Category Archives: Holidays

‘What a novel idea ~ to talk to each other’ or ‘A Truly Social Media Free Holiday’

For two weeks every year I like to leave Twitter, Facebook and my blogs behind me and have a total break. I’m getting more and more content with this as the years pass. At first I panicked. I wrote blog posts to schedule automatically and tweets to appear through Hootsuite. You can do all of this if you:

a) pay an expert to do your marketing for you

b) have the time to do so

or c) just cannot bear being silent for a couple of weeks or more.

I used to ask ~ Will my followers get bored and desert me? Will I have to start again when I get back? Will the world still turn without me?

It is strange for the first couple of days. I am tempted to turn on the internet using my smart phone. You may laugh here but I have never had Facebook or Twitter or even email on my phone. Too intrusive on real life. The man in the phone shop raised his eyebrows when he saw that I hadn’t even discovered the App Store.

I resisted temptation for the first couple of days ~only just.

By the third day I started to relax ~ to forget the pull of all of these time sucking activities and then I noticed something which made me smile and frown at the same time.

At restaurants while hubby and I were learning to talk to each other again we noticed whole families who sat at their table glued to their phones, sharing the occasional joke or two they’d read from friends back home. On buses and on the beach too! By the end of the holiday we were even feeling quite smug about it.

In fact, we enjoyed talking so much that we have vowed to turn the TV off during supper each night back at home, to sit opposite each other and chat about our day. It’s been so refreshing for our communication skills and our relationship as a couple. You should try it.

What a novel idea ~ to talk to each other!

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Filed under Holidays, Occasional Posts, Social Media Networking

Alderney ~ A Pause to Reflect Part 2

Like this morning, last Saturday we woke up on Alderney to blue skies, a drop in wind and a rise in temperature. Going out and climbing to the top of the veranda at the back of the Harbour Lights was one of those, ‘Wow, it’s good to be alive!’ moments.

Looking out over  Braye Beach

Looking out over
Braye Beach

 

We had the day to ourselves and had booked a meal back at the Harbour Lights that evening and so we set off towards our favourite end of the island, to Saye and Corblets at the north eastern end. The first sight, which I never tire of, is looking back over Braye Beach towards the harbour and breakwater. The row of eighteenth century buildings look stunning when the sun shines. John Wesley stayed in one of them on one of his journeys to convert the locals.

We took the railway line to reach the end of the island, walking of course. You couldn’t do this in the summer months because of the schedule of a few trains which run from Braye Road, but at this time of year it’s quite safe.

Within twenty minutes we had reached the campsite, (also not open in April)  and headed for the sand dunes. Finding a path between the tufts of grasses we reached Saye  Bay, (pronounced (Soy) for that magical moment when you might as well have been on a Mediterranean island, but without the people. White sand stretched before us with the sea sheltered between rock crops on either side:

Saye Bay Alderney

Saye Bay Alderney

Here we paused a while, spreading out our rug in a sheltered spot and just soaked up the view, all out senses heightened. Not long after we had settled a lad appeared with a rather complicated looking kite. We were entertained watching him trying to launch it but, unfortunately, he had to give up when two little white dogs thought it was something fun to play with. I do apologise to the lad, but we couldn’t help but laugh at the sight. I hope he will forgive us because we were the only other people on the beach. (the owner of the dog of course too.)

Taking the path up and over to Arch Bay and Corblets we paused there for a while on a bench at the end of the bays before venturing

Bird Hide in memory  of the Petits, an old Alderney Family

Bird Hide in memory
of the Petits, an old Alderney Family

towards Longis Common to look for the wildlife reserve. Passing the end of the railway track we followed two unobtrusive white painted stones. (no big posts with colourful signs here ~ everything is as understated and as natural as possible.) Within minutes we were following a path through pools of water and undergrowth, where we found one of two bird hides on the islands. This was all the more special to us because  it was put up in memory of friends’ parents and we missed it last time we looked for it. (even better because we found it by chance ~ if anything in life is by chance!) So here you are Vic and Heidi:

Walking up a few steps and we were out on Longis Common, close to the Odeon, which I will write about on another post and we headed towards The Old Barn, an unexpected pleasure for a new visitor to this end of the island but a popular restaurant for the locals, (always a good sign) where we enjoyed home-made soup. It was here we met a couple who had been on the same flight as us. It was such a relief that the weather was good for them because I didn’t want them to be put off by the inclement last couple of days. In fact, they are people like us who just wrapped up well and went out to enjoy the stunning scenery anyway. They’d really enjoyed themselves and I was so pleased, but of course the fine weather did make a huge difference.

