Jul 19th 2016

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Aah…my home from home!  When I saw that Barbados was on the list, I wanted to high five Bobby the dog. I LOVE Barbados. I was also interested to see what Producer Dave would make of it.  This would be his first time in the country, and David’s more of your ‘National Trust’ sort of bloke.  I think he thought Barbados might be wall-to-wall resorts and nothing else.

I know better.  There are some fabulous resorts in Barbados, but they’ve got walks in the country and history just like everywhere else. They’ve also got beautiful trees and flowers and exotic birds, and music and turtles, and warm seas and crashing waves.  Oh – and food, David.  Wonderful, wonderful food.

Anyway, I wasn’t sorry to be swapping a chilly, British March for 29° in Holetown when I boarded the 10.45 from Gatwick North.  When I arrived, David, who had been setting things up over the previous three days, was well into the groove.  He already looked ten years younger.

Alright – that’s a slight exaggeration but our hotel was on the beach in the parish of St James, the sun was hot and the beer was cool. We were there at a busy time, so ended up moving hotels, down to Christchurch in the south. It was no hardship. I’d start the day with a swim in the ocean.  Not exactly time alone.  The entire crew had the same idea!

We filmed all over the island – which is great for street and beach food - and interviewed my old friend Sally who, with her husband Keith, publishes guides to the island. It was great to see them again. I must confess to having quite a lot of family on the island and, apart from Uncle Fred and Aunty Pansy, I didn’t tell them I’d be coming. I knew I wouldn’t have time to see them. To Fred and Pansy, though, I did let it slip.  Sir Fred Smith (known as Sleepy Smith) is a judge, retired now, and Aunty Pansy, a retired doctor.  They know everyone, and were very keen that the crew experienced how Bajans live and eat at home.  

It was a lovely idea, and they’re lovely people but “don’t go to too much trouble,” I warned. “We might not make it.”  

That day we were filming a fish-fry market.  It went really well and we left happy - until we discovered that the disc in the camera was corrupted and we’d have to shoot the entire thing again.  Sadly, nearly everyone had gone by the time we arrived back at the fish-fry. You can’t tell from the seamless editing, but now you know.  That scene was kind of stitched up from the bits we could cobble together.  

Anyway – it meant that Aunty Pansy’s fantastic spread of authentic home cooking went unsampled.   And I didn’t get a Christmas card this year.

One other thing.  If I look a little bit more than happy, it’s because I love rum, and in nearly every place we filmed, the owners would offer a little tipple to kick things off.

Producer David? He’ll be going back.  Just try and stop him!