Nostalgia: Dis time no stan’ like a befo’ time! – By Geoff Burrowes

Dis time no stan’ like a befo’ time! 

 – By Geoff Burrowes

My father Tommy Burrowes was fun-loving and loved to sing. One of the songs he sang went like this:

 Dis time no stan like a befo’time

Dis time no stan like a befo’ time

Dis time, Dis time, Dis time, Dis time

Dis time no stan’ like a befo’time

Long time had um hoss an’ carriage

Dis time jackass cart na deh!



Long time had um gub’ner invitation

Dis time kick um right outside


The right in the last verse can be substituted by a juicier word but I’ll spare you that!

Time passes and fortunately things change but we have our memories. One of mine was my first coke.

Dad was treasurer of the GCC at Bourda and one bright, hot Saturday morning he took my sister Mary and me up to the club with him while he did some bookkeeping. I suspect the idea was my Mum’s!

While we waited he asked the barman Fred, who was a tall handsome young man, to give us a Coke.

We drank it on the front step of the men’s pavilion where great cricketers  had trod over the years, on their way to make history but I was a small boy and didn’t appreciate that!

What I did appreciate however was the cold glass in my hand with the drops of water pooling on the outside and the yet untasted reddish brown liquid inside!

I gingerly took my first sip and can still remember the explosion of taste as the sweet bubbles stung my tongue! and the cold Coke cooled the hot Guyana sun. I have loved Coke ever since!

Thanks Dad, thanks Fred!

The other thing I remember was cycling up to Volunteer’s Creek the first time. We were loose, relaxed and full of young strength after the ride up the East Bank.

We rode past the Louis Chung building and up the starting straight of the Dakota Circuit and at the end into the forest tunnel and up the white sand road that ran between the trees.

White sand is a hard surface to ride on as there are patches of loose, deep sand that grab the bicycle wheels and you have to grind the pedals hard to keep moving. But the trail was very pretty as the shadows from the trees dappled the ground and the overall aspect was stunning!

It wasn’t easy riding but we soon got the hang of it. I can’t remember for sure but we must have carried the rice, salt, flour, corned beef and all the other necessities with us. Or maybe the Old Man had dropped them off, earlier in the week in his Ford Prefect.

Finally we came to a clearing in the bush where our camp site was and I felt a thrill of pride at having completed the long ride.

We erected our tent on a centre pole slung between two forked sticks. dug latrines across the trail, with a centre seat slung between forked sticks and dug in a straining stick in front of the seat to ensure that we didn’t overbalance and fall in!. We then built a bush covered benab for the kitchen and then with all the comforts in place settled in for a week of fun!

If you’ve never camped or picnicked at the Creek, the cool Coca Cola coloured water ran between banks of white sand and a  bridge spanned the creek and made an ideal diving board and allowed for the washing of pots,  plates and knives and forks after meals, a chore that was normally reserved for the young tender feet (a scout who hasn’t passed the exam into second class.)

Piddles Armstrong was our camp cook and did a really fine job with the corned beef and rice and sweet cocoa and coffee and swank (lemonade.) I know that sugar has been demonized in recent years but brown sugar was an important part of our diet and we wouldn’t have survived without lots of it!

I hope that my memories have sparked some joy in our readers’hearts – they do make me happy!


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  • Kman  On 04/05/2019 at 6:49 pm

    Hey it is Cokes not Coke, lol

  • Ray Williams  On 04/08/2019 at 4:07 pm

    Reminds me of my boyhood days camping at ‘Redwater Creek’ at the ‘Base’ in the 1950’s. A rights of passage indeed.

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