Anguilla: 15,754 people eating pigeon peas in paradise
Our trip to Anguilla coincided with the announcement of LockDown2™. I spent the day trying — and failing — to find a film set on this tiny dot in the Caribbean Sea that has no need of lockdown (6 cases, no deaths). There is at least one — Anguilla Rising — about the liberation of the island, but Google failed to find it, offering instead YouTube clips of people driving the whole length of the island (45 minutes tip to tip). So we settled for this documentary by Stewart McPherson who was paid to travel to all British Overseas Territories. I wonder how the hell you get a job like that?
Anguilla is so small, they don’t even have their own rum (unheard of in the Caribbean)! People think Pyrat rum is Anguillan, but it is actually a blend of rums from other islands blended in Guyana.
But what it does have is food! I made this incredible vegan ginger cake and the national dish, pigeon peas and rice (the trick is to cook the rice until it goes crispy). To go with it, I found 30 vegan Caribbean recipes that taste like sunshine and ended up choosing this Caribbean vegetable curry with fried plantain on the side.
I also failed to find a book written by an Anguillan, so instead ordered this excellent anthology of Caribbean women writers, Green cane and juicy flotsam. It was a pleasure to be introduced to so many diverse writers, whose style shares a gentle form of magical realism.
So what DID I succeed in doing? Well realising this was our last chance to head to the pub for at least a month, we headed out with an old friend who is presently furloughed from writing for the excellent My Moseley magazine, and it turned out she had lived for 6 weeks in Anguilla! Our evening ended sitting socially distanced in her garden rifling through her photographs of the island from 20+ years ago.
And so we must leave the heat of the Caribbean, heading on to the cold wastes of Antarctica!