Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Friday thru Sunday - Guernsey & Jersey

Friday morning in Guernsey
The tour group were going to Sark for the day and as it is walking only and horse-drawn conveyances I made the sensible decision to stay in St Peter's Post. After a delicious sleep in, I had a pot of tea and set out to explore near the hotel.
Cup of tea on the terrace, Duke of Richmond Hotel, Guernsey
My room, Duke of Richmond Hotel, Guernsey
View from the terrace, Duke of Richmond Hotel, Guernsey

Close by the hotel is the Priaulx Library, you can read about the library here. The library preserves Guernsey's history and genealogy and makes it available to the public. A family historians paradise, how I wish I had Guernsey ancestors! The librarian on duty was thrilled I was from Australia and doubly thrilled I was interested in the library and the collection. She introduced me to a book produced by La Société Guernesiaise titled Guernsey Emigrants to Australia 1828 - 1899 by David Kreckeler. The book lists 1229 Guernsey men who emigrated to Australia and has a short biography of the men and their sea captains. I have ordered a copy of the book for the Genealogical Society of Queensland (GSQ).
Ashes of Mr Priaulx - difficult to see

Priaulx Library, Guernsey
The library is located in the Candie Gardens, beautiful trees and flowers and a photographic exhibition of  Guernsey thru the ages in movement.

Photographic exhibit, Guernsey
Queen Victoria in the Candie Gardens, Guernsey
Next day we visited the German Occupation Museum. Guernsey was occupied from 30th June 1940 until liberation on the 9th May 1945. You can read more about this extraordinary museum here. The whole island of Guernsey is full of fortifications, bunkers, tunnels etc that remain after the Second World War. There is even an underground hospital that the Gedrman Army used. I am not really one for remains of war but most people on the tour were fascinated. We even saw a bunker on the side of a hill that had been turned into a house - come on Grand Designs.

After returning to the hotel we were fortunate to meet with Molly Bihet, who told us in her words about the occupation and liberation. Molly was nine when Geermany occupied Guernsey and fourteen at liberation. she has written a number of books about the occupation and they are fascinating reading - much more interesting than bunkers, guns etc. You can read more about Molly here.

A Child's War by Molly Bihet
Sunday - Guernsey to Jersey
Sunday morning we checked out of the Duke of Richmond Hotel in the morning, cases in the coach etc. Isn't it amazing that when you repack a bagit never seems to go in the same? As the ferry to Jersey wasn't leaving until 4 pm we had the day to explore more of Guernsey.
Beautiful day and low tide at Guernsey
Ferry left on time from St Peter's Port, Guernsey and arrived at St Helier, Jersey at 5:10 pm. Our wonderful guide, June, took us for a lovely drive through the south and west of Jersey. Great scenery and a majestic sunset. I was in my heaven when we stopped near a graveyard at the Church of St Brelade.

Memorial of Captain John Harmon, buried at sea, 1876
There were many gravstones dedicated to seafarers with sad memories of people lost at sea and died in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. These people were cod fishers and many moved to Canada following the cod.

It was a long day and I was releived to arrive at our hotel, the greenhills Country Hotel. More about the hotel tomorrow.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Sunday thru Wednesday - Ireland, England & Guernsey

Sunday morning and up at 5 am as I hadn't packed the night before - tired after a Guinness or two! Drive to Shannon Airport took only 25 minutes, but the return of the hire car took another 29 minutes. Very helpful shuttle driver helped with the luggage, and the Aer Lingus check-in went smoothly. Had assistance to the plane and at Heathrow Terminal 2. I was amazed that I didn't go through Immigration at Heathrow.

Thankfully the assistance at Heathrow took me directly to the taxi stand - very friendly London cabbie took me to the Kew Gardens Hotel, obviously in Kew near the Kew Gardens. Arrived about 11:30 am and of course my room was not ready however the staff were most apologetic and offered me a cup of tea. The bar at the hotel is very comfortable and relaxing.

