A quiet few days

Rain woke us up this morning, the first shower for a week or more now, so a quiet start of the day but Unfortunately the rain came back mid morning, and came down rather hard, so we settled in for the day.  Actually it was rather nice not chasing around and we could do b015ccb8-16ce-464e-919b-409b99526262relaxing things!!!!

Our walk before the bridge

Our walk before the bridge

Thursday, and we woke up to the return of “proper” weather and feeling invigorated got on with “going out” preparations.   Today we’re off to Deep Bay, 15 out of 365 about half an hour away. 

After a bit of a detour thanks to WAZE sending us to a private resort, where a very nice guard on the gate redirected us, we arrived at the parking area.   To actually access this beach we now had to cross a bridge and follow a short path around the bottom of “Goat  Hill” upon which sits the remains of the old British “Fort Barrington” and when we got to the beach,  boy was it worth it, a long stretch of sand curving

Fort Barrington

Fort Barrington

around the bay greeted us. 

We found a suitable palm tree under which we could deposit our chairs etc., and enjoy the swimming, beach walking and the local environment.

There is an extraordinary history for this

What a life!

What a life!

“Goat Hill” which stretches back to the English civil war.  In 1652 Prince Rupert captured the old “earthworks Fortification” as it was then for the Royalists.     Fort Barrington as it is known was named after the Commander-in-chief, Leeward Islands, Admiral Barrington, when he had the old earthworks replaced by the stone fort that is there today.  We want to walk up but looking at the steep path we can’t attempt it whilst Christine is suffering with her ankle when we will know about the remains.

Ha ha ha!

Ha ha ha!

the lonely figure, Christine coming out of the sea brought to mind “Ursula Andress” in the 1962 Bond film “Dr No”, 59-years later!!!!!!   Anyway, After a really nice day, probably too much sun, we headed home

for a usual relaxing evening.

Friday and preparing for Lee and Sarah

Deep Bay, another stunning beach

Deep Bay, another stunning beach

arriving tomorrow otherwise a quiet day at home trying to get Christine’s ankle better

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Life goes on

Friday was “clean-up day” change beds etc., before we could venture out. We also had “Troy” our car rental man coming round as we want to extend the rental ‘till we leave mid March.   When we originally booked he gave us a very competitive rate and fortunately we kept that rate for the rest of our time here; so glad I didn’t pre-book a car at the airport, it would have cost a fortune. 

Once the chores were done we got onto those blessed ESTA’s again.  When we had them printed they didn’t look right, they came out landscape not portrait though and after talking to the US consular, we were told they we’re approved.   Still uneasy we’ll probably have them re-printed direct from our I pads where they are.

Whilst “I the mood” I decided I had to think about the documentation for our cruise back so started that tiresome task, but have to say it was a doddle; why couldn’t the US web site be so easy.

Whilst at the supermarket the other day we spotted a bottle of Italian white wine with a “Waitrose”  label on it at a very low price, so tonight we tried it and was quite surprised, it was lovely and light, reminiscent of Frascati, the bottle soon went.   We’ll get some more of that!!!!

We had a terrible night, the first we’d had whilst here.   Poor Christine was suffering delayed action from the bouncing and bumping we went through on the two trips on the Barbuda Express, and being the caring sort I am, stayed awake as well!

6-Nations rugby returns today with two matches this morning and the all important England V Ireland tomorrow, Sunday.

When the car rental chap delivered the car he forgot an-updated licence to cover the extra period so “promised” to be here at 0909hrs with it, he didn’t.  Anyway with Christine not feeling at her best, instead of depositing her at the Pigeon’s Point Beach, she elected to remain at base; so after ensuring she had everything she needed, and was aware the licence “may” turn up, I was off 

Two matches to watch, a terrible performance by Scotland and a miserable defeat for Wales I head back to find Christine hobbling around. Asking why, the answer flabbergasted me; she had gone to bed after the licence had arrived and was woken suddenly with a bump, she had fallen out of bed and twisted her ankle in the process: Poor Christine.

We wiled away the rest of the day was quietly and I cooked, I hope she doesn’t get food poising on top of everything else!!!!!

Falmouth Harbour

Falmouth Harbour

Sunday and it’s England V Wales so the two of us headed to Cloggy’s again.  Arriving I got  chatting to a couple at the bar who looked very chirpy, it turns out they are also Exeter Chiefs supporters and after discovering we followed Saints, took great pleasure in telling me they had “thrashed” Saints in the premiership match earlier this morning. A good start before an England game!!!!  If that wasn’t all, we sat

Lovely Pidgeons beach

Lovely Pidgeons beach

next to an Irish lady during the game who naturally took quite a lot of stick.  England won and that’s al that mattered.

