Saturday, 21 January 2017

A Postcard From Bequia

I know, I know - it's freezing cold here and the last thing you want to do is look at some smug blogger's holiday photos but come on, we don't go on holiday that much so indulge me for ten minutes.

We were having a meal in a restaurant in Matlock last March when my dear friend Jane told me I didn't take Marion on enough holidays. After words to the effect of "what do you mean? We're at the caravan in St Andrews for eight weeks every year!" I conceded and decided that perhaps Jane was right and our 365 days per year retirement holiday was not enough. So I took heed of her advice (who says I never listen?) and went right out and did what I was told and booked a break somewhere hot and sunny for January. I settled on Bequia - a place that Marion has been interested in visiting for years.

After a comfortable night at Sofitel in Gatwick we got up early and flew to Barbados with Virgin Atlantic. For a bit more comfort and leg room, we chose Premium Economy and got a glass of fizz thrown in. It was a great flight and we couldn't fault the service (or the food and drink). After arriving in Barbados we were whisked through the airport very efficiently by SVG air and, in no time at all, found ourselves in a tiny propellor plane en route to Bequia.


This flight was not exactly Premium Economy and if we had been sitting much closer to the front we could have flown the plane. It only held about twenty passengers but Dawn French and her husband were among our fellow travellers. Yes, I know she won't be blogging that Marion and I were flying with her but, hey, after watching her Thirty Million Minutes at Christmas, she's something of a hero to me now. I avoided the urge to tell her so as I'm sure it would have been the last thing she wanted. At the same time I thought "bloody typical, if this plane goes down, we won't even get in the headlines."

Just over twenty four hours after leaving Framlingham, here we were at our holiday home for the next two weeks.

It was dark but this is what we woke up to in the morning.
And this is the lovely little cottage that was our hideaway at Tropical Hideaway.
We were all set up for two weeks of relaxation.

The island has a lovely bookshop and we bough a few books for the grandkids.

There are still plenty of churchgoers and your typical C of E vicar would be green with envy at the attendances.
We love our daily dose of coffee and cake so we swapped Framingham's The Dancing Goat and made Gingerbread in Port Elizabeth a regular port of call. 
Bequia has plenty of lovely beaches. This one, Princess Margaret Beach, is the most popular, as you can see from the heaving crowds.
It was hard to remember that, at home, everyone still had their Christmas decorations up but this roadside grotto served as a reminder.
We made a point of walking every day and our daily walks from Tropical Hideaway gave us this spectacular panoramic view of both sides of the island. According to the phone we walked 62 miles in two weeks which, at an average of 4.4 miles per day, is not bad considering the heat and the gradients.
We were so lucky to have the use of what a colour travel supplement described as the best infinity pool in the Caribbean.
Granddaughter Catherine wanted to make sure that we were not too hot so she made these fans for us to take away with us.
Panoramic view of the infinity pool.
The local flora and fauna were fascinating although three of these were three too many for our liking.
Marion with her Kindle at the poolside (correction, on one of the underwater bar stools). I managed to finish no less than seven novels in our two weeks - it was that relaxing. Best one? Probably The Essex Serpent although Kent Haruf's Our Souls At Night is magical and A Prayer For Owen Meaney is also very special. 


Tropical Hideaway is home to three beautiful and rare Bengal cats.

My stab at a pic for a Bounty advert.

Half expecting Jack Sparrow and crew to sail into the bay.
Thanks to Alastair at Fram Leisure we coped well with our daily walks up the hill back to the cottage but, with no exaggeration, this gradient was close to 1:2 (and in thirty degrees).

Bequia's beaches are unspoilt and uncrowded (apart from the one day when the cruise ship arrives in town).

On our balcony at sunset.
A view from Gingerbread
Now that really is an infinity pool.
Panoramic view.
Although we were on a self-catering break, the owners of Tropical Hideaway were experimenting with the demand for cooked breakfasts. Well that was an offer we weren't going to refuse so, on most mornings, I tucked into a delicious happy meal to set me up for the day. Marion opted for the lighter options.
It was cooked by the lovely Shelina.

We rewarded ourselves for our daily long walks by stopping at one of the island's superb restaurants for a rum cocktail and a light lunch.
Our walks were also rewarded with endless scenery like this.
We decided that, if Tropical Hideaway were booked up, this plantation house is where we'd book in future.

We visited the turtle sanctuary which has relased many thousands of turtles back into the wild after raising them for more than four years.
A quick dip before cocktails at Sugar Reef
A brilliant Creole band that played at The Fig Tree when we had a night out.
I didn't want to miss the Manchester United game but this is what was on screen at Papa's Bar for the last five minutes.
Although the view from Papa's was some consolation as we waited for confirmation of the final score.

We experienced some glorious sunsets.
And plenty of glorious days too.

So that's it. Hope I haven't bored you too much. Thanks Jane for telling me to take Marion on holiday more. One of the best bits of advice I've had in a long time.


Thanks too to Martin and Julie Mansfield (sorry for pinching your photo from your website) who have created the most magnificent small complex of holiday properties in a truly exclusive and fabulous location. Their story is an amazing one of incredible ups and downs but you'll have to go to Bequia and let them tell you all about it. Check them out here.