Rock and Roll in Barbados …

Thursday 6th – Monday 10th October 2022

We spent the first few days in Barbados exploring our local area of Oistins Bay. The climate here is much more manageable for walking … and there’s the bonus of pavements. Having a kitchenette in our hotel room has meant that we can continue to self-cater for breakfast and lunch – so a trip to the local Massey Store was one of the first things on our agenda … this brought back wonderful memories of our supermarket shopping days in Choiseul, Saint Lucia (prices unfortunately still crazily high). Apparently Massey is a Trinidadian chain.

We’re only a short walk away from Oistins Bay Fish market with all the wonderful fish cafes and so many pretty beach areas to enjoy too – quite spoilt for choice.

The fish market was closing up … but thought this sign was great!

Anyone want to make an offer or it’s going on ebay!?

The size of the avocados is quite incredible … and SO tasty

The houses are so pretty

Steve took this photo while out running at warm o’clock!

The rocks are alive with these little chaps

A fellow walker found this in the shallows – we presumed it was a Flying Fish as seen on all the local menus

On Thursday we got to meet up with our lovely friends Mark and Karen. Steve has known Mark for over 30 years, through business and they live not far from us in Turweston. We don’t get to meet up often as they run a hugely successful outside catering business and are the hardest workers we know. So it’s a brilliant coincidence that we’re getting to spend some time together in Barbados and hopefully they’ll be able to switch off and relax.

We met up in Bridgetown where we’d booked up to go on a walking tour with Kirsten. So after big hugs and ‘hellos’ (not Kirsten) we were taken on an extremely interesting and informative tour of the old city. We learnt so much about its history, about colonisation, plantations and slavery, various invasions, the Jewish settlers introducing the sugar plantations, British rule, their modern politics and new Republic status and right up to the fact that they have their first female Prime Minister, plus their first President is female too. Yes, come on ladies!! Would thoroughly recommend the tour and our guide, a young history and politics student, was a pure delight. We loved it despite the fact that there were frequent downpours of rain. Mark even had to nip into a shop to buy a dry T-shirt.

Independence Square, Bridgetown. Their independence means so much to them.

The Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow. The first Prime Minister of Barbados and known as the “Father of Independence”

Heading out on our Bridgetown walking tour … with Kirsten and our lovely pals Mark and Karen

Bridgetown harbour

Government buildings (disguised as a church)!

This area is soon to be condemned in order to build new hotels, even though they already know that there are hundreds of bodies buried underneath the ground here, the bodies of the slaves that didn’t survive the journey from Africa.

This was the first Rum bar in Barbados – the country where Rum was invented.

Bridgetown Synagogue

We got asked to do a video review of the tour … as the rest of us shied away you can guess who stepped up to the mark – Steve in full speech mode!

And then we tackled the bus station to get a bus back to our hotels. Took a fair bit of working out and waiting – but lots of chatting and banter with the local people helps. Have since got the hang of the transit van buses (or reggae buses) – amazing value, even though a little overcrowded and noisy at times)!!!!

Bridgetown bus station

Waiting patiently at the bus station … at this point anyway!

Friday night in these parts means only one thing – the Oistins Bay Garden Fish Fry. Tourists and locals alike gather to feast on amazing fish dishes, listen to music and dance. Mark and Karen joined us as we mixed into the chaotic atmosphere, finally picking a place to eat (so much choice) and enjoying the food, atmosphere and plenty of beer. I had the marlin which was absolutely mouth watering, Steve and Mark had shrimps and Karen enjoyed a fabulous dish of lobster. There were some dance performances on the main stage and we sort of shuffled and swayed at the side .. but I still didn’t get to have a full on boogie (I’d put my sports bra on and everything, thinking I’d be jumping up and down)! I guess being oldies and leaving at 10.00pm it was probably just hotting up!

Arriving at Oistins Friday night Fish Fry

Lots of lobster on offer

My Marlin, macaroni and coleslaw

Anyone for a fillet of Dolphin!!!!?

Dance performers – outstanding

On Saturday we got to meet up with Ben Waters and his entourage. Ben is a friend from back home, Dorset born and bred – I met him through my brother Phil … and Steve and I are big fans of his music – he played at Steve’s 60th Birthday Party. Ben is one of Europe’s top Rock and Roll pianists and has worked with the Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Rod Steward and Jeff Beck. He is also a top bloke and the best of company. As well as performing Ben runs where he organises amazing holidays at home and abroad – his followers get to spend time with each other, and him, and he performs gigs with other musicians throughout the time they’re away. So we have been lucky enough to meet up with the gang over the last couple of days and listen to some fabulous performances from Jack Daniels and Micky Biggs and we’ve had the best of times in their beautiful hotel setting. We’ve also met Ben’s lovely wife Ruth for the first time. Mark and Karen are part of this group too – it is so funny that we both know Ben from different paths.

Ben and Ruth, with me and Karen in the background

Jack Daniels

But a true highlight was listening to a session by Mike D’Abo who is out here with Ben. Mike was the lead singer for Manfred Mann in its latter format. He had a number one with Bob Dylan’s ‘Mighty Quinn.’ He also wrote ‘Build me up Buttercup’ and “Handbags and Glad Rags’ for Rod Stewart. As soon as he started he was absolutely captivating – a true professional – producing so much emotion in all of us. And we were literally sat on sun beds around the pool with the sun setting – pure magic. We were all up dancing at the end … and as we looked around we saw the kitchen and restaurant staff dancing away in their areas – that will be a very special memory. And he still has the Rocker twinkle in his eye – a lovely man and a real charmer.

Mike D’Abo – magical memories

On Sunday, we met up with them all for a fabulous lunch at ‘Jake’s’ followed by some beach bar drinks, including Tequila shots, before sensibly managing the beach walk back to their hotel (the SOCO Hotel) before the tide came in – got just a little wet! After a few rounds of cocktails and a set by Mickey Biggs, Steve and I headed off for a reggae bus ride back to our very pink Butterfly Beach Hotel.

Waiting for the others to join us at Jake’s

Beach bar drinks
Ben in party swing

Making our way back to the SOCO hotel, avoiding incoming tide

Karen and I having enjoyed a cocktail or 5!!

Such a fun night

So another fabulous few days. Time is running out now but we’ll make the most of every minute that’s left. Had planned to do boat trips and island tours but the weather and ‘rock and roll’ gigs have sort of nicely interfered. Still we’re happy with the great company we’ve had, the relaxation of walking, swimming and simply looking up at blue sky and palm trees. What more could you possibly want. And something tells me we’ll definitely be back – so it’s good to leave things for the next time.

It’s our last night tomorrow and Ben’s going to be doing a gig at the hotel which will be such a fabulous way to end off our Caribbean travels. (For our MK friends, Ben Waters will be performing at The Stables on 1st November) – think you’d enjoy it.

Until next time – a sunny pina colada cheers!

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