Lorraine and I had a great time in the Channel Islands – the weather was fantastic which helped.  We left early on the Friday morning – Lorraine drove us to Gatwick as she could park in the staff car park.  We met up with the others in the Departure lounge and had a coffee etc – then got on this small plane with propellers to make the one hour trip.  There was just time to serve us with a complimentary drink before landing in Guernsey.  We had hired cars and I was one of the drivers – the car we had was a Focus Estate so nice and big and very similar to our own car so I felt immediately comfortable driving it.  We picked up the cars and drove about 100 yards from the airport to the first tower!  There Lorraine and I rang in two quarter peals, one after the other.  We got the first one, but the second one was miscalled so although it came round we didn’t count it because the changes were wrong. 

Then we drove to the other end of the island to check in to the hotel.   It was a nice hotel in a fabulous location right on the coast.  It had 99 rooms so was quite big but the rooms were nice and the food was good.  Lorraine and I had taken a baguette for the plane which we hadn’t eaten, so we had that for lunch in our hotel room and then wandered over to the pub where everyone else had gone for lunch. 

The hotel from the pub
In the pub at lunchtime The others were still waiting for their meals to be served when we got there!!  Some people had to go off to the airport to pick more people up before their lunch had arrived – and ended up taking it away in a napkin and eating it in Yale churchyard!. 
Eating lunch in Yale Churchyard
In the afternoon we rang at the tower near the hotel  (Yale) – just some general ringing – and then went to St Peter Port to ring another quarter peal.  We had time to wander round the town a bit and even did a bit of shopping.  Then it was back to the hotel for dinner and a glass of wine before hitting the sack – some of the keen ones went to the local practice in St Pierre Du Bois but we were too tired.
Ringing at Yale
The safety briefing on the plane to Alderney The next day we rang a quarter peal at St Pierre Du Bois and then flew to Alderney on one of those tiny little planes where it is just wide enough for two people to sit side by side and the pilot turns round in his seat to give the safety briefing.  We were also issued with ear plugs!
This is the group by the plane at Alderney airport.   We were met by a local ringer who drove 6 straight off to ring the first quarter peal at the only tower with bells on the island, while the rest of us took the short walk to his house which he had left open and where he had provided bread, cheese, ham etc for lunch.  We all took it in turns to ring a quarter peal at the tower through the afternoon  and when we weren’t ringing we walked round the island, or sat in his garden in the sunshine and drank tea – Lorraine and I did this with our cross stitch. The ringers by the plane at Alderney Airport


We flew back in the early evening, and went back to the hotel where the whole group had a 5-course dinner in the restaurant there (only £16.50).

The next day we rang for service at St Peter Port and then took the Catamaran Ferry over to Jersey.  Again we took it in turns to ring a quarter peal at the tower with bells (there are two on Jersey but one of them has its bells out at the moment for refurbishment).  Lorraine and I were  in the third quarter peal  so we had most of the afternoon to amuse ourselves and we went to see the Occupation Tapestry at the Maritime Museum.  It was fascinating.  There are 12 huge panels depicting life during the occupation and Lorraine and I spent about an hour and a half there just marvelling at the work involved (I think about 7 and a half million stitches in all).  We couldn’t resist buying cross stitch kits of the panels in the little shop – I got one of the first panel and Lorraine got one of the final panel.

Occupation Tapestry Panel 1 Occupation Tapestry Panel 12

We didn’t ring our quarter peal in the end because there had been a complaint from a local, so we just got a quick ring and then went and had a coffee on Liberation Square – this is Lorraine by the statue in the square (left photo). We also had time for a wander round before catching the ferry. This is Lorraine by the Cross of Lorraine – on a cenotaph in the Parade Gardens (right photo).

Lorraine in Liberation Square, Jersey


Lorraine by the Cross of Lorraine in Parade Gardens Jersey

We got the 7pm ferry back and had a bit of supper on board – with champagne provided by two of the ringers who were celebrating their first wedding anniversary (Mike had been an usher at the wedding).
The next day we had a free morning in Guernsey before our 1 pm flight so some of us went off to St Peter Port and looked round the Millennium Tapestry depicting life in Guernsey over the last 100 years.  There were 10 panels this time and lots of different stitches.  Whereas the Jersey one had just been all in blanket tent stitch, this one had lots of different textures and effects.  They even had a sample of all the stitches which you could touch and feel.  Luckily there weren’t any cross stitch kits to buy of this one so we weren’t tempted to spend more money.  It was equally fascinating though.

We flew back to Gatwick, arriving about 2.30 pm and clutching our duty free (bizarre that we could get duty free on this trip but not on trips to the EU!) and everyone agreed it had been a great 4-days.  Much more relaxed than the usual Barnes ringing trips too!!!