View from my room at Kew Gardens Hotel

Kew Gardens Hotel

After checking in I thought I would get myself organised to visit The National Archives (Kew) on Monday, but when I checked the opening times I found that TNA was closed on Monday! Not a problem. 

I caught the Tube - the District Line -  from Kew Gardens Station to South Kensington. I was going to visit the Victoria & Albert (V & A) Museum and was able to follow the subway tunnel from the tube to the side entrance to the museum. I wanted to see the jewellery and Victorian exhibitions in particular and was thankful for a volunteer guide's assistance. This kind person offered me a wheelchair and guided me to the cafe for a cuppa and then to the Jewellery exhibits and the Victorian exhibit.  Many thanks to the V & A volunteers.
Cafe at V & A Museum

Tea & scone at V & A Museum
The exhibits I saw were spectacular, and I have photos below of three diamond bow brooches and a large Victorian silver centrepiece.

Diamond bow brooches V & A Museum

Victorian silver centrepiece V & A Museum
After viewing the exhibits at the V & A I took a London black cab to Liberty of London where I had a light lunch at the Liberty Cafe. What a wonderful store, so many beautiful things to look at and dream about owning.

Tuesday morning

Off early to TNA at Kew, the hotel is very close just a short walk to the Kew Gardens station and through the subway tunnel to the archives. Managed to get my reader's ticket with no problems and then off to the Reading Room. Delighted to see the original parchment records of three of my convict ancestors. I had previously seen transcriptions but seeing the original documents was amazing. Interestingly TNA does not require researchers to wear gloves except when viewing photographs. Of course, I visited the bookshop at TNA and sent eight books home - difficult to resist the temptation.

Tuesday night was my last at Kew Gardens Hotel and I enjoyed an early dinner of soup and dessert with a glass of Chenin Blanc or two. I would recommend this hotel for anyone researching at TNA, very welcoming and friendly staff, nothing is too much trouble for them.


Up early - 5:30 am - as I needed to be in central London by 8:00 am to begin my Back Roads tour of the Channel Islands and Northern France. I had a taxi arriving at 7:00 am and the driver was on time and very helpful. We arrived at the Wellington Hotel at 7:45 am in plenty of time. There were already three people waiting in the hotel forecourt. The coach (a Mercedes 16 seater) arrived at 8:40 am as the tour guide had problems with the London traffic. This extra time gave us time to meet the fellow travellers, a total of fifteen. There are three singles and six couples on the tour All from Australia except for one delightful couple from Toronto, Canada.
Back Roads Mercedes coach
Off to Windsor Castle where I stayed in the town as the hill was a bit too steep for me. After lunch, we travelled to Winchester Cathedral where interestingly enough Jane Austen is buried. Then off to Corfe Castle in Dorset for overnight at Morton's Manor House hotel and dinner. We left early the next morning as we had to make the ferry to Guernsey at 10:30 am, a three hour trip. I found that I don't have sea legs as it was very rough in the Channel and my balance was not the best. The ferry arrived on time at 1:15 pm at St Peter's Port, the main town on Guernsey. We are staying on Guernsey for three nights so no packing and unoacking as we did on the first night. I am glad we stop for three nights at most hotels. 
St Peter's Port Harbour, Guernsey

Harbour with Castle Cornet in the distance

Delicious lunch at the Octopus Bar & Restuarant, quite the best classic fish soup I have had for a long time. Then off for a tour of Sausmarez Manor.
Sausmarez Manor & Angel sculpture
Sausmarez Manor has an interesting history dating from 1117. You can read more about this fascinating family and how they progressed to today here.

We are staying at the Duke of Richmond Hotel in Cambridge Park, St Peter's Port.
Duke of Richmond Hotel, Guernsey
I waqs absolutley exhausted on Thursday night that I slept for three hours then had a snack and slept for another ten hours.