If there has been one theme to this trip it has been the perverse whim of the weather. Our departure from the South Coast was delayed for more than a week because of strong SW'ly winds. Westerly or South-Westerly winds are the norm so it was perhaps no great surprise although the strengths were seasonally high. We then got holed up in Pontrieux as gales lashed the Brittany coast and now here we are in the Channel Islands where yet again the weather is holding us up.
The one thing we thought was going to be easy was riding a SW'ly home but, oh no. The winds have now been out of the NE for a week, the forecast is for another week of NE'lys and as if that's not enough they are blowing gale force 8. Our plan of visiting the Southampton Boat Show has been blown out of the water, but we have probably saved a fortune on impulse buys.
We are rapidly running out of places to visit (Guersney is quite tiny) and we will soon have worked our way through our culinery repetoire... a somewhat limited menu given the limitations of the boat.
One bonus is that there are many boats here in a similar situation and quite a community spirit develops among the crews forced to spend a little longer on Guernsey that they had planned. We are all in the same boat, so to speak.
I don't think I have ever been to a place where the War is still so much in evidence. Much is made here of the occupation, there are museums, monuments, tourist attractions and countless books. Not sure how the crew on the German boat moored opposite us feel about it all. Awful as it was the the people of Guernsey one can't help wondering if it is not time to let it slip into history and focus more of the future of these islands.
One of the unexpected benefits of mooring here in St. Peter Port is that the harbour master puts catamarans right at the front of the marina. I wake each morning and practically stare into the eyes of the girl on Markes & Spencer checkout, so close are we to the shops. If we are here much longer I think she's probably pass me a paper, a bottle of milk and a pack of smoked back bacon without me having to get out of bed.
On Saturday night a huge TV screen was erected on the pier and the Proms were relayed direct from the Royal Albert Hall. It was very windy, very cold and not quite the balmy evening everyone had hoped for. We had a meal on board with new friends Clive and Mel (wonderful old Gaff Ketch based in Salcombe) and then we braved the icy blast and joined the thronging hundreds for the last ten minutes of the Last Night of the Proms. It rather reminded me of Gibraltar - just a bit more British than the Britain.... but Guernsey lacked Gib's climate. The Proms were followed by a local rock group - an interesting bit of scheduling.
Well, that's us for the moment. We're here for another week if we are to believe the forecast. Now, how best to persuade the M&S checkout to start home/boat deliveries?