Jinnie’s Story – Book Six, Chapter Fourteen

Jinnie flies home

WorthingGooner, Going Postal

Jinnie checked her phone again, Nigel and Camilla’s Virgin flight had taken off on time from London and was expected to land about 10 minutes early. Glancing at the dashboard clock she saw she had loads of time in hand and thought she would see if the coffee at the airport was as poor as everywhere else. Jinnie took the ticket from the machine and drove into parking lot ‘A’, the short-term parking opposite the terminal building. She found a slot locked the people carrier and crossed the road to the terminal building.

Just as she hoped Jinnie spotted an ‘Italian Coffee Shop’ that was landside and looked modern and inviting in the semi-open air section of the building. But before getting a coffee she walked into the arrivals building proper, to check the arrivals board. The Virgin flight was still flagged as ten minutes early. From her own experiences she knew that it took at least 20 minutes once on the ground for passengers to start emerging from customs meaning she had at least 30 minutes to waste. She backtracked to the coffee shop and bought an Americano which she took to an outside table. Cautiously sipping the coffee, she quickly decided that it was the best coffee she had purchased on the island, so quality beans were available it was just a matter of locating a vendor.

Glancing at her watch Jinnie realised it was time to move, so she drained her coffee and headed to a spot where she could watch the international passengers coming out of the customs hall. It wasn’t long before Nigel and Camilla emerged both pulling small, wheeled suitcases. Jinnie waved and attracted their attention, and they approached her. After saying hello Nigel said, “This is a surprise, I was going to grab a taxi.” Jinnie replied, “It’s only a short journey to the Hertz pickup point, but too far to walk comfortably with suitcases, and the taxis don’t like taking people there as they are all looking to take a lucrative fare to one of the big Bridgetown hotels rather than a short hop and having to re-join the taxi queue. I thought I would give you a lift and welcome you to Barbados.”

Jinnie led the party across the road to Lot A, stopping to pay the B$3 parking charge. Nigel said, “$3 to park, it’s cheaper than Heathrow.” Jinnie replied, “That’s $3 Barbados about £1.20, and that is for up to six hours so that’s actually much cheaper. You have to be careful in the shops that if you pay for something in US dollars you get the right change, there are plenty of people ready to rip you off. When you have got yourself settled in at the hotel, drive yourself over to our villa and join us for dinner. I hope you like fish, as we have booked at a beachside fish restaurant a few minutes’ walk away. Brian and Belinda will be joining us, and we can get you up to date with events.” Nigel and Camilla walked into the Hertz office and Jinnie hung around until a girl with a clipboard led them out and to a Nissan Bluebird. When Jinnie saw them loading their bags into the boot she headed back to the villa.


Jinnie found the twins sitting on the patio with Belinda reading them a story. Brian, Paolo and Izzy were close by enjoying a ‘sundowner’. Jinnie said “hello” and nipped to her bedroom to shower and to change. Returning to the patio she found the party had been joined by Nigel and Camilla who had both found time to change out of their travelling clothes. As this was going to be another late evening for the twins, they set off immediately for Anderson’s restaurant. Nigel chatted to Belinda as they strolled down the path to the beach and Camilla chatted to Jinnie saying how she had enjoyed the flight and how beautiful the villa was. Jinnie asked her if she had any plans while Nigel was working and Camilla said she intended to sunbathe, swim and relax. Jinnie suggested that she might like to join them on the beach local to the villa, saying the twins, Izzy and Paolo were there every day and she was there whenever possible. Camilla said she would be delighted.

As usual the meal was excellent and this time the twins decided to try Anderson’s homemade fish burgers and chips which they declared to be smashing and cleared every crumb. Nigel and Camilla both remarked how good the meal had been, at which point Jinnie revealed that Anderson was to be a 10% partner in the new kitchens and that he would be taking kitchens at both new facilities. Nigel said, “I’m delighted to hear that, I only hope the delivery product is up to this standard.”

