Elbow Beach on Christmas Day *Photo by Toby Crawford
Elbow Beach on Christmas Day *Photo by Toby Crawford

After having come to the conclusion this can’t officially be classed as a blog unless I do a countdown, here’s the top 10 things I’ve learned since arriving on this marvellous island.

 

10. Not even the invasion of hundreds of pasty white people on Christmas Day can ruin Elbow Beach. For a man who began his working life in Cleethorpes, England (do a Google image search), Elbow is a slice of true, unspoilt paradise. The dedicated volunteers of Keep Bermuda Beautiful, who I shamelessly watched clean up the beach on Boxing Day, might have temporarily disagreed.

 

9. People REALLY care about term limits – despite most single expats I know having no plans to stay beyond six years. Some people have, of course, joined the exclusive (and quite rightly so, in my opinion) nation of Bermuda by marrying or breeding with an islander. A price, I’m told, worth paying! You even get to vote after 10 years of domestic bliss. Look out for my first official blog on Term Limits… in approximately five and a half years’ time.

 

8. Only one thing is more terrifying than watching Bermudians weave at speed on two wheels fearlessly through rush hour traffic, and that’s falling off yourself. Thankfully, I did it with no other vehicle within a two-mile radius but I can confirm that skidding down the road in Spanish Point is no fun. I’d found my natural speed limit. I might not get anywhere on time now but at least I have time to beep at Johnny Barnes. See No7.

 

7. I finally get Johnny Barnes. For five months I argued that the island’s inimitable icon needed help not encouragement. Now it’s all I can do not to get off my scooter and hug the man on my way to work. Never before in my life has a blown kiss translated so cheerfully into “get your a** into the office now!” But then I’m not married.

 

6. St George’s needs help – or a cruise ship - and fast. Admittedly, it’s not been a frequent journey since I arrived but put it this way, when I do go, I have no trouble finding a parking spot. It’s a lovely place, with history to brag about, surely more urgency is needed to inject fresh life into the old town.

 

5. To the Brits among us. If you are feeling homesick, however slight, head to Front Street after 10pm on a Friday night. There you will find your home from home – the terrible generic music, the drunken chat, the sticky floors and an occasional fight. That’s just what I’ve heard, of course. I’ve never been. Bring on the summer beach parties.

 

4. At the risk of going against established Bermudian tradition, Cassava Pie is NOT, I repeat NOT an accompaniment to your main meal. It IS a meal. My advice for newcomers to Sunday brunch: do not go straight for the pie - you’ll get bloated and miss out on the other 209 available dishes.

 

3. The ferry rides are glorious (when the sun is out). Never before has it been so welcome to see the public transport you are using go in the exact opposite direction to where you want to go. I’d go to Hamilton from Salt Kettle via Dockyard if it were an option. The beauty of this island is mind-blowing.

 

2. Craig Cannonier likes extra chips. And I don’t mean this in a derogatory manner. As I walked from bar to bar I saw the Premier, from his car, no doubt on his way home after a tough late shift, ask politely for extra helpings at the burger van. Where else in the world could this happen? Wonderful. He’d get my vote, if I had one. See No9.

 

1. Bermuda car manuals have the following entry: car horn, for usage only when saying ‘hello’ to someone you have not seen in a week, or since breakfast.

Typical exchange:

Horn sounds

Me: “What the f***?’

Old lady (looking past me): “Oh hi Clarence, how ya doin?”

Clarence: Hey sugar, all good.”

Me: *embarrassed*