Sunday, 4 February 2018

A Postcard From Bequia

Like most postcards, this one is arriving after we've got back. We've just returned after twenty-two days away in beautiful Bequia (pronounced Beck-way). Never heard of it? Good; because it's the most beautiful and unspoilt place we've visited in the Caribbean. It's unlikely to stay that way as the people have to make a living and there's not much apart from fishing and tourism so we expect the inexorable rise in villa building to continue until it's no longer unspoilt. But, for the time being, I reckon there's another year or two before that happens so maybe we'll be back in 2019 to make the most of it. 

Here are my favourite photos from the trip.

Waiting at Gatwick

All aboard and ready to go to Barbados

The flight from Barbados to Bequia is a little different

Our view for two weeks

Tropical Hideaway's wonderful infinity pool

Only 220 steps up and down from our cottage

Humming birds

Not for every day but cooked breakfasts are a real treat from Tropical Hideway

Outside the cottage
Tropical Hideaway's gardens are delightful

Industry Bay landscape

View from one of our many walks - we averaged about 3 miles each day

Typical unspoilt Beqiua beach

We found a bar to watch the Liverpool Man City game

View from the excellent Jack's bar

View from one of our longer walks into the hills

Walking up here in 28 degrees is not easy

The island is full of wildlife

View from a walk

Crescent Beach where we spent week three

Marion at Bullet Point one of the highest points accessible on foot

The lovely Sugar Reef hotel dining room

An old guy who plays in local bars for a few dollars met up with a classical guitarist who was performing at the music festival. The result was magical.

Marion in Sugar Reef

Marion was stopped several times by women commenting on her outfits

Harbourside dinner at Laura's

Unspoilt beach

Jack's Bar - Tropical Hideaway is above just below the treeline

Another admired dress from Ruby Tyger in Fram

I said at the start of this postcard that Bequia remains unspoilt. It's a beautiful place. But once every ten days or so a cruise liner berths in the harbour. I suppose it's great for the bars and restaurants but if it were like this every day would the villas and hotels be full?

So that's our postcard. It's probably nearlly identical to the one I posted last year. We had a wonderful break. Glorious weather, beautiful scenery, great accommodation, friendly people, early mornings and early nights, lots and lots of reading, loads of walks, swimming, snorkelling and total relaxation - perfect.

Here's what I read while away.All were enjoyable but  the best by far for me was A Man Called Ove.  

I mentioned that magical evening. Before I go, I'll leave you with a taste of what happened.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Snap Happy

With a holiday coming up I was thinking about which camera to take with us. After debating the merits of the Digital SLR against the iPhone I eventually decided on the phone- not because it takes better photos but because it's so much easier to carry with us. However, the phone has no optical zoom (yes there's digital zoom but that just loses quality) and I would have liked to be able to take a few photos at a distance. 

After searching the net and reading scores of reviews I came up with a solution in a tiny set of lenses plus tripod by CamKix for £31.99. There's a wide angle, a macro and an 8x telephoto so i wasn't expecting a great deal at that price. I haven't tried the smaller lenses yet but I'm quite impressed by the telephoto.

I took this through the kitchen window on a very dull day.

Here's the 8x photo from exactly the same spot. It's not perfect but, through glass on a dull day, it's very encouraging. I'll post a few holiday snaps when I've used it more extensively.

Watching the Liverpool derby on TV on Friday I was, of course, delighted to see Virgil Van Dijk score the winner on his debut but I felt sorry for the Everton coach Sammy Lee and posted that feeling on Twitter. Appears that I was in an extremely small minority as I scrolled through scores of tweets. It seems that, in football, getting a job with another employer after being made redundant is impermissible.

We had a day out in London on Saturday.

We took granddaughter Catherine to see School Of Rock at the New London Theatre. With Stephen Leask performing Jack Black's movie role as the lazy rocker who somehow finds himself as a supply teacher at an expensive private school, the show is great fun from start to finish and had the packed audience rocking in the aisles. Catherine loved it. Possibly not as much as she loved the show that her other grannie took her to recently, but we all had a great afternoon.

The show has incredible energy. The young musicians all play their own instruments live and their performances were outstanding.

During the encore we were told that we could take photos. Sadly there wasn't enough time to set up properly but here's what I snapped.   

I could have done with that telephoto lens.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

2017. I'm Just A Lucky Guy

We're three days into 2018 and I thought I'd write a blog about the ups and downs of 2017. Except, when I went back through the year,I realised that (a few punctures and damaged windscreens apart) there weren't really any downs. Which made me appreciate how lucky I am to be able to continue to enjoy a full and happy retirement.

So, here, in no particular order, are the highlights of 2017. 

Favorite Novel

I was far from alone in thinking Gail Honeyman's Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine was, indeed, completely fine - it's just won the Costa First Novel Award. Do read it.

Play Of The Year

I was going to nominate The Young Vic's fantastic The Jungle but for sheer enjoyment I have to go for The National's production of Twelfth Night.

Movie Of The Year

We didn't manage to get to see as many films as usual in 2017 but there were some highlights including Get Out, Paddington 2, Breathe, Mudbound and Farewell Christopher Robin but ,for me, The Killing Of A Sacred Deer came out tops.

Holiday Location Of The Year

Tropical Hideaway Bequia (Hush don't tell anybody)

eBay Disaster Of The Year

Super £200 antique Dudson cheese dish and cover for £15

Thanks Yodel.

Birthday Party Of The Year

My mate Mark Jones' 60th.

Publishing Event Of The Year

Mr Prendergast's Fantastic Find 

Here's the latest review on Goodreads

Flop Of The Year

Framlingham Gala Parade 

which consisted of this

Followed by this

And er, nothing. That was it.

eBay Buy Of The Year

Fabulous large tankard for under £7 -sold for almost £200

Fame At Last

Some of my finds made it into the Lost And Found exhibition at Bury St Edmunds museum

Detector Find Of The Year

Very rare Henry I penny.

Crime Of The Year


Best Christmas Presents

Home made photo album from Rose and Melody and Joke Book from Catherine and Teddy

Holiday Cottage Of The Year

The Gatehouse Coniston booked through Coppermines Cottages

Cafe Of The Year

Our home from home in Framlingham. We've spent many an hour in "The Goat" here in Fram in 2017. Best coffee in town served with a friendly smile.

Meal Of The Year

Tasting Menu at Marc Fosh in Palma celebrating our dear friends Dave and Jane Haworth's Ruby Wedding

Some of my favourite photos of the year

Mum (91) got to visit her great grandchildren

Blossom in Beccles

Walking near The Inn At Whitewell

The Castle On The Hill

Tower Bridge

Having all of our grandchildren together for once.

Polite Anarchist

Snape Marshlands

Autumn Walk

Bi-annual friends' get together 

You'll always find them in the kitchen at parties

Winter visit to Scotland

Castle On The Hill (again)

Sunset in the garden

I've just  had an article printed in the excellent The Searcher magazine. Their headline echoes what I said at the outset of this blog. 

Here's to 2018

With very best wishes.