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Destination Grand Cayman ...

... in which the IPM and his wife take a short break in the Caribbean 

Have you ever wondered if holiday competitions are real and have prize winners?

Well - YES they do, based on a survey of one... And all Ann did was click "Enter" on The Times+ Online.

And NO - this was not a trip to check our overseas accounts!! (What overseas accounts?)

It was a chance to see, amongst other things, Blue Iguanas, the highly endangered species that are now being nurtured back into a self-sustaining colony, and also to swim with Stingrays, get sunburnt and so on.....  And we did.

This is just a short report from the beach (and around the island)

No we are not going to flood you with "holiday snaps" - a bit of sunshine maybe now that we are back and facing some quite interesting times. BoJo has just announced he is not standing for the Tory Leadership; the weather outside is hardly summer; we need some sunshine!

Ann and I do not "do" beach holidays as such. So this was a bit of an experiment; but we couldn't look a gift-horse in the mouth. And if someone offers you a week in the Caribbean, surely the answer (as well trained management consultants) is "yes", before thinking of the implications: sun, thunder, more sun, rain, food, sun. At least there were no hurricanes - they come later in the year, if at all. And after a year of being Master and Mistress - we are allowed a bit of down-time, surely?

So - sorry - we have assembled a few pictures to tell the story of Grand Cayman, an island that barely had electricity and running water in the early 1970s. It is now driven by Financial Services, Tourism and Beach Weddings. Americans can reach the island - the main one in a group of three that comprise "The Cayman Islands" - in about three to five hours, compared to our twelve hours. There are now numerous large modern houses and apartment blocks facing the sea together with a fairly limited number of top-end hotels.

Various tourist attractions are unique: swimming with Stingrays, observing the Blue Iguanas in their Recovery Programme Habitat within the Botanical Park, and visiting their National Historic Site of Pedro St James, the birthplace of Cayman Democracy being originally in the 18th century a cotton plantation, then a government assembly, more recently a restaurant and now restored to its original grandeur, including an example of an outside kitchen with traditional thatching.

There are also some excellent areas for snorkelling and getting your toes nibbled by fish!

On our trips round the island, we made sure we visited "Hell" - a small township named after the quarter acre area of exposed ironshore devoid of life at its centre - and yes we sent some postcards from their post office so that they would be franked "Posted from Hell".

It's a relatively small island and we have memories of regular traffic jams on one key link road - eased only by the encouragement that soon there would be a dual carriageway ...

In summary - as one Caymanian friend said: "pack your credit cards, disengage your brain from any concerns about the apparent cost (of everything) and enjoy".

We did!

And now back to the reality of post-referendum England.

Patrick Chapman - June 2016