Sunday, December 27th, Month 10 of our Covid-19 Experience.

Latest update on our pandemic experience.

So Christmas is over and it seems like an appropriate time to write a Covid-19 update. We have been in Barbados now for exactly three months, and officially have another three to go. However, we are now considering extending our stay until June, as things at home seem to be getting worse, not better!

Since September, the numbers have continued to rise, more lockdowns have been imposed, and a new tiered system of restrictions has been developed, dependent on local infection levels.

Initially, the government was intending to allow the relaxing of restrictions for five days over Christmas, but this was revoked at short notice, after a new, more infectious, variant of the virus swept across the UK. Christmas mixing was cancelled in many areas, and everywhere else people were permitted to mix with just one household, for one day only, with overnight stays forbidden.

A raft of countries reacted to the new variant by closing their borders to UK citizens, but it seems that it might be too little, too late, as the new variant has already been detected in many other countries in Europe, and around the world. Let’s hope it doesn’t reach us here!

The good news is that a vaccine has been approved for use in the UK, and others are following close behind. However, it is going to take a very long time to get everyone vaccinated, and a list of priority groups has been developed. The elderly, and health and social care workers, are first on the list, with estimates suggesting that young, healthy people may not receive theirs until 2022!

People have had enough. There have been tears and tantrums over cancelled Christmas plans and many people have been unable to travel home for the holidays. Hundreds of lorry drivers have been trapped in their vehicles for days, in huge queues near the ferry ports. There have been rumours of food shortages and other horrors, and the anti-maskers, anti-vaccers and conspiracy theorists are having field day! But, generally, people are resigned to their new ways of life in a depressed kind of way. All this, and Brexit is just around the corner! Estimates suggest that things are not going to begin to improve until the summer.

Christmas Eve

Here in Barbados, life ticks on in a relatively normal way. Their protocols seem to be highly effective at containing the virus. Things are slowly getting busier. People are still being careful. More and more flights are coming in each day, and more and more people are appearing on the beaches, and in bars and restaurants. Every week a handful of people test positive on their second test but, because they have been in quarantine pending their results, there has been no community spread. Fingers crossed it continues in this way!

We had a wonderful Christmas and did things we could never have done at home. Of course we missed our family and friends back home, but we couldn’t have been with them physically anyway. On Christmas Eve, we set the sun in a south coast restaurant called Naru. We had a champagne breakfast picnic on the beach on Christmas morning and then had our Christmas Dinner at the Atlantis Hotel in Bathsheba. On Boxing Day, we were invited to a beach party by some people we have met here, and spent the day, swimming, chatting, drinking rum punch and eating hot, buttery, roasted breadfruit.

Writing wise, since we have been here, I have completed the biography project I was working on with a friend. My Rachel, was published in December and, so far, is doing really well. I am very close to publishing my first novel, Wait for Me. The manuscript is currently with a friend who is formatting it for publication for me, then I need to do a final read through to double check for any typos or glaring errors. It’s very exciting!

How quickly life can change. This time last year, we had some blinds for our dining room delivered from China. The manufacturers enclosed a packet of Jelly Beans in the package. M refused to eat them in case they were contaminated with the new virus that was causing problems in China. I laughed at him and gobbled them up! Who’d have imagined that that very same virus would, 12 months later, have wreaked havoc and misery across the whole word, infecting over 80 million people, and killing almost 2 million.

The official death toll in the UK is now over 70,000. Excess deaths are higher, over 80,000. Just before Christmas, there were 39,000 new cases in 24 hours and 570 deaths. Rates of hospital admissions are as high as they were back in the peak of the first wave. The only positive in all of this is that deaths rates are lower, almost half of what they were back then. Perhaps they are learning how to manage the disease better?

This graphic representation from the Guardian captures the situation well. Because they were not testing in the community in the first wave, you can’t really compare daily cases, but hospital admissions are likely to be an accurate reflection.

My Rachel, S.J. Gibbs and J.M. McKenzie

Over the past year, I have been working on a biography project with a friend and fellow writer, S.J. Gibbs (Shelley). The project is essentially a personal memoir of Shelley’s life, and the life of her daughter, Rachel.

Rachel, who is now in her 30’s, was born with severe Cerebral Palsy and the book tells the story of their fight for life, truth and justice.

I am privileged that Shelley asked me to help her tell their story, and extremely proud to have been involved.

