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.
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 BajanThings.com 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
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 the Coming Soon post and 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 post 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.
We have included a feedback form for you to send us your comments – don’t hold back!
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 Bajan Things crew Bajan history. Interesting Bajan people. Hiking in Barbados and Overseas. Bajan Travel…
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