BajanThings six years on…

It is that time of year to reflect on BajanThings six years on since launch and over the past twelve months.  We hope you had a Happy Christmas even if you had to self-isolate away from your family.

What was your BajanThings all time favourite post?  What was your BajanThings 2020 favourite post?

My all time fav is “Operation Carlota – Cuba’s secret flights to Angola via Barbados” as it was a story I was aware of growing up but never really knew or understood the background.  And, my fav posting of 2020 is: “A Fisherman’s Tale” – detailing the backstory surrounding the Siza nine fishermen photograph.

2020 – the year of global lock-downs amid the Covid-19 pandemic is drawing to a close.  There is hope on the horizon.  In the UK the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccination rolled out in early December 2020.  In the USA the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccinations have now been approved.  There are other Covid-19 vaccinations that look as if they will get regulatory approval soon and be ready for roll-out globally in 2021 such as ones from: AstraZeneca/Oxford, Sinovac, Sputnik and others.   The WHO states there are more than 50 Covid-19 vaccine candidates currently in trials.

The next major hurdle will be the logistics for vaccinating  everyone in both rich and more importantly poor countries.  Those logistic are made harder with the Pfizer/BioNTech pioneering vaccination which needs to be stored and transported at -70C and once removed from the freezer only has a shelf life of up to 5 days if stored in a fridge at between 2C and 8C.  Things are a bit better with the Moderna vaccine which requires temperatures of around -20C for shipping – similar to a normal freezer.  It is understood US President-elect Joe Biden has set a goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans with the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccinations in his first 100 days in office (so by 30th April 2021).  That will be an amazing achievement.

The BajanThings crew
The BajanThings crew December 2014.  BajanThings was launched soon afterwards.

BajanThings was launched in December 2014 when the idea for this website was germinated following a family drive around the island with William and myself  (visiting cousin Peter).  We had purchased the domain back in 2005!  I worked and lived in Asia.  William worked and lived in Barbados.

The original idea was BajanThings was to be an e-commerce site selling things like Bajan hot pepper sauce and Bajan seasoning that expat Bajan’s like myself, living away from home craved.   Back in 2005 both William and I  were both busy with our day-time jobs and the BajanThings e-commerce idea never really progressed much further than an idea.

Following that island tour in December 2014 the BajanThings domain was re-purposed, WordPress was installed on the server and on 18th December 2014 BajanThings was up and ready with a Coming soon… post followed by a few test posts: Bajan Seasoning, Bajan Rum Punch, Bajan Hot Pepper Sauce and Bajan Fried Flying Fish.

We continue to be amazed that those test posts keep floating to the top of the BajanThings All Time ranking thanks to the Google search engine!  Seems Bajans – and tourist? – do lots of searches for: Bajan Seasoning, Bajan Rum Punch, Bajan Hot Pepper Sauce and Bajan Fried Flying Fish!

Our audience in those early days of 2015 was a handful of immediate family and friends that had for years encouraged William to put pen to paper.  Looking back at BajanThings first annual review – our fist real post got a total of 160 unique views – some like Antarctica which includes some stunning photographs got even fewer views!  Today we have moved from family and friends to a subscriber base of  a couple of thousand!

Google Analytics shows that typically in an average month BajanThings has about three thousand unique visitors and that when we add a new post our audience jumps to about five thousand unique visitors for about a week.  In 2020 we had two posts that went viral, How “badjohn” became a word and The Seimstrand, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, driven, we think by Facebook sharing.  Those two posts peaked for about a week at fifteen thousand and just under eight thousand visitors!

Six years on the BajanThings vision remains the same, to:

  • preserve handed down Bajan history – recording events that we have witnessed, or were told by those who did and the life of some of the people who were born in, or had connections to, Barbados and made their mark on the world stage
  • promote hiking in Barbados
  • promote overseas travel – generally to remote places off-the-beaten-track.  Not everyone will want to put on a backpack and travel off-the-beaten-track but everyone should take time to live outside of their comfort zone and explore the world before it is lost.

