Wednesday, 21 September 2011

27 Years and Counting!

Rather than take a new book away, I decided to take the one I've been reading at work during my lunch hour: Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything".  I'm really enjoying the fascinating run-through of the history of planet earth, with all the interesting facts (and guesses) as to how we got to where we are now.

Unfortunately, I was up to the chapter concerning the atmosphere when we boarded the plane, which proceeded to describe the phenomenon of  'clear-air turbulence' and a typical incident when a flight suddenly fell 90 metres flinging passengers against the ceiling! It also helpfully described air pressure and explained how it tries to equalise itself, like 'in a balloon, an air tank or an airplane with a missing window'!!  It was a good thing the flight was only 45 minutes long.

Moore's Hotel in St Peter Port, Guernsey where we stayed
 Just like Jersey, which we visited a few years ago, Guernsey was occupied during WW2.  A visit to the Occupation Museum was a must for us, with the most interesting exhibits (to me) being the ones that showed how the lives of civilians were affected by the presence of the Germans.  In the typical parlour scene below the mother is keeping watch as the father listens for news on his homemade radio set.  All radios were confiscated by the Germans so the people improvised to make crystal sets, then had to find ingenious ways to hide them from searches. I also found the personal items very poignant; newpaper articles, postcards, diaries and especially photographs.

The remains of the defences built by the Germans are in evidence all around the coast, as we saw on our drive around the island.
 Although 'British' in many aspects, Guernsey is a Crown Dependency and therefore rules itself.  As a result there are subtle differences.  The driving experience was one of the most notable differences to us.  The registration plates had only numbers with no letters.  There were few roads more than 2 lanes in total, and most of them were hardly wide enough for 2 vehicles to pass, so the maximum speed limit is 35mph. And where we have signs at junctions saying 'Stop' or 'Give Way', they had 'Filter In Turn' - and they did!! 

Our hire car

 The way of life is generally very relaxed and certainly conducive to unwinding on holiday,

 enjoying the views......

.......and the food!

We hadn't thought of visiting this Little Chapel but did so on the recommendation of our hotel manager. While we were there an elderly couple asked OH if he would mind taking their photo in front of it.  They were on holiday to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary and were revisiting the places from their honeymoon. We had a lovely chat as they explained how they'd flown to Guernsey all those years ago in a 12 seater plane, where they could see the controlling cables moving under the wooden planks beneath their feet and the pilot looked like "Captain Bird's Eye".  We told them it was a co-incidence that we were also celebrating our anniversary but they had 33 years on us.  When we later realised it must have been only 5 or 6 years after the liberation of the islands when they visited, it somehow brought the history there to life. 

This display of sewing machines is on show at a Folk Museum we visited.  The oldest (on top of the cream stand at the back) was from the late 1800's.  I wouldn't be surprised if there are still a few like the one on the bottom right still in use today - I can certainly remember family members having similar ones.
There were also lots of workshop set-ups showing the tools and methods of different trades in the past.  This cooper (barrel maker) has slight damage to his left hand just at the base of the thumb.  I thought he would be made of a hard material but it looked like sponge inside so I leant in and touched it.  He was a lot lighter and less stable than I expected and immediately started rocking.  It looked for all the world like he was working on his piece of wood (a bit spooky actually, as I was alone at the time!). OH couldn't resist touching either, when I told him, and almost knocked him over!!

It was very windy and turbulent on the flight home but, luckily, I'd moved on from the chapter on the Atmosphere and was now onto Bacteria.  We had to wait about half an hour for our luggage when we got home and when they appeared I can honestly say I have never seen so many people running around the conveyor belt after their bags!  It reminded me of a game we used to play as kids where one child would skip around the outside of a circle of children facing inwards while singing a song, eventually dropping a piece of paper that represented a letter behind one, whereupon they would both run in opposite directions around the circle to get back to the space.  The one left out would then skip round, and so on. 

Stitching progress since last time:

Knitted cardigan - All I've managed this time are a couple of hours knitting.
Does reading a patchwork magazine on holiday count I wonder. 

Bye for now
Teresa x


Susan said...

I visited Jersey 22 years ago while backpacking across Europe with a friend and I loved it. This blogpost about Guernsey is just lovely it brought back memories of my trip to Jersey. Yes, reading a patchwork magazine counts. :)

hausfrau said...

There's a couple of machines on that bottom row that might be mine. I learnt on such a thing at school and couldn't resist owning one, though most of my sewing is done on a relatively modern Pfaff.
We took Eldest to Guernsey when she was a toddler: fond memories!

wayside wanderer said...

Congratulations!!! What fun! Have you read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society? Our book club read it a while back and it was a very good book. It is the only reason I know what you are talking about in this post! =D I wish you many more happy years together!

Cathy at PotterJotter said...

Have never been to Guernsey ... yet! You have inspired me to go there. Lovely post.

Little Green Doll said...

This little chapel is wonderful!! Very original and different :) It's always nice to hear other people's histories :)