Slow and easy

John & Susan Simpson
Wed 7 Dec 2022 18:03
A few years ago, before our son Tom and daughter-in-law Gemma were married, Gemma was brave enough to accompany us on a family holiday when we chartered a yacht in Greece.  It was a boiling hot summer and there were plenty of house flies about.  We struggled to keep cool so all the hatches in the boat were open and the flies merrily flew in to pester us all.  John came up with the good suggestion to buy some sticky fly papers and hang them in strategic places around the boat, including from the ceiling of Gemma’s particularly tiny cabin.  Despite her best efforts, Gemma frequently found herself with the fly paper stuck to her face as she tried to exit her cabin.  She bore the experience very well: “ I wouldn’t mind", she said,"if the fly papers ever catch any flies but they never do!"  Luckily, Gemma wasn’t put off marrying into the Simpson clan and the sticky fly paper story has become a family legend.

After Casamara’s relaunch in Grenada in November, we sailed to Carriacou and anchored in Tyrell Bay for a few days.  Carriacou is part of the three-island chain that make up the country of Grenada, Grenada being the largest island and the third island being Petit Martinique.  Carriacou measures only 13 square miles and is a great diving and snorkelling location due to its clear water, sandy bays and coral reefs.  Tyrell Bay also has a bit more space for wing-foiling than the bays on Grenada so John was looking forward to testing his newest wing-foiling equipment bought over the summer.
John in Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou with his new 7 metre wing

Carriacou has a population of about 8,000 people and in the week we visited there must have been at least a hundred house flies per person.   The flies would find their way onto the boat during the day, hide away when it got dark and then delight on landing on our faces as the sun rose.  There’s nothing like having a house fly buzzing about in your ear at 6 o’clock in the morning!  Aha!  We knew what we needed, some sticky fly papers!  

In the 19th century a group of Scottish boatbuilders settled in Carriacou and traditional wooden boats are still built on the beaches today using the skills they brought with them to the island. The Scottish influence is obvious too in the naming of the main settlements: Hillsborough on the west coast and Argyle around Tyrell Bay.  
Traditional boat anchored in Tyrell Bay

Given how small the island is and that Argyle is the smaller of the two villages, it has a surprising number of shops.  Two ‘supermarkets' and a hardware store later we were still struggling to find sticky fly papers, though, but we had procured two fly swatters as a back-up option.  We were given a tip-off by the lady in charge of a small kiosk selling homewares by the beach that the ‘big shop’ definitely had fly papers so off we went following instructions to turn left towards the playing fields and look for the pink building on the right. Sure enough, a low bungalow painted with the brightest pink paint you could imagine came into view and we approached it in great anticipation. There was a group of people lounging on the verandah amongst the various homewares and we greeted them as we went inside.  "How are you doing?”   “Slow and easy” drawled a guy sprawling back in his chair “slow and easy, that’s how it should be.” 

Inside the shop we asked after the sticky fly papers and said we’d been sent by the lady from the beach kiosk.  There were two girls serving inside but as there were no doors to the shop the people on the verandah were as much a part of the conversation and we were clearly providing a great deal more interest than they’d been having so far today.  Much shaking of heads and sucking of teeth ensued as we established (a) what sticky fly papers were; (b) they didn’t have any; (c) what else was good for killing flies!   One of the girls produced some little yellow packets (about the size of tea bag) from a box under the counter and when we asked what it was, she peered closely at the tiny writing for inspiration as if she’d never seen anything like it before.  This was a signal for the verandah posse to join in with great gusto to speculate on what it was, how best to use it and whether it was likely to work. Mr ‘Slow and Easy’ advised that it was fly bait which should be poured into a dish and placed where the flies congregate.  “De flies land and eat it and de next ting day do is day fall down dead”, he said.  (Apologies for the Grenada accent interpretation.)  This was excellent news, and his advice continued.  “Don’t be puttin' it in de wind”, he said, “you don’t want dat blowin’ nowhere, and you specially don’t want dat blowin’ in your food”.  “Does it kill people too?” we asked.  “Yes mon, it kill people too.  You’ll die in the next 20 years” he replied, and then winking at John he looked at me and said “if I don’ see you again I’ll be your witness!”. Not only were the fly bait packets available for sale  - but there was a special deal available - 3 packets for 5 East Caribbean Dollars (£1.52). So we returned to the boat with some trepidation to test out our new weapon.  Amazingly, they were extremely effective, just sprinked in a small dish, the flies were attracted to it, ate it and proceeded to drop down dead! Gemma, you’ll be pleased to know you need never have another sticky fly paper in the face again!  

We thought about Mr 'Slow and Easy' later and how that phrase really sums up Carriacou.  It’s a laidback, relaxing place with a very warm, welcoming, easy atmosphere.  We watched the England vs Senegal World Cup football match in DJ’s Bar in Argyle, along with local people, one or two yachties and a few tourists from all over the world.  Some of the local guys were keen England supporters as they’d lived in the UK.  One was keen to tell me he’d lived all over England - Hayes, Hackney, Shepherd’s Bush, Hammersmith - for England read London!  It was a happy, chatty occasion as we sat in rows on wooden seats to peer at the television screen behind the bar.  
Spot the TV screen through the hatch on the far wall!

The match was being streamed over the internet and every 10 minutes or so there’d be a pause as the internet server caught up.  In a faster paced culture people would have been moaning and groaning every time the ‘donut’ appeared on the screen but in Carriacou no-one cared, or even appeared to notice, they just ordered another beer and waited for the match to resume.  Slow and easy, that’s how it should be………
Leaving Carriacou to return to Grenada