use bourbon barrels get repurposed for rum.

For those who like their rum in mixers we’re treated to the daddy of them all the Mount Gay Black Barrel.

And the new kids on the block, St Nicholas Abbey and their white rum.

And a couple of sips and I’m right back.

In the verdant courtyard after our steam train journey and old plantation visit from June’s Barbados Celtic Festival trip.

Rum’s a Ting or Hing

See you Jamie: Summerhall chemistry

Jamie is a font of wisdom on Bajan rum and how Scottish craft and guile was at its heart.

And he has even adapted the staple Rum Ting cocktail.

With a Scottish version the Rum Hing with local grapefruit juice and lime.

Limin’ is of course the daily Bajan rhythm of life.

And we lime our way throughrums, samples and cocktails…

And the lychee-based beaker particularly hits the spot.

All before we arrive back at Leamington Lift Bridge and toast Shane and Jamie with a Doorly’s 14-year-old  from Foursquare rum distillery.

Juniper Mac and Cheese

Say cheese: Mac and cheese

There’s time enough in the evening to carry on the party in true Bajan style.

And we taxi to Juniper on Princes Street.

And we avoid the garbage which has revived references to the Scottish capital’s old nickname of Auld Reekie.

Juniper offers a relaxed library to lime.

With mini-saucepans of Mac and Cheese, a particular Bajan fave, my pick from its menu.

Do like the rumans do

Home of rum: Mount Gay

With Mount Gay kindly providing us with rum punch which is, of course, water to Bajans but strong water at that.

Talk, of course, turns to absent friends.

And old pal Marc who represented the island so well over eight years in the UK.

But who has understandably returned home.

And he has now set up a rum tour business with distilleries, rum shops and the magic ingredient, Bajans at hand.

We’ll meet again, and hopefully soon but for now I’m keeping my end up here…

A Bajan Auld Rummie in Edinburgh.

 

 

America, Caribbean, Countries, Europe, Ireland

Five republics to escape the Platinum Jubilee

And continuin our series, and because we’re not all pliant subjects, here are five republics to escape the Platinum Jubilee.

There are 159 republic in the world and only 43 sovereignty ikstates with monarchies. Go figure.

Vive La Republique

The new Emperor: Emmanuel Macron

 

France: Mais oui, there were republics before the French, only they shout Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité a little louder.

So much so that the French are onto their fifth since We the First in 1792, followed we should remember by Emperor Napoleon.

And there is more than a touch of the regal about the French President’s official residence, the Élysée Palace in Paree.

The Battle Hymn

Mr President: Issy Conway, George Washington and the Pres’s right-hand man

America: And some 16 years before the then-royalist French helped the colonies form mthe Republic.

George Washington and his Vice-President John Adams had discussed how the new Pres should be addressed.

Adams had leant towards His Excellence but Washington insisted on just Mr President.

And he rejected his pal jGeneral Lafayette’s idea to erect an ornate monument in DC to him complete with horses.

Instead he had an obelisk, the Washington Monument installed instead. Pure class.

Italy’s republics

The holy of holies. At the end of the Francigena in Rome

Rome: Now La Citta Eterna is credited as the cradle of Republics although Athens might have something to say about that.

We all associate Classical Rome, of course, with the Caesars, but the Republic ran Rome’s affairs from 509BC to 27BC.

While the lyCaesars looked down from their plinths from 46BC-476AD.

YNow I was more a Latin student than a maths expert but that seems roughly the same and the Republic won out in the end.

The Irish Republic

On a pedestal: With Charles Stewart Parnell in Co. Wicklow

Ireland: And because the Free State didn’t scream self-determination (OK, it was a bit more complicated) they became a republic in 1949.

They had formed an ya constitution in 1937 with an elected non-executive president before breaking with the crown in 1949.

After a fractured relationship in the 60-odd years after the Irish brought back the Queen… but only for a visit in 2011.

Barbados, the new Republic

Barbados: And on November 30, 2021, Barbados took the momentous decision to replace the uQueen with a Bajan, President Sandra Mason.

Y the After 396 years, although Barbados had taken the first step with independence in 1966… and I even saw the seal in the Archive Offices.

The date, November 30, was arbitrary but in my wee country it is our national day, named for St Andrew, our patron saint.

Just returned from a third visit to Barbados I reacquainted myself with our joint heritage which includes a region of the island called Scotland. I

We sang Scots and Soca songs, ceilidhed and jumped and toasted the Barbados republic with rum and whisky.

My reason for going, well I didn’t need one, but it was to celebrate the renewal of the Barbados Celtic Festival.

And thought dreamily of a Scotland having their day one day.

U

Caribbean, Countries

Scotch on the rocks on Barbados

No, I haven’t fallen in a gutter this time, though it is Scotch on the rocks on Barbados.

