Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Flags flying every where!

Guernsey is now in the run up for celebrating 70 years of Liberation on 9th May this year

and every where you look there are Union Jacks and Guernsey flags, as well as the odd French Flag for good measure (well they are our closest neighbour!)

Our flag is a fairly new arrival, it was introduced in 1985 and consists of the cross of St George and the gold cross of William the Conqueror, a perfect mix of our heritage I think.

And just to keep a balance and prove we are now all friends, the German flag was flying from a boat in the harbour!

Saturday, 18 April 2015

It captured my heart.

Bit of a surprise last week.
Was chatting to Joan upstairs in the office and she said she had seen me in Good Housekeeping forum, now I probably wasn't really thinking, but I thought she meant there Face Book site that I follow and do occasionally comment on.
But no, she meant the printed magazine its self!!!!!
The FB site had asked us for our Favourite book of all time

Now, knowing my choice was going to get this much attention, I wish I had put a bit more detail regarding why I chose 'I captured a Castle' By Dodie Smith.
Most people know Dodie Smith as the author of '101 Dalmatians' but this book is a bit more grown up, probably aimed at a teenage audience, though a 1950s one as it was written in 1949.
It a love story/coming of age book, set in beautiful English country side in the 1930's and follows Cassandra and Rose dealing with their decline into gentile poverty while growing up with a very eccentric father and living in a ruined castle. It may be a little rose tinted, but to me its a duvet book, one that I want to wrap my self up in and escape into.

My mother introduced me to it when I was about 12, and I loved it straight away, I was a booky child, happiest when lost in my own imagination and this one just clicked.
Then back in 2010 by beloved Aunty Betsy passed away, she was married to my Mums brother and they were living back up in Yorkshire where my Mum grew up.  She was a worse bookaholic than me!  So awhile later my uncle asked to look through her books and see if there were any I would like.  I could have gone mad, but was flying, so could only take what I could carry......
So frustrating.
Then I found this, a first edition copy and inside were written both my Granny and my Mothers name and now it has mine too, and I treasure it more than you can believe.

So I love book because it is a gorgeous story, but also I love the emotional connection it gives me to two amazing women who are no longer with us.
Just as a last point 'I captured a castle' was made into a film back in 2003 staring Bill Nighy as their father, it was a good depiction of the book but I do think you should read it first.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Marco's Imagination

Penguin have launched a range of sample books called Little Black Classics (80p)
giving you bit size books by authors that you might have be nervous of when faced with one of their classic tombs.  Was in the Press Book Shop last month and picked up a few,
Travels in the Land of Serpents and Pearls
Marco Polo born 1254 Venice, died 1324 Venice

Now he wrote this 'Travels' from which this book is taken, while in prison in Genoa after having spent twenty-four years in Asia as an important agent for the Kublai Khan.
Its a strange book, that felt more like pure fantasy at times than a travelogue that we are used to today, read this section and you will see exactly what I mean!!!
Diamonds are also produced in this Kingdom, and we will tell you how.  You should know that in this kingdom there are mountains in which diamonds are found, as you will hear.  For you should know that when it rains the water rushes down through these mountains, cascading wildly along vast ravines and caverns.  And when the rain has stopped and the water has drained away the men head out into the ravines through which the water has flowed in search of diamonds, which they find plenty. In summer, when there is not a drop of water to be found here, they uncover plenty in the mountains themselves.  The heat, though, is so intense as to be all but intolerable.  And let me tell you that these mountains are so heavily infested with great fat serpents that men cannot go there without fearing for their lives.  But all the same they make their way as best they can and find some very fine, large diamonds.  I can also tell you that these serpents are highly venomous and vicious, so men do not dare enter the caves where these vicious serpents live.  And again I can tell you that the men extract the diamonds by other means.  You should know that there are great, deep valleys whose rocky sides are so steep that no one can penetrate them.  But I will tell you what the men do. They take some lumps of bloody meat and fling them down into the depth of the valley; and the places where the meat is flung are littered with diamonds, which become embedded in the flesh.  Now the fact is that many white eagles live among these mountains and prey on the serpents.  And when these eagles see the meat lying at the bottom of the valleys, they swoop down, seize the lumps and carry them off. The men, meanwhile, have been carefully watching where the eagles go, and as soon as they see that one has alighted and is swallowing the meat they rush over as fast as they can.  the eagles are so fearful of the men who have surprised them that they fly off and fail to take the meat. And when the men reach the place where the meat is, they pick it up and find it studded with diamonds.