The book is now available on Amazon in both Kindle (£2.99) and Paperback (£9.99) formats. Click here to buy a copy.

Point of View, Ragged Point, St Phillip, Barbados

Bajan food and entertainment with spectacular cliffside views.

Point of View is an open-air bar and restaurant on a grassy cliff-top on the most easterly point of Barbados. It serves traditional Bajan food and drink and provides evening entertainment in the form of karaoke on Saturdays and live music on Sundays.

 After you have negotiated the bumps and twists of the journey up Highway 5, and taken a right at Marley Vale towards the lighthouse, Point of View is immediately on your left in the grounds of a large cream house with an orange tiled roof.

The clue is in the name. The first thing that strikes you is the view. The restaurant faces out over the Atlantic and the wild and rugged northeast coast of Barbados. Everyone who arrives for the first time is compelled to walk over to the cliff edge and just take in the view. On a clear day, you can see almost to the top of the island.

The dining area is entirely open-air on a raised, covered platform. In inclement weather there are weather-proof sides that can be lowered to protect the diners. The building behind the dining area hosts the bar and kitchen.

The menu is mostly traditional Bajan fare such as coconut shrimp, fish cakes and chicken wings, served with a variety of sides including rice and peas, macaroni pie and breadfruit fries. It’s all delicious and reasonably priced. Occasionally, they offer special treats such as Conkies or Souse. The Catch of the Day is particularly good value, consisting of a generous serving of fish with sides and salad at around BDS$30, just under the £10 mark depending on the exchange rate. They have a well-stocked bar and a great cocktail menu. It was here that I was first introduced to the devilishly divine Bajan version of the Mudslide. A gloriously calorific, frozen concoction of rum, Baileys, Kahlua, cream and chocolate sauce for just BDS$18, or £6.

The staff are attentive and friendly, and the service is excellent. The tireless and lovely, Da Reisha, and the rest of the team, go all out to make you feel welcome and looked after, even predicting your drinks order on arrival, when you have been there more than couple of times (as we have).

Da Reisha, Point of View

Point of View is largely aimed at the local market. Few visitors venture out this far. But, if you do, it will definitely be worth it, and they will make you feel at home. All sorts of people go there to eat and drink, from mature couples to young families, and everyone in between. They cater for large groups, but you’ll need to book in advance. Otherwise, at the moment, you are fairly sure to get a table if you turn up on spec.

During The Time of Covid, Point of View has reduced opening hours. They open around 5pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, and from 11am on Saturdays, but this is changing all the time. You will have your temperature taken on arrival and be asked to sanitise your hands. As with all shops, bars and restaurants in Barbados, you will not be admitted without a facemask. Once you are seated you are permitted to remove your mask but must put it on again to move around the venue.


For us, one of the highlights of Point of View is the entertainment. On Karaoke nights the audience is treated to a succession of musical favourites from the many regulars. Wizard’s, almost Country and Western, vibrato renditions of Shirley and Whenever You come Around, will melt your heart and ring in your head for days. Rasta-Man (aka Dreadie) will charm you with his Bob Marley, Johnny Nash and other reggae classics, and Andy, the singing chef, pops out between orders to deliver delightful falsetto performances of, among others, Ella Fitzgerald’s A Tisket a Tasket or Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years.

However, the real star of the show is the talented and beautiful Imira (real name Shondell Jahbari) who compares the Karaoke, occasionally treating us to her own spine-tingling deliveries of the likes of Gladys Knight’s Midnight Train to Georgia or Christina Perri’s Jar of Hearts. On Sundays she sings with two of the regular live bands, Therapy and The Project Band. Both are essentially cover bands but do include a few of their own original songs. Inevitably, whichever band is on, the night will end with everyone up and dancing to the rhythms of soca and calypso.

Sometimes, extra special guest artists have been known to make an appearance. The last time we were there we were treated to an incredible performance by the living legend, The Mighty Grynner. The utterly charming, charismatic, hip-swiveling, 74 year old Calypsonian, who has won the coveted “Tune of the Crop” award 7 times, and has a highway named after him, totally stole the show. Grynner Leggo

 On Sunday the 29th of November, to coincide with Barbados Independence Day celebrations, Imira launched her own single, Love and Music, performing it live with the Project Band, as it was simultaneously live-streamed on social media. We wish her every success!

Food 4/5
Service 5/5
Ambience 5/5
Overall Value 5/5