Slowing Down

I’m in Speightstown, Barbados for a couple of weeks, to relax, enjoy visiting a new place and to write.

So far the fascination of watching the view from the balcony over the Caribbean, and the not so distant horizon, has proved to be the most time consuming of my activities.  The first couple of days were stormy, and we could clearly see the approaching rain clouds as blocks of grey in the sky advanced towards us.  Sometimes it was possible to see both brilliant sunshine and blue sky at one angle, juxtaposed with near black clouds at another.

Now the storm has blown through we have hot, sunny weather, which is all the more appreciated because now I know it is not guaranteed.

It’s warm, and the short walk into town to the shops and the market stalls is more than enough to raise more perspiration than is mentionable in polite company.  I realised yesterday, as I was strolling back to the flat after a break in a bar for a cooling lemonade (and no, that is not a euphemism), a 5 litre bottle of water in each hand, that even after such a short stay I had adopted the slow rolling gait of the local people.  No-one is in a hurry.  Why rush? What ever it is will wait until you get there, and, I guess, on a small island, there’s a limit to the distances you can go.

I have been enjoying trying fruit and vegetable from the stalls set up in the streets each day.  Some of them I recognise, although they might be bigger, smaller or generally a bit less uniformly shiny than we usually have in the UK; tiny limes vital to squeeze over enormous papaya, smooth perfectly ripe avocados and piles of okra and squash and pumpkin of various hues.

The lady stallholders ask you if you want the fruit to be ripe for today or tomorrow and then spend some time selecting the right one from their display for you.  I’ve also tortured a couple of them with questions on how things should be cooked, but have learnt that most things can be steamed, fried or cooked with rice.  So we are experimenting (and googling on the internet for recipes).

So far so good.

Leave a comment


  1. Jill

     /  September 15, 2011

    Absolutely stunning photo. The colours are incredible.
    PS. the easiest thing to do with vegetables? Peel and chop up whatever you have (pumpkin, butternut, carrots, potatoes, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli…), bung them in a dish with a drizzle of olive oil and bake at 180 for an hour. Parmesan, sea salt and black pepper optional. I usually add a couple of tomatoes as well to keep things from getting too dry.

    • Thanks Jill. Good suggestion for the veg – butternut squash came up lovely that way and so far we’ve managed quite well. To date, breadfruit has been the least successful attempt, but fried plantain is a new favourite!

  2. margaret nickels

     /  September 15, 2011

    Wonderful , I can picture the Market and the diplays of fruit and veg .Sounds really friendly.

  3. “Why rush?”


    Hah, that will infect you. When you return to England, adjustment will be required:)

    “So we are experimenting (and googling on the internet for recipes).”

    That, I fear, will be a difficult road. You’ve already mentioned that fruits and the rest look different/taste different back in the UK. As hard as I’ve tried to find that magic of the Caribbean away from it, I haven’t.

    Stuff tastes different there, because of that thing. The island life, the no rush policy. The water, the entireity of the sensory experience.

    Make a memory:)


    • The French have the phrase ‘sur place’ which covers all of that, too, It’ll never taste the same when you get back home. But the experiments here, sur place, are proving to be lots of fun. But meantime, I’m not rushing anywhere.!


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