Sunday, 1 December 2013

Only in Guernsey

I won’t mock our local paper. It does an admirable job, particularly when it relies on the news from a population of only 60,000 and is produced every day except for Sunday. The Saturday edition even has a pull-out supplement. Likewise, local radio stations keep us well up to date with what is happening. So, a little snapshot of recent news. A story of triumph and tragedy from Alderney, the northernmost of the Channel Islands and only 7 miles from France. With a population of 2000 and an area of 3 square miles, it is known for its status as a former German prisoner-of-war camp and, more recently, a small airport which offers ‘interesting’ landings. Not the easiest of destinations for the Trislander pilots flying for the local airline Aurigny. (Yes, we have a local airline as well as a paper and radio station. And various other ‘local’ institutions too.)

The story was of a wild boar, dubbed the ‘ghost pig’ as it was only glimpsed at dusk, which had mysteriously appeared on the island. It was first seen visiting a pig farm and became something of a celebrity as it was conjectured that it must have swum the rough seas from Normandy, where wild boar are common. Sadly, it was not long before it disappeared: it had, apparently, been shot by someone concerned that it might be carrying disease. I wonder, though. How do we know for sure that this is what happened? Pork roast dinner, anyone?

Following on from this sad story was one which was a prominent feature of a radio news bulletin. SOMEONE – and, it was openly stated, someone from off island because it couldn’t possibly have been someone local – SOMEONE had been stealing the bronze caps off the pipes which enable the domestic cess pits to be emptied. The ‘poo trucks’ – a.k.a. The States of Guernsey Sewage Services lorries – whizz round the island in the early hours of the day, unscrewing the caps, connecting hoses and emptying said cess pits for the benefit and convenience of householders. The theft was so alarming that the radio interviewed a representative from the Guernsey Border Agency to find out whether they had discovered the stolen property illegally being smuggled off the island...

Of course, there is so much other news as well. Last year, several of the garden gnomes who live happily on a rocky outcrop in the north of the island were kidnapped. Rumours abounded that the Environment Department were responsible as the gnomes were considered to be an eyesore by some residents. Surely the Housing Department should also have been involved as the gnomes were, technically, squatters and did not have housing licences. However, such was the outcry that they were, happily, returned – by the police, who thought they had been stolen from neighbouring gardens...

A few years ago Santa crash-landed in a pond and got himself into all kinds of trouble with local government. Not least, for making an unscheduled landing.

Fortunately, this didn’t put him off visiting Guernsey and he arrived yesterday, by lifeboat, to turn on the Christmas lights in town. There is no end to the work that poor man has...he’s coming back on Friday, by fire engine, to turn lights on in the north of the island...

Can't wait for the next news item of interest.

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