Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 16th 2015 Contents B9
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BON ACCORD TOBAGO
Lately I ve been missing Trinidad
and, of course, Tobago. The pangs are
growing stronger but there is no imme-
diate end in sight to quell my longing.
As things stand I will return to sweet
T&T in 2017.
When a copy of Caribbean Beat
arrived in the post last week, I thumbed
through it and had an out-of-body expe-
rience. It felt like I was reading it on-
board that 20-minute flight across the
water for a long, idle weekend in that
Tobago paradise, instead of lying on my
bed in North London.
Rainy season has hit Trinidad I hear.
It s hit England too, except we call it
something else: summer!
I shouldn t complain, really, we ve
had a few hot days in this English sum-
mer. About five, by my count.
Last weekend, camping in a rural idyl-
lic county called Sussex, we experienced
almost the entire spectrum of British
weather in three days.
We camped in the rolling contours of
a farmer s field next to a village called
West Hoathly with all the hallmarks of
cottages, cricket on the village green, a
16th century pub called The Cat Inn,
livery stables, horses clip-clopping down
winding lanes, country houses hosting
pheasant shoots and a lawn bowls club...
We had to explain lawn bowls to the
Trini among us---unhelpfully my Colom-
bian brother-in-law described it as "like
petanque, French bowls..." it s not! It s
far more civilised.
We arrived to boiling hot sun and I
immediately stripped to just Speedos,
as is traditional. By the time we d put
up the tents, a wind had built up which
threatened to blow down the less sturdy
That night an electric storm with
sheet lightning and thunder claps rum-
bled through the night (always exciting
in a tent.)
The next day was glorious sunshine
so we played cricket using tent poles
for wickets, a dining fork for the bails,
the forest edge as the boundary and a
tennis ball as, well, the ball.
Our very amateur cricketing contin-
gent included players from Yorkshire,
the West Indies and Middlesex. I can t
remember the final totals, but I
absolutely definitely won.
At one point I was dismissively
knocking the bowlers about to
rounds of applause that rippled
around the campsite. Oh how my
mother lived to regret that dropped
catch off the second ball of my
At 6 o clock the following morn-
ing the rain began pattering on the
canvas. By 7 am it was heavy. By
eight it was torrential. Water began
dripping into our tent. I unzipped
the front flap and saw my brother s
tent had collapsed with him and
his two children inside.
"Was water falling on your
head?" his eldest later asked me.
"Yes," I replied.
"Me too," he said. Partially suck-
ing his thumb.
"This is why camping is fun," I
lied. And he sloped off to eat his
bacon and eggs inside a drier tent.
The English weather is part of
the reason why I left this beautiful
green isle in the first place.
In six weeks I am leaving again,
decamping to Paris this time, for
a year, where the other half will
further her political science studies
and I, like some kind of modern-
day bohemian, will write stories in
my room, wander the Boulevard
Saint-Germain, cycle by the banks
of the Seine and try not to die in
the bath like Jim Morrison.
"No, I do not speak French," is
a statement I have begun uttering
with such frequency that I m now
learning to say it before the question
even arrives---which it inevitably
does. I will have to practise saying
it in actual French.
But I know Paris reasonably well
and the Parisians seem to like me---
they even speak English to me!
The news from Paris this week-
end was of an armed robbery siege
by three gunmen in a Primark store
in one of the northern banlieues
(the rough suburbs that lie beyond
the peripherique ring road that sur-
Just two days earlier in Wood
Green, north London, where half
of my family live and two miles
from where I live, two men carried
out a drive-by machine-gun attack
in broad daylight, killing the owner
of a Turkish bakery.
It s not just Trinidad that s dan-
gerous, you know!
Paris has its rough edges, just as
London does, but the beauty, his-
tory, culture and (cliché alert)
romance of Paris is unrivalled by
For the purposes of absorbing
every last drop, we have found a
studio apartment in the Quartier
Latin (the Latin Quarter, the 5th
arrondissement. The previous ten-
ant (a French connection of mine
whose sister I once rescued from
an awkward prolonged attempt at
seduction by a lecherous recep-
tionist in the foyer of a hotel in
Syria) is bound for Luxembourg.
Her boyfriend, more exotically, is
off to the Ivory Coast. We will keep
the place warm for them through
the Parisian autumn and winter...
The stage is set, the formalities
are all but dealt with. I will, of
course, be back and forth to London
on a regular basis. And, as such,
I m thinking of changing the name
of this column---temporarily at
least---to Down and Out In Paris
Qu est-ce que tu en penses? Oui?
Non? Peut-être? Any feedback wel-
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