BajanThings remains a hobby-site.  To date we have published 131 posts (excluding those five test posts).  That’s quite a feat for a hobby-site!  This year in addition we have:

  • published an online book The beautiful blonde in the bank written by Andy Cole who was Errol Barrow’s pilot in 88 Squadron during World War II and post war was one of the pilots assigned to the British Military Governor of Germany, Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir William Sholto Douglas, Commander-in-Chief’s flight, where Errol Barrow was also one of the assigned navigators
  • published an online searchable directory of Barbados sugarworks from 1640 to 1924 which was painstakingly put together during lock-down by Jim Webster and Francis Ward.  We’d also like to thank Mary Gleadall who allowed us to re-publish “Barbadian Sugar Plantations 1640 to 1846“ which was originally produced by the late Ronnie Hughes.  Jim also produced an update to “The Printed Maps of Barbados, described by Tony Campbell” which covers Barbados maps from 1500 to 1960. A lot of the maps include plantation details.  Both these works have proved a hit with Barbados genealogy researchers
  • celebrated the 50th anniversary of Thor Heyerdahl’s Ra II expedition arriving in Barbados where William spoke at a public presentation in the Careenage, arranged by the Barbados Museum and Historical Society in conjunction with the Kon-Tiki Museum in Norway
  • contributed to the research used by the Barbados Museum and Historical Society for their Tuesday Talk on 20th January 2020: “Errol Barrow’s R.A.F Service in WWII” given by Tony Whittingham.  Little did we know when we started researching Errol Barrow’s time in the RAF it would take 18 months of research to piece together his wartime service.  Tony helped us piece together parts of the Errol Barrow story in Canada and helped with the appendix in Andy Cole’s book.
  • given BajanThings a little a make-over.  Six years on we have taken the opportunity to refresh the look and feel of BajanThings.  We hope you will like the updated look and feel of BajanThings.

We wish to thank all those who have encouraged BajanThings to continue writing, those who gave us information, those who have shared old photographs with us, our guest contributors that have provided additional content, our growing list of subscribers and those who write to us when we miss a comma or make a spelling error.  Thank you to all of you.  Keep the suggestions coming in.

In 2021 BajanThings looks forward to continuing to provide more posts that educate, enlighten and inform.

We had a quick look at the all-time and 2020 stats.  We divided the total page views by a count of the number of Primary Category Posts (All Time and for 2020) to provide a simple index of what you seem to enjoy and to compare that against the BajanThings vision.  To give a more realistic picture we removed the stats for our four test posts: Bajan Seasoning, Bajan Rum Punch, Bajan Hot Pepper Sauce and Bajan Fried Flying Fish.

The index is only a rough guide as some posts are categorised in more than one category.  Take for instance “F/O Errol Walton Barrow, Navigator RAF World War II and Prime Minister of Barbados” is categorised as: Bajan History, Bajan People, Barbados during World War I and World War II, Barbados Post Word War II – the primary category could have fallen into multiple categories!

Looking at the All Time index – it seems Caribbean Travel and International travel aren’t as popular as the other post categories.  Caribbean Travel and International Travel is a core part of our vision for BajanThings so we’ll look to see how we can make them more interesting.  We’d be interested in your feedback.

If we add back in the test post – look how the index gets skewed as our test posts: Bajan Seasoning, Bajan Rum Punch, Bajan Hot Pepper Sauce and Bajan Fried Flying Fish are so popular with Google’s search engine!

What the data highlights is that there is an gap to develop a Bajan Classic Recipes section and to do some more reviews of authentic Bajan Food Places (Bajan Restaurants) and maybe some more Barbados during and  post WWII posts.

There is definitely a story to be done on the USA “listening post” in Barbados – which formed part of the immediate post World War II USA missile defence strategy driven by the 1940 “Destroyers-for-bases” deal done between Churchill and Roosevelt. There is a post to be done on the pioneering relay radio service Rediffusion

We would be interested to hear your views, know what your favourite classic Bajan Recipes are and what are your favourite Bajan Food eating places?

Do let us know what you think and we will look to highlight some of these in 2021.  If you’d like to submit a post as a guest contributor we’d love to hear from you too.

Thank you for subscribing to BajanThings. We wish you a Happy and a Healthy 2021.

We hope in 2021 the world can return to some semblance of pre-Covid19 normality.

Stay safe.  Wash your hands frequently.  Wear a mask.

Cousins: Peter Burton and William Burton

The BajanThings crew
Bajan history. Interesting Bajan people. Hiking in Barbados and Overseas. Bajan Travel…

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Below is a table of all the BajanThings posts to date.

The table highlights what’s been popular.  You can change the table sort order by clicking the arrows at the end of each of the header columns. You can sort the table alphabetically or by post date or by category or by number of unique viewers.

You can also filter the table based on a search term if you are looking for something specific.

To view a particular post, click on it and the post will open in a new tab in your browser.

