The Jays Move to Barbados – Special Delivery

We’re getting out of sequence again, but after slating the bank’s efficiency last time, it’s only fair to turn the spotlight in the other direction for a while.

Where is Barbados?

Like any property purchase, buying a home in Barbados requires a lot of paperwork. And if the buyer is living in a different place from the seller and the lawyer, then that paperwork has to travel. When we bought our land and built our home, there was lots of expensive notarizing and sending things back and forth.

The experience was no different for the Jays.

Well, no different, except for one thing. Their courier company didn’t seem to know where Barbados was.

Here’s an extract from some email correspondence in mid-September (Mr Jay puts it better than I ever could).

They picked the envelope up on Thursday at 14.01 and after travelling via East Midlands and Heathrow it arrived in Barbados at 17:46 on Friday!!! Brilliant.Super fast.

Unfortunately it must have been the other Barbados, you know, the one in Venezuela, because it left Barbados (WI) for Venezuela at 18:45 on Friday having spent just 1 hour at GA airport, arriving in Venezuela at 22:46.

It seems that they could not find a Barbados in Venezuela so it left Venezuela at 23:58 on Friday for…………wait for it……………………………………………………………………Panama City!!

arriving at 01:48 on Saturday.

No Barbados in Panama either, so it left at 02:30 on Sunday for……..you guessed it, Venezuela!! arriving at 07:18. Still unable to find any trace of Barbados in Venezuela, the package left at 08:05. Destination unknown!!!

I swear to you that I am not making this up!

Generally, the post between the UK and Barbados is remarkably efficient, with some items taking less than a week to travel between the two, so this was something of a surprise. The package eventually arrived on the island several days later.

Now you’d think that this might be a good reason to try a different courier company, but the Jays figured it couldn’t happen twice and used DHL for their next set of paperwork. And it happened again. Who’d have thunk it?

Next time, we’ll look at some of the legalities involved in completing the purchase.


Don’t miss the other posts in the series following the Jays’ move to Barbados:

  1. Move to Barbados – Meet the Jays
  2. The Jays Search for Barbados Property
  3. The Jays Move to Barbados: Choices, Choices
  4. The Big Decision: What Kind of Community?
  5. The Jays Brave the Bank
  6. The Jays: A Chequered Tale

And see how we made our move in the From the Ground Up series.

Image credit: Hefhoover (adapted by THH)

Top Tips For Scrubbing Your Boat Up Until It’s Good As New!

If you’re in the Caribbean, you might sail regularly. Here are some tips for keeping your boat in good condition.

Your boat is your pride and joy, but it takes a lot of abuse too! It’s hard to give it a good clean, but once a year it’s good practice to lift it out of the water and give it a proper clean, inside and out. Not only will it look a whole lot more attractive in the water, cleaning it will draw your attention to any maintenance jobs that need to be carried out. Some people choose to hire a company to clean their boat for them, but it’s really easy to do it yourself (and much more satisfying!). Regular maintenance and cleaning is the key to prolonging the life of your boat, and it’s pretty easy to do if you follow our simple steps:

Hose it Down!

The first step, once your boat is out of the water, is to hose it down. This takes off any loose dirt and grime, as well as any saltwater which can corrode the paint over time. Work methodically across the boat, starting at the top and working your way down. Use a soft broom to loosen any firmly stuck dirt, and use boat soap for the superstructure. Dry it off with a soft cloth, stand back and admire your work! Once it’s looking a little more presentable, it’s time to move on.

Pressure Wash it!

The next step, once it is fully hosed down, is to get the pressure washer out. Give it a really good blast from bow to stern, making sure you get right into all the little nooks and crannies. Beware that any loose paint will probably be stripped off too – pressure washers are pretty hardcore! But this is great because it means that when you come to give it a fresh coat of paint, the surface will already be smooth so you probably won’t even have to sand it.

Look at the Inside Next

Pull out any cushions and give them a really good wash. You might be able to take the covers off and put them in an industrial washing machine. Give all the seats a really good wash, and clean out the deck boxes making sure everything goes back in an orderly fashion. Clean the deck with a soap that is designed for the job (anything too abrasive will cause a lot of damage). Scrub all the fixtures and fittings, making sure you use the correct polish for the material in question. Check the outboard engine and the hull and make sure they are gleaming. Finally, give all the windows a thorough wash using a mild detergent (or you can use hot water mixed with vinegar instead). Buff up the windows to dry them so that no streaks remain.

The Finishing Touches

Give your beloved boat a much-needed fresh coat of paint, and when it’s dry, polish everything up so it looks shiny and new. Then it’s just a question of launching it and enjoying a relaxing day out on it. Your boat will be sparkling so much that anybody watching you head off will think it’s her maiden voyage!

Featured images: Library of Congressellenm1Port of San DiegoBruno GirinLazslo Ilyes 

Nancy Campbell, the author of today’s guest post, works at Power Vac, a cleaning equipment supplier company. She enjoys blogging to share her views and opinions with readers about cleanliness.