It wasn't till later than a knowledgeable friend  told me 'Travels' was basically marketing, that it all made sense.  He was trying to raise capitol to fund trade trips back out to Asia
and so was doing what advertising/travel/marketing guys always doing,
bigging up the product, seeing it through rose tinted glasses, etc
Though I really don't think he would get a publisher today!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

A lazy sunny Sunday

My husband was being rather energetic this morning!!!!
And here is Guernsey it was a beautiful sunny morning so I felt that I should get out and enjoy it.
And maybe a little walk to sympathize with Chris!!!

Pottered along the west coast past the beautiful Fort Gray or as locals call it the Cup and Saucer.

 Its also the home to the Shipwreck Museum which is definitely worth a visit
Then round Rocquaine towards Portlet Harbour,

Where there is a lovely beach cafe that does very good crab sandwiches, but that's not what I had my heart set on....

...and no it wasn't dog biscuits either......

...but tea and gauche (gosh), delicious..

 ...and how about this for a view to go with it?
Beautiful and very chilled.
But just next to the tea garden is this

 there is a note attached 
B17 Flying Fortress
Believed to have been shot down by
occupying German Forces while returning 
from a raid on France
11th June 1944
Rest in Peace
Rather sobering thought with tea and gauche.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Where do they go, what are they for, why.....

I was down at La Vallette Bathing Pools this morning having a lovely swim in the spring sunshine and as I headed back to town and work,
I passed these steps that were simply heading down to the rocks.

Now they are beautiful steps, made by crafts men, but they are just leading to the rocks, I don't think its an amazing fishing point as when its low tide you can walk from there to the Castle Emplacement.

So why?
But right next door to it is a very random and once again beautiful wall jutting out into the sea, there must be a connection and I am sure it has something to do with when the pools were built in the late 1800's, but what or why is your guess as much as mine!

Though it is a good seagull perch!

Monday, 6 April 2015

Details, details, details

When we are cleaning the Tapestries before opening it is a great opportunity to get up close and personal with images and really look at the stitches.

So I thought I would share some of the close-up snaps I was able to take


Wednesday, 1 April 2015

a dyslexic with her nose always in a book

Books again!
When I was little growing up in Guernsey my mother was involved in the setting up of a mobile children's library called Bookworm mobile. If my memory serves me right this was
a converted van that was filled with wire shopping baskets of books. 
 It went round the schools delivering these , so that children constantly had new books
 to read and stimulate them. 
Because of this huge interest in book and reading, she twigged quite early on that I was dyslexic.  But at that point there was nothing set up in the island to test me or help me. 
When I was in the 3rd year of primary school, Mum spoke to the teacher and said
'This child is struggling to read, but the curriculum books aren't inspiring her either.'
(She was referring to the dreaded Janet and John books.)
'Could you let me have a term where I choose the books?'
And thankfully my teacher agreed.
So by Mums choice of exciting and stimulating books (with fantastic illustrations - she felt that was very important!) she got this dyslexic child hooked on stories, and if you are hooked on stories it motivates you to conquer reading, as you really want to know what happens next!
Now I am not claiming that she cured my dyslexia, far from it. But I learnt to love books. 
And my reading style is unorthodox, I think I speed read.  One time she was watching me read when I was 18 and commented that my eyes were zooming all over the page.  Oh well I don't think it matters, I am not proof reading, I am slowly sinking into another world.
So thank you Mum, a very generous gift that I will have with me always xxxx