Meeting Mad Lords

There is no log entry for St Lucia unfortunately.

This entry is unique to FTB as it’s being written retrospectively, being put together to fill a hole between crossing the Atlantic and meeting Liz to my next trips in Europe, delivering boats. There’s a bit of a gap in the story I’m afraid, so I’ll do my best now to piece it all together. What I omit due to an aging memory may be colourfully completed by some snaps of this extremely beautiful Caribbean island. Sadly it was in St Lucia that I received the news my dear old grand father had died and I therefore had to return home for his funeral, so St Lucia was the last chapter in my travels for a couple of months, but I have some fantastic memories of this altogether unspoiled island:

Jump-Ups and Joints

I remember one evening venturing into Sufriere town and going to a jump-up (street party), whereupon I met a local chap who invited me back to his mate’s house. Actually it was his mate’s mum’s house and we sat in the kitchen with a bunch of guys smoking weed. I remember offering to skin up for them, proudly producing a perfectly rolled joint using three Rizla and then getting laughed out of town for not using at least five papers. The guy next to me rolled up a Camberwell Carrot, just to really take the p!ss, and we passed it round whilst I attempted to learn patois. The funny thing about patois is that it almost sounds familiar, what with the odd French word and street slang, but as you’re slowly roasting your brain on a fat bifta, sustaining any kind of conversation becomes very difficult. Great evening though. From what I can remember.

Waterfalls, Beaches and Lords

I do remember Ted and myself taking a day out to walk around Sufriere, visit waterfalls and then end up in between the Pitons. If I’m right in saying there’s a Hilton between the two famous mountains and Ted and I pretended we were guests and wandered through the grounds to get to the beach in time for a sundowner (think we got a speed boat trip back to Sufriere too). Also there’s a famous Lord who lives in the area. Completely bonkers and walks round in pajamas. I’m being unfair cos I think it was just traditional Indian dress he wore, or sensible loose clothing for that Caribbean climate, and how would I know if he’s bonkers? How? Well actually I met him and I got a snap to prove it. Lord Glenconner, that’s the bloke. Had a thing with Princess Margaret. Bought Mustique in the ’50s. A bit rich. Nice man and very obliging when I spotted him and ran up to him like an adoring teenager. Christ, I’d never even heard of the bloke before getting to St Lucia but since I’d been hanging out with an Earl over Christmas in Antigua I figured I was down wid da nobs.

Mental Bus and Taxi Drivers

Wandering around the capital, Castries, was always an eye-opener but for a full-on, fill-ya-pants experience get the bus journey into town. I do remember my first trip into town: with a vehicle rammed full of school kids and tourists the dredded driver would over-take cars on hair-pin bends (no word of a lie – we almost went over the side as one on-coming vehicle had to do an emergency hand-brake) and drive down straights as fast as he could. It was so hairy Ted started shouting at the driver to slow down, pointing out that he had a bus full of kids. The driver couldn’t hear a word, of course, as he’d turned his reggae up to 11 on the volume control.

When I finally left I got a taxi ride to the airport, which took me through the inside of the island. As I said my memory is a little vague but that taxi journey sticks in my mind as being one of the best road-trips I’ve taken in my life. Why? I’m not sure. I think it was the stark contrast of a Caribbean blue sky, distant spangly waters and the abounding green vegetation of the banana plantations. Damn, I wish I’d taken some snaps. I distinctly remember being taken up and down tracks that could barely be called roads but getting to the top of an incline to look out east and south across St Lucia and thinking that this was exactly what I always thought a Caribbean island would look like. I declined the invitation to go visit a local girl I’d met at the waterfall as I’d met Liz by this point but I do remember being quite impressed with the forwardness of Caribbean girls!

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