From Gloucestershire to Guernsey: An Insight Into Island Life – Guest Blog
8th June 2021
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How long have you lived in Guernsey and what brought you to the island?
We moved to Guernsey from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire in between Christmas and New Year of 2011 so almost ten years now. My husband’s family lived here as he had moved to Guernsey as a school boy, so we had already been regular visitors for more than ten years at that point.
We had a toddler and a baby ourselves and decided to move over to Guernsey just for a year initially. Our plan was to save some money and look at buying a property in the UK. However, after a month we made the decision never to go back and to make Guernsey our home permanently.
Can you tell us a bit more about the work that you do in Guernsey?
I am a self-employed, silver accredited tour guide. I started out working for VisitGuernsey, conducting surveys at the airport and harbour. This led to a role within the cruise passenger “meet and greet” team, which is when I started training to be a guide. I also started working at the Information Centre and for a while remained in all positions whilst training. I am now solely a tour guide, although I’m lucky enough to also pick up some freelance writing work now and again. My job is varied and interesting, and I just love teaching people about Guernsey, which I consider to be both my adopted and spiritual home.
What do you enjoy doing while you’re not working?
I love to walk, run, cycle and explore! I love to take part in organised challenges such as the Rock to Rocque cycle ride and the Saffery Champness Rotary walk, and am always out and about. I think that’s why guiding suits me, as I just love to keep active and keep moving. I’m an avid reader and usually have four or five books on the go at once and enjoy getting out with my camera as I’m a keen amateur photographer. I love to cook and, more importantly, to eat! My idea of heaven is a delicious meal out with a cocktail or grabbing a slice of cake and a cup of tea at a kiosk after a bike ride.
What is your involvement in the Parkrun? Can you tell us a bit about the event and how it has been received by the community?
I just love parkrun! I’m in my third year of volunteering and I can honestly say, I have never once begrudged sacrificing a Saturday morning lie in for a (quite often) blustery and wet morning at Pembroke. I initially started as a ‘wannabe runner’ after completing a Couch to 5K programme and thought I’d volunteer once or twice to familiarise myself with the setup.
Well, I absolutely fell in love with volunteering and very rarely run it to be honest! If I do run I’ll try to find a volunteering role that I can do as well. I have recently celebrated my milestone of volunteering on 50 occasions and, this year, have taken on the role as Run Director – that’s the person with the clipboard that is ‘in charge’ each week. There are a number of us doing this role and we take turns on a rota basis and even though it means an even earlier start, I just enjoy it so much.
Guernsey parkrun is well supported and attended and many people comment that it is just so addictive. The atmosphere is always electric and it is such a lovely community event. Nearly every week we get new runners and walkers giving it a try and I think that’s just brilliant. I feel proud to see all of these fabulous people that get out of their beds on a weekend, and join in with our event.
The sight of everyone setting off at 9am each week, in a rainbow of bright colours, making their way around our course, fills me with joy. And, to be there to see every single one cross the finish line is a privilege. Parkrun is important to many people for both physical and mental reasons and we are so lucky that we have been able to carry on with our event, whereas those in other areas of the world have not been as fortunate.
Do you feel that outdoor activities and being in the great outdoors is an important part of island life?
Well it certainly is for me and plays an enormous part of my life. Guernsey is a beautiful island with an extremely varied terrain. They say variety is the ‘spice of life’ and we certainly have that here. I think during the lockdown last year, many of us found a new-found appreciation of the island, particularly with what’s on our own doorsteps.
I remember going on my daily walk thinking how amazing it was to see so many people out and about and enjoying the freedom of those two precious hours, and enjoying their surroundings like it was all a new, exciting adventure.
‘Outdoorsy’ doesn’t necessarily have to mean sporty, so I do think there is something out there for everyone to enjoy. There’s the walkers and runners, the cyclists, golfers, sea swimmers, Geocachers, bird spotters, botany enthusiasts, photographers, boaters, climbers, artists, campers, kayakers, people doing yoga and meditation outside… not to mention the lucky souls like me who get to work outside. We are given so many opportunities to get out and explore with our families with things like Iris and Dora’s fairy door trails, the Renoir frame trail and the Golden Guernsey Goat Trail, to name just a few.
Would you recommend Guernsey as a place to relocate to?
That’s a tricky question as I’m the first to admit that as much as I adore Guernsey, it is probably not everybody’s cup of tea and that’s a good thing! If I was talking to someone just like me, then of course – it’s perfect. Would I say the same to a friend who couldn’t imagine life without Primark, McDonald’s or Asda and spends their free time going to big shopping centres, West End theatres and has a season ticket at a premier league football club? Probably not, but I’d certainly invite them here on holiday.
But, if I knew someone who wanted to live somewhere that offers safety, a stunning landscape, lots of interesting things to see and do, and was attracted by the idea of wonderful local food, drink, entertainment and many opportunities to learn new hobbies and have new experiences…well then yes, I’d certainly say give Guernsey a go!