That afternoon we walked along Longis Bay, which stretched out towards the causeway to Raz Island, where many folk were enjoying the

Longis Bay and  Raz Island

Longis Bay and
Raz Island

afternoon sunshine. In fact we fell asleep and both of us caught the sun leaning against the long concrete defences!

Back at The Harbour Lights we enjoyed a lovely meal. They have a fantastic French chef there and all the food is excellent, not to mention extremely friendly and helpful staff. In fact, it is a bit like home from home for us. When is our next trip? I hope it won’t be too long. I miss it already!

It’s not surprising that the island of Alderney inspired me to write my first novel ‘Riduna’ allegedly the Roman name for the island.

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Filed under Alderney, Channel Islands, Holidays, Where to eat - Alderney

Alderney ~ A Pause to Reflect Part 1

Last weekend I returned to Alderney, the island of my original inspiration for The Riduna Series. I’m always excited and rarely sleep well the night before a visit. We arrived alongside another couple for whom the experience was a new one and I couldn’t help but feel a trifle concerned for them as we stepped down from Joey, the Aurigny Trilander, to be greeted by strong gusts of icy wind. In fact, by the time we had reached The Harbour Lights Hotel and ventured out for our first stroll, the air was filled with sleety snow. brrrrrr (Even Alderney has not been spared from this severe and enduring winter)

First we trudged down to Braye Beach and breathed in the sea air, or at least tried to as it rushed through us, but the beauty of the bay surmounted the weather and we were still glad to be back. Next we headed up to the town of St Anne and after browsing along the shop fronts and into the Information Centre we bumped into an old friend, who suggested we acted more sensibly and retreat into The Georgian. Once in the warmth of the pub, a bubbling hub of island life, we relaxed and caught up on all the news and gossip, meeting another friend on her way out, too.

That evening we dined at The Harbour Lights. The duck I had was divine. My husband had onion soup followed by Gnocci, which he enjoyed too, although he was amused by the name. Compliments to the chef!

We slept soundly, but our hopes for better weather were dashed by warnings of gale force winds. Actually the

Fort Tourgis Alderney

se didn’t materialise, but it was certainly very windy. Not being people to be put off by inclement weather  (once we spend a week camping in the Cornish rain in August and on another occasion paddled in Wellington Boots in a February Yorkshire sea) we donned an extra layer under our waterproofs, though it barely rained as it happened, and headed towards the old harbour, walking along Crabby Bay, through to Platte  Saline and up the road beside Fort Tourgis.

It wasn’t hard to imagine ship wrecks on the treacherous rocks  surrounding the island of Burhou, the puffin sanctuary to our left. We had hoped to take a boat trip around the island. Maybe next time. We took the long route, passed the path to Fort Clonque (a place a group can hire as an unusual tidal holiday home) and round by the airport, before pausing for lunch at The Marais Hall, where the fish soup is an institution..a must at some point during our stay. Delicious!

It was Friday and an island friend had booked a meal at The Braye Chippy two weeks in advance, the best fish and chips anywhere in the world and certainly the most ambient atmosphere, served with a smile. Unfortunately this thriving business is now up for sale, a gold mine to the person who snaps it up, because the ladies, who have run it so smoothly in recent years, are moving on to pastures new. Anyone interested?

There’s a video on Diana Jackson’s Author page on Facebook. Why don’t you pop over and say hello:-)

Monday’s post ~ Here Comes the Sun:-)

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Filed under Alderney, Channel Islands, Holidays, Where to eat - Alderney