When we last spoke I was procrastinating, as I often do. Making homemade peanut butter for a supposed quick dish (it was still quick), but you know, what I really should have been doing was my laundry. I was set to fly to the Caribbean the next day and I had nothing clean to pack. At least very little that would be suitable for the heat.
Now, cooking is my jam. Any other domestic things, not so much. I would drive to Edinburgh to buy a packet of crisps to avoid a stint of spring cleaning (I can’t even drive, and I still would). To cut quickly to the end, I put my suitcase on the British Airways scales at Gatwick and the hostess, surprised, commented, only 12kg? You must be hoping for warm weather! I thought: RUBBISH, I completely forgot that extra load of washing that I had hung up to dry.
So here I am in a mish mash of razzle dazzle pinks, greys and yellows, writing to you from my balcony at dusk on the charming island of Antigua. In very funny clothes. A chill is descending as the sun sets, and I quite like that. The Caribbean winter is my perfect temperature range, rarely climbing over 30 degrees, and mostly in the mid 20s, almost always with a gentle breeze.
If you were to ask what my favourite ocean was – and a bizarre question it is, so I wouldn’t encourage it – I would tell you that it is the Atlantic, for it is my ocean, the one that I grew up on, the one whose crashing waves kept me company as I waited for the school bus when I was 13, the one whose cliffs I scaled like a mountain goat with my siblings, cousins and friends, seeking exciting adventures and play. The one that we plucked mackerel from in butterfly nets when they came bounding to the shore every August, chasing miniature swirling shoals of sprats.
That very ocean, is the one I sit looking at now, but a different side of it. A warmer one, with less rain, exotic creatures, banana trees flirting beside, cotton fields, volcanic mountains, rain forests. It feels like everything is inside out with the colour turned up and with an exotic and surreal wispy breeze swishing through. I very much enjoy visiting this other Atlantic, hearing the crashing waves, feeling that whispering winter breeze dance playfully around my ankles. I don’t like the mosquitos, but unfortunately they love me very much.*
I am in Antigua, but it is my second time here this week (and this week my first visit). In between I hopped to St Lucia for two full days (and three short nights). I am here on the #EliteHop, a blogging adventure designed by Elite Island Resorts and supported by British Airways, that brought five bloggers here on four trips (I am the last). We each have different specialties and so explored different aspects. I am all about the food and drink, as you well know. Matt & Deb covered the romance, Jayne uncovers the shopping, celebrities and the glitz and Abi, well Abi in her own words is niche-less on this, but she is very interested in interesting things.
I started in Antigua at Galley Bay. I arrived in the late afternoon, incredibly tired following a night of restless oh-I-am-going-to-miss-my-flight-WHAT-TIME-IS-IT-NOW sleep, but the draw of the ocean lapping outside my door was too much for me, and I sat and listened for a while. After two days there, I left for St Lucia to stay at St James Morgan Bay. And now, I am back in Antigua, having just arrived at the Verandah Resort and Spa where I will spend my last 2 nights. I have cooked with local chefs, visited a cocoa plantation, eaten at great local restaurants and food stalls, and eaten lots of local specialities. I have been seeking recipes high and low as I go, so that I can adapt them and share them with you on my return.
Lots more, soon!
*mosquitos – y’all always love to give me advice but believe me when I tell you that I have tried every single thing, and they still get me. I have used my previous scientific powers for good too and researched it to death, as well as trying every spice remedy, gin and tonic, brewers yeast, light coloured clothing and any old wives tale. The best thing is to shower frequently in unscented soap and wear lots of tropical strength DEET. As much as I hate plastering myself in chemicals it is the only thing that works for sure, for me.