Returning to Guernsey – Guest Blog
20th April 2021
Found in: Blog -
Gavin and Sabrina Marsh moved back to Guernsey a few weeks ago having spent time living in Spain. They are thrilled and excited to be back and offered to write a guest blog for Locate Guernsey to share some thoughts about their joy at coming back to the island. Gavin and Sabrina recently became the new landlords of the Plough Inn pub in St Peter Port, with Sabrina being the first landlady of the establishment in over 50 years.
At the tail end of the 80’s going into the 90’s I made what was undoubtedly the best decision of my life, although I did not realise it at the time. I came from a seaside town in the North of Ireland where everyone more or less kept themselves to themselves, including myself.
Having decided to take a gap year from my studies in electronic engineering, a friend suggested that I should take a seasonal job in the Channel Islands. After looking through several tourist brochures from both Jersey and Guernsey, my heart was set on Guernsey – to me it looked to be the more quaint of the two islands.
Part of the charm I found of moving to Guernsey was finding myself thoroughly lost in the idyllic narrow lanes in the countryside. Charm gradually morphed to concern when it looked as though I was going to be late for an important job interview at the St. Pierre Park Hotel, I did get very worried. I noticed two neighbours engrossed in conversation over their hedgerow, and panicking slightly, I pulled over to ask if they could kindly give me directions. The gentleman clearly knew where the hotel was but it became obvious that it was going to be a hard job trying to explain it to me.
What happened next changed my outlook and restored my faith in the human race forever. One of the men got into his car, reversed out of his drive, told his friend that he would be back in ten minutes and ushered me to follow him and follow him I did, right to the main entrance of the hotel. Words could not describe how grateful I was. This was a completely different world to what I had grown used to and the sense of community spirit was astonishing.
A string of fortunate events prompted me to stay in Guernsey having been offered a managerial position within the hotel and I decided to drastically change my career path.
After two and a half years I thought it was about time that I went back to Ireland in order to visit my family and was granted four weeks holiday.
I very soon became acutely aware that random people would eye me strangely when I bid them a good day or good morning as I passed them on the street, a nice habit that I had grown accustomed to on Guernsey. The sense of community spirit had vanished and there was an underlying feeling of uneasiness, especially alone on the street in the evening, and I found myself craving to get back to Guernsey and back to work. For the first time in my life I experienced homesickness ……. For Guernsey.
Years later, I left Guernsey to pursue my career in the hospitality industry in the UK and it was in South Wales where I met my lovely wife to be. Before too long, I felt myself longing once again for Guernsey and the community island life and I took her on holiday. She instantly felt the attraction and fell in love with the island and the safe and secure environment in which children can be brought up. The decision was made right there and then and three months later we were running our first leasehold.
More recently and many years later, after several successful tenures, we decided to take a well-earned sabbatical and finally became a tourist in our own home country followed by a move to the South of Spain. Our daughter chose to remain in Guernsey with her fiancé and subsequently purchased a house together.
The two of us love Spain and have made many many friends in the village where we lived. However, after four glorious years in the sun, and toying with the idea of returning to the island and returning to work, our daughter announced her wedding plans. That was literally the icing on the cake for us, and for a third and final time, we decided that our hearts truly were in Guernsey and with our family.
Our daughter will be married in August this year and will be hoping to start a family soon. We are back in business, running probably the oldest pub on the island with a history dating back to 1810, and we feel honoured and proud to be once again, an integral part of island life.