Tag Archives: channel islands

ONE HUNDRED THINGS TO DO IN GUERNSEY WHEN THE REST OF THE WORLD HAS GONE TO SH*T! NO.20 HOT SWEATY YOGA

LIVE LOVE SWEAT!

https://www.facebook.com/LOVE-HOT-YOGA-101073861895108

On Monday night I took my post partum body along with me to Love Hot Yoga, Guernsey’s newest yoga studio. Entering the mother womb like tent we went through some flows and sweated a lot, together. Yes, it feels like Guernsey is Hershel’s farm (from the Walking Dead, Season One). We can all come together in lycra and stretch ourselves out, without a sexual predator in speedos in sight (ref. Bikram yoga founder). This is surreal. It was honest, easy, challenging, difficult, sublime and relaxing in equal measures. The host of Love Hot Yoga was easy going, unpretentious, smooth, natural and put everybody at ease whilst at the same time taking us through a difficult yoga session. I slept the best I had in a very long time afterwards. I have also been upping my running kilometres this week and have already clocked just under 15K – a bonus! I hate stretching properly after exercise so I hope that this class will be a weekly occurrence.

When I moved to Guernsey just over a decade ago, I had never even heard of it. Lucky my mum’s hairdresser had lived there and parted two great gems of wisdom about the island 1)Everybody knows everybody else’s business, and 2) Everybody is sh*gging everybody else. I mean I wish I knew everybody else’s dirty laundry secrets and my life routine since having a child dispels half of that! Yet here we are, attending sweaty yoga classes in a confined space during a global pandemic. Yes, we are all the children of Rick Grimes now. I have set my expectations for the pandemic lasting five years and that our Bailiwick bubble may likely burst suddenly and at any time.

“Hope for the best, plan for the worst.” Jack Reacher

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ONE HUNDRED THINGS TO DO IN GUERNSEY WHEN THE REST OF THE WORLD HAS GONE TO SH*T! NO.18 MONT CHINCHON BATTERY

Mont Chinchon battery was also known as Druids Altar Battery due to its close proximity to Le Trepied dolmen. In 1801 the battery had two 20 pounder cannons which would have been manned by the Guernsey Militia. A magazine was also recorded in 1816, which would have held black powder and shot for the guns. The site was dismantled by the German occupying forces to make way for more modern defences. The construction of a cutting for a railway line also damaged the rear of the battery and the magazine. After the 1940’s the battery fell into disrepair. In 2006 work began to restore the battery and was completed in 2008. 

[source: http://www.museums.gov.gg/batteries%5D
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ONE HUNDRED THINGS TO DO IN GUERNSEY WHEN THE REST OF THE WORLD HAS GONE TO SH*T! NO.17 ROCKPOOLING AT PORT SOIF BEACH

We had went for a wander along Port Soif beach in the grey misty dirge of December in Sarnia Cherie, gem of the sea. Winter is a brutal time on a small rock that is only 12 miles long. When the wind is blowin’ a hoolie it is hard to be active outdoors, especially when the sky is the colour of cheap grey marl leisure wear. Port Soif is a horseshoe shaped bay, at low tide the rock pools stretch out far into the distance. In the summertime swimming at sunset, at high tide, across the golden white(ish) sand is sublime. I miss those summer evenings meeting friends for a swim and to bathe in the sunshine streaming down into the bottom of the skyline – pure bliss! I think that is why wintertime is like being Lord Commander of the Night Watch, you know? The sun rising so late, at 8 oh clock, and setting at 4 oh clock(ish) is so heavy on the soul. I am going to cry so many buckets of joy when I finally see my family on the other side of vaccination street. The heavy energy in the air is an unbearable weight at the best of worst times. Rockpooling at Port Soif at (‘David Bowie kind of’) “Low” tide most bodaciously took the edge of it!

*I am not using a filter on any of these photos. Unfiltered Guernsey is a real gem, and much better than anything fake plastic and dishonest.