By the time the group arrived back at the villa, Nigel was fully up to date with both DKL and Trattoria Trevi developments as Jinnie knew them. While Izzy got the twins bathed and ready for bed the adults sat on the patio with a cool drink discussing the three Trattoria Trevi projects that were underway. Nigel said he would visit the Continental in the morning to chat with Keith and check out the IT system. Brian told Jinnie he thought he had found the idea manager for the Continental and was formally interviewing him in the morning and did she want to join him. When she said yes Belinda said, ‘As there are four DKL directors here can we talk about the kitchens and HQ. We need to make some decisions.” Paolo said, “As I’m not really part of this, I’ll go and read the twins’ bedtime story,” and disappeared into the villa. Belinda walked over to her car and came back with an iPad which had been locked out of sight in the boot.

Logging in to the iPad, Belinda called up a spreadsheet for the HQ/call centre and said, “Brian has been busy and has produced this for me. It includes the cost of purchase, Keith’s refurbishment cost, the fit-out from Keith for furniture and his IT people for computing infrastructure. In fact, just about every expense we can think of including staff training. As you can see it has worked out a lot cheaper than we expected, this is mainly due to the cost of acquiring the premises on a six-month lease with an option to buy later.” Jinnie raised her head from the spreadsheet and said, “Well as far as I’m concerned this is fine, I think we could go ahead but we only need it if we go ahead with the kitchen projects.”

“True,” said Belinda, “so if we are all in agreement, let’s move on to the next spreadsheet which is for the Barbados kitchens. As you can see, I have received all three bids for the two buildings we asked them to bid for. Nigel probably isn’t aware but the four DKL directors that looked at all the potential sites had a clear preference for a couple in Bridgetown and a couple in Speightstown. This spreadsheet compares the bids for the Barbados kitchens, and I have another for the Speightstown kitchens.”

After picking the sheet to pieces, the directors unanimously agreed that the second unit was a clear winner and again Keith’s Refurbishment had tendered the best bid. Moving on to the Speightstown spreadsheet, again the second unit was the winner and although it was a much closer thing, Keith had again put in the lowest bid. Belinda then moved on to a final spreadsheet and this one totalled up the three projects to give a grand total. Brian pointed out that this all came to less than he had originally budgeted and the full DKL board had agreed was financially viable. The sheet also included a prediction of the cost per kitchen for the leasers and the running cost. Brian’s estimates showed the project as making a profit after only 12 months.

Jinnie asked if they all agreed that the project should proceed, and everyone said yes. “Right,” said Jinnie, “Can you send all this over to Alberto as soon as possible? It’s the middle of the night in the U.K. so I suggest I ring him at about four o’clock in the morning, that’s nine at home, and get him to ask the board for permission to proceed. I’ll tell him that as DKL chairman he has our four proxy votes and I’m sure that he will get the go-ahead, Mick went home highly enthused with the project. I think we need to move quickly to secure the units and the office, and I would like to see our Jerry out here soon securing the customer contracts for the kitchens.”

“Before we call it an evening,” said Belinda, “I mentioned to Jinnie that I wondered if we should make an offer for Keith’s Refurbishment. I now know the advantage of being part of a bigger group and I think the same could apply here. I have made up my mind after seeing his crew working at the Continental and KFC today, this is another one of those opportunities we should grab with both hands. But I think it might be better to wait until work is finished on the Continental. Perhaps you would like to think about it, and I will raise it at a full board meeting.”


On Tuesday morning Jinnie was woken at four by her mobile phone alarm. She quickly hopped out of bed and went into the TV room to phone Alberto who answered almost immediately. Alberto said, “Hi Jinnie, I guessed you would ring after sending those spreadsheets but didn’t expect to hear from you so early. Before you ask, I have already spoken to Ro and she has sent the rest of the board a copy of the documents. We are having a virtual board meeting in an hour, and I will be recommending we proceed immediately with the project. Do the four of you in Barbados want to join in or do I exercise your proxy votes?” “As the meeting is at five in the morning Barbados time, I think it’s the proxy vote option,” replied Jinnie, “But message me with the result, and we will get things moving, and if it’s ‘yes’ tell Jerry to get out here ASAP.”