A quick lunch downstairs before going onto Pigeons Point beach for a lovey swim though being Sunday the beach was crowded and there

were numerous yachts at anchor.

Long beach bay

Long beach bay

Monday and today Longbay beach number: 13 of 365 is our destination down in the southeast of the island, though on the Atlantic side, the bay is sheltered by a point and it has a reef across the bay.  We parked under some trees right next to the sand, took our chairs, picnic cool box etc., and

Little shops on route

Little shops on route

found a very nice shady spot about 5 meters from the shoreline. 

The highlight of the afternoon was walking into the “Pineapple resort” to get a drink.  When the bartender gave us our drinks I asked how much only to be told this was an all inclusive holiday resort, and then twigged we weren’t guests.  With the drinks

Sitting enjoying our free drinks

Sitting enjoying our free drinks

made and poured she was in a little pickle, so she then told us to take our drinks and go away from the bar, naturally we didn’t give her a hard time; free drinks on the beach, excellent.  On the return journey we stopped off at the “Devils Bridge”.  

Devil’s Bridge

Devil’s Bridge

Devils Bridge is formed in the limestone rock, bashed by the Atlantic’s waves crashing into it for hundreds of thousands of years and in the process has formed geysers and blowholes where the water shoots through.  The 2 world name is interesting;  “bridge”, because it actually forms an arch or bridge,

Devil’s Bridge

Devil’s Bridge

“devils”, because local myth suggests slaves jumped off this bridge during the period of slavery and the myth goes on to suggest the “devil” claimed them

Back at the ranch our evening was much the same as usual but en route went into the supermarket to buy some more of that “Waitrose Light Italian wine” but, too late they’d sold out, bugger!  Never put off………………. instead there was a Waitrose “Chilean” white wine that we bought and tried, it was nice enough, but unfortunately not up to the standard of the Italian one!

After much debate we decided to go to OJ’s, a restaurant on “Crab Hill beach”, number 14 of 365, as we’d heard good reports about it.  

OJ’s beach restaurant

OJ’s beach restaurant

Stopping off at Jolly Harbour on the way ensured we arrived at Lunchtime.  In spite of the recommendations we’d had, we still looked this place up on “trip advisor” and as usual found comments right across the board, from the best place to the worst place on earth!; no change there so went to

My red snapper was enormous

My red snapper was enormous

form our own impression.   We left after a couple of hours having enjoyed very good food, a good assorted drinks and wine menu, and excellent service with their own car park. We wandered about the beach but

Might try some of these cocktails behind our bar

Might try some of these cocktails behind our bar

Unfortunately Crab Hill beach didn’t do a lot for us so dressed and headed over to Carlisle bay for our daily exercise before returning.  We had eaten so well at lunch, we couldn’t face anything further to eat or drink!

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A Day In Barbuda

Our alarm went off at 0600hrs, unheard of this trip and after a quick breakfast headed to Jolly Harbour to board the “Barbuda Express”.   We were told it was a prompt 0800hrs departure and to pay and complete formalities we “must” be there for 0730hrs.

Barbuda Express

Barbuda Express

We, along with many others duly arrived at the departure dock at the prescribed time, and waited, and waited, and waited until finally a woman arrived explaining it had been delayed at St Johns by the arrival of a cruise ship and therefore all port activities had to stop whilst this “monolithic cruise ship” docked.  The stupid thing is, all cruise ship activity at St Johns is available to all, even we know!   Why the Barbuda Express operators didn’t leave a few minutes earlier to compensate is beyond comprehension, everybody says “oh well this is Antigua”.  Anyway one hour later and we were on our way, we were also told the crossing would take 90 minutes and would be choppy, so sickness pills were available for those who wanted one. So I was a good girl and took one!

Leaving Jolly Harbour

Leaving Jolly Harbour

Heading out of Jolly Harbour and the first thing we set eyes on was the Benateau 43 we’d looked over and liked, sitting majestically whilst riding at anchor with its dingy alongside, ahhhhhhhh.  Out of the harbour and travelling north in the Lee-of-Antigua was very pleasant, we spotted the beaches we’d visited and the ones we have yet to visit, passing St Johns where the ferry started; why couldn’t we start there?, and as we left the protection of Antigua we were immediately buffeted by the Atlantic waves crashing against our starboard side.   This catamaran ferry rolled the lateral waves like a good ‘un as we headed at 20 knots (22-MPH).  Everybody was hanging on, any moving about was really not recommended, though one brave woman did visit the “loo” as she was green, but didn’t re-emerge until we’d docked.   Our 90 minute trip took 120-minutes, still, wet and shaken, but not stirred, we disembarked under a totally blue sky and heat to match, we met our driver and guide,”Devon”.