The Scotch is, of course, of the golden variety and it is displayed out on the tables of the Tapas restaurant on Hastings’ boardwalk.

Glen Moray, Glenfarclas, Highland Park et al… and yes, our favourite smoky Islay whiskies, with Ardbeg out on show.

Water of life

My week of partying (sorry, research) is ending with whisky and toasts as all Scottish occasions should do.

And the toast of Bim these past few days has been Jeana and her band on the rum, the Scottish Rock Ceilidh group Bahookie.

A force of nature, she has spearheaded the Barbados Celtic Festival which is back with a trumpet (and bagpipes) blast after Covid.

Her voice is naturally hoarse, the only cure for which I would suggest is whisky.

And whisky with an ‘e’

Great puddin’: And the haggis

There is whiskey too, of the Irish variety in Teelings, as the Celtic Festival encompasses the Emerald Isle, Wales, Nova Scotia…

And all points in between.

And, no I don’t take my Scotch on the rocks, and prefer it with just a wee drap of water to explode the flavour.

Tapas Restaurant is something of a misnomer as it serves Bajan and international cuisine, and the best of it.

But not in the multiple minor dishes of a Spanish tapas.

Although I wasn’t about to question the charming owner Franco.

Nips and neeps

Up on the Boardwalk: And not falling over yet

For the days that are in it, Tapas has put on a Scottish menu choice to accompany its usual fare.

And out of patriotic duty I order the haggis, neeps and tatties.

Whether I’d not left enough for the main or not, after my calamari (mulligatawny soup would have been too heavy) I struggled.

And I left the haggis dish in pretty much the same beautifully layered form I found it.

I resisted too the temptation to show off to my Irish and Welsh friends how a haggis should be addressed.

I guess I feared Welsh Corrie (or Corriebean as she is now self-styled) would react at the mention of sonsie faces.

It means attractive… honestly!

The Parting Glass

The gang: With driver supreme Andre

It is also a Celtic tradition, usually for funerals but increasingly on other occasions now, to sing the Parting Glass.

‘So fill to me the parting glass
And drink a health whate’er befalls
Then gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be to you all.’

This is our parting too… old friends on our trip and new.

But as Barbados Soca legend King Bubba would say…

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

 

Caribbean, Countries

Caribbean chuffed

Whoo, whoo… I’m Caribbean chuffed that I’m driving the steam train to St Nicholas Abbey for rum.

I’ve been writing all week about how we Scots are in with de bricks in Barbados.

And they are under our feet at the Abbey distillery with the names of the Scots families and the locations from where they came.

But first we’ve got to get there… and that means catching the steam train.

Tracks of history

The rail thing: On the Heritage Railway

The Heritage Railway has surprisingly only been about since 2018.

But the history of railways as our Footsteps guide Ronnie (remember him from earlier in the week) dates back 150 years.

Twenty-four miles long, it boasted 98 bridges and ran from 1883-1937 from Bridgetown to Belleplaine.

And Ronnie’s grandfather got suited and booted to work the rails.

Class act

Put your back into it: The Wheel

He tells us that there were three classes of passengers on the rails.

And that you were quickly reminded of what that meant when third class meant having to push up the incline.

Now I think we’re all class, and we all got out to turn the table on the Heritage Museum up to St Nicholas Abbey.

And we all also got to pull the rope by the boiler (as if it wasn’t warm enough already).

Though we’re not calling out anybody here for shrieking, Welsh Corrie.

Abbey days

Window to another world: On the train

Along the winding journey of life I’ll return to the Heritage Railway and St Nicholas Abbey.

And obvs Barbados where I’ve already jumped at Crop Over and swum with turtles.

And ceilidhed at the Barbados Celtic Festival

Where we learned more about the railway and Abbey history from the family from an old  cine camera video.

In a clipped narration which brought to mind Mr Cholmondley-Warner from Harry Endield and Chums.

For now I’m just Caribbean Chuffed to be here.

 

 

 

 

 

Caribbean, Countries, UK

Bajan Scotland in the sun

They came to be known as Red Legs, the Scots who populated Barbados and made it Bajan Scotland in the sun.

Today it’s known on the Bajan map as the Scotland region and would that the weather in the Old Country ever reached 29C.

Caledonian Caribbean

Bravely? Well, there’s a reason why Bajans, including the Red Legs descendants, wear boardies and not tweed cloth skirts.

Again, the Band on the Rum, Jeana and her merry men of the Scots trad band, have been leading the way.

They will bravely parade today in their kilts in Independence Square.

Bravely? Well, there’s a reason why Bajans, including the Red Legs descendants, wear boardies and not tweed cloth skirts.

As the most visible, and loudest, contingent who have gathered for the Barbados Celtic Festival.

They will bravely parade today in their kilts in Independence Square.

Bravely? Well, there’s a reason why Bajans, including the Red Legs descendants, wear boardies and not tweed cloth skirts.

