Guernsey

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.

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Another meal and more wine. We don’t really look old enough to have not met up for 22 years do we?

 

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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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!!

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Pre – retirement fun

Well Friday 21st February passed remarkably calmly. No disasters, nothing dramatic, but our last working day came and went.
To set the scene, my husband and I are currently (but not for much longer, serving Hampshire Constabulary officers. After a total of 56 years between us (I’ve got 30 and the lovely Roger 26) we’ve given back our uniform and kit and now have space for new clothes in the wardrobe and can banish all the black socks and make way for bright coloured ones.
Having had our last working day, we travelled to the Isle of Wight, our first postings. We visited Osborne House and revelled in Queen Victoria’s luxury, than made our way to Shanklin where we were staying. Fortunately Monday started brightly, enabling us to manage our planned walk along the coast path. We took the very rattly train from Shanklin to Ryde arriving feeling only slightly sick, then off we went walking clockwise from Ryde Esplanade. The sun shone beautifully as we went from Ryde to Seaview which was when we encountered our first coast path sign. They were clearly a rare breed in this part of the walk. You may consider that signs for the IW coast path would not be needed, surely you just keep walking with the sea on your right/left (delete as appropriate), but with recent weather, not all of the path is directly by the sea. However to cut a longish story short, we completed our 15.25 mile walk arriving in Shanklin in time for a cup of tea and a lie down. Would have loved a bath, but the hotel we’d booked didn’t oblige in this respect.

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After a suitable recovery time we went off to The Village Inn for supper, which we would highly recommend, then off to Holliers to see some lovely folk, most of whom were retired police officers who we’d served with many years ago. A more delightful group of lovelies you’d be hard pressed to meet.
After travelling home, the next event was our proper leaving do. A bigger affair which necessitated preparation of a buffet for 80. (Whilst this was achieved successfully, I’m not sure this is a new career choice). All worth while and our hand picked group of colleagues we’d worked with over the last 30 years were all on time, in good form and very good fun. A fantastic evening where we were both made to feel very special as we surrounded by special people and both had some very thoughtful gifts, including this lovely wine holder.

Camper van wine holder
Today, Friday 28th February is Roger’s last day as an officer, mine is Sunday 2nd. On the evidence so far, I think there is life after the police, but we’ll keep you updated on here.

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