Jinnie set her phone to silent, so she didn’t hear the text message from Alberto arrive, but she read it just after six-thirty when the twins tapped on the bedroom door and woke her for the second time that morning. Alberto had written, ‘Passed unanimously after 10 minutes discussion. Please proceed with the project. Jerry is on his way to Heathrow and is booked on the Virgin flight arriving 17:35 your time. See you next week. Alberto.’ Jinnie sighed and told Millie to get off her feet as she could move. It was still a little early to pass on the news to the other three directors, so she grabbed Millie who was still on her feet and tickled her until so got off.

After breakfast, the family were joined on the beach by Camilla, who said that following Jinnie’s early call she hadn’t seen Nigel so enthusiastic about something for ages. He had rushed his breakfast and raced off to meet Belinda and Keith at the Continental. Then they were off to visit what were to be the new company offices and call centre. Brian had been equally delighted when Jinnie had spoken to him and said he would instruct Michael at Forde, Weekes and Watson to complete the paperwork they had already prepared.

Jinnie and Brian met for lunch and an interview with Brian’s contender for manager at the Continental. Brian had booked a table at a different hotel restaurant, explaining to Jinnie that the candidate was employed at the hotel he was staying in so they couldn’t meet there. Jinnie arrived a little early and told the maître‘d who she was dining with and, as she was first to arrive, she was offered the option of being shown to the table or waiting in the bar. Always wanting to see how other restaurants performed, she chose the table and was impressed by the immediate service and was sipping a G&T when Brian arrived swiftly followed by the candidate who Brian introduced as Trevor Sealy.

Jinnie was immediately impressed, Trevor was smartly dressed and polite. Over the meal they chatted and the more they talked the more Jinnie thought that this was the right person. After the meal they asked for coffee and were told it was served in the lounge. Once seated in the lounge and waiting for the coffee to arrive, Jinnie asked Trevor what he thought of only being able to get coffee in the lounge. Trevor said that it was a poor policy and that customers should have the option of coffee at the table or in the lounge, explaining that it made it look like the restaurant was trying to get rid of them. That was the answer Jinnie wanted and glancing at Brian, she saw him nod yes so she immediately offered him the job which he accepted.

Brian suggested that if Trevor had the time would he like to have a quick visit to the Continental to see what he was taking on. Trevor said he had eaten there and loved the food and service but he would like to meet the staff and see what was being done to refurbish the place. Jinnie told him that they had given the staff paid leave while the work was in progress but he was welcome to see progress so far.

Arriving on site Jinnie spotted Nigel deep in conversation with Keith and someone she didn’t know. The strip-out was progressing well, and electricians were busy running new cables in trays above the ceiling. Two vans from an A/C contractor were in the car park but the engineers were nowhere to be seen, and a full skip was in the process of being exchanged. Nigel saw them and came over. After introductions Nigel said, “We are having a quick site meeting with Vic from Digicel. They supply the current phone system and website hosting and so I am exploring their capabilities and if they can supply a fixed link to the TT U.K. network and servers at Potters Bar. I have told him that this could be the first of a Caribbean chain of restaurants. He tells me they have a presence on many Caribbean islands, so they could be useful. I will also chat to him about linking to Rockley Beach, he seems to have a good grasp of everything we want.”

“I am taking him to the call centre next and will get a quote for that and tying it into the kitchens and the DKL UK network. I need to talk to the board about computing, we need extra servers at HQ. If we are going to expand to other islands, we should think about servers out here too.” “As soon as you can,” said Jinnie, “produce a report with recommendations and costs, then we can discuss it at board level.”

