The Meenister’s Log
A twelve hour plane journey to the West Indies can be pretty awful, and, in August 1979, it was the flight from hell, as we set off to my new ministry in Trinidad (travelling via Antigua and Barbados)
It was bad because of a certain 21 month child, who, being under the age of two years, didn’t qualify for a seat of his own.
Consequently, he had to sit alternatively of Helen’s and my respective laps. And have you ever tried to change a nappy in a tiny aeroplane loo?- it’s not easy.
The drinks were complimentary, so H and I had quite a few G & Ts – though most of them ended up being spilled down us, because of the aforesaid wriggling and squirming infant.
At Antigua, I got off the plane to stretch my legs and buy some duty free. By the time I walked to the terminal, my grey clerical shirt had tuned 50 shades darker because of the scorching heat and subsequent physical reaction to it (in other words, I was sweating like the proverbial pig)
Got a couple of bottles of rum, then was told that I couldn’t go back to the plane until the embarkation call and would have to queue up with other punters who were boarding.
So, I had my very first Caribbean beer (Banks of Barbados) served by the surliest barman that I’ve ever encountered – maybe it was the clerical collar or more likely he was miffed at working out the change in local currency from the US bill that I’d handed over.
Eventually back on the plane, and onward, via Barbados, to Piarco Airport, Trinidad.
The welcoming party must have wondered what they’s let themselves in for: a dishevelled, sweaty minister with a grubby shirt reeking of (spilled) gin and whose breath must have smelled like a brewery.
We got to our manse eventually – and waiting there in the kitchen was a case of……. Carib Beer! Huzzah