Thursday, February 29, 2024

SLICE OF BAJAN LIFE: Living the legacy


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Off the beaten track, tucked away at Risk Road, Fitts Village, St James, John Simpson takes great pride in carrying on the legacy of his mum Wendy Alleyne, who died 20 years ago.
When we visited him last Friday at Wendy’s Snack Bar, named after his mum, he was reminiscing about the life of his dear mum because the next day, Saturday, would have been the 20th anniversary of her passing.
John informed us that his family had lived for many years in England and having been a chef there, his mum on her return set up a shop in Fitts Village in 1987.
After her death in 1991, John, who was also a chef in England, established his own grocery store in the same area two years later.
John indicated that in response to numerous requests to set up a bar, he obliged his clientele and thus Wendy’s Snack Bar was founded.
His wife Nicola, who is called “Wendy”, after the name of the bar, was very supportive and gave strong commitment to the enterprise.
John and Nicola, both warm and friendly individuals with ready smiles, developed a family atmosphere there.
It is no wonder that the slogan adopted was Your Home Away From Home.
We soon discovered that this was no idle boast as patron Desmond Edwards, a resident from Mile-And-A-Quarter, St Peter, admitted that this was a spot that was like home for most of the fellows who trekked here from various districts.
“The experience here is great,” Desmond declared.
“This is home away from home. I have been coming here for many years. During the Football World Cup, we spent a lot of time here watching the games because this place is a sports bar.
The food is good, atmosphere nice and people friendly.”
Last Friday night, some patrons were watching cricket from their perch on the bar stools; others were enjoying the varying styles and quality of the singers who tried their skills in the karaoke session under the control of Damien Delice.
Damien, a karaoke operator of 13 years’ experience, can also be found at the watering hole on Thursdays and Saturdays, and his daughter Shauna is allowed to interact with the patrons.
Bar attendant Stacey Holder from time to time helped to entertain the patrons with her refined voice and passion as she sang love songs. This added value to the experience while not distracting from the quality of service as John ensured that transactions were running smoothly at the bar.
The mixing of drinks, which provided the kind of variety in beverages that one would usually encounter at high-end bars, was also a pleasing feature of the activities.
John explained that he undertook the mixing of special drinks to give the regular locals something outside of the usual village bar experience.
Nicola, meanwhile, kept the food flowing from the kitchen.
We could see the grilling of fish taking place in the open-view kitchen. Other food items were on display, including spare ribs and barbecued pig tails.
For some of the patrons a night out at Wendy’s was simply one of enjoying the relaxed atmosphere on the deck at the front of the bar while they feasted on the culinary offerings available as they watched the gently swaying branches of the coconut trees that dominated the village.   
Even as he reflected on the memory of his mum, John looked pleased as he lived out her dream of bringing service to this community, to wider communities in Barbados, and to tourists from far flung lands who found their way to the bar to enjoy the ambience, great food, drinks and service.


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