Again, the Band on the Rum, Jeana and her merry men of the Scots trad band, have been leading the way.

With the dancin’, with the drinkin’.

Show us your Bahookie

Bajan leader: With Errol Barrow, Father of Barbados

We bump into them again (de feet can’t stop dancin’) at Oistins, the Friday night fish market hang-out in the south coast.

And we’ll join them for the after-party after today’s Celtic Festival showpiece.

Scots have strong links and history throughout the Caribbean.

At both ends of the spectrum, the rulers and the ruled.

You see them at The Garrison on Dalkeith Street where the military held off the pesky French and the more deserving locals.

And you see them on the rolls at the Archivy headquarters.

But best of all you see them on parade blowing their bags in Independence Square.

Ceilidh’s aye

And as a band on the rum, Jeana and her Merry Men, the rock ceilidh band Bahookie (it’s Scots for arse).

Puttin’ on a ceilidh at Blakey’s on the beach in Hastings… all in Bajan tartan kilts.

The Scots are putting fresh imprints on Barbados and the Bajans are following in our Gay Gordons footsteps.

The children are also being taught to perform dances to the Scots lullaby Ally Bally Be.

Whatever of our challenging past this is what Barbados looks like in 2022

Bajan Scotland in the sun.

 

 

 

This week in Barbados the Scots are taking over the whole island.

As the most visible, and loudest, contingent who have gathered for the Barbados Celtic Festival.

They will bravely parade today in their kilts in Independence Square.

Bravely? Well, there’s a reason why Bajans, including the Red Legs descendants, wear boardies and not tweed cloth skirts.

Again, the Band on the Rum, Jeana and her merry men of the Scots trad band, have been leading the way.

With the dancin’, with the drinkin’.

Show us your Bahookie

Bajan leader: With Errol Barrow, Father of Barbados

We bump into them again (de feet can’t stop dancin’) at Oistins, the Friday night fish market hang-out in the south coast.

And we’ll join them for the after-party after today’s Celtic Festival showpiece.

Scots have strong links and history throughout the Caribbean.

At both ends of the spectrum, the rulers and the ruled.

You see them at The Garrison on Dalkeith Street where the military held off the pesky French and the more deserving locals.

And you see them on the rolls at the Archivy headquarters.

But best of all you see them on parade blowing their bags in Independence Square.

Ceilidh’s aye

And as a band on the rum, Jeana and her Merry Men, the rock ceilidh band Bahookie (it’s Scots for arse).

Puttin’ on a ceilidh at Blakey’s on the beach in Hastings… all in Bajan tartan kilts.

The Scots are putting fresh imprints on Barbados and the Bajans are following in our Gay Gordons footsteps.

The children are also being taught to perform dances to the Scots lullaby Ally Bally Be.

Whatever of our challenging past this is what Barbados looks like in 2022

Bajan Scotland in the sun.

 

 

 

They will bravely parade today in their kilts in Independence Square.

Bravely? Well, there’s a reason why Bajans, including the Red Legs descendants, wear boardies and not tweed cloth skirts.

Again, the Band on the Rum, Jeana and her merry men of the Scots trad band, have been leading the way.

With the dancin’, with the drinkin’.

Show us your Bahookie

Bajan leader: With Errol Barrow, Father of Barbados

We bump into them again (de feet can’t stop dancin’) at Oistins, the Friday night fish market hang-out in the south coast.

And we’ll join them for the after-party after today’s Celtic Festival showpiece.

Scots have strong links and history throughout the Caribbean.

At both ends of the spectrum, the rulers and the ruled.

You see them at The Garrison on Dalkeith Street where the military held off the pesky French and the more deserving locals.

And you see them on the rolls at the Archivy headquarters.

But best of all you see them on parade blowing their bags in Independence Square.

Ceilidh’s aye

And as a band on the rum, Jeana and her Merry Men, the rock ceilidh band Bahookie (it’s Scots for arse).

Puttin’ on a ceilidh at Blakey’s on the beach in Hastings… all in Bajan tartan kilts.

The Scots are putting fresh imprints on Barbados and the Bajans are following in our Gay Gordons footsteps.

The children are also being taught to perform dances to the Scots lullaby Ally Bally Be.

Whatever of our challenging past this is what Barbados looks like in 2022

Bajan Scotland in the sun.

 

 

 

This week in Barbados the Scots are taking over the whole island.

As the most visible, and loudest, contingent who have gathered for the Barbados Celtic Festival.

They will bravely parade today in their kilts in Independence Square.

Bravely? Well, there’s a reason why Bajans, including the Red Legs descendants, wear boardies and not tweed cloth skirts.

Again, the Band on the Rum, Jeana and her merry men of the Scots trad band, have been leading the way.

With the dancin’, with the drinkin’.

Show us your Bahookie