“Are you looking at a call centre for restaurant reservations?” Asked Trevor. “No,” replied Jinnie, “It is a different project for another company, but we are involved because Trattoria Trevi owns half of it.” “Gosh,” said Trevor, “You are busy. There is a lot of work going on here, do you have any drawings or mood boards that I could see to get an idea of what is planned.” “There are drawings in the office,” said Nigel, “I have been consulting them.” In what had been Braithwaite’s office Nigel found a heap of drawings and diagrams and sorted through them until he pulled out several rendered images of the finished restaurant.

“These are amazing,” said Trevor, “it’s like looking at a photograph.” “That’s the idea,” said Belinda who had appeared in the office doorway. “My team in Crawley do this for every job we bid, it helps people who can’t read a 2D drawing understand what we are proposing to do.” “This is terrific,” said Trevor as Belinda showed him a photo of a mood board on her iPad, “This is going to be the best restaurant on the island.” Jinnie smiled and said, “That’s our intention. And by the way this will be your office and don’t worry it is also going to be refurbished.”

Before Trevor left them to go to work Jinnie said to him, “There is one job I want you to do as soon as you take up the position. Can you find a new coffee brand, the stuff they currently serve here is truly awful. The coffee at your hotel is reasonable but I think we can do much better.” When Nigel went back to his meeting with Vic, Brian updated Jinnie on his chat with the Lawyers, who were more than happy to proceed with the purchases. Michael had joked that if they kept bringing him work, he would soon be on his way to a full partnership. As nearly all the legal work had already been completed, he hoped to have everything ready to be signed before Jinnie flew home at the weekend.

Jinnie joined the family on the beach in the early afternoon when the sun was at its hottest and everyone, including the twins, were in the shade. Half an hour later they were joined by Nigel who sat with Jinnie and said, “Well, I’ve had a busy day. I must say that your contractor, Keith, knows what he is doing. He is on top of everything happening on his sites. The computer system at the Continental is quite good but I would recommend it is upgraded to support our customer ordering system which is straightforward. The network they have for reservations, accounts and goods ordering is pretty good and I believe that it would be quick and cheap to install a half dozen waiter stations and order screens in the kitchen. Vic is going to give me a price and I am sure I can patch in our software.”

“The internet on the island isn’t the world’s fastest but it will do,” continued Nigel. “Vic says he can work with your U.K. supplier and tie it into Potters Bar servers. Digicel actually support Aunty JoJo’s, so he is going to quote for the move over the road and linking in Rockley. Aunty JoJo’s sever is a bit small, but I see Keith has allowed for a new bigger and faster one in his quote, so I suggest we install it and keep the old one for backup. Vic is certain Aunty JoJo’s can be linked into the Continental’s link to Potters Bar. He suggests they design a network capable of being linked to other islands that all run through a Barbados data centre ready for if and when you expand.”

“That sounds like a plan,” said Jinnie, “What about the DKL HQ, call centre and kitchens?” Nigel answered, “That is a much bigger project and Vic is happy to quote for it. I told him I want the quote to include the network and the link to Crawley. Keith has included for PCs, servers in the HQ and call centre and readers in the kitchens in his quote. We can use our proprietary software for the call centre, kitchens and deliveries. There’s a lot for them to design but he is confident they can deliver. There is only one other company on the island, Flow, who might be able to offer what we need. I am talking to them tomorrow morning, they are what used to be known as Cable and Wireless. They have the infrastructure on other islands and in parts of South America and Mexico. I suspect they will want to quote but their broadband in Barbados is slower.”


Jinnie had a couple of lovely final days on the beach with the twins. But Friday was a workday before flying home on the BA Saturday teatime flight. Since Jerry’s arrival on Barbados there were now five DKL directors on the island and all five arrived at the offices of Forde, Weekes and Watson to sign off the purchase of the kitchens’ buildings, the HQ/call centre lease and the take-over of Tuck on a Truck which Jinnie had demanded should become DKL (Barbados) Deliveries Limited. The paperwork was duly signed, and copies faxed to the relevant law firms dealing with the various vendors and where it was signed photocopied and sent back. By 10:45 all the paperwork was back properly sighed and witnessed, and hands were shaken all around.