Barbuda is a small island located in the eastern Caribbean and is about 30-miles north of Antigua in the Leeward Islands and is part of the West Indies.  Barbuda is a popular spot for tourists because of its moderate climate, mainly due to it being very flat so it doesn’t 2b264c60-e0cf-4607-b417-4ee4452fedd3experience the rain like many other Caribbean Islands.  Historically, most of Barbuda’s 1,638 residents lived in the capital, “Codrington Town”, However, in September 2017,Hurricane “Irma” damaged or destroyed 95% of the island’s buildings and infrastructure and as a result, all the island’s inhabitants were evacuated to Antigua, leaving Barbuda empty for the first time in modern history.

Barbuda was discovered by Columbus in 1493 along with Antigua but was not a populous  island. Therefore in January 1685 King Charles II granted a 50 year lease to Christopher and John Codrington, born in the West Indies they and had inherited their land and wealth from

Beautiful beaches

Beautiful beaches

their father, and though their lease was for 50 years, their  descendants “ruled” the island ‘till 1833!

Though the Codringtons were wealthy and had sugar plantations around The Caribbean, and though Barbuda had minimal rainfall and very thin soil meaning it couldn’t grow sugar cane, their agenda was to raise cattle to feed their slaves and sell surplus to other landowners and by all accounts were successful. In their time they started a number of new profitable side lines, one of which was ship salvage.   Barbuda is surrounded by shallow water, much of which has nasty rocks which caused many ships to flounder. Now according to “Devon” the story is more sinister, he “says”, the Codringtons helped this along by setting fires to persuade passing

Seven mile stretch of sand

Seven mile stretch of sand

ships there was another ship between them and Barbuda; thereby upping the salvage tonnage!!!!  Another story doing the rounds is that during the height of those dark slavery times, Barbuda became a slave “breeding centre”, though this is now being questioned.  The reason could be that the slave population here on Barbuda was happy and had freedoms others didn’t, and this reflected in the fact that apart from the first intake, the slave population grew naturally. **

Our first attraction were some caves and en route we could still see the remains of the thorough devastation “Irma” caused.  One original

Atlantic coast

Atlantic coast

export was coconuts but as we passed by the plantation all the tops of the palm trees had been blown off.  Another area severely damaged believe was their race course, yes they had a race course and Devon seemed very upset it hadn’t been fully restored.   Incidentally the roads are like Antigua, full of ruts, potholes and tracks!!!

Arriving at the end of a track, we then had a short walk before reaching the bottom of the highest spot on the island and looked up at this large hole in the side of the rock.  Once we had clambered up to the entrance we wondered what all the fuss was

Climbing up into the caves

Climbing up into the caves

about.  Inside this big aperture we could see daylight through another hole, high up at the top which meant scrambling up rocks to get there and as we, like most others, only had flip-flops on, it wasn’t a goer, so we returned to the beach below to

Climbing to the top

Climbing to the top

wait for the rest.    We think we should have been warned to take trainers or something suitable.

Fantastic views from top apparently

Fantastic views from top apparently

Back in the car, we headed off to the fishing centre quay and got into a small flat bottomed boat and headed over the lagoon to look at the “Frigate Bird Sanctuary” .   Christine had visited the sanctuary 14-years ago when we visited Barbuda on “Whitbread”.  Douglas

Frigate birds

Frigate birds

and I didn’t join the group, we sat in a bar; I didn’t miss going then and now I would have been happy to be back in that same bar with Douglas.   Once you’ve seen one frigate bird, you’ve seen them all.  The highlight for me was returning across the lagoon a15b5c9c-b73f-43eb-a7a2-926927e59dearacing another boat, says it all I think!!!

The highlight of the day was next, a lobster

Our lobster lunch

Our lobster lunch

lunch in an interesting makeshift beach restaurant, but very enjoyable.  This was followed by a drive to the “Princess Diana Beach” but as the ferry had arrived late into Barbuda, and it wasn’t going to stay longer to compensate, we didn’t have a long time,  in

Geoff enjoying his rum punch

Geoff enjoying his rum punch

fact no time for a swim so had a rum punch instead.

