El Tico

Between shows today, we had a moment where we could go and celebrate together. It’s one of my favourite spots on the island. El Tico.

Back in the sixties, a Costa Rican fellow realised how the west coast of Jersey looks to the Atlantic, and is just shelves of sand. It’s the best surfing beach you could hope for in the English Channel. The “tico” set up a surf shop. By the time I was a child it carried a little coffee shack with myna birds who could swear like troopers. The original tico is gone now. The business remains. And it is so much more than it was. A big restaurant trying to serve food that looks interesting and has local ingredients. Sure, my entomologist brother identified swimming crab claws once in the “local crab linguini” that could never be local to Jersey, but based on the description it could easily and happily be the linguini that’s local, not the crab. And either way I don’t give a fuck. El Tico is a joyful mess of a chaos service restaurant cafe, giving patrons tasty food that doesn’t always make sense with an atlantic coastal view. I will always defend them, even when you tell me it’s been microwaved. El Tico is better than most of the other bollocks on this island. It gets my vote. And in the spirit of the Costa Rican founder, if there are supply problems, improvise!!

We have struggled with food supply. We have struggled with Covid too. Tonight, with virtually no notice whatsoever, the whole of the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust cancelled their booking. We were there ready. They didn’t show. For Covid.

They all work together. Jack and I aren’t mingling with anybody outside of the show. The whole audience is Jersey.

I’m pissed off.

I wanted to meet the Durrell staff. There’s a spot of Gerald and Lawrence going on with my brother and I. And that piece of ground – so far from a zoo that you would have to be a wilful bastard to hate it – it’s a powerful legacy. Max had his first job in the reptile house. I sometimes went behind the scenes with him. The place they call a zoo – it is so far from a zoo. It’s only changed its name to “zoo” since I left the island. It’s a dedicated captive breeding program, where they let humans pay money for the limited possibility of witnessing some of the animals. It’s an animal home where you might see nothing but vegetation. And it covers a huge portion of this tiny island. They are internationally extremely important. They have been focused on breeding and reintroducing endangered species for generations now.

I really wish I had had the chance to connect with them. These naturalists. These kind humans. Fear is a terrible thing.

Jack and I are hoping to go to Durrell’s on Monday. I’m so sad not to have had the chance to get the know the keepers as Ebenezer…

Here we all are at El Tico. This is the showteam. With the dusk surf just casually being epic in the background. I love that lot. Lucky me.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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