Fuck Off and Fuck Off Some More – or There’s a Storm A-Coming.

Uhoh

It’s hurricane season. This means different things to different people. To those who spend just five or six months a year here in Antigua it means very little because they’ve all jetted off back to wherever is home for the rest of the year. To the people who are here all year round it means it’s time to start watching the weather forecasts, but for those who have boats still in the water it’s time to panic like fuck and run around in the style of Chicken Licken. Some folks head south out of the path hurricanes generally take, some try and get into a boatlift and some, like us, leave the starting blocks like Usain Bolt when the wind so much as hints at a sniff above a zephyr to check moorings.

 I guess the quiet time and hurricane season can unsettle people living on this tiny rock. I can only assume it rattles certain chemical balances in peoples’ brains given the complete and utter codswallop that appears in my social media timeline right now. Here’s a little rant on that very theme.

It’s a strange unfathomable thing. Why would anyone move to a country in The Caribbean and start promoting a racist agenda? I appreciate some of my acquaintances may well be the full tin foil helmet but that’s not really an excuse or justification to be an out and out racist shit bag. How can people live with, work with and have family members who are married to Black Antiguans go around supporting some bullshit racist agenda that white people are being systematically wiped out by a global conspiracy to get rid of white people. I’ve news for those of you who support white supremacy. White isn’t all that, and guess what? We are outnumbered anyway, get over it. Where’s this rage coming from? It’s all because of some dumb troll on Facebook. I suggested to an online acquaintance that she might like to fact check her sources – she posted a comment regarding white Europeans being wiped out by strategic migration by peoples from The Middle East and elsewhere. Seriously? Really? Fucking hell! I politely responded that she might like to check her sources, you know just in case she was a click bait victim and nudge her away from sharing white supremacy crap – I do the same to people who like sharing brain-fart posts from Britain First et al (I’ve not posted a link to BF because they have the intelligence of a used condom, they are spunk-trumpets of the first order and even typing their name renders me nauseous). Then, whoopee, joy of joys, someone commented that said acquaintance was making a valid point and she proceeded to kindly show me a link to ‘facts’ supporting the theory. These facts were found in yet another white supremacist website, in fact after a good hour of searching online, all hits to this so called theory lead to guess what? More right wing racist agenda spouting bollocks. I replied to the troll, I know, big mistake but I did anyway. I said that I don’t care about the migration of humans because all humans have migrated in some way, whether through choice or displacement to which I was given another website to ‘fact check’. I ended my dialogue with the troll by saying, “Not interested, not engaging further”. She fired back with, “Where are you from”. Now there’s a loaded question, simply packed full of nasty intent. Thankfully I’ve had no more correspondence with that “Where are you from?” person and the tin foil helmet wearer is deleted. I should be more careful who I add in social media, some of the nicest people I’ve met in person support some of the weirdest shit online. It’s a sad thing though; the aluminum-wearing weirdo is probably a really nice person but shit, she’s gullible to click baiting and appears to enjoy the company of closet racists.

 I seem to spend a lot of time getting angry at little things at the moment, although racism is not a trifling matter. I suppose in busier times I’d scroll on past and think, “fucking moron” and pass no comment, but because it’s quiet here in Antigua I have a lot of free time and idle fingers find a fight. *Note to self, Trish you’re not insane, you’re passionate*

Maybe my rage-o-meter is set to extremely volatile at the moment – no, not because I’m menopausal, which I am, that’s a pure joy-ride it really is and I will bore the tits/moobs off you at a later date with that. – no, I’m set to explode on a weekly basis because I’ve been watching the TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. I will not give a literary critique of the book – cop out I know, but you know what, this is my blog so fuck off. What I will say is read it, seriously read the book and as a little note to anyone who reads it and is in politics? It’s a warning, a cautionary tale it’s not a fucking woman hating wank fest manifesto to deplete women’s rights even further.

Think I’ll go for a swim now, I’ve raged on long enough and even Holly and Fred are looking a little worried that I might spontaneously combust.

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“That’s All Very Nice But You’ll Be Bored After Two Days.”

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That’s what my ex-boss announced when I told him that I was leaving his organization. I said, “don’t fucking bet on it mate’.

