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Alderney, The Channel Islands
I love Alderney. In fact I would be quite happy to stay for a few weeks 1) if I could persuade Neil, 2) Jakes timetable doesn’t suit and 3) it is expensive. Not just the mooring fees but price of food on the Island is dearer than in the UK. I suppose, when you think about it every single thing (with exception of some locally produced foods) has to be shipped to the island. However I noticed Schwartz packet mixes (I’ve had a bit of a tussle with Tesco over these recently which is probably why I noticed) were 30p dearer per pack.
There are no chain store shops on the Island and alcohol can only be purchased from the off-licence and is more expensive than the UK. We can buy our duty free allowance but not until we are about to leave and can’t consume it until we leave local waters. Duty free allowance is 1litre spirits OR 2litres of other liqueurs, sparkling and fortified wine, plus 4litres of wine and 16litres of beer.
The main town is essentially a long cobbled street with independent shops, cafes and restaurants. Being a bank holiday weekend when we arrived there were music events happening in town. We walked up Saturday morning and was pleasantly surprised. (PS: Mum there is a fabulous shoe shop. Hundreds of shoes and bags all laid out in colours).
Alderney certainly has a French feel to the buildings and town although English is the language and the currency is sterling. Apparently there are about 1,400 residents, although this nearly doubles in the summer and other little differences were noticeable. Drivers/passengers do not have to wear seat-belts, they are no MOT’s, no traffic lights, no roundabouts, motorcyclists do not have to wear helmets, petrol is more expensive but it includes road tax. Although as the Island is only 1.5miles x 3miles no-one can drive far and those who do the most driving pay the most tax.
There is no car ferry to Alderney so everything arrives by air or on the weekly shipping boat from Poole. One of the residents, Ben, was telling us that they had ordered some signage banners in the UK only to find out afterwards that they don’t deliver to the Channel Islands. Ben then had them ship to the agent in Poole and then pay the shipping agent to get them across on the weekly boat. Upped the cost of the banners somewhat.
Saturday evening Neil and I ate at a new restaurant near the harbour, Cantina 6. We had a great meal and they had wi-fi – a necessity now that our mobiles are on roaming charges.
Sunday we went for a walk around the North of the Island. The colours of the sea were fantastic and we found a bit of beach where instead of sand or stones, it was completely covered in seashells. Everywhere you look though is evidence of the German occupation during the second World War. Bunkers, massive sea/tank defences, barracks, towers ….. Alderney people were evacuated to Weymouth in 1940 and didn’t return until after the Germans left.
On Wednesday we went for a walk to the other end of the Island, towards the airport. It was a lovely sunny bright day although the wind did have a bit of a chill. Again stunning views and we had an explore of one of the larger Victorian forts that were built around 1850’s and many were used and added to by the Germans for their defences. There is so much history, we must make an effort to read up.
Mainly sunny days so far although a couple clouded up a bit in the afternoon. I have a lovely red glow to my face and have had my legs out to try to get them tanned ready for the summer. Stocked up on my Aloe Vera Sunscreen and have been wearing Neil’s old Tilley hat (when I remember). Looks like we may be here for at least another week so I have my way. There are worse places that we could be waiting.