My Mum has a stack of vinyl records which haven’t been played for some 30 years. From memory, her collection includes classic Motown, country music and Top of The Pops compilations called Ready Steady Go! The covers featured bikini clad tanned women, grooving and clearly saying #livingmybestlife!
I couldn’t wait to get older and experience everything these confident, gorgeous and cool people embodied by listening to this music. If you could see me now [fave cardi, leggings, hair scraped back in a bun and specs courtesy of the £1 shop – classy!] I couldn’t be further from them. However, those of you that know me will also know that I’ve had my fair share of #livingmybestlife. Thank goodness this was mostly before digital cameras and social media…
Having ended a 20+ year turbulent ‘career’ which my therapist made me realise was a dysfuntional relationship akin to perpetually giving just one more chance to a cr*p boyfriend – I’ve abandoned who I was trying to be, and begun to relearn who I really am.
At school in the leafy ‘burbs of SE London, there weren’t many people who looked like me. It never bothered me then or now, really, I was a bit different, but still like them – I just didn’t need to worry about how my legs would look if there was an unseasonally warm day and I felt like wearing ankle socks to school…
I am a rare breed. A bona fide Londoner. I was born in Hammersmith and never really lived outside the M25 for more than a few years. However, I have another identity, like Jason Bourne [but not as violent, distressing and confusing, so err, not like him at all but you get my drift…]. It involved time spent over 4,000 miles away in Trinidad & Tobago.
There were and are plenty of people there who look like me. Although I was clearly still a resident of the London Borough of Bromley, to them, and may as well have been white in their eyes.
I didn’t quite fit in Trinidad, any more than I did in 1970’s & 1980’s south London suburbs, but I’ve always realised how lucky I am to have the heritage I do.
It has made travelling to many and mostly tropical places much easier. For example, I am
- very accustomed to going to the loo in a hole in the ground a few metres from the house
- cooking outside on a charcoal fire – and I don’t mean a bbq
- eating avocado toast for breakfast [no, Nigella did not come up with it first]
In my new guise as the Trini Flamingo, I aim to bring you some of the best of my heritage… through food.
Trinidad – where if you tried to sell someone a jackfruit for over £100 they would kick your @ss into tomorrow.
Trinidad – where you cook what grows, when it grows on your land with minimal waste [as any leftovers were to ‘feed de dawggg’]
Trinidad – where you can get a vegan chick pea curry, chow mein or a shepherd’s pie in the local shopping mall
And so here it is. I hope you will love it as much as I do…
Ready… Steady… Go…!