The economy of Barbuda as one would expect is fragile at present and they have to encourage as many tourists as possible to visit.  The marketing of a “day trip” in Barbuda sounds very attractive but had no

Such an idyllic place

Such an idyllic place

real substance, still we’ve done our little bit towards re-building.   Post Irma the economy is struggling, currently their main sources of income comes from exporting builders sand that’s quarried somewhere in the middle of the island and it is clean, but unfortunately that is now coming to an end. Secondly they export Lobsters, These are harvested naturally from their lagoon, an area that’s very well protected and judging by the ones we had, are extremely nice and fresh to eat.  Lastly tourists, currently day trippers and a few that stay in the rented cottages still standing.   Prior to Irma there were several very posh and expensive resorts but they were all

Coconut plants destroyed by Irma

Coconut plants destroyed by Irma

but “blown away” and have not been re-built.  It appears, talking to Devon, local politics has got in the way; what a shame.

One snippet of information Devon gave us was about land.  Every Barbadian has the “right” to own a plot of land, given to him free from the ruling council and on which he can build his own house.  This “gesture” gets right up the Antiguan government noses and has been a sore point for donkey years.   Talking of Donkeys, there are hundreds of them just roaming

Martello tower built by British

Martello tower built by British

around freely, apparently they are descendants of the original donkeys imported back in the 18th Century.

The return boat trip was a little easier as generally we surfed the Atlantic waves but again sitting in the stern we were drenched, still it was warm and we soon dried naturally.

Arriving back in Jolly Harbour, the race was on to try and drive back before it got dark, partially successful but in the “twilight”, some oncoming cars had lights on but many didn’t and even worse, pedestrians were wandering about on the roads, dark skinned, dark clothes, and didn’t give a fig, unreel, still back at the ranch safely, shattered by the bumpy sea journeys but glad we made the effort, and it was an effort!!!!!

        ** I was fascinated listening to our driver “Devon” and later surfed the net to find out more about the history and goings on in Barbuda

and I came across a theses done on the Codringtons of Barbuda by a Margaret T. Tweedy, Birmingham University, an interesting read.        

This is the link:-        

Stunning Pink Sand beach

Stunning Pink Sand beach

https://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/5356/5/Tweedy81MLitt.pdf

 

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On our own again

Back to the two of us again; Jane arrived back in Jersey OK, with both flights on time so that was good whilst we had a quiet morning with Christine still trying to sort out my ESTA.  The US web site where one applies for theses things is far from user friendly so we’re planning to go the the US consular office here in Antigua for help.  Judging by the experience we’ve had over the years with US immigration, I don’t hold

Overlooking the entrance to Harbour

Overlooking the entrance to Harbour

out too much hope but let’s stay positive and optimistic. 

After an early lunch we headed to the beach for our daily exercise but en route decided to re-visit the remains of Fort James.  Though we had done this earlier with Jane, we hadn’t really had a good poke about, so today was the day.

Fort James is high up on the headland at the entrance to the harbour of St Johns. The fort was built to guard the entrance and is one of the many forts built by the British in the 18th

Fort James

Fort James

century prompted by the fear of a French invasion.  All that remains today is the shell of one of the powder rooms, a number of cannons and the foundation of the fort’s walls. The main attraction up here now is the excellent view of the surrounding harbour.  I have to say those “old naval guys” knew a thing or two about defences, it was a magnificent and most commanding view of the entrance to St John and I bet if all those cannons fired up in anger, no ship would escape.

The fort is named after King James II when work started on it in 1706, and most of the buildings were constructed in 1739.   In 1773, the fort was armed with 36 guns, and had a barracks which accommodated 75 men.  There are a number of cannons still pointing out to sea but it 30d9cebf-3961-47a7-a82c-fb58961135d9appears some or all must have been replaced, as one we noted had a an 1805 date stamp cast into the barrel.

We revisited the fort james beach, again, due to its close proximity to us as well as being a superb stretch of sand however, there was quite a strong off shore breeze and the waves were kicking up a bit; still we managed our daily excise but missed Jane’s “water exit”

Stunning views over Harbour

Stunning views over Harbour

performance!!!!

Today we visited the US consular and strangely it is very convenient as it only around the corner to our cottage, though the entrance is right in the middle of the road works.  As I have mastered the “local technique” of driving, getting into the embassy, ignoring red lights didn’t pose too much of problem, as they probably say round here, “just do it”, and we did!

Getting into “Fort Knox” was ok but before being scanned for god-knows-what, we saw how many were waiting and worse than that, the “one” consular wasn’t even there, but they were expecting him/her sometime; another day we said and went shopping instead.  We didn’t have our daily swim but had a quiet night as we are heading to Barbuda tomorrow; fingers crossed in case it gets cancelled again, after all we’ve had our trip to Montserrat cancelled due to the ferry going into dry dock and last weeks Barbuda was cancelled due to high seas, hence our apprehension!!!

