Pearly Morning

Pearly morning in Speightstown this morning. Since it’s our surname’s day to shop (M to R), we left the boat the minute that curfew ended: 6am. Drove in on Edna and parked at the Speightstown pier.

Whoa. The queue for Jordans went round Jordans and back to the entrance of the store again. Like an overlap pass. Jack went to investigate and found the queue for Eddie’s down the road was much less – maybe 25 people. So here I am.

It’s sleepy and peaceful. Pots of pink frangipani are poking out in the queue. The wily ones have brought chairs to sit in. Someone’s put Abba on through a decent speaker and The Winner Takes It All is surprisingly soothing. Everyone is wearing masks too – many homemade sewn and natty-looking.

Covid-19 numbers haven’t increased in the last few days in Barbados from 75, though they have slowly been on the rise. Every time the authorities report a case, authorities report the gender, age and how in the likelihood the said patient caught the virus. This latter information is still based on the contact they had with someone who seemingly brought the virus into the island. It’s never – at least not yet – like, yeah this 45-year old caught it from the supermarket. Perhaps by touching the butter. Uh-oh.

Still, as curfew conditions have changed a few days ago, there feels an attempt here to get back to some normal. Street vendors have been told they can re-open. This means we can buy fresh produce and movies again from Jason in Bridgetown, while wearing masks and practising social distancing.

The police have been cruising around the anchorage with increased vigilance. Because the anchorage has been quiet, we’ve spent a lot of time swimming. The coastguard spotted me the other day not too far from Quest – about 5 metres, but far enough to tell me I needed a float to swim. Fair play. However, the next day the police boat came and having spotted next door swimming, put their sirens on and made them do the swim of shame back to their boat.

‘No swimming,’ they scolded, ‘this is curfew.’

We watched with our hearts quickly sinking. No swimming?! What the Sherlock?

It’s understandable Bajan authorities would get a little sick of telling us we needed floats and, realising that any of their perceived lack of our sea safety could stretch an already stretched health system, ban us entirely like a bunch of naughty children. But we have children and they need to play unstructured in their back yard. For us, this is an essential service.

Now, with the curfew loosening slightly, things have changed a little again. Boats are back on the move. All the local craft are out again. This means we get a show of vessels and smiling faces going past. Everyone is happy to be out and about! And of course, we are still waving at the police. And they are still waving back.

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