Channel Islands 12: Occupation Museum Part One

Continuing my account of my holiday in the channel islands with the first of two posts about the occupation museum.

Welcome to the latest post in my series about my holiday in the channel islands. This is the first post about the museum dedicated to the German occupation of Guernsey between 1940 and 1945.

THE OPENING VIDEO

The museum experience starts with a video about the occupation, which is well worth watching. There are then a set of rooms full of exhibits and then separated from them by the cafe is ‘Occupation Strasse’ – a reconstruction of a street in the time of the occupation. The short video sets the scene very nicely.

A LARGE COLLECTION OF GERMAN MILITARIA

The first exhibits are large quantities of German militaria. This stuff was all genuine (I work for an auctioneer, and German military is notorious for featuring a heavy preponderance of fakes, some convincing and others utterly blatant – I would go so far as to say that if you see German militaria listed in an auction catalogue regard it as fake until and unless proved otherwise).

Channel Islands 11: Little Chapel

Today’s post looks at a serendipitous find en route to the Occupation Museum.

Welcome to the latest post in my series about my holiday in the channel islands. This post is, as the place itself was, on the way to a much more significant attraction.

SERENDIPITY

Serendipity is a word that refers to happy developments that come about by chance. It comes from the mythical island of Serendip, also rendered variously as Serendib and Sarandib, visited by Sindbad the Sailor on one of his voyages. The island most commonly equated with Sindbad’s Serendip is Sri Lanka. Our visit to the Little Chapel was a perfect example of serendipity – we were in a cab heading towards the Occupation Museum when we passed the sign for the little chapel. Once we had established that we would be able to walk from there to the museum we decided to visit the chapel.

THE LITTLE CHAPEL

The Little Chapel is indeed a little building, but there is far more inside than you would ever guess from the outside.

A first view of the Little Chapel.

Here is my full gallery…

Channel Islands 10: Farewell to Alderney

Welcome to the latest post in my series about my holiday in the channel islands. This post finishes the Alderney segment.

THE FINAL FULL DAY ON ALDERNEY

The final full day on Alderney ended up being a very quiet one – the events of Wednesday, covered in the seventh and eighth posts in this series, had taken a lot out of me and I was not up to the walk to the nearest point from which I could have looked at the gannet colony.

THE BOAT BACK TO GUERNSEY

Our boat back to Guernsey was leaving at 8AM on the Friday, so we had a taxi booked to pick us up from the fort at 7:30AM that morning. The voyage back was rougher than the voyage out had been, and we were all pretty relieved when we alighted on Guernsey.

I end this post with a final look at Fort Clonque…

Channel Islands 9: The Birds of Alderney

Continuing my account of my recent holiday in the channel islands with a special post dedicated to the birds of Alderney.

I continue my account of my recent visit to the channel islands with a special post dedicated to the birds of Alderney (the island is justly famed for its bird life).

TWO MISSES

It was too early in the year for boat trips to be running to the island of Burhou, just off the coast of Alderney to the north, and home to puffins (it has no human residents at all), and Wednesday took so much out of me that on the Thursday I was unable to face to fairly steep and fairly rough path that would have started the walk towards a point from which I could view the gannet colony. Here a few maps…

THE BIRDS I DID SEE

Although I missed two great ornithological sites for different reasons, I still saw a fine range of birds during my few days on Alderney…

I end this little post with a view of Fort Clonque:

Channel Islands 8: Exploring Alderney – Roman Fort and Home

Continuing my account of my holiday in the channel islands. The main feature of today’s post is Alderney’s Roman Fort.

Welcome to the latest installment in my series about my recent holiday in the channel islands. Today we look at the second half of Wednesday’s explorations.

THE ROMAN FORT

The Roman fort is well preserved although there is also a considerable amount of stuff there relating to the German occupation. Admission is free, and there is a detailed plan just inside. Why only one Roman fort when the Victorians deemed the island worthy of 18? The Romans controlled the English Channel in its entirety, so no hostile power could have used these any of these islands as a base from which to attack them – the main danger to Rome would have been pirates looking to base fleets there.

THE REST OF THE WALK

We now headed back on a long circuit towards Braye. We saw some more forts, and when we hit a road once again a taxi was called, four of the five of us electing to get home that way while my sister chose to keep walking. Before I share a general gallery, this is the image that now forms my desktop background:

Now for the general gallery…

Now it is time to sign off with a view of Fort Clonque:

This shot was taken from distance.

