Sunday 30th July 2017
“We got to get there for 8am, it says so on the ticket and I don’t want to be left behind,” were the words that came from my sister as she rang down the bell that morning.
At 7.55am it was doubtful that we’d make it for that time, but I figured that black people being black people, this coach was definitely not leaving on time. We eventually arrived at 8.30am at meeting point that morning, the Metronomes mas camp in Ladbroke Grove .. and no the coach had not arrived yet.
Our ticket price included breakfast and were treated to saltfish and dumpling to line the stomachs. The coach did arrive soon after and we all boarded ready for Bournemouth. We were actually booked to go in one of 14 coaches going to Bournemouth that day for its annual beach lime. I had actually been once before and was excited to go again with my grandson. This event has garnered interest over the years and increased as such that the group literally take over a good section of the beach with our brash wear, loud music and food smells that are pulling the locals into liming with us. For those that have never been, it is just literally a big beach lime. Setting up along the beach front, music is played, drinks and food are served. You just go there, plot your spot, chill and enjoy the atmosphere, brave the sea, chill out with family and/or friends or dance to the many tunes played.
The coach trip
We don’t have normal coach trips do we? Safety rules and seat belts – what are they? I don’t mean to be the killjoy but it is so dangerous with our need to lime. Just to stand and hangout, literally anywhere. Even on the coach, we liming and feting, just a little bit of soca is needed and we are up and having a fete, anywhere we are.
The coach had a good mix of people, old and young, all with the intention of having a good time. Like with all good coach trips, alcohol was available and served early. Any self respecting feter knows no time boundaries to start drinking. The coach departed and the party began.
We arrived later than advertised, at around 12.30 and promptly made our way to where everything was set up. Note that it is quite a walk along the promenade to get to our spot so don’t go walking with heels and nuff bags to carry! I also noted that I just had to get to grips with what you need to bring to these beach limes, for these are no ordinary limes, people bring, chairs, tables, dominoes, cards, blankets, cooler boxes, tents, marquees and an abundance of food. It is reminiscent to one of those of those old skool events when growing up, where entire families and friends went to places like Bognor Regis beach. From the squeals of delight on children’s faces to the older generation hobbling their way down the promenade to be part of this. At the very least you need a chair and a half tent, but not the cheap ones as they are a nightmare to try and wrap back up. One other apparent feature was the planting of your flag. Looking around, you see the many different contingencies, the Bajan, Lucian, Grenadian, Jamaican, Trini and many more. Everyone was repping their country and came prepared for the ultimate lime. The food had not started yet, but a number of people had gathered round the food marquee, looking like they were having heated exchanges. The music was just starting up also, the sun was starting to burst through, we smiled and went on to plot our spot.
Once the music was set up, you just could not put the soca on fast enough. Soca always works it magic by enthusing people to dance. For no matter the weather, we always will don our shorts and fete anywhere. People were beginning to settle and liming began. With the latest tunes pumping from a selection of DJ’s, a dancefloor area in the sand was created and on we flowed.
…. but you just cant kill a good family day out. Or can you?
The food..brace yourself!
Quite what happened I am not sure, but the little bits of information I gathered, these were not the same caterers as the previous years. Previous years, saw a choice buffet selection of hot foods. This time round, we got a mound of plastic containers with pre prepared food ready to heat up. I believe it was a Chicken, Pork and a fish choice. The fish option was actually presented similarly to a salmon wedge, with all the meats served with rice and peas. All with a little itsy bitsy tub of salad to take away to add some colour and a different flavour to the palate! The food, unfortunately, was a little lacking in seasoning, the rice was served warm(ish) and the time spent to get it, really was not worth the wait. My friend had to have hers reheated a few times, to make it slightly more appeasing. Coupled with the magnificent wait, it is with regret that I witnessed one of the biggest catering mistakes. The team used three (non industrial)microwaves, running each on small generators trying to warm each container of food for hundreds of people.
I actually became embroiled in a heated discussion with one of the caterers. As I had bought my grandson and were waiting for food, but the queue had not gone down for 2.5hrs. It was at that point I wondered over to investigate the hold up and ask why. An obviously disgruntled caterer burst into a tyrant of back and forth arguments with me. All he kept saying was “do you have a generator”? After a few profanities and an intervention from one of the coach leaders, I stated what happened to him in regards to the caterer and my displeasure at the length of time for food. He then took the time to kindly explain the situation, that he was not happy with the caterers, but there nothing that could be done now to fix it and had to just deal with it and try to ensure that all get fed. In the meantime reports of the quality of food were drifting in, so a few of us abandoned the idea to get food from the caterers and decided to pay and get a mighty fine oven wood fire cooked pizza, garlic bread with caramelised onions
At 6.30pm, we were being told to get on the coach to leave to get back to London, however we were delayed due to an altercation over seats on another coach. Since our coach driver was the most senior, he had to get off to tend to the fracas. With calmness resumed, we headed off. Wished it was drama free, as I drifted in out of sleep to heated conversations and occasional shouts of “I want to leave”. I finally awoke to someone screaming to let them off the coach and heading toward the door. He was thankfully stopped but it took over an hour to calm him down. In terms of the drama, lets just say it was warranted as he was offended, but fuelled by alcohol, his subsequent reactions did not help.
At 10.30pm we arrived back safely at the mas camp in Kensal Rise.
I am sorry I missed out on last year’s lime, as I was told that everyone had a wicked time. The weather just did not help this year, along with the issues with the food, but the people came, had a good time, drank nuff and we had wicked DJ’s playing tunes.
Beach Lime set up pics!
Bournemouth Lime Facebook event link