Only a heartbeat ago I wash pushing my little one around this field, looking at many rabbits in cages in a tent, and cooing at the big diggers! This year we ran riot around the show and loved every minute of it. I love that we can have afternoons out like this in Guernsey. Can’t remember what this show was called but it happens near a large dolmen in St Peter’s. There are so many dolmen dotted around the island it’s easy to forget that there are so many small pockets of interest to be found.
A sinister minister took the spotlight earlier this year for trying to get his rocques off in a public toilet facility. Not quite Fleabag’s ‘hot priest’ but oh well nevermind said Guernsey, for fear of being too hard on sex offenders.
The complex fragility of tourism in a time of a global pandemic, and post Brexit fallout, is splashed all over the pages of the papers today. The world is short staffed. People that aren’t vaccinated with the jizz of science are getting pinged and told to self-isolate for 14 days. But don’t worry, you’ll be fined more for breaking isolation rules than a sex predator pouncing on unsuspecting victims in public cubicles. Imagine a world eh! Cor damme la lars.
Being stuck on a rock has its pitfalls, like any remote island exposed to the weather elements 24/7 365 days of the year. This photo was made by the Guernsey Photographic Society in 1910 (they are in the photo, standing like they are in a police line up having been caught shoplifting from Boots). This is Pleinmont Guardhouse on the Torteval Cliffs and also know as the haunted house (from Toilers of the Sea, by Victor Hugo). (photo credit: Brian Cawthorne, Guernsey Days Gone By, facebook group). If I could turn back time I would go here, just for the day, and go around as part of this gang (in fancy dress to elude detection obvs).
We had a lovely time at the Royal Guernsey Agricultural and Horticultural Show. Lucky that my little one is growing up on Guernsey milk! My toddler whooped at al the tractors, and being able to be so close to the herds that were enjoying some shade in the trees. By law you can only buy Guernsey Dairy Milk on the island, it’s a blunt monopoly to ensure that the Guernsey Dairy herds are saved. The colour of the butter is testament to the luscious green grass and sunshine they get for as much of the year as they can.
Aunty Rona is ripping through the hearts and minds of islanders once again, without remorse, like bloney wildfire! Travel anywhere is fast becoming like trying to return an unwanted Christmess present to Mordor. WE ARE DOUBLE JABBED WITH THE JIZZ OF SCIENCE FFSSAKES! Uugh. There is nothing in the tank left for me to be able to isolate with a toddler for 14 days, but we will travel back to the UK in August and run the small(ish) risk of contamination and infection with the ‘rona. Rona, oh she real baaad! For f*ckssakes!! When will this b*llsh*t end!
My family travelled over to Guernsey and stayed in the same apartment they had booked 2 years ago… 2 years the cost of the apartment was around £750 for the week… this time around the cost of the apartment was £1800!!!!! We overheard the proprietors say how strong the isolation business has been too. That gives me goosebumps.
The Guernsey Government have announced new hoops of fire to jump through to get the island. It all pulls hard and heavy on the heartstrings. Digging deep emotionally and financially seems to be never ending. It also makes any trip to Alderney that much harder. The Channel Islands are not the easiest of destinations to reach in ordinary times!!! Whaaaat are we doing to each other.
Sadly our stay did not cross paths with the opening times for the Alderney Railway! It is the only working railway in the Channel Islands. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alderney_Railway. In Guernsey you can track and trace the remnants and imprints of a Germain railway that ran along the west coast during the occupation. https://www.facebook.com/timsguidedwalks/ this chap is a brilliant source of information and will take you on a guided tour if you leave the shire and make it to the island without having to destroy Isengrad.
St Anne’s Church
The church of St Anne, consecrated in 1850 and built to the design of Mr George Gilbert Scott, is acknowledged to be one of the finest Victorian buildings in the Channel Islands. Scott was one of the most prolific architects of the 19th century and apart from a considerable amount of restoration work on ecclesiastical buildings, including Westminster Abbey, he was also responsible for the Albert Memorial in London (recently restored), the Foreign Office and the St Pancras Station Hotel.
The church is often referred to as ‘the cathedral church of the Channel Islands’ because of its size but the original intention was that it should serve not only as a parish church for the island but also as the garrison church for the military stationed here in the mid 19th century; a time when the island was being heavily fortified against any potential threat of invasion by France, only a few miles away.
The church is in the centre of Alderney. It seeks to work with the other Christian churches in Alderney to serve the resident population and Alderney’s many visitors in the name of Jesus.
The greatest spectacle along the coast is the tide itself. Alderney is the Channel Island nearer to the French coast, and surrounded by two strong currents: the Swinge and the Alderney Race. Located at the eastern end, Mannez Lighthouse has watched over sailors trying to challenge the treacherous and tumultuous waters of Alderney since 1912. We watched the Alderney Race from a vantage point overlooking the Channel, and it was fierce.
I had never fully appreciated or realised how small Alderney island truly is. Guernsey, by comparison to the UK, is hobbit sized. However, in Guernsey, you can go for years and years without bumping into the same person twice. In Alderney, you will see everybody that you know before you can squeeze the juice out of a breakfast orange. And now, as I write this, the island is now in the grip of its own private covid hell. There has been a sudden (and expected) outbreak, with the first case confirmed. I would lose my sh*t if I had to self isolate in this stinking hot heat! F*ck you covid and all of the misery that you bring. Although Alderney may be small, it is fierce, as you can tell by the hurdy swirling eddies and whorls that guard it. (The Swinge’ sounds like one of my husband’s ex-girlfriends!)