Channel Islands 7: Exploring Alderney – Before Lunch

Continuing my account of my holiday in the Channel Islands.

We are up to Wednesday March 23 in my account of my holiday in the channel islands. I have decided to divide this day’s events into two as I have so much to share. Here to help you orient yourselves are a couple of maps of Alderney (click to view at full size):

FORT CLONQUE TO BRAYE

This part of the walk was the reverse of the walk to the fort on the Monday, but this time we were doing it in full daylight, whereas it had been getting dark by the time we arrived on the island on the Monday.

BRAYE TO THE CROSSING OF THE ISLAND

In view of where the most interesting sites were, and where we planned to have lunch we had decided to cut off a loop of the footpath in the first instance and then circuit back. This leg of the journey included a spell close to the Alderney Railway.

UP TO LUNCH

Our route to the place we were having lunch took us past the entrance to the Roman fort which was to be our first port of call after lunch. The lunch was really excellent, and in my case included a local beer (brewed on Guernsey – Alderney is not big enough to have its own brewery) called Patois (French for ‘slang’).

I end as usual with a view of Fort Clonque:

Channel Islands 6: St Anne

A visit to St Anne, as I continue my account of my recent office.

As I continue my account of my holiday (18th-27th March), this is the first post solely dedicated to Alderney.

EXPLORING ST ANNE

On our first full day on Alderney, the Tuesday, we set out to visit St Anne, the only town on the island. Our departure was delayed by the necessity of waiting for a high tide to go down. As was the case through this holiday we were blessed with excellent weather.

There was much to see on the way to the town:

The town itself was quite an interesting place, and the information office was very useful.

We walked back the same way we had come.

All photographs in this post can be seen at full size by clicking on them, but we end with a view of the fort:

Channel Islands 5: A Cricketing Journey to Alderney

Journeying through cricket history and from King’s Lynn to Alderney in honour of John Arlott.

Having reached Alderney in my account of my recent holiday it is now time for a special post in honour of John Arlott, the legendary cricket commentator, who lived his last years on the island. We will travel through considerable space and time in the course this journey.

STOP ONE: CAMBRIDGE

Cambridge, which my route from King’s Lynn to Portsmouth passed through, was the birthplace of Jack Hobbs, ‘The Master’. It also provides a specialist spinner for the XI since after his falling out with Yorkshire, which ended his first class career, Johnny Wardle played minor counties cricket for Cambrigeshire.

STOP TWO: VAUXHALL

The train from Waterloo to Portsmouth passes through but does not stop at Vauxhall, which overlooks The Oval, home of Surrey County Cricket Club. It is not my purpose to pick an time Surrey XI here (I did that a while back) so I am not actually using this location to pick any players – I am merely noting it.

STOPS 3,4 AND 5: SURBITON, WOKING, GUILDFORD

As with Vauxhall the train passes through Surbiton. Surbiton is not in itself of major relevance, but a line branches off here to Thames Ditton and Hampton Court, and at one time of his life the legendary fast bowler Tom Richardson had a home in Thames Ditton.

Woking, the first stop on the London-Portsmouth route, was home for many years to the Bedser twins, Alec (right arm fast medium, useful lower order batter) and Eric (right handed batter, off spinner).

Guildford, also a scheduled stop on the route, is home to the earliest verifiable reference to the great game of cricket. Testimony regarding the usage of a piece of land, made in 1598 and referring to the childhood of the man testifying, tells us that some form of cricket was being played in Guildford by the 1550s. Surrey still play the odd match at Guildford and one of the more recent of those games featured Kevin Pietersen scoring a double century in the course of which he hit a number of balls into the river Wey which flows past the ground.

STOPS 6-7: GODALMING AND PETERSFIELD

Godalming is home to Charterhouse School, where George Geary (Leics and England) was cricket coach for a time and one of his charges was Peter May. More recently Martin Bicknell (Surrey and England) has been director of cricket there.

Petersfield has a connection that dates to much earlier in cricket’s history: John Small, one of Hambledon’s finest batters in that clubs glory days of the late 18th century, lived there. According to John Nyren in “Cricketers of My Time” Small was a keen skater and enjoyed skating on the surface of Petersfield Pond when that body of water froze over in the winter.

STOP 8: PORTSMOUTH

Portsmouth was one of Hampshire’s out grounds when such were regularly used. In 1899 Major Robert Poore smashed Somerset for twin tons there, and then confirmed his liking for west country bowling by scoring a career best 304 in the return match at Taunton (when another army officer, Captain Teddy Wynyard, scored 225, in a sixth wicket stand of 411).