Early start tomorrow 🥵🥵🥵

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Jane’s last days in Antigua

Jane’s time in Antigua is coming to an end in a couple of days so we discussed where else she would like to go to and after much

Carlisle Bay

Carlisle Bay

deliberation chose the beach in Carlisle Bay, and at the same time she expressed a wish to have lunch in the Carlisle beach resort.  So after breakfast we set out.

Why such a specific request from Jane to visit the Carlisle beach resort one might ask, well, 14-years ago around the same time of year we sailed into, and dropped the anchor in this bay.  Then, like today the weather, though nice and warm was inclement, with overcast skies and rain showers.   Earlier in the week we had contacted the resort as our

Best bay on the Island

Best bay on the Island

first intention was to go there on Jane’s birthday but after studying the menu, it wasn’t appealing to her as her memories were of an excellent “Chinese”, but time changes things.

Arriving at the beach via a cheeky little dirt track we left the car and walked towards the resort and parked ourselves on one of their beach chairs.   As expected, it wasn’t

Sheltering from the rain

Sheltering from the rain

long before a member of staff arrived with a security guard in tow to chase us off, or get us to buy a day pass for $300 US, explaining this was an all inclusive deal.  After a little more chatting it also transpired we could go into the “outside” part of the resort, use their beach tables and chairs as long as we had a drink, that’ll do we thought and moved into their area.  After further conversation it turned out  we could actually use the verandah restaurant overlooking the beach, so

Lovely setting, fantastic food

Lovely setting, fantastic food

asked to see the menu.   The lady we had met on the beach with the security guard was still the same lady we were getting the updated information from as we went along, in fact we were having a laugh with both “Jaris” her name, and the guard, who called himself an “Jamtiguan”; born in

Fish soup, scrummy

Fish soup, scrummy

Jamaica, lives in Antigua.  The menu duly arrived and was a far cry from the menu the resort emailed me, it was far more interesting!

After a few Rum Punches and Pina Coladas we finally decided what we were going to eat so ordered and strolled into the restaurant.   As I’ve said many times, “slowly slowly catchy monkey”

Beetroot and goats cheese

Beetroot and goats cheese

and the advice we were given from Jaris was, don’t pay the $300 up-front, keep the tab going and decide at the end whether to pay the bill or the day pass; lovely girl!!!

A thoroughly enjoyable lunch was had by the three of us helped with copious amounts of wine.   After dinner we sauntered back to our outside table before

Love it here, thank you Jane x

Love it here, thank you Jane x

venturing into the sea.   The one good thing about about this beach is there is no shelf as you walk in.  Most beaches have a shelf about a couple of meters or so into the sea, presumably made by the fact there is minimal tide here.   Watching Jane get out of the sea has become a spectacle, entertaining to say the least thanks to these ridges but not today, Carlisle beach has spared her that embarrassment!!!!!

During our swim the heavens opened and just as we thought about

Carlisle Bay

Carlisle Bay

rushing out of the sea to put all our clothes etc., under cover, Jaris was seen doing the honours, so we stayed where we were.

After a fabulous day, reminiscing and enjoying the ambience we arrived back at the ranch, I have to say we’ll go back before we leave.

Saturday we had arranged to meet Geoff

Dickenson Bay

Dickenson Bay

and Rowena for lunch at C & C wine bar and restaurant so we only had a short morning but we had to go for our daily swim.  As it was early and as there were no cruise ships, we went to “Dickinson Bay” where Sandals is situated.  This nice beach has an approach problem, it is down a short hill on an unmade road normally full of taxis, but not today, we managed to park on the edge of the beach.   A swim, followed by a walk along the beach goorking into Sandals before heading back to change. 

Arriving at C & C’s expecting the reserved table we booked to be

C & C wine bar

C & C wine bar

waiting for us; no chance, it was a repeat of the Wednesday night, as they scurried around fitting two tables together to make room for us.   Twice we’ve booked a table, twice we’ve been let down, but never mind; its Antigua!!!!

The 5-of us had a great time enjoying the excellent food, one of our favourites for starters,  are their coconut shrimps,

C & C wine bar

C & C wine bar

delicious and all washed down with some superb South African smoked Chardonnay, accompanied by stimulating conversation with a lot of rugby banter between a Saints and a Chiefs supporter.  This rather extended lunchtime was in danger of

Redcliffe Heritage Centre

Redcliffe Heritage Centre

heading into evening when Jane and I started on the Brandies and at this point Geoff and Rowena escaped; they did have to drive to Falmouth Harbour, the opposite end of Antigua and it is an unholy experience driving after dark, so quite understood.