‘Aahaaa!’ is one of my toddler’s favourite words at the moment. They push you to the edge and then melt your heart in one swift, swooshy moosh of a moment. Last night, after we called bedtime after the third wobbly outburst of mixed emotions, my toddler got up in my grill and with perfect pointing said, ‘eyes, nose, mouth!’ Just like that! Aahhaaa!! And, I melted. What a cutie, I think we will keep him.
Everybody’s free to attend The Nunnery Roman Fort, in Alderney. It was previously overgrown, hidden and lost beyond recognition. In 2009/10 the site revealed itself to a team of archaeologists to be one of the best-preserved Roman military structures in the world! The nunnery itself is inhabited by wildlife lovers and travellers. Seemingly, Alderney expanded and contracted, throughout the passage of time, through fear itself. Fear permeates through the mortar lines of every structure that you can throw a shoe at on the island. Fear may be all that held the island together for many hundreds or thousands of years? The jagged edges and hilly lookouts of the island each bear the weight of the fear of marauding conquerors, invaders, attackers and enemies to keep out.
“Fear is the path to the dark side” (Yoda)
The darkest side of Alderney may also be truly hidden. Under the bat light beam of continual cultural interrogation of our past lives with increased empathy, the truth may yet set the island free? Occupation history is ongoing, and we know that Dr Gilly Carr is a prominent historian in this field, passionate about the Channel Islands and all of her deepest, darkest secrets. There is also in play a very real and living resistance to the pursuit of increased knowledge and understanding of the Channel Islands era of Nazi Occupation. A sitting deputy for the States of Guernsey was caught posting xenophobic comments under a pseudonym on twitter. Puerile and hostile insults had been aimed at Dr Carr. The undercurrents of fear run deep through the islands of the Bailiwick.
There once was a small cinema on a small island. Inside there were enough sofas if you were all small, pocket sized travellers of the silver screen. The cinema is located on ‘Victoria Street’ which is actually ‘town.’ The actual ‘high street’ is not the centre, and not to be confused with ‘town.’ If you stand still, in the centre of the small island of Alderney, for long enough, local people will tell you many wonderful stories about the place. We loved the warm and fuzzy local banter, if they could just bottle it all up, for a souvenir, I think that would be amazing. It would be on par with water from the red spring, at the Chalice Well, Glastonbury. Or a miniature bottle of Lourdes.
What a beautiful Sunday, to be in Guernsey, with little else to do!!!
Amazing to see so many tourists in the area too – we care a lot. Sad to see that some business owners do not want to see people who have recently landed causing a scene. Thinly veiled xenophobia? Or just fear mongering. The efficacy of the vaccines are being proven, praise be! Hopefully Guernsey won’t turn into Attwood’s imagined Gilead, too soon eh.
The stairs are really great for my toddler to practise on (we did many trips up and down each set of steps at Rousse tower) and we practised our counting out loud as we did it! Bonus.
We are off to Alderney tomorrow for a holiday… watch this space for incoming notes from an even smaller and more isolated island!! Ahoy Alderney!
Victoria Tower is a prominent St Peter Port landmark, built in the 19th Century it symbolises Guernsey’s links to the English Crown.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert paid a surprise visit to the island in August 1846, which whilst brief was the first visit to Guernsey by a reigning monarch.
A granite stone was laid marking where Queen Victoria stepped ashore at St Peter Port Harbour and the tower was commissioned to commemorate the visit.
The following year an architect was appointed; William Colling was working for a Scottish architects firm and drew up the design.
The site chosen for the Victoria Tower was an earthen mound opposite the Arsenal, where the militia were housed and now home to the Fire and Rescue Services, formerly the site of the New Ground Mill.
The foundation stone was laid on 27th May 1848 with a large ceremony which included a procession from the Assembly Rooms to the site.
The Governor of Guernsey, Major General John Bell laid the stone in the presence of the Bailiff Peter Carey as officials and the poorer classes, the first time they attended a ceremony like this, who would be building the tower.
The event was recorded in the London Illustrated News: “…By seven o’clock, the whole of the town, and the shipping in the harbour and the roads, were profusely decorated with flags…”
The tower cost around £2000 and the workforce included inmates from the Town Hospital. Laid in the foundations was a time capsule which included coins from Guernsey and England including an example of Maundy money, which are the alms distributed to the poor by the monarch.
You will need to pick up a key from the Priaulx Library and the tower is a short walk across the way. These pictures were taken by friends who visited the tower last week, and loved it!! It is exceptionally well maintained.
A “meanwhile in Guernsey…” moment happened just the other week…
The island can breathe a deep sigh of relief each night knowing that the government has prioritised keeping tabs on ferrets. This post was prompted by sightings of a pack of lawless ferrets, smoking suspicious smelling cigarillos and drinking blue WKD’s at a popular dog walking hotspot. Ferret ASBO’s and curfew ankle tags will be issued shortly y’all! When the rest of the world are pumping resource in health, social and economic recovery from the global pandemic, the States of Guernsey are bolstering the registration of ferrets, mink, stoats, polecats and weasels! That is such a cocksure and confident thing to do this must have added a few dairy milk button sized zeros onto the island’s GDP.