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ONE HUNDRED THINGS TO DO IN GUERNSEY WHEN THE REST OF THE WORLD HAS GONE TO SH*T! NO.14 LATE NIGHT CHRISTMESS SHOPPING

Zero social distancing, scant hand sanitization, mobs out celebrating with an early supper en masse and squashed queues inside small shops was witnessed at every turn. It was beginning to look a lot like normal christmess in St Peter Port last night (as per tradition we celebrate the christmessy capitalist crushes on the Thursday evenings). Parking at North Beach car park was a bit of a tight peach. Plaisirs, a shop that sells superliscious Neom candles, were handing out fizzy alcoholic shots. Music was playing in the High Street and yet it did not snow. Late night shopping whilst the rest of the world has gone to sh*t wasn’t so bad.

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100 THINGS TO DO IN GUERNSEY WHEN THE REST OF THE WORLD HAS GONE TO SH*T! NO.9 LE DEHUS DOLMEN

Find Dehus Dolmen by travelling east from L’Ancresse  turn left into the road just in front of Sarnia Controls. Or, travel north from Bordeaux Harbour for about a quarter of a mile and look out for the sign on the lamp post on the right at the first corner. The site is about 150m on the left. There is parking for one car to the right of the mound. Open 9am until sunset. Free admission. Perry’s Guide Ref: 7 H4http://www.megalithicguernsey.co.uk/le_dehus_dolmen/

Dehus Dolmen is a prehistoric passage grave approximately 10 metres in length. One of the capstones has a remarkable carving of a man featuring a bearded face, arms and hands, with what appears to be a strung bow, and a series of symbolic designs, known as ‘The Guardian of the Tomb’. Large quantities of finds dating from 3,500-20,00BC have been found at the site, including lots and lots of limpet shells. And body bones. It is a magical place. We didn’t stay too long (the hand in the photo of the front door to the dolmen is my son’s… once you see it!). We had parked the car near to Beaucette Marina and stumbled upon this during our walk – what a lovely surprise! Many moons ago I took a daytrip to the standing stones at Rollrite, Long Compton, Oxfordshire. Back then we had a lie down in the centre of the stones for a while and could tune into the ancient whooshing whirls around the circle. Today, at Dehus Dolmen, we clambered onto the top of the mound and just enjoyed the view.

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100 THINGS TO DO IN GUERNSEY WHEN THE REST OF THE WORLD HAS GONE TO SH*T! NO.8 THE FERMAIN VALLEY TEA ROOMS

At the time of writing this Guernsey is in ‘Stage 5c’ of exit from Covid lockdown. Whilst it sounds like a diagnosis for a devastating and heartbreaking tumour, it actually means that life goes on with whimsical alacrity on the island: we just cannot leave. If we do leave, we must self-isolate for 14 days on return. And, that is devastating and heartbreaking because this is truly prohibitive for most people to do without going insane. The world is not a safe place in 2020. In Guernsey, it is almost normal, yet people who break isolation rules can be fined thousands of pounds, and named and shamed in the local media. When the UK announced a second national lockdown to flatten the curve of the second wave of coronavirus infections and deaths, we went to the Fermain Valley to drink tea and eat cake. That discomfortable feeling of surviving in a time of global heartache and upheaval is very real, very raw and crushing on the best of worst days. I will call this the ‘Bezos effect.’ So, we fuel up on cake to emit and radiate positive love vibes across the universe! If this had happened a decade or so ago, I am not sure if I could have got through lockdown in the UK on a shitty salary, a shed load of debt, sky-high rent, shitty people in my life and barely enough leftover each month to buy a two-stick kitkat with. Upyourscorona!!!

The chocolate orange gluten free cake was delicious
Lovely wallpaper
A tearoom with a view

That day we all did tea and enough cake to feel okay with the fact that the rest of the world had gone to sh*t! All that was missing was the tourists.