The Jays: A Chequered Tale

Last time, we talked about the visit to the bank to set up the account. Before we continue the Jays’ story in chronological order, let’s fast forward a bit. In fact, let’s fast forward about five months – because that’s how long it took for the cheque book to arrive from the bank about a mile away to our house.

The Jays: A Chequered Tale

When setting up the account, the personal banker had said the cheque book would take a week or two. That meant there was an outside chance Mr Jay would get it before he left the island. Neither of us thought that was very likely, so as a backup we gave them our address so they could post it locally. No-one wanted to take the risk of it going missing in the post (something which, as the next part of the Jays’ saga will show) was all too likely.

So we’d expected that some time in August, at the very latest, the cheque book would magically appear in our post box. It didn’t happen. And it didn’t happen in September, either.

In late October, Mr Jay sent an email with the title: “I hardly dare ask”. The question, of course, was whether the chequebook had arrived yet. It hadn’t.

Finally, Stephen took the matter in hand, made a few calls and eventually, in early November, the cheque book arrived. Just as well there was no urgent need of it to pay local bills and tradespeople.

The moral of the story: when it comes to sorting out ANYTHING to do with banking in Barbados, it’s best to start early. The earlier the better. Look on the bright side, though – at least the cheque book arrived before completion of the purchase!

Don’t miss the other posts in the series following the Jays’ move to Barbados:

  1. Move to Barbados – Meet the Jays
  2. The Jays Search for Barbados Property
  3. The Jays Move to Barbados: Choices, Choices
  4. The Big Decision: What Kind of Community?
  5. The Jays Brave the Bank

And see how we made our move in the From the Ground Up series.

photo credit: Kaptain Kobold

The Jays Brave the Bank

You can’t get very far doing business in Barbados without a bank account. That was the next step for the Jays. Still feeling bruised from the three hour account opening process around nine years ago, I accompanied Mr Jay to the bank to get the ball rolling.

The Jays Brave the Bank

Bank Location

One of the key decisions to make was where to open the account. I don’t mean which bank, but also which branch. The Barbados banking system still has a number of old fashioned features, which means there are times when you need access to your bank and you don’t want to have to cross the island to get to it. When we were in the construction phase and still in the UK, we chose our bank based on who would communicate quickly by email (something that’s still unusual in Barbados business). For the Jays, the issue was a bank they could get to easily from their chosen property. The obvious choice was a South Coast branch of First Caribbean.

Starting Early

Banks always have their busy times. In Barbados, there’s a rush early morning before people get to work; then there are the mid-morning and mid-afternoon runs by businesses to deposit money or get change; and then there’s after work. So when we went into the bank at 8.30 on a Monday morning, we were pleasantly surprised to be seen by a personal banker within 15 minutes. She was pleasant and efficient, with a sense of humour, keeping her cool even in the face of computer errors and fractious colleagues.

Proving Your Identity

If you’re going to open a bank account in Barbados, you need photo ID and other ID, a utility bill or two from your home (a council tax bill works well). You will also need a bank statement from your home bank and enough money to open the account – around £150 in this case. Make sure all forms of ID show the same address or you will make the process more complex – and that’s never good.

Mr Jay had all the necessary paperwork, though as he had recently moved in the UK, not all of it showed the same address. That resulted in an additional round of questions and photocopying (all ID is photocopied and added to your bank file). Once all the paperwork is in, the Barbados bank will write to your bank at home to verify your address details. Your bank must respond within a set time frame or the new account could be closed. Apparently, that rarely happens, but it’s worth knowing.

Form Filling

If you’re used to the UK personal banking system, where you answer questions which are typed into a computer before a pre-filled form is generated, forget it. No matter how many questions you answer, you will still have to put information on the forms. So there was a lot of waiting around while documents were copied, forms were passed back and forth and so on.

Design Choices

Another difference from UK accounts is that cheque books aren’t free. In fact, the more complex the design (there were pages and pages to choose from), the more you pay. The cheapest option is a plain cheque with a stub and no carbon. One decision you will have to make is where to send the cheque book. That can be to your home in the UK or to a local contact, which could be useful if you need someone to do business for you while you’re abroad.

The Final Stage

After about 75 minutes, we were at the last stage – getting a “convenience” card and choosing a PIN (at a completely different desk). The convenience card would later be replaced by a VISA debit card.

Please note that this was for an ordinary account. When Mr Jay later decided he wanted online banking he had to go back a couple days later, fill out more forms, answer the same questions again on a phone call and spend another 30 minutes or so getting it all set. And for a joint account, he will have to return later with his wife.

Yes, it seems very cumbersome, but in ten years they have cut the account opening time in half – something that’s worth a few brownie points. (Of course, the process of getting the cheque book took away some of those points, but that’s a story for another day.)

Don’t miss the other posts in the series following the Jays’ move to Barbados:

  1. Move to Barbados – Meet the Jays
  2. The Jays Search for Barbados Property
  3. The Jays Move to Barbados: Choices, Choices
  4. The Big Decision: What Kind of Community?

And see how we made our move in the From the Ground Up series.

Image credit: Chenette