While it is beautiful of Brett to leave such sweet words about his time with us, we feel obliged to disclose the true reason for our parting. Brett's heart is no doubt an adventurous one. But before it belongs to the oceans it belongs to a London girl named Rachel. The Wong is, we have to admit, slightly jealous to have such an able sailor and great company stolen back to the concrete jungle - but she will heal. While homesickness is never a valid reason to cut an adventure short, an aching heart is. We hope to see you both aboard soon!
The Channel Islands just keep getting better. We had a blast on Guernsey where a well written article by the Guernsey Press gave us some unexpected attention from the locals. The article resulted in many lovely meetings and a Dune Buggy ride around the island!
We also had a one night stand in Sark, an experience akin to stepping in to a time machine and press 1940. There is probably not a more relaxed place anywhere in this part of the world. The island can be walked across in about an hour (at it's narrowest), but should you get tired from the steep hills you can always catch a ride with a tractor or a horse-and-cart taxi. Yes folk, a car free island, what a bliss. Sark falls under Guernsey but was, until December 2008, Europe's last feudal state. Of the 600 people living on the Island, the power was held by the one who owned the largest piece of land - in this case the Seigneur of Sark - John Michael Beaumont. Although John was the rightful king of the island he did - disappointingly - not strut around with Hermine Furs accompanied by a jester and five Island virgins. He was a regular man with a wiki-page and a fancy title. But as it goes, Sark's finger-to-the-world system is in the process of being overrun by the evil Barcley Brothers who figured that sipping Dom Perignon in Monaco was very 90's, while imposing uninvited Democracy is more 2010. After buying up neighbor island Brecqhou and fitting it out with a Gothic castle and a helicopter pad they impose their power on Sark by offering Sark business owners cash only to close down the business once it's in their hands. It is fair to say that the people of Sark (and indeed of Guernsey, a stone-throw across the water) are moderately impressed by the brother's arrival on the Island (even if rumor has it that Guernsey is happy to have Sark abolish a couple of medieval laws, restricting the Channel Islands from joining the European Union - divorce was illegal on Sark until a few years ago!).
Jersey is a slightly different story again. Its own government and, from what we have seen, no major stuff of fairy tales. But they do have a sailing race with Guernsey - a law firm put on extravaganza where Guernsey people race to Jersey (about 45 miles) arriving in ship shape and suitably tipsy for dinner and drinks in the Jersey Yacht Club. As Clive has never missed an opportunity to enter a room full of cashed up, drunk yachties with a bag of books, Hanna has never been one to turn down what could turn in to a great story for this blog, so off we went. At arrival we found a bouncer the size (and shape) of our wheel house at the door. Fortunately we ran in to a friend from Guernsey who handed us a dessert ticket (!) and instructed us on the best way to enter this by-invitation-only event. (The dessert ticket would, we figured, imply that - although we clearly came off the side walk - had already had our entrees and mains with our friends inside. Clive also flaunted his Greenwich Yacht Club, GYC, cap, as the initials are the same as Guernsey Yacht Club, hoping that the bouncer was of simple nature). We're not sure how but we made it inside but Hanna was not late to use the dessert ticket, as Clive was not late to use the bar. What we didn't calculate on - and this, dear friends, is where our coup could have failed miserably - was that we have after all spent the last two weeks on the premesis of the Guernsey Yacht Club, as well as had a double page spread (p. 6-7 to be exact) in the Guernsey Press. We also don't wear khaki pants or loafers, no jewelry if you don't count a gigantic sea shell around Hanna's neck, and Clive was dressed in slippers. We were not incredibly anonymous.
But just as we feel that the prospect of being thrown out head first in the gutter is worse than loosing out on a free fruit cocktail with vanilla ice cream (note to Carey Olsen Law Firm; is this a corporate promo event or a kid's birthday party?) we are approached by a man in pink pike shirt and a broad smile, reaching out his hand to Clive.
"Gordon Wilson, Commodore of the Guernsey Yacht Club. I've heard a lot about you and would be honoured to shake your hand," he says, shaking Clive's hand kissing Hanna's cheeks appearing generally thrilled to be in our company.
Our cover is blown and within minutes we are surrounded by familiar faces patting us on the back and buying us drinks. Even the instructor of the kid's sailing club declares that it was him, after all, who assisted Hanna in fishing up a fully functional, gorgeous turquoise bike from the bottom of the Guernsey Marina just the other day.
Needless to say we didn't get thrown out, but left volentarily (smiling at the wheel house- in- a - suit at the door) as the price ceremony started. Finishing off a smuggled bottle of white in the harbour we agreed that the strange life on the Wong may some days seem mundane to us, but as long as we're Junkies we seem to bring smiles to people's faces and inspiration to their hearts and that, my friends, make it all worth while.