Page/Post URL linkPrimary CategoryYearDateUnique Viewers – All TimeUnique Viewers – 2020
How “badjohn became a word”Bajan People20202020/01/2112,64512,645
Home page / ArchivesHome page 20202014/12/1852,78011,693
Bajan SeasoningTest post – Caribbean classic recipes20142014/12/2121,6105,382
Millie gone to Brazil, Oh Lawd, poor MillieBajan People20192019/08/064,8854,408
A Fisherman’s TaleBajan People20202020/04/064,3834,383
Hiking in Barbados | Run246 | The Barbados Hiking AssociationBajan Hikes20172017/12/2813,7873,233
The Printed Maps of Barbados 1500 – 1900Bajan History20202020/02/182,8112,811
St. Philip, Barbados in the 1950’s & 1960’s. A very brief recollection of the people and eventsBarbados Post WWII20172017/05/129,2742,781
Handbook of Barbados: Plantations & Sugar-Works 1912 – 1924Barbados Plantations20202020/05/202,7322,732
Bajan Hot Pepper SauceTest post – Caribbean classic recipes20142014/12/2113,8132,720
Thor Heyerdahl’s Ra Expeditions to Barbados: RA-I 1969, RA-II 1970Barbados Post WWII20152015/08/0510,3322,450
The Seimstrand, St. Vincent & The GrenadinesCaribbean Travel20152015/05/283,5632,231
F/O Errol Walton Barrow, Navigator RAF World War II and Prime Minister of BarbadosBarbados WWI and WWII20192019/03/123,9472,070
Bajan Fried Flying FishTest post – Caribbean classic recipes20142014/12/207,2101,947
Ronnie Hughes: Barbadian Sugar Plantations Index 1640 – 1846Barbados Plantations20202020/06/181,9321,932
Torpedoing of the Cornwallis in Carlisle Bay, Barbados, 11th September 1942: 75th AnniversaryBarbados WWI and WWII20152015/05/218,3911,925
Lord Nelson’s statue – Bridgetown, BarbadosBajan History20152015/05/133,4981,893
Rocket payload fairings wash up in Barbados post launch from Guiana Space Centre (CSG), French GuianaBajan History20162020/02/121,7281,379
Hurricane Janet – 22 September 1955Barbados Post WWII20172017/08/204,6181,318
Barbados Almanacs: Plantations & Sugar-Works 1848 – 1871Barbados Plantations20202020/07/071,2231,223
St. Philip, Barbados in the 1950’s & 1960’s. Growing up in Wellhouse and Marley Vale in the 1960’sBarbados Post WWII20172017/06/072,6741,163
Christopher James Davis (1842-1870) – Le Bon Docteur NoirBajan People20202020/04/151,1481,148
The Colin Hudson Great (Barbados) Train HikeBajan Hikes20152015/01/127,0021,078
Beautiful BarbadosBajan Hikes20202020/08/17989989
Observation Mission – Firing HARP: Monday 17th June 1963Barbados Post WWII20202020/04/22986986
The Canadian Lady BoatsBarbados WWI and WWII20202020/03/21968968
High Altitude Research Project (HARP) 1962 – 1967Barbados Post WWII20152015/03/274,367947
The Beautiful Blonde in the Bank – F/L Andrew Leslie Cole AFC RAFBarbados WWI and WWII20202020/05/31932932
Football (soccer) in Barbados in the 1950s & 1960sBarbados Post WWII20182018/04/103,211830
ManjakBarbados Geology20202020/04/29800800
Operation Carlota – Cuba’s secret flights to Angola via BarbadosBarbados Post WWII20182018/08/012,629781
Chicken Rita’s. Where Bajan’s go for seasoned fried chicken!Bajan Food Places20152015/07/025,741759
Bajan Rum PunchTest post – Caribbean classic recipes20142014/12/2014,016685
Barbados Sugarworks 1640 – 1924 (Summary)Barbados Plantations20202020/07/26584584
Lt. Joseph Griffith – the Bajan that taught a band to playBajan People20202020/11/03524524
Adam Straughn (Straw) Waterman (1803 – 1887)Bajan People20162016/05/071,206524
Survivors arriving in Barbados in May 1942 from ships sunk by German U-BoatsBarbados WWI and WWII20182018/11/141,603518
Living in Barbados with COVID-19Bajan People20202020/03/29509509
The Barbados Trailways ProjectBajan Hikes20202020/07/21497497
Barbados Blackwood Screwdock (dry dock)Bajan History20182018/12/031,275497
Cecil Ward (Bajan Cecil) – early pan pioneer TrinidadBajan People20202020/02/06496496
Cable & Wireless in BarbadosBarbados Post WWII20162016/09/191,971483
Barbados by FM Endlich – American Naturalist, March 1882Bajan History20182018/05/30772457
Sid Graham. A forgotten Bajan WWII hero (1920 – 2017)Barbados WWI and WWII20152015/09/061,964455
King Ja Ja, L’Année Passée and Rum & Coca-ColaBajan History20202020/11/17439439
William M. H. Greaves (1897 – 1955)Bajan People20152015/01/28764438
Banja in Barbados and its influence on calypso throughout the West IndiesBajan History20202020/11/24391391
Pitching Marbles in BarbadosBajan History20182018/05/091,328385
Celestine’s RestaurantBajan Food Places20162016/07/052,070378
Ben’s SpringBajan History20152015/04/021,525375
George Blackman BWIR – There were no parades for usBarbados WWI and WWII20202020/11/29360360
Four days up and twenty days down – The Small World crossing of the Atlantic December 1958Bajan History20202020/12/08347347
British Ship: SS Scottish StarTorpedoed – 19th February 1942Barbados WWI and WWII20172017/02/191,962347
Memories of Bovell & Skeete 1960 to 1973Barbados Post WWII20192019/06/251,188341
Mignon Lorraine Inniss: 19 Nov 1905 to 15 Jan 1995Bajan People20182018/01/201,055338
Life after COVID19. Hope for a new world orderBajan History20202020/05/14332332
Alan Emtage – the Bajan who invented the search engine in 1989 while a post-grad student at McGill UniversityBajan People20202020/12/15299299
Panama CanalCaribbean Travel20192019/04/25576294
The Sinking of the Florence M. Douglas and the story of Douglas the Barbadian who joined the German Navy in WW2.Barbados WWI and WWII20182018/10/031,129262
Arthur Hutchinson’s abandoned Lime Kiln at Ragged Point, BarbadosBajan History20162016/02/032,039249
Dr. Colin Hudson – Agronomist, Environmentalist, Inventor and Hiker (1938 – 2004)Bajan People20152015/01/121,133249
The Nidhe Israel Synagogue Mikveh: A Barbados Treasure from 1654Bajan History20172017/05/171,502248
The Duke Affair – A West Indian versus the colonial establishmentBajan People20182018/04/181,136244
Anti Submarine & Torpedo Net – Carlisle Bay, Barbados 1942Barbados WWI and WWII20192019/06/19794213
Blue Box Cart. The growing years 1982 to 1991Barbados Post WWII20152015/08/311,469198
It was always hot – Memoirs of Col. Reginald T. Michelin, Commissioner of Barbados Police 1949-1953 post Col. Oriel St.A. DukeBajan People20192019/09/04651196
The Bottom-up boulder between Bottom Bay and Harry Smith Beach, BarbadosBarbados Geology20152015/08/161,534196
Memorials for departed friendsBajan People20152015/06/121,094192
Samuel Weatherhead (1756 – 1816)Bajan People20152015/01/26760169
Bajan GarveyitesBajan People20192019/10/24359168
John Frederick BridgetowerBajan People20162016/03/27958167
Dr. Benjamin Bynoe (1803 – 1865)Bajan People20152015/01/161,022160
Nine Mornings – A St. Vincent and The Grenadines Christmas TraditionCaribbean Travel20162016/12/14846153
Feuding Chase brothers vault – Christ Church Parish church, BarbadosBajan People20162016/05/02686136
The Wreck of the SV NordenskjoldBajan History20152015/12/18925127
The Great Outdoors Challenge 2019International Travel20192019/07/04390125
Return to El Calafate & El Chalten – Argentina 2016International Travel20162016/11/23652124
Keeping fish fresh before refrigerationBajan History20152015/10/261,601122
The loss of The Kent – a letter in a bottle storyBajan History20162016/02/16737121
Dr. Alain Bombard (1924 – 2005)Barbados Post WWII20152015/02/04672121
International Communication in Barbados 50 years ago.Barbados Post WWII20172017/03/15607118
Stede Bonnett. 1688 -1718Bajan People20172017/08/151,276118
Old Doll. The Matriarch of Newton PlantationBajan People20162016/07/30605113
A sailing trip aboard the schooner Mary M. Lewis from Bridgetown to Georgetown – Summer 1939.Barbados WWI and WWII20182018/11/19613110
Oistins Fish Fry – Barbados. Annies BBQ where locals go for lunch, dinner and a drinkBajan Food Places20152015/11/11889108
Circuit of Cordillera Huayhuash – PeruInternational Travel20142014/12/311,262107
Boer Camp Pasture – St. PhilipBajan History20152015/06/29643102
2nd Lt Walter Tull – first black infantry officer in British Army (1888 – 1918)Barbados WWI and WWII20152015/09/13619102