We awoke to Jane’s last full day with dark grey skies and heavy showers, and apart from a quick trip to the local supermarket, did little

Heritage centre

Heritage centre

in the morning.  We were booked to return to Shirley Heights but upon advice from Mr Paul, the owners father, cancelled our taxi and decided to have a nice meal somewhere new; joke!!  Being Sunday most places we fancied, were closed in the evening, what a bummer.  Anyway after a

Coconut prawns

Coconut prawns

lot of internet browsing we came across the only place open, C & C wine bar; oh well we know we get good food there but won’t book, it seems to make little difference!

C & C seems to be our local now as we head down to Redcliffe Quay which overlooks the harbour of St. John’s.  This historic area is one of the oldest parts of the town, dating back as far as the 17th and 18th centuries.  In those days it was a busy waterfront docking area, widely regarded as the business and trading centre of the

Heritage centre

Heritage centre

Caribbean.  It was the main trading place for Slaves, Rum, Sugar and Coffee between Antigua, Europe and Africa.  Today though it is where one can wander about down the narrow alleyways, browsing a few shops, and “down” a few Rum Punches, or in our case drink superb South African wines.

Arriving and parking with ease outside the Redcliffe Quay area made us wonder, why so quiet?   We soon found out as our wine bar was shut, locked and bolted and all evidence of tables and chairs removed, but their web site said they were open on Sundays ‘till 2000hrs, ugh!!!!    I’ll have to write to Claudine, the owner, and get their web site updated.

Oh dear, what now as we wandered around aimlessly exploring the

Akropolis Greek restaurant

Akropolis Greek restaurant

possibilities.  There was nothing open in St Johns, we’ll nothing Jane fancied that is, only local food; we were game but it was “Madam’s” last night.   There was no alternative left, Jolly Harbour was where we had to go, and that meant I would be driving after dark, oh well at least I knew what to expect!!!!

On arrival, we were too early and nothing

Lovely setting for a meal

Lovely setting for a meal

was open yet so sat overlooking the marina whiling away the time ‘till the “Greek” restaurant opened, yes tonight

we went Greek, and very nice it was.  The unusual starters were full of flavour and we all enjoyed the mains.  They had a superb

Laughing at Jane having her fag!

Laughing at Jane having her fag!

wine list but there were no “bottom end” wines so we limited ourselves to one bottle, a bit of a struggle but we managed it!!!

The drive back was as predicted, “hell” but we survived and once back home cracked open the brandy to calm our shattered

I have a similar photo 10 years ago

I have a similar photo 10 years ago

nerves.

We had terrible rain during the night and it wasn’t much better when we awoke. Also Jane leaves on tonight’s flight, it’s been a good 11-days and we’ll miss her. She’s such a good sport and we won’t have anybody to moan at, not to mention the stick we give her about her smoking; “Jane give it up”, if nothing else your pockets will bulge more!!!

By mid morning the sun came out, the temperature rose and we were

Fort James

Fort James

much happier, so after coffee, with a brandy of course, we headed down to the Fort James Beach, via the ruins of the old Fort.  This beach is one of the longest on the island and as far as Jane was concerned, very good as there isn’t any tidal ridge with which the fall down on or up whilst leaving the sea!!!!

After the most expensive Rum Punches we’ve had on any beach, and they certainly weren’t the best we’ve enjoyed, we returned home.  Whilst Jane was sorting and packing I was on cooking duty and on today’s menu was “Corn-beef Hash” but with “parameter” potatoes garnished with a fried egg; it must have been ok as we ate it all up.  Whilst I was slaving over the cooker, Christine was standing at the ironing board directly under the air-con

Fort James Beach

Fort James Beach

outlet.

Time for the-off, car loaded and we headed to the airport, in the dark, to say goodbye to Jane, and apart from a minor hiccup checking in,

she’s on her way; Bon voyage Jane, see you in Spain later in the year.

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Jane’s first few days

During the evening we dropped the bombshell that tomorrow we had two rugby matches to watch at Cloggy’s bar in Falmouth Harbour;

Pigeon point bay

Pigeon point bay

Jane has no interest what-so-ever in rugby, or any other sport come to that!!!!, so gave her a number of choices that are available to her.   We also had to get Jane acclimatised to the different time zone so we kept her up as late as possible and hopefully this does the trick, it usually does.

Saturday and up with the lark to get to the first march, Cloggy’s is up to an hour’s drive away and kickoff is at 10.15   Today it’s Ireland V Wales followed by Scotland V England. The final decision after much deliberation is that I drop Christine and Jane at Pigeon Point beach, watch the first match, then collect them before the second.