The conversation was the culmination of our challenging three-year working relationship. I sashayed out of the door attempting my very best flounce and in my head I succeeded in being confident, assertive and absolute. In actual fact I probably just came across as stroppy, bad tempered and slightly childish. Whatever the actual effect, that was the end of my voluntary work with The Citizens Advice Bureau. Don’t misunderstand me, I thoroughly loved every single minute of my time there; from the eclectic mix of fellow volunteers to the paid staff members and of course my trainer and mentor Carol, a woman who is beyond words, a woman so sodding intelligent that if she’d been born at a different time and from a different background I have no doubt she would be one of the top human rights barristers in the known world. I loved the clients too, even the ones with a rather fluid arrangement with hygiene (which isn’t easy on a summer’s day in a five foot by five foot room with no ventilation or windows). I thrived on the challenge of fighting for those with no voice, for the individual lost in a bureaucratic melee of bullshit. What I couldn’t do was play the game, the political networking of smiling nicely at fat archaic MPs and Councilors who cared more about their image and feathering their retirement nest than actually getting down to doing the job for which they were voted. I appreciate not all elected representatives are the same but I met very few who were not.

The reason I would be bored after two days is apparently according to my ex-boss, sitting on a beach all day would become tiresome, tedious, banal and pointless. Abso-fucking-lutely! That was the whole point of coming out to Antigua in the first place, for a change of pace, a change of life, just a change. The chance to be bored seemed like a distant fantasy after years of children, work and the usual western European lifestyle of now now now.

The reality is very different. Far from being bored I have met people and enjoyed things I never thought I would in my little life. So how do I spend my days?

WELL…..

Yeh, some days I just sit on the beach, watching the frigate birds circling and enjoying the warm sun on my body. I sit watching the ethereal high clouds twist into swans and dolphins, and then they evaporate under the Caribbean sun’s steely glare. Often I find a spot far away from everyone and just be. It’s under rated you know. Enjoying your own company is very entertaining, well it is if you’ve got a brain like mine which never shuts up and the internal dialogue seems to have verbal diarrhea.

Then there are the days I cycle over to Cocobay and see my friend Vincia. We chat in between her serving the pampered clientele of the hotel. Lovely simple conversations about life which remind me just how similar we humans are under the skin, we both worry about our children, we both want stability, a roof, a full belly and a future with something to look forward to. Saying that, there are times I despair with the human species. For example, sitting at the bar two days ago a pasty white bloke aged I dunno, anything from forty to sixty years? It was hard to tell, he had a face like a smacked arse and that type of demeanor that exudes misery. I was face to face with Eeyore personified. The sun was shining between the blissful heavy showers, he had a rum punch in his hand and his opening conversation gambit was (to get the full effect please imagine the voice of Ozzie Osbourne)

“We stayed on Antigua two years ago, but not here, at Grand Pineapple, it was lovely it was sunny all the time, its done nothing but rain since we got here.”

This was accompanied with an eyeroll and a sneer towards Vincia! Like she’s got some control over the damn weather. I wanted to say, “For fuck’s sake you whining twat, get a life, you’re sitting in paradise being waited on hand and foot, what exactly do you want out of your pitiful existence, I mean ok, you were not dealt a fortunate hand in the looks or height department but shit, life could be much worse. What more do you want right now, for the sky to piss diamonds?” But of course I didn’t say a word, I am just an anonymous guest at the bar (I take my own water by the way) and I never want to get Vincia into trouble. So I shrugged and said, “Weather eh?”

Seriously though, this is the type of entitled spoiled behavior that gets right on my slightly saggy tits. The fact he had earned/won/inherited/found in a skip/stolen enough money to come on a holiday in the first place is a lot more than ninety nine percent of the world population can afford and still that’s not enough. Yes I know he ‘might be going through some stuff right now’ but for fuck’s sake I wanted to say, look around you man, give your head a wobble and just breath in where you are right now.

Over the years I’ve been coming to Antigua I’ve met a few like him, the type who won’t be happy as long as their arse points down at the ground. I wonder if travel brings the worst out of people at times? I know I’m petrified of flying but once those wheels are on terra firma I’m grinning from ear to ear, ready to hit the beach and waiting see what happens next.

I’ve met some really lovely people too and we keep in regular contact. That’s one of the blessings on this island, the people who live here and the people passing through. One day you meet a sports journalist who knows everything there is to know about cricket and another day you meet the owners of a jewelry business who feed you on the beach even though you only met them ten minutes ago.