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ONE HUNDRED THINGS TO DO IN GUERNSEY WHEN THE REST OF THE WORLD HAS GONE TO SH*T! No.4 A SEA LEVEL SCRAMBLE FROM LES TIELLES TO LE CREUX MAHIE

Le Creux Mahie is a place of legendary tales: a smuggler’s haunt, secret passages and a haunt of elves and fairies! An underground passage is said to lead from the cave to Saint Saviour’s church, and according to folklore it contains a table, plates and mugs all made from stone and laid ready for a great feast (or, a post Barbie-Bestival brunch! Yes!). A band of robbers are also said to have lived in the cave, and made forays into neighbouring farmland to steal cattle. What can be said with more certainty is that the cave was used by smugglers, as recently as the end of the last century. Thomas Picot, the rector of Torteval and Forest parishes in the middle of the 17th century, used it as a place of meditation until his unorthodox methods led to his dismissal.”

Words and map are taken from the ‘Guernsey Coastal Walks and Scrambles’ guide

“Mahie’s cave is the largest in Guernsey, being nearly 50 yards in length and up to 60 feet high. It used to be called Le Creux Robilliard, named after the family that owned the cliff land above it… It can be accessed from the Torteval Post Office. Take the road towards the sewage plant (just around the bend). After a short distance take the unsurfaced lane on the left to a small car park. Head right along the cliff path to a fence, then follow the track behind this down a ridge and then back left. The cave can be seen at the foot of the cliff. There have been large rockfalls in the past, so don’t hang around the entrance admiring the view!”

A set of neat steps lead under the narrow entrance (the relics of the guided tours which took place in Victorian times). Once inside the cave we are relatively safe from rockfall. At the back of the cave is the talus slope and near the top of this are several tunnels through the blocks which are fun to explore. One of the has a particularly memorable tight squeeze, the nearest thing Guernsey has to pot holing! Old clothes are essential for exploring the cave. The guides illuminated the caves with torches made from dried furze, and the soot is still grimed everywhere. “

If the tide is low enough there is a pleasant scrambling east towards Les Ecrilleurs, or west a short distance towards Les Tielles. Here, if there is a swell and the tide is around the halfway mark, the waves create a blow-hole effect as they crash in the undercut rocks.”

There are some articles on the Priaulx Library here: https://www.priaulxlibrary.co.uk/articles/article/creux-mahie-october-1888

Just make sure the tide is out!!! https://www.gov.gg/tides

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One Hundred Things to do in Guernsey when the rest of the World has gone to Sh*t! No.3 La Vallette Underground Museum

La Valette Underground museum is a treasure trove of remnants leftover by Hitler’s occupying forces in Guernsey, and Alderney. The location was set up to refuel Hitler’s U-Boats, you can still see a tank in situ and smell the gasoline. Other aspects of Guernsey’s military history are covered. The collection is will truly chill you to the bone, and embed how brave and courageous islanders who witnessed local atrocities and lived alongside the Nazis were. This museum is one piece in the jigsaw puzzle of the occupation.

http://lavalette.tk/History.html

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100 Things to do in Guernsey when the rest of the world has gone to sh*t! no.2 The Little Chapel

Number Two: The Little Chapel

This is a quaint, and saintly place. A very small church has been fashioned out of broken Wedgwood, pebbles and ormer shells, all tended to with a whole lotta love over the years. The Guernsey tourist board will tell you that this site is “renowned around the world!” I had never heard of it. The chapel is nestled in Les Vauxbelets Valley (pronounced ‘Vo-blays’). It would be a perfect wedding venue in these covid times as you can fit a maximum of eight people inside. It was built by Brother Déodat, who put two versions of the chapel into the f*ck it bucket because you couldn’t swing a kitten in them. Version three exists today and it could be a wonderful place to host ‘Barbie Bestival’ or toy Pride (they won’t have to wear masks and could sweat against each other freely without fear of putting their elders at risk). The love that has pieced every morsel of Wedgwood, pebble and shell together over the years beams out from the grout with whimsical alacrity. I wish my barbies could have got married here, having been given away by a distant, slim, descendant of Brother Déodat. Like most steps on the island, they are erratic in size, therefore toddlers may require ‘up-ups’ for some of the time around the place. There is also a large collection box for donations – a great place to stash any one pound notes you don’t want to take back to the Isle of Man!

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