STOP 9: GUERNSEY

Guernsey has not to my knowledge produced any significant cricketers, though it has produced a couple of well known sportspeople: tennis player Heather Watson, at one time British number one, and footballer Matt Le Tissier who played for Southampton for many years. However it did indirectly give me a squad member, because it was there that I consumed bottle of ginger beer whose place of origin was significant:

Bundaberg, where this variety of ginger beer comes from, was the birthplace of Don Tallon, Australian keeper batter named by Bradman as keeper in his all time XI and considered by many of his contemporaries to have been the best ever in that role.

THE TERMINUS: BRAYE ROAD, ALDERNEY

Braye Road is one terminus of the Alderney Railway, once a genuine commercial railway transporting stone from a quarry, now a heritage railway using carriages of 1938 tube stock (I was not able to travel it being there too early in the year for it to be open). It also gave me, by way of a piece of lateral thinking, a final player for my cricket journey:

The cricket significance of this picture lies in the name of the road rather than that of the station: it provides a tenuous link to opening batter Tammy Beaumont.

SELECTING OUR XI

In terms of the players I have linked to specific locations we have:

Jack Hobbs, Johnny Wardle (Cambridge), Tom Richardson (Surbiton/ Thames Ditton), Alec and Eric Bedser (Woking), Kevin Pietersen (Guildford), Peter May, George Geary, Martin Bicknell (Godalming), John Small (Petersfield), Major Robert Poore (Portsmouth), Don Tallon (Guernsey, by subterfuge), Tammy Beaumont (Alderney, by cunning use of a street sign). These are 13 players, from whom 11 must be selected. My XI in batting order is:

  1. Jack Hobbs
  2. Tammy Beaumont
  3. John Small
  4. Peter May
  5. Kevin Pietersen
  6. Eric Bedser
  7. +Don Tallon
  8. George Geary
  9. Alec Bedser
  10. *Johnny Wardle
  11. Tom Richardson

This XI is well balanced, with good batting depth. The bowling has a genuine speedster in Richardson, two high quality fast medium/ medium fast bowlers in Geary and A Bedser, a great left arm spinner in Wardle and off spin back up from E Bedser, with Hobbs’ medium pace as sixth bowling option. I end this post with a view of Fort Clonque:

Channel Islands 4: Guernsey to Alderney

Continuing coverage of my holiday with the trip from Guernsey to Alderney

We reach a transition point in my account of my recent holiday – the journey from Guernsey to Alderney.

THE MORNING

Although we had to check out of our hotel by 10AM and the boat to Alderney was not due to sail until 4PM we were able to leave our bags at the hotel to be picked up immediately before boarding, which enabled us to spend an enjoyable morning in St Peter Port. We enjoyed a picnic lunch, and picked our bags up from the hotel, before heading for the boat.

THE VOYAGE TO ALDERNEY

The boat on which we travelled over to Alderney (a voyage that takes about an hour) on a small boat run by a company called Salty Blonde. The voyage itself was fairly uneventful (the sea was very smooth fortunately). The main drama came on our arrival at the harbour on Alderney, when we had a substantial climb up a vertical metal ladder from the boat, and the platform at the top of said ladder was covered in seaweed. The boat crew managed our bags for us to that point, but the climb was not an experience I would care to repeat even so.

FROM THE HARBOUR TO FORT CLONQUE

A taxi conveyed the baggage and my mother to the fort while the rest of us walked. The walk was a pleasant one, and then it remained only to decide on rooms at the fort.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Photographs from the day…

Channel Islands 3: A Day on Guernsey

An account of a full day on Guernsey as part of my series on my recent holiday.

Welcome to the latest post in this series about my recent holiday (I am now back in Lynn, so these posts will be coming less sporadically). This post covers the one full day we spent on Guernsey en route to Alderney.

A FRENCH RESTAURANT

On the Saturday evening, having established ourselves at St Georges Guest House, roughly a kilometre from the centre of St Peter Port, we went out to find a restaurant to eat at. We settled on a French establishment, and the food and drink were both excellent.

Castle Cornet

The following morning we walked out to Castle Cornet, purchasing food at an M&S Food Hall on the way. We ate near a lighthouse, which I subsequently walked out to – it was very windy around the lighthouse but worth it for the views.

THE GUERNSEY MUSEUM

There was a wildlife photography exhibition at the Guernsey Museum as well as some stuff on the history of the island.