I changed tack today in my blog post to write a response to Lucy Golding in the Oxford Mail
“It is the lack of anything recognisable to our over-commercialised, materialistic expectations that makes Alderney so special, a gem of natural beauty with a community spirit so humbling that anywhere else you ever visit will seem hostile by comparison.”
You don’t have WH Smiths on Alderney but you do have the friendly Annie’s Bookshop
You don’t have Costa Coffee but the terraced front of Jack’s at the bottom of Victoria Street is a sun trap and a great place to meet people or watch the little world of Alderney go about its daily business.
You don’t have the Ritz or even a cheap and soulless Travel Inn but instead you have relative luxury at The Braye Beach or a warm welcome and good food at The Harbour Lights or The Belle Vue, not to mention the numerous friendly Bed and Breakfast establishments.
You don’t have Next or even MnS but my Lazy Jack’s sweater and several other t shirts purchases on the island are my favourites and always remind me of Alderney when I snuggle into them at home.
Alderney doesn’t have red squirrels, to my knowledge, but it does have albino hedgehogs, and puffins on the nearby island of Burhou. In fact, if it’s wildlife and nature you’re after, then Alderney is certainly the place to be.
What you don’t have is factories, traffic jams or pollution…. maybe half a dozen cars may pass you when walking along the busiest road from the airport to the town of St Anne.
Having said all this I can assure you that the variety of eateries for a small island include Thai, Indian, Italian, French and good old fashioned English cooking… all of a high quality, often boasting of local produce when they can, and the fish…. mmmmm … Sea Bass to die for! (The burger bar down by the old harbour uses only island beef!)
Talking of fishing, if you’ve ever been over on the island during the Fishing Festival and gate crashed one of their evening trophy events, then you’ll see Alderney’s welcome at its best. I’ve never accidentally attended a Golfing event but I imagine it is similar… I read that they even have a Sprint and Hill Climb with the Guernsey Cart and Motor Club heading over for the annual event too….. The Schneider Trophy this year too….. are there more…….
If you visit Alderney during one of these events, or even during Alderney Week which Lucy describes, don’t get the impression that it makes the island busy. Bustling and fun yes, but on Alderney, within minutes of the central activities, you can be quite alone, ambling along cliff top walks, lazing on the fantastic beaches or admiring the views of the many fortresses which have guarded the island since Victorian times.
Enjoy! Alderney is only a hop away from Guernsey and a small leap from the mainland, but it’s certainly worlds apart!