By Jabari Fraser
From Caribbean food to Carnival alternatives, Caribbean Intelligence rounds up some of the things to do in August and September to resuscitate your inner Caribbean.....
1.Top up your Caribbean food cabinet
So you've used up your special spices during lockdown...
No need to panic. If you can't get to those small favourite but tiny shops and stalls which have your favourite Caribbean "taste of home" ingredients, there are a number of options.
There are some excellent online shopping suppliers who source Caribbean and Caribbean-type ingredients.
Consider this ham (right) from Caribbean Trade/ Vincy Foods. They provide everything from pepper sauces to your favourite Caribbean beers.
There's a whole range of Caribbean foodstuff to check out online, including Shop Carib and Sunland Caribbean Food. Try to make sure that they have Caribbean roots or people who understand Caribbean food sourcing the foodstuffs.
If you want to get out, London's Borough Market is another hidden wonder providing stalls with Caribbean-inspired ingredients.
You'll find excellent ingredients, jellies and chutneys at De La Grenade. This Grenada-inspired stall will provide you with a warm Caribbean smile and some Eastern Caribbean chat to accompany your supply shopping.
If your tastes are more to the northern Caribbean, then a taste of Jamaica awaits you at Pimenton Hill. You will smell the joys of this stall before you get inside......
Beyond London, there are Caribbean food stalls in Bristol, Birmingham and Leeds markets and more Caribbean food supply stores than you can count.
If you need to stay virtual, Chef Ricardo's short YouTube film can help revive your taste buds.
2. Recharge your music vibe
In north London's Camden market is one example of a Caribbean music vibes shop guaranteed to put that post-lockdown smile back on your face.....
The muted sounds from Massive International (pictured above) are still loud enough to be enjoyed by nearby groups of diners (socially distanced, of course). It also provides some of the best signage to heal the lockdown soul.......
3. Feed the grey cells
Need to feed the little grey cells after lockdown with your social bubble?
The always inspirational Black History Month team are offering a range of events.
They include the online discussion on Empowering Black History: The Jamaican Slaves Who Abolished Slavery.
Presenter Paul Crooks dug up information about how his great great great grandfather walked free from a sugar plantation in Jamaica in 1838. This led him to research what lay behind the decision to free the enslaved people of the Caribbean, including Jamaica’s Baptist War, which played its part in bringing an end to the British system of slavery.
Our firstname.lastname@example.org inbox also includes some gems such as Blacknet which hosts the regular Front Room discussions dealing with black-owned businesses, #blackpoundday and black-owned media.
4. Virtual Carnival 2.0 and some live options
Once again, Leeds will be offering a second virtual version of its West Indian carnival.
If you're new to the format, check out our coverage of the first virtual carnivals in 2020 when both Leeds and London organisers found creative ways to keep the carnival vibe going.
Don't knock it until you try it!
Leeds will be holding its 54th annual carnival online from 7am on Bank Holiday Monday (30 August).
Don't be fooled by the start time. If last year's event is anything to go by, the rum bottles were already open in true J'ouvert spirit (excuse the pun!) as people partied on their sofas, in their gardens and even in local parks in a Covid-safe, Zoom-linked but truly joyful way. You might want to check out the above suppliers to make sure you're not the only one without food and drink supplies when the festivities start! And bring yuh flag!
There are a range of events in London to replace the Notting Hill Carnival vibe.
Notting Hill is offering a live in-person event for the steelband festivity that is Panorama.
The UK National Steelband Competition takes place on 28 August at Emslie Horniman's Pleasance Park in West London.
While there will not be the weekend and Bank Holiday Monday massive street party that is Notting Hill Carnival, there will be also some virtual Bank Holiday events on offer again this year.
There are also some local Carnival community events taking place, particularly for small people and their parents. So keep an eye on London W10's Venture Centre Community Facebook page and the Carnival Village Trust on Twitter.
Still feeling that Carnival tabanca?
Maybe we can help with a link back to past Notting Hill Carnivals on Caribbean Intelligence:
Whatever you do, stay safe and enjoy what's left of the summer!