Belinda said the next thing for her to do was place the orders on Keith for the work. After which there was little for her to do so she and Brian might as well go home. Nigel said he had got Michael to look at the quotation and contract offered by Digicel, and they had advised it was quite standard and provided everyone was happy with the price there was no reason not to sign. He explained that it was considerably lower than C&W and he recommended signing it. Brian and Jinnie agreed, and Michael produced the order which was signed. Nigel said now there was no reason for him to stay in Barbados any longer and if there were no objections, he and Camilla would get the Saturday night Virgin flight back to Heathrow if there were seats available, which was the same flight Belinda and Brian were on. Jerry said, “So you’re all going to leave me alone then! I have a bit more work to do to finalise things, but I expect to be done by mid-week.”

Outside in the car park, the directors had a quick discussion. The agreement was that provided the Continental was ready to open on time, a week on Tuesday, as many full board directors as possible should fly out for opening night. Jinnie suggested that it would be silly if they all flew on the same plane so it was agreed that they should spread their travel over the Sunday and Monday flights of both BA and Virgin. Jinnie whispered to Nigel, “I think we should reward Ro and Jed and get them out here as well.” Nigel said he was more than happy with the suggestion.

Jinnie, Nigel, Brian and Belinda had one last visit to the sites. Upstairs at the KFC was complete, bar the installation of the continuous lift and looked good in its new colour scheme. Nigel pointed out the new waitress sever points were in place and already linked to the new bigger server in the small server room. Three offices and a meeting room were ready as was the staff room. Belinda pointed out that one office had Patricia’s name on it and the other was labelled ‘accounts’ while there was nothing on the third. Belinda said that it was spare, for anyone visiting from the U.K.

As they came downstairs they bumped into Monica in an almost empty restaurant. Monica said how quiet it had been these last few days and she had been spending time with Patricia learning her ways. She said she was looking forward to closing that evening and really getting Keith’s crew in to complete the transformation. The three directors and Nigel crossed the road to speak with Patricia. The first thing Jinnie noticed was the big posters in the window saying, ‘We are moving over the road to new bigger premises,’ and giving the date. The counter staff now recognised the Trattoria Trevi directors and waved them through to Patricia’s office.

Patricia confirmed that everything was running either to timetable or slightly ahead. Many of the staff had already been over the road to meet Monica, the staff who were staying and view the refurbished upstairs. Patricia confirmed that to a person everyone was excited to be moving. Jinnie asked Patrica what she was doing a week on Tuesday. When after consulting the diary on her phone she said nothing much, just moving over the road. Jinnie laughed and invited her and her plus one to the grand reopening of the Continental which she was delighted to accept.

The party moved on to the Continental where they were impressed by progress with the new bar and reception desk were going in. The electrician had the ceiling closed up and the new gull wing lights were installed and throwing a much better light. The decorations were underway, and the restaurant was already looking vastly improved. The new carpet had been delivered and was waiting for the painting to be finished. They walked into the kitchen where they found the maître‘d, the chef and Trevor, new manager, trying different blends of coffee. Trevor said, “Just the right person. We have just agreed on our favourite coffee, but now you’re all here perhaps you can choose from our final three.

Fresh pots of the three brews were brewed and labelled 1, 2 and 3 for a blind tasting. Jinnie sipped all three. Number 1 was pretty good. Number 2 was better than the Continental’s current brew but not up to number 1. Jinnie sipped number 3 immediately recognising it as Jamaica Blue Mountain and wrote 3 on her voting slip. When the four slips were counted there were three votes for number 3 and one for number 1. Trevor grinned and said, “I guess it is number 3 then, it was also our unanimous choice.” Jinnie said, “That is Jamaica Blue Mountain, I would recognise it anywhere and it is what we use in our Trattoria Trevi chain. It is a bit more expensive, but it is worth it. Since we started serving it we have only had compliments on our coffee.”

