Caribbean, Countries, Culture, UK

Woah we’re gaun tae Barbados

 

Woah we’re gaun tae Barbados… but this time from Edinburgh, Scotland.

Scotland has long had a footprint in Barbados but this direct Virgin Atlantic flight represents it dipping its toe in the West Indies.

As Scotland’s only Caribbean route.

Two Scotlands

This is where the rum is: Mount Gay distillery

That Scotland is reconnecting with Barbados should not be surprising

As we stood side by side with them centuries ago when the British Empire first set foot there.

And used Scottish indentured servants to do their dirty work.

The MacBajans

At the cricket: With Jevan

The Bajans have never forgotten us MacBajans, naming their inland district of Scotland after us.

Giving over St Andrews Day as their national Day of Independence.

Encasing the Scottish Saltire in their coat of arms (a slave’s clenched fist holding two sugar canes in an X cross).

Which is on their dollar notes.

St Andrew’s people

Soca time: With the locals

Scotland sits in the district of Saint Andrew and, better than our own northern European, Scotland is hot, hot, hot all year round.

So better wear your boardies rather than your kilt, although some MacBajans might.

And there is plenty of time anyway during May’s Celtic Festival.

Scotland and Barbados

Irie: Rum time

One of our own, my old student days pal Jevan, of Trinidad and Aberdeenshire, is waving the Scottish flag in Barbados.

As owner of Red Advertising & Marketing Ltd which means he knows everyone.

And introduced me to them all over their carnival, Crop Over, and the cricket.

So our new route from Edinburgh to Bridgetown will be welcomed by those of us who will be screaming Woah we’re gaun tae Barbados.

Old Scotland

Ruby do: With Ruby in Barbados

And those MacBajans who will be coming our way.

Though I expect their suitcases will have a few more woollies.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

Countries

The mystique of Mustique

And as with everything in life I defer to The Scary One who actually met Mustique’s most famous resident, who in turn deferred to her.

History hasn’t been kind to Princess Margaret but she will be remembered for loving a party in the Caribbean.

As do I, so I at least I will be kind to her.

Margaret’s love affair with Mustique actually began when her and her husband Tony were given land on the island as a wedding present.

Royal party

Helena Bonham-Carter as Princess Margaret in The Crown. www.radiotimes.co.uk

When exactly her other love affairs on the island began…

Well, you’ll just have to watch the Crown on Netflix to fond out.

Much of the glamour of royalty back in the day derived from their remoteness and the seclusion of the places they visited.

So we have a lot to thank those such as Virgin Atlantic.

Because they’ve made it possible for us commoners to now visit royal getaways such as Mustique.

Virgin have just announced a twice-weekly service from June to St Vincent, the gateway to the Grenadines, and your Mustique dream.

And for those of you whose imaginations were working overboard when you saw Margaret living it up in Mustique then read on.

Our friends at The Villa Collection have done all the homework for us.

Opricot jam

Party time

Opricot: And just where you’d expect to find Princess Margaret and her set.

This four-bedroom villa in the Endeavour Hills with ocean views, and near The Tennis Club, the Cotton House and beach, has the option of a fifth bedroom.

The big selling point is the private swimming pool and large bar area.

And what’s more it’s fully staffed with housekeeper, chef, gardener and butler.

You’ll have to empty your piggy bank. It’s from £1505 per night, but you can share the costs.

The awe of Aurora

Dip your toe in

Aurora: Contemporary and colonial with views of both the Caribbean and Atlantic this can be rented as a three-bedroom villa.

Or along with Jasmine Cottage. So that’ll house five and will set you back £2,005 per night.

We were drawn in by the central courtyard, rock plunge pool and al fresco dining in the gazebo.

After all it’s all about the outdoor living in the Caribbean.

And you don’t have to lift a finger because it’s fully staffed.

Balinese luxury

Lie back and think of Mustique

Blackstone: A five-bedroom villa set on a ridge overlooking Britannia Bay and the Caribbean this is what you’ll get for your £2,173 per night…

We like the idea of the media and games room.

And the pebble-tiled pool which wraps around large, natural black stone, giving the property its name.

Elsewhere in the Caribbean

Nylon Pool, Tobago

You can also reach Mustique via Barbados or St Lucia with services via SVG Air.

Princess Margaret loved her Mustique but first fell in love with the Caribbean on honeymoon.

Where she opined that a raised sandbank in the sea off Tobago was the clear colour of tights.

The lyrical Tobagonians hence called it Nylon Pool.

And you too can stand in the sea in the middle of the Caribbean and drink cocktails, a la Margaret.

MEET YOU IN MUSTIQUE

Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Europe, Food & Wine, UK, Uncategorized

Hungry and Thursday – pre-drinks and limin’

A teleprinter runs above your head in the Bridgetown, Barbados bus station carrying the news of the day.

We read that there has been a violent crime in the capital…

Hundreds of thousands are expected at the Grand Kadooment closing ceremony for the Crop Over carnival…

And the best places for limin’ are…

This is pre-drinking Caribbean style.