Phase 1 worked well, the girls were delivered to the beach, and I arrived in time for kickoff. My bonus was, not being such a popular game, I had my favourite seat, bar on my left, and an empty table

Cloggy’s bar

Cloggy’s bar

strategically placed on my right.  Soon after kickoff a couple asked if they could join our table and I said of course but just one favour in return, they have to save my seat and one other for the England game.  It turned out they were from Exeter and season ticket holders at Sandy Park and as Saints are only 1 point behind in the premiership (at the time of writing) there was a lot of banter between us and no doubt encouraged by the lack-lustre match we were watching.

When I arrived at the beach, the girls were waiting and better still, waiting for us upon our return to Cloggy’s were 2 chairs, in perfect positions to enjoy the England game.  I say enjoy, well, it was an appalling display by the England team, looking at today’s performance you wouldn’t believe they beat the “All Blacks” to get to the RWC final.  I know the weather was dreadful but that was the same for both sides, Farrell missed 9 points with his boot but eventually we carved out a win but how frustrating it was to watch.   I don’t think I have witnessed such tension as there was inside Cloggy’s, how no one threw a bottle at the TV screen I don’t know, it just demonstrated the self control and discipline of Rugby fans!!!

We got on very well with our new “Chiefs” friends, Geoff and Rowena so we all went downstairs for a snack lunch, where we enjoyed their spicy Mexican Pizzas.  Towards the end of lunch the heavens opened so the 5 of us settled down to more rum punches.

Saturday night was a washout, we all went to bed early!

The rugby match, France V Italy kicks off at 1100hrs so not to much rushing this morning.  Our plan was similar to yesterday, the girls are left at the beach whilst I frequent Cloggy’s then return and collect

Shirley heights with my favourite dancer

Shirley heights with my favourite dancer

them.  By the end of the first half we were all convinced the French points would resemble a cricket score but no, I don’t know what the Italian coach must have said to his players but they certainly came out fighting.  Yes of course France won but nowhere near the margin they were heading for at half time, we’ll done Italy.

Tonight is Shirley heights night and our taxi is booked for 1600hrs so we we headed straight back to base for a late lunch and a little time to relax before leaving.

Our taxi arrived on time and off we set.  For me it was an interesting journey to Shirley’s as when I’m driving I have to concentrate 100%

Enjoying the moment

Enjoying the moment

due to potholes, Antiguan Driving, which I have to say I’ve settled into very well, I can now “dice” with the best of ‘em, and the narrow roads.    Being a passenger I can look around and take in the sights and sounds.

Arriving at the heights around 1645hrs was actually too late, all the undercover tables were  taken but this didn’t deter us.  Whilst I went to the bar, the girls muscled in on a table so we were ok.  Next time we’ll book a taxi 1530hrs and hopefully we can get a table of our choice.   Tonight the weather looked as if it would rain all night but actually we only had a couple of light showers.   Sunday is definitely the night to go, big crowds, big on atmosphere in fact big on everything, though tonight wasn’t the best night if you only went there for the sunset.  There were too many clouds and fog over the sea, still there’s always next Sunday.   

After a thoroughly enjoyable late afternoon and early evening our chauffeur met us at the gatehouse as planned at 2030hrs, the activity actually stops at 2200hrs, but there were too many “lightweights” in our party of three!!!!   Returning in the dark reminded me why I don’t want to drive here after dark, even Denise (our driver) was complaining.

Monday morning didn’t bode well on the weather front, there were a

Coffee in Melino’s

Coffee in Melino’s

few showers about but it was mainly overcast, so we headed out to Jolly Harbour to book a trip to Barbuda for later in the week.  After coffee we headed back to Redcliffe Quay, next to the Heritage Centre down by the cruise liner docks, and enjoyed a very enjoyable lunch at the “C & C Wine

C & C wine’s

C & C wine’s

House”, a wine restaurant specialising in South African wines; naturally we had to drink some and it was so enjoyable we had a second bottle; not quite Spanish prices though!!!

We had been recommended to a couple of local Caribbean food restaurants, but wanted to check them out to see what they were like.  We had also been told that the best “roti” place was called “Roti King” so as we were close to it we went there and bought one for later.

We watched Jeff cough up US $ 20 each time we visited a beach so decided it would be a better idea if we bought a couple of beach chairs and leave them at the end, far more economic so this afternoon we went round numerous shops and supermarkets looking for said items.   Eventually we found one, the only one in this shop but it had a screw missing.  We said we’d buy it with discount so agreed a price; a very nice quality beach chair.