SS Quaker City. Torpedoed 18th May 1942. The story of John HellerBarbados WWI and WWII20182018/08/1479796
Barbados Hiking Association 2019 Hill ChallengeBajan Hikes20192019/05/0142992
Capt. William T. Shorey (1859 – 1919)Bajan People20152015/01/1934086
AntarcticaInternational Travel20152015/01/1818583
Hugh Morris Alleyne Skinner better known as ballet dancer Hugh LaingBajan People20172017/10/2561380
Hurricane Ivan 2004 – Emergency radio service in GrenadaCaribbean Travel20152015/04/1455278
The Wreck of the SV Countess of RiponBajan History20152015/12/0699378
Scientific Studies of Coral Rock in BarbadosBarbados Geology20152015/09/2379667
Frederick Gustave Ameile Delisle Saphile Wooding Deane RAMC FRCS Nov 1859 to 31 Oct 1935Barbados WWI and WWII20182018/03/1457066
Operation Golden GunBajan History20162016/09/2552364
Colin Hudson Great Train Hike 2015Bajan Hikes20152015/02/2035560
The Great Outdoor (TGO) Challenge 2015 – ScotlandInternational Travel20152015/06/1771858
Crop Over 1988 – Mac FingallI was there!20152015/04/0631857
Laggan Stores and Coffee BothyInternational Travel20172017/04/2541956
Vice Admiral Henry C. Bovell (1893 – 1963)Bajan People20152015/02/0253053
The old Kensington Oval, Barbados – RIPWindies Cricket20152015/03/1897151
Richard Clement MoodyBajan People20172017/02/2263350
Three Man Well – Woodbourne ValleyBajan History20152015/03/1138249
Coming soon…Test post20142014/12/1812749
CubaCaribbean Travel20192019/09/1239046
Mount Kilimanjaro – TanzaniaInternational Travel20152015/02/1319346
Barbados Hiking Association: Annual Hill ChallengeBajan Hikes20152015/01/23120742
A day trip to Mustique – St. Vincent & The GrenadinesCaribbean Travel20152015/06/0336342
Annapurna Base Camp, Nepal.International Travel20172017/11/2255241
The Great Outdoor (TGO) Challenge 2012 & 2013. A 14 day hike across ScotlandInternational Travel20152015/01/1154437
Mount Roraima – VenezuelaInternational Travel20142014/12/2152837
BOMEX (Barbados Oceanographic & Meteorological Experiment) -1969Barbados Post WWII20152015/01/2531236
Barbados Hiking Association 2018 Hill ChallengeBajan Hikes20182018/05/0179833
The Great Outdoor Challenge 2018International Travel20182018/06/2747029
Mendoza and Aconcagua. Wine and Mountains.International Travel20192019/01/1518728
Baby Burts trialling for the Windies cricket team!Windies Cricket20152015/06/1015428
Bajan & Trini sports ambassadors – HK Sevens, March 2014I was there!20152015/04/0910927
Hiking with the Barbados National TrustBajan Hikes20152015/01/0563126
Barbados Hiking Association: Sagicor 2015 Hill ChallengeBajan Hikes20152015/04/2638125
A short walk through Knoydart, Kinloch Hourn, River Croe and Glen Affric in Scotland.International Travel20172017/06/2237123
Olaudah Equiano 1745 to 1797 (Slavery Abolitionists)Bajan History20172017/07/1858223
The Great Outdoors (TGO) Challenge 2016International Travel20162016/06/0661720
Palatinate Forest, Germany.International Travel20182018/07/1715519
El Calafate & El Chalten – Argentina 2010International Travel20152015/01/3035919
Joe Fortes (1863 – 1922)Bajan People20152015/01/2036318
Run Barbados Marathon – Fri 4 Dec to Sun 6 Dec 2015Fun Mile, 5km, 10km, Half Marathon & Full MarathonBajan Hikes20152015/07/2538218
Boiling Lake hike – DominicaCaribbean Travel20152015/03/0323515
Revd. James Leith Moody: 1816 – 1896Bajan People20182018/06/1322313
Parque Nacional Torres del Paine – ChileInternational Travel20162016/11/0815010
Run Barbados Marathon Weekend 2017Bajan Hikes20172017/04/052978
The Great Outdoor (TGO) Challenge 2015 – Scotland. A walk to the Park!International Travel20152015/05/035328
Ushuaia – ArgentinaInternational Travel20152015/04/20973
Efficient or Effective customer service? Process gone wrongI was there!20152015/10/121162
Run Barbados Marathon Weekend 2016Bajan Hikes20162016/04/061191

This year How “badjohn” became a word had three times as many viewers as the previous number one post which has consistently been an early test posts Bajan Seasoning!

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