This was the last time I went to St Vincent to date. I had spent so much time there over the previous seven years, it had become one of the most familiar destinations for my work, and pleasure. That I still could find new interests here in this tiny country is a testament to how diverse and wonderful small island nations can be. It has changed somewhat since – the new airport in Argyle is now close to completion. The disastrous cricket ground for the World Cup sits as a sore reminder of bad planning in Arnos Vale. I am sure more hillsides are being covered in houses, squats or not, and the number of resorts, villas, marinas are increasing, particularly in the Grenadines. I wonder what happened to the little dog we adopted.
I just hope the character of St Vincent and the Grenadines is preserved as they continue to strive to develop and it does not become just yet another Caribbean island emulating the USA and capitulating to the tourist dollar at the expense of a more diverse island. To increase diversity away from the banana industry was a prime objective of the work we were doing. The more I explored St Vincent the more I saw it was already very diverse; maybe there is a way of capturing that for the good of its whole population
And so to the afternoons. There were a few options here. I could join in with a game of deck quoits on the sun deck. I got quite good at that once you had worked out the pitch of the ship and the wind effect. I did not sign up to the Deck Cricket game on one trip, but Edsel, not wanting to shame his West Indian roots decided he would give it a go. He was more naturally a tennis player and his stance was not particularly good for cricket – even in a steady sea. The pursers put up nets all round the sun deck and piled the tables and chairs high against one wall and strapped them rigid. Apart from the constrained pitch, the rules were pretty similar. If someone hit the netting it was a four, if they hit a ball over the netting into the sea you got six, but because balls were a rare commodity on ship you were also declared out. Otherwise other runs were scored running between two wickets.
Setting out the rules (according to the Chief Engineer)
Ambitious swing, but if the ball goes over the net you get 6 and are out
Vincentian who knows how to bowl
Hotel Manager joining in
Some people cheat!
When it goes in the pool
Checking the score card
Bowling was strictly underarm. This infuriated one of the players; he was also west Indian, from St Vincent, long and lithe. Even underarm he would demolish the wicket time after time. In the end they had to restrict his movements to no run up or else he would have bowled the other team out for zero. Many of the crew pitched in on the team and even the captain had a go and got a lot of ribbing from the people he commanded when he was caught out. I perched myself up on the top deck and got a grandstand view.