In the manner of the Queen (or a former lady PM), we are delighted to announce that we were one in December. Yes, Notes is still contemplating life on this small rock and not much closer to penetrating the idiosyncrasies that make this place so beguilingly unique. For example, can anyone explain the Bajan obsession with cleanliness? Yes I know about the dirt/godliness axis, but why does every check out person in Supercentre wipe the conveyor belt before, during and after your tea, lettuce and ketchup have moved along its surface? And how does a Londoner morph from being bemused at Bajans driving around the island looking at tiny houses decorated with a disproportionate number of twinkling lights to actually having a night out privately rating these public displays from St. Lucy to St. Philip?
I seem to have done a lot of rating of public displays this season. On a small rock once you agree to judge one show you are asked, ever so nicely and persistently, to judge all manner of vaguely related shows. So the fact that I was a judge at the Caribbean Art and Craft Expo meant that when the Barbados Museum had its Christmas fair and wanted to give a prize for the best stall I was called up for duty. While I strolled around with the kids looking at the displays and helping them choose presents for grandparents and teachers etc., the other judge, armed with clipboard, attacked the fair in a methodical fashion, properly scoring each stall. In the end we separately came to the same conclusion and awarded the prize to a stall suggested by First born right at the start. He had taken a look around and declared the winner a stall that was neat, with everything clearly displayed in a manner that enticed him to spend his pocket money. If only I could steer him away from his passion for racing cars he could have a fine career as a critic.
Apart from looking at lights, craft, and also helping award the critic’s prize in an excellent show at Zemicon, (the only art gallery in Bim that dares to show experimental work), the mood of the festive season was subdued. Maybe it was knowing that this rock is not insulated from the effects of the global financial crisis that halted some of the excess of Christmases past. Ours was a simple holiday of pottering around nibbling the yummy Trini Black Cake Alison had thoughtfully sent. Our household imbibed more than the recommended number of daily units of alcohol and settled grievances in the time honoured fashion of Chinese Checkers and Monopoly by day and Scrabble by night. By New Year’s Eve while others dashed from one good time to the next, I was ensconced in a hammock with duvet and pillow, gazing at a star studded sky, and being gently rocked by the cool Christmas breezes. I have a vague recollection of feeling simultaneously smug and horribly middle aged that hammock plus stars plus breeze equals perfect happiness.
But all the signs are that the festive season is nearly over. Only a few straggly slices of the second baked ham are left. The Black Cake can make it to tomorrow only if we confine our servings to communion-thin wafer slivers and the kids are frantically finishing their school project on spiders. Bet you didn’t know there is a Spitting Spider or a Diving Bell Spider. Bet you don’t give a rat’s ass either.
But the end of the festive warmth was properly signaled by L. reporting that her seventy-nine year old auntie was almost a victim of serious crime. She surprised a would-be thief at her home. He grabbed her handbag and whispered menacingly,
"Ah going to rape yuh today."
Auntie froze on the spot.
But within seconds her expression went from terror to a coy smile to a grin of delight.
"Hold yuh horses sonny boy!" she yelled, "Let meh bathe and powder-up first!"
Our burglar dropped the handbag and ran at a speed that would challenge Bolt's 100m record.
But he can't hide. Someone answering to his description was spotted yesterday - in Grenada.