An earlier visit in the year saw me helping out with an island charity called Dogs and Cats of Antigua, with the aim of promoting animal wellbeing, targeting those who commit animal cruelty, rehoming strays and establishing an effective neuter and spay clinic. Shifting rocks in thirty degree heat by hand isn’t the most relaxing way to spend a holiday but it felt good to be useful, even if useful meant screaming like a prepubescent boy when a cockroach the size of a cat ran over my foot and a nest of mice flowed over my hand like water over a riverbed. I am genuinely excited to see how it’s all progressing and plan a visit to the facility as soon as I can.

Of course there’s the mundane things such as washing, cleaning, house maintenance but you know what? When there’s the view of The Sleeping Indian out of the back of the house and the scent of flowers blowing through the open doors, they’re hardly chores.

Tonight’s entertainment is an invitation to a neighbour’s for curry night. It could go one of two ways. It’ll either be fantastic, I’ll drink just enough not to be obnoxious and meet some wonderful people or it’ll be ex-pat hell and someone will bring up the subject of the burkha, refugees and the UK Government’s Welfare Reform Policy, at which point I’ll fake a headache and come home. Trish back in the UK would shout the shit out of racist bigoted fucktards, and I’ve done it on a few occasions here, one of which was a barbecue, I think our host thought we might have something in common with the only other British couple there, but I think the only people who would have anything in common with those two bigots would have been  Pol Pot, Idi Armin or Margaret Thatcher.  Tonight, however is a very kind invitation, I shall err on the side of meekness. I’m optimistic though, really I am,

I know in the future I’ll have to find something more substantial than being a beach bum but for the moment that’s enough.

So no, I’m not bored after two days.

“Bloody Immigrant Dogs Coming Over Here Eating Our Dog Food”

FreddyboobooIt’s a typical English afternoon. Typical in that its cold, grey, was pissing down but with a teasing promise of blue skies in the distance. The blue skies are always somewhere else, just visible. It’s like the weather is sticking the finger and saying ‘it’s always sunny somewhere else, anywhere you’re not’. Miserable fucking English bastard weather.

Why are the English obsessed with weather? Because we get all weather all at once in the space of an hour. The weather is reflected in the population at times as well. Sour faced, bitter racists whose resentment that the British Empire had the audacity to fall simmers and bubbles below their beige raincoats and smacked arse faces. I can say this, I’m English and I can see myself in that description at times. As a proud Yorkshire woman don’t get me started on Lancastrians. There’ll be no Lancashire cheese in this house, Cheshire is pushing it.

Why am I down on my fellow country people? Probably because I returned from Antigua last week, after a two month trip.  I arrived home with a companion, a little street dog named Fred who had subtly squeezed his way into my life during my time on the other island. Now I understand not everyone has a passion for dogs. That’s fair enough. My rumbling fury is aimed directly at the doughy faced old harpy from our Women’s Institute Committee who criticised Fred’s new life in the UK and ultimately managed to display her right wing anti-immigration stance by commenting, “aren’t there dogs in the UK who need rescuing before we import other country’s problems?”

No I didn’t throw my glass of pub vinegar pinot grigio over her clown painted face; a makeup she thinks makes her look desirable to other octogenarians and she’s probably been applying the same wattle and daub since the 1940s, the last time she got a shag and that would’ve been during a blackout.  I sat and seethed, the fury must’ve been obvious as I was fired warning glances from a close friend at the same meeting.  I calmly explained the whole mission behind ‘Dogs and Cats of Antigua’; a wonderful caring group of women who see a problem with street dogs and wish to proactively do something about it through a neutering and rehoming program. I’ve got to give the old biddy some credit for persistence when she countered with, “Well I hope you’ve had rabies shot”.   Antigua has been declared rabies free by the way. I should’ve said, “Well best you don’t go there and run the risk of re-introducing the disease, you rabid old bitch”. But I didn’t, because as with all biting retorts, they only come to me after a bottle of wine and 24 hours of seething obsessive internal dialogue.

What better way to relieve the pressure than to type the shit out of my laptop keyboard, leave the venom on the page.

The overwhelming emotion left after the wine, the rage and incredulity of this village elder’s ignorance is one of pity. I pity her lack of compassion and as I’m watching my little Fred hiccupping in his sleep, I pity the joy she so obviously cannot find in life.