During the evening, over dinner I suddenly remembered we’d bought this Roti but left it in the car, oops!!!    Into the fridge for tomorrow then.  After a few Brandy’s and putting the world to rights we hit the sack.

Today we were woken by a torrential downpour, amplified by our tin

Half Moon Bay, bit choppy!

Half Moon Bay, bit choppy!

roof and then at breakfast, having suffered in silence, announced I had to visit a dentist.  I had been to mine before leaving and took a calculated risk I’d last ‘till my return but no, so I started the search.  In the mean time the sun had come out and after the usual packed lunch headed to Half moon bay, the beach facing the Atlantic, but en-route stopped off at another supermarket and found a second beach chair, though much cheaper it was lower

Very difficult to stand up

Very difficult to stand up

quality and smaller, probably for a child, anyway Christine can get her bum on it so bought it.

Upon arrival priorities have to taken seriously so Jane and I headed straight to the beach bar whilst Christine “bagged” a table and opened up the lunch box.  Following lunch we went to the actual beach for our swim.    Presumably there had been some very inclement weather in the Atlantic as the rollers coming onto the beach were quite spectacular.  After being rolled over several times Jane retreated from the sea whilst Christine and I gave it our best shot.   After a few minutes Christine was in the “tumble dryer” of the surf and retreated.  I stayed on but even I got to the stage where the energy involved was rather too high so I followed suit.   This was

Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay

unbelievable, both Christine and I had never retreated like this in earlier years; I put it down to too big a lunch just before entering!!!!  After several minutes and a small rain shower we left Half Moon and headed back to a beach near us. On our way back we stopped at the viewing point of Potworks dam and reservoir, though there wasn’t a lot to see as the trees and bushes obscure much of the view.

Potworks Dam and reservoir can store 4,142,000 cubic meters of water and is situated in the south of the Island.  It is the sole supplier of stored water for both domestic and agricultural purposes. It was built in 1969 and has very shallow sides which, believe it or not 7528416b-37dc-4309-b6b3-c0c758a496adfrequently runs dry; strange to believe that with so many tropical showers here.  The Antigens, being  practical and resourceful built this reservoir around an area that was already a flooded space. 

Back on St  James beach we enjoyed a more leisurely and relaxing swim before retiring back.  “Cuppa time” and we decided to attack the “Roti” after a very good zap in the Microwave.   Apparently one of these is a portion, we cut ours into three as it was so big, filled with potatoes, Chicken, and god knows what else, curried in a thickish sauce.  Christine and I enjoyed ours, we will certainly have another but Jane, well, least said the better however, she did try it first!!

Wednesday and today it is Jane’s “significant” birthday but unfortunately I have a dental appointment where I was expecting an extraction so apart from cooking Jane an omelet I was away.

After the administration formalities I was led into a state-of-the-art X ray room where The whole of my mouth was scanned.   Following a consultation with the dentist, he suggested a process that may save my tooth, well for the time being and I fell for it, a lot more money than just having it out.  Anyway a couple of hours later armed with a prescription I left and was back in time for lunch after a stop off at the Chemist.

One pain killer and one antibiotic later my mouth was back to normal,

Xmas tree in wine bottles

Xmas tree in wine bottles

job done, so we headed out for a quick swim. It had to be quick as we had booked a table back at the South African Wine restaurant to celebrate Jane’s “coming of age” where we had superb food, superb wine and a great evening.   The only blot on the horizon was a ‘phone call I received to tell us that due to poor sea conditions tomorrow, the trip to Barbuda had been cancelled, oh no.  Still, looking on the bright side we don’t have a 0600hrs start.

Our first mission today was to take Jane to the hospital as her hands and face were burning up, but not through sun burn, she thinks she has either been infected by a bug or is allergic to one or more of the creams she is using.  Good old internet, we found a hospital that sounded ok so off we went.   Being a private hospital, Jane was seen immediately and after a short consultation and a prescription issued, we headed back.   Fortunately nothing serious though she has been advised to stay out of the sun.

Next it was a trip to Jolly Harbour to collect Jane’s deposit for the

Jane having another fag!

Jane having another fag!

aborted Barbuda trip, this was the one thing she really wanted to do.  What a disappointment, she had stipulated before she booked up that this was a “must do” activity.   Anyway her deposit was refunded though we moved ours onto the next available trip, hopefully the following week the ferry will go!   After enjoying a couple of consolation rum punches we headed to

Lunch pre swim

Lunch pre swim

Darkwood beach for our daily exercise before returning for dinner. 

Jane’s time in Antigua is coming to an end in a couple of days so we discussed where else she would like to go to and after much deliberation chose the beach in Carlisle

Dark wood beach

Dark wood beach

Bay.

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