Way of life

Pre-drinking is one of the great modern inventions.

We know all about that from excitable teenagers and Twentysomethings around the house.

But while pre-drinking is something for the weekend for the young of Ireland and Britain limin’ is a way of life for everyone in the West Indies.

All of which brings us to British and Irish visitors being welcomed back now with famously open Bajan arms through Grantley Adams this month.

With flights from Gatwick on board Virgin Atlantic https://www.virginatlantic.com (July 18).

And Heathrow with British Airways https://www.britishairways.com and Jet Blue https://www.jetblue.com (July 25).

Crop Over next year

Crop Over https://barbados.org/cropover.htm#.Xv2Vp-R4WEc which runs from June through the first week of August is off this year but will return in ’21.

But no Crop Over 2020 won’t stop our Bajan pals from doing what they do… limin’ and dancing which is really just our craic.

It’s just that they’ve got the sun and the Soca.

And a welcome drink of rum punch on your arrival at Turtle Beach, Sandals or Club Barbados…

While Tropical Sky are your go-to holiday providers https://www.eleganthotels.com/turtle-beach?utm_source=local&utm_campaign=gmb&utm_medium=organic, https://www.sandals.co.uk/sandals-barbados/, https://www.theclubbarbados.com

And also check out Let’s rumba in Barbados and My kiss with Rihanna.

Of course hospitality is in the Caribbean gene and you’ll find just as big a welcome on Tobago.

Acting the goat

And I can’t say I’ve seen anything in the guidelines about social distancing with goats…

And I trust my kidder Bandanaman won’t have been putting his hooves up in lockdown.

See https://www.visittobago.gov.tt and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/17/ready-steady-goat-racing-in-tobago/amp/.

Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, UK

Windrush Day – know Black, know Irish

Happy Windrush Day, the 72nd anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush in Britain

Theirs was a response to an advertisement calling for people from the Empire to come to the Motherland .

So that they could help rebuild a country ravaged by the Second World War.

As well as a student curious for knowledge and advancement who would arrive some time later.

That young man cane from Trinidad https://www.visittrinidad.co.tt to Aberdeen University.

Caribbean boy

Inevitably he met a local, fell in love and took her back to the Caribbean.

But his greatest legacy, however, was their son Jevan.

He followed in the footsteps of his Dad and also swept up at Aberdeen Uni… www.visitabdn.com and Aberdeen – a light in the north.

And he became pals with a Son of Ireland.

Or at least with a lot of green blood running through him… yes, your favourite blogger ME.

Let there be mud

I hooked up again with the legendary Jevan years later in his adopted Barbados www.vistbarbados.org.

He took me off-piste at Crop Over, or off pissed, on Foreday Morning.

And it’s the through-the-morning festival within a festival.

There was mud and paint hurled and rum thrown down the throat.

All against the background of Soca Music, steel bands and jumpin’ and chippin’.

It was the type of welcome we’d always been told we’d get.

And I’ve jumped at every chance to get back… Let’s rumba in Barbados, My kiss with Rihanna and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/17/ready-steady-goat-racing-in-tobago/amp/. www.visittobago.gov.tt.

It would be nice to say that the same welcome was afforded the West Indians who arrived off the Windrush and the subsequent ships.

But we all know it wasn’t.

And guest houses displayed signs saying ‘No Blacks, No Irish.’

Black and Irish

It is a link that has endured over the years.

And you’ll see a healthy Irish representation at Crop Over.

And Grand Kadooment, the procession that draws the curtain down on Crop Over.

Ireland www.tourismireland.com and www.failteireland.com has embraced multi-culturalism in recent years.

And having holidayed in Ireland as a child I was struck on arrival there as an adult for a 13-year stint https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/02/06/thirteen-years-an-irishman-my-five-irish-homes/amp/ by this poster…

‘The trouble with this country is that there aren’t enough pasty-faced white people.’

Know black, know Irish… you’ll be better for the experience.

Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Ireland

Rainy Days and Songdays – the Cucumba rap

Cucumbers are my kind of vegetables. They’re not in the league of mushrooms I grant you, but who is?

But they are easy to prepare… and if you want to go to a lot of bother you can even slice them before eating.

What rhymes with Cucumba?

Which we’ve been doing for our new house guests Poo and Pee, our lockdown gifts to ourselves, our guinea pigs.

Easy to make for the kids

All of which prompted Daddy’s Little Girl to point me in the direction of this Jamaican rapper and his contribution to the panoply of music.

I give you Macka B and Cucumba https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dRGlon_ezvU.

I should by now already have visited Jamaica.

Life’s rollercoasters

Jamaica my day

Only I had double-booked by sending a colleague to Orlando to satisfy his rollercoaster addiction and who can blame him? See www.vistorlando.com and Aaawlando… Orlando, the rollercoaster capital, See off Voldemort, then for a beer at Moe’s and Why I love The Donald.

