It’s snowing back home in the UK but here at Ocean View it feels like a perfect, hot English summer’s day. The sky is blue (very blue), the birds are singing and there is even a smell of new mown grass in the air. It’s a perfect 28ºC at the beginning of February and we’re in the northern hemisphere (just – in fact, 13º north), yet an 8 hour flight has transported us from the depth of winter to the height of summer.
The island is busy at the moment and it’s clear that we are not the only Brits to have worked out how to banish the winter blues. Barbados has long been a favourite with the British of course. We liked it so much that it was a British colony for over 300 years until independence in 1966 and HM Queen is still head of state.
It is certainly very easy to feel at home here – from the language and customs to the familiarity of driving on the left. We even have the reassurance that the most British of institutions, Waitrose, supplies fresh bread and other own-brand product to the local supermarket!
It seems a little unclear how the island earned its nickname of BIM, but its other alias of Bimshire clearly reflects the perception that Barbados is still considered by many, to be a little region of Britain in the sun. A quick check on current events on the island confirms this: The Barbados Horticultural Society Annual Flower and Garden Show has just ended and the Barbados Polo Season is in full swing.
For all its popularity with today’s rich and famous, Barbados still has an old-world charm. School children are always smartly dressed and families turn out in their Sunday Best for church each week. Drivers are courteous and rarely in a hurry and everyone finds time for conversation.
It is, of course, this ubiquitous friendliness that makes Barbados so special. On 3rd February, it feels like the height of an English summer here but the warmth and friendliness of the people around us means that we could only ever be in one place. There really is nowhere quite like Barbados for a dose of winter sunshine.