We did decide it was time to go away, and after a couple of nights camping at Crystal Palace in our camper in order to catch some London cultural entertainment which involved Noel Coward, The Commitments and a bit of Burlesque (this was a bit amateur, but non the less entertaining, probably for that reason), we prepared ourselves for a trip to Guernsey. I managed to book some bargain flights, with the bonus of leaving at 0710Hrs and therefore having the whole day when we arrived, and leaving at 2010Hrs 6 days later, thereby having the whole day at the end. Great planning. What didn’t go according to plan was the 3 hour visit to casualty the night before the outgoing flight for a torn calf muscle sustained playing badminton. However, lets not digress too far.
Off we went and arrived to find our friend Gareth waiting for us. Gareth is a retired police officer, who 30 years ago, trained me and taught me the ropes of what we’re supposed to do and how we’re supposed to do it. He started off with Hampshire and then transferred back to Guernsey after about 8 years. We worked out that we hadn’t seen each other for about 22 years – but we didn’t really notice the missing years. Guernsey was beautiful, although the roads were narrow and driving on the pavement seems to be a necessity if you want to keep your wing mirrors. It was interesting to see how many drivers admitted defeat before they moved off, and had their mirrors folded in permanently. You’d need to check the nearside tyres when you inspected any potential new car. We went off to their beautiful home in Vazon. This is west Guernsey and a five minute walk to the sea. We were welcomed by Gareth and Sharon with home cured bacon and eggs from their own chickens which was an excellent start to our break.
There followed a lovely couple of days touring the Island, doing a bit of walking interspersed with lots of eating and a fair quantity of drinking too. Friday was Liberation day in Guernsey and was the focus of great celebrations in St Peter Port. We watched a lovely parade that included all the local groups including Scouts and Boys Brigade and also visiting soldiers including the Gurkhas and Chelsea Pensioners who were given a rapturous welcome. We were welcomed by the Governors wife as the Governor inspected the troops and enjoyed listening to both a brass band and a band of pipes and drums. During the day we listened to The D Day Darlings (who also perform under the name of the Bombshell Belles) and The Glen Miller sounds of the Elastic Band – and we can heartily recommend the band who performed two programmes of good old foot tapping war time music. A very talented local group that we all enjoyed.
We watched a range of Morris Dancers hitting sticks and jangling bells with gusto including the Belles & Broomsticks and two other groups the names of which I didn’t catch. I was particularly impressed by the multi coloured Sousaphone being played.
We loafed on Loafers wall and ate heartily at a lovely sea front restaurant. The day was finished off with fireworks set off from Castle Pier. A fantastic day and should be even bigger next year as we celebrate 70 years since liberation.
The weekend saw more walks, some of which were in squally rain and very high wind, church in a very lovely baptist church, visits to most if not all of the Island’s Charity shops (many bargains were purchased including a complete wedding outfit, including shoes, for later in the summer) a ferocious game of Monopoly that I still can’t believe I didn’t win, and lots of laughter. Our last morning was spent walking to Lihou Island which is the most westerly point of the Channel Islands and is linked at low tide by a causeway. We got the timing right and had a beautiful walk before getting ready to come home.
In summary, Guernsey was beautiful. Our friends were fantastic and fortunately we’ve left enough places to visit to warrant another trip back. We’ve relaxed together, laughed lots and definitely eaten enough to feed a small army!!