Jinnie continued saying, “I don’t just want the Continental to be the best restaurant in Bridgetown, or Barbados or even the Caribbean, I want it to be Michelin Starred and we wouldn’t stand a chance with that old coffee. The inspectors only need a poor cup of coffee and that’s any chance of a star gone. Now Trevor, about the grand reopening, Belinda tells me we are well on schedule, so we need to start looking at who we are going to invite as our guests and how many paying customers we can have. I have already invited our legal team, that’s three-plus partners, our bank manager and partner and the MD and partner from our sister company Aunty JoJo’s so that’s 10. There are eight main board directors and partners so that’s another 16 and my PA and her husband, I make that 28. Can you invite a number of Barbados’s politicians and famous people?”

“OK,” said Trevor, “The PM and the president are always up for a free meal I guess that’s another four. What do you think about the tourism minister, the mayor of Bridgetown and maybe a pop star or two? How about Keith he has been busting a gut on this job. Let’s say about 50 guests, that leaves us about 200 to sell. I suggest we put an advertisement in the Daily Nation and the Barbados Advocate and do a set meal on opening night. We three can get together and sort out the menu starter, main, dessert and coffee including wine or beer for a fixed amount. I suppose there should be a veggie option. Leave it to us, I’ll email you our menu, costing and guest list on Monday.” “That sounds good,” said Jinnie.

The party’s final stop was Rockley Beach, where work had only been going for a few days. Keith was sitting at a table with the air conditioning contractor contemplating a wiring diagram. As Jinnie walked in Keith jumped up. Leaving the contractor he came over and said, “Hello.” Jinnie said, “Hi, we are just having a last look around before going home. We’ll be back for the grand opening of the Continental on Tuesday week. We have decided that there are going to be 50 invited guests and the rest will have to pay. It’s going to be a set meal so I hope that suits you and your partner as you are invited as guests.” “Really?” said Keith. “Absolutely,” replied Jinnie.

Keith only had half a dozen men working on the site, but it was clear they hadn’t been hanging around, the counter was being replaced and glaziers were busy changing the entrance doors. The painters were busy and a poster outside said, ‘A new branch of Aunty JoJo’s Chicken Shack is opening here very soon.’ Keith said, “Things are going well here, I’m ahead of the programme. I think we might be ready to open when you come back but it depends on getting the IT link in.” Nigel replied, “It’s on order, Vic from Digicel will be in contact with you soon.”


Paolo dropped Jinnie, the twins, Izzy and the luggage outside the First Class check-in, before returning the people carrier and walking back. Everyone had disappeared from where he had dropped them, so he headed to the check-in desk where he found them with the luggage on a trolly and a porter. Jinnie saw him coming and stepped up to the desk with the passports and tickets and the porter lifted the luggage onto the conveyor. It was proving rather boring for the twins who stood quietly yawning while the luggage was processed. The check-in girl then told them that BA First Class passengers were to check in at the IAM Private Jet Centre and gave them directions.

Not a soul was waiting in the Jet Centre reception, and they were speedily checked in and issued with boarding cards and hustled through security in seconds. The lounge was upstairs, and the twins livened up because they could see the runway and the apron, and they got cold juice for the fridge. Jinnie was rather disappointed that the only food on offer was energy bars and crisps. But Paolo pointed out that they could eat as soon as they were in the air.

The transfer to the plane was in a luxury minibus and they were the only passengers shown to the First Class cabin, where they were immediately seated. The plane took off a few minutes late at 17:45 and the stewardess asked if they wanted to eat straight away so Jinnie said the children would have the pasta booked for them as soon as it was hot, but the adults would eat later. About eight o’clock, Jinnie decided it was time to get the twins into their pyjamas while the stewardess made up their beds. Jinnie whizzed first Millie and then Willie into the First Class toilet and got them into their BA PJs. The twins were nearly asleep as the stewardess quickly made up their beds and were fully asleep only moments later. The stewardess said to Jinnie, “Aren’t they adorable,” and Jinnie replied, “Yes when they are asleep.”

In Chapter 15 – Back to work

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