So Jamaica had to be put on hold while I did the TV column that week… something by the remarkably unfunny Amy Huberman I remember.

The good folk from Jamaica promised they would have me back… cannot wait https://www.visitjamaica.com.

Irie!

To add it to my Caribbean scrapbook http://www.visitbarbados.org, Let’s rumba in Barbados, My kiss with Rihanna and http://www.visittobago.gov.tt and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/17/ready-steady-goat-racing-in-tobago/amp/

The last dance

Our friends in the Travel Trade have been showing remarkable resilience and bonhomie as they wrestle with the worst thing ever to have hit our industry.

And few more than our friends at Travel Biz http://travelbiz.ie who have been putting on a Friday night Zoom disco over the last couple of months.

It was bittersweet then to take to the dance floor (my study) on Friday for the last time.

But it does mean that TravelBiz and all our other Trade professionals and holiday providers who are the most important people of all are ready for the off.

Here’s a little more of the fun.

MEET YOU ON THE DANCE FLOOR

Countries, Deals, Europe, Flying, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Holiday Snaps – booze brothers

The news that they will pour away 70m pints of spoiled beer down the drain would merely have been an invitation to The Sesh.

Our drinking fraternity at Aberdeen University have scattered to the four corners of the world – funny when many couldn’t be raised from their scratchers.

My Best Man Andy is in Singapore https://www.visitsingapore.com/en/, Jevan is back home in the West Indies https://www.visittrinidad.co.tt, https://www.visittobago.gov.tt. My kiss with Rihanna, Let’s rumba in Barbados and Ready, steady GOAT… racing in Tobago/.

While some of my English pals, Wee Jon and Micky, and Gaelic emigrees Alan and Anna went to the bright lights of London https://www.visitlondon.com and The London life.

marischalcollege3

And those flatmates that were foisted on us such as Grumpy Vangelis (no, seriously) My Greek odyssey and the cheery Ibohal Singh (song) https://www.incredibleindia.org/content/incredible-india-v2/en.html are doubtless back where they belong.

It’ll be 40 years in a couple of years since we first bowled up in Aberdeen so I feel a reunion in the making.

And we’ll need more than 70m beers for that… https://www.visitabdn.com and Aberdeen – a light in the north.

Sláinte

pexels-photo-936571-1-150x150

Aberdeen University’s other great gift to the world, after me, is of course Blair Bowman.

Blair Whoman? Yes, Blair Bowman, who only gave us World Whisky Day.

Surprisingly this celebration of uisce beatha has only been running since 2012.

The organisers say that 250,000 people participated in registered events in 2014.

I don’t know the figures for the last few years – I guess they’d overdone the golden liquid!

IMG_2133

To the pantheon of greats who graduated from Aberdeen Uni, Alex Kapranos, Alistair Darling and Nicky Campbell add Jevan Jutagir.

A proud half-Scots, half-West Indian who is one-third of the Barbados Whisky Mafia.

And who if you’ve got an in will crack out the good stuff before Foreday Morning at Crop Over in Barbados https://www.visitbarbados.org, My kiss with Rihanna and Turtle recall.

Free Ireland

Kudos to Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar whose example some across on this side of the Irish Sea would do well to emulate.

You don’t have to be a doctor like Leo to have known that testing and tracing is key but it doesn’t do any harm.

Leo has been outlining how the nation will come out of lockdown.

Which means that the Office of Public Works has opened up certain outdoor sites within social distancing rules.

And that oft-forgotten section of our society, the Cocooners, are being prioritised;

10am to 1pm

Emo Court, Co. Laois

Grounds

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10am to 1pm

Fota Arboretum, Co. Cork

Pleasure Garden & Walled Garden

10am to 1pm

Irish National War Memorial Gardens, Islandbridge, Dublin

Rose Garden.

10am to 1pm

Iveagh Gardens, Dublin

Full Garden

images-1

10am to 1pm

Kilkenny Castle, Co. Kilkenny

Rose Garden

10am to 1pm

Nenagh Castle, Co. Tipperary

Grounds

10am to 1pm

Portumna Castle, Co. Galway

Walled Garden.

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10am to 1pm

Phoenix Park, Dublin

Visitor Centre Walled Garden

10am to 1pm

Roscrea Heritage, Co. Tipperary

Grounds & Walled garden

And Ryanair are flying high

Few things say summer quite like a fleet of blue and yellow Ryanair planes taking to the skies.

Which is why the news coming out from Michael O’Leary Towers that July 1 is the start-up date for us to get flying again.

With 1,000 flights across Europe from €23.99. And new health measures.

Faro, the gateway to the Algarve comes in at that starting price… https://www.visitalgarve.pt/en/Default.aspx and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal-classy-centro/.

London https://www.visitlondon.com The London life and Amsterdam Pictures of Amsterdam comes in at the same price.

For the full range visit www.ryanair.com.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD