Monthly Archives: November 2015

So long and thanks for all the fish! 

So long and thanks for all the fish!  
It is edging towards the end of November and my birthday. I am in a reflective mood because our Bermuda adventure is coming to a close. A few weeks yet before we leave the island, but close enough that I have been stocktaking to ensure we have just enough of the essentials before we sell the car. (wine, bread, marmite, toothpaste and loo rolls – anything else? )
To say I will miss Bermuda is an unfathomable understatement, but I am also looking forward to “going home”.


When we first arrived on island the commonest question was “Where are you from?”, one I found hard to answer – a while back we had sold the family home in Farnham, downsizing to a small home in the Buckinghamshire countryside, but due to a London-working life we had spent less than 100 days living in that house and so it didn’t feel as if I was “from” that area at all. But neither was I “from” London, though work found me anchored there midweek. My answer developed into “from UK, the south mainly”. In time it was asked less and less. But now, when people learn we are leaving Bermuda the question crops up again in the form “Where are you going? Where is home?” I still don’t know how to answer!
The truth is, we haven’t decided. The statement on the Bermuda flag would fit well – Quo fata ferrunt.

Whither the fates carry us.

Yes, that’s where we are going.


The next adventure is around the corner and it could be anywhere. Currently neither of us have work to go to and that is a strange feeling. Far too much energy to “retire” so we shall see what crops up and take it from there.
Without getting maudlin I was considering what it is about Bermuda that I will miss – in no particular order:
Tree frogs – even the one that sits outside our bedroom window squeaking loudly all night long. I have found a recording of Silent Night set to a background of tree frogs and Robert has made an audio clip of the Somers Hill frogs – not sure when or if we might play this, a dinner party perhaps?

Blue skies – with small fluffy clouds falling over themselves right in front of you

The colour of the sea – indescribable, as many shades of blue as there are words for Eskimo snow

22mph – In UK I am going to be one of those annoying women who drive along at 50mph in the middle lane of the motorway; no, not 50, far to fast.

Bermudian accents – hard to explain, but now I have lived here I would recognise one – a softish mix of American English and Elizabethan English with a shake of Caribbean.

Swimming and snorkelling and the fish – we have seen just about all of the fish on the ID card they sell at the Aquarium and have some pretty cool photos of many of them, including the Eagle Ray we spotted last week.

Having my shopping packed for me – I can see myself forgetting this does’t happen in Sainsbury’s.

Serviced gas stations – for my English friends this means not having to get out of the car when you fill up with petrol, and they clean your windscreen too.

Food at Angelo’s – this week I had a Crepe MonteCarlo and it was absolutely delicious!

Verdmont – where I learned how to be a docent and met many lovely people

Sitting in the warm sun and reading all day long

Twice weekly rubbish collections – yes, I mean two times each week, not every other week as in UK

Peas and rice – which is not green peas but purple beans and rice

Pink – kayak, bike, sand

There are some things I shan’t miss – mopeds everywhere, quirky road junctions, cassava pie, humid days, power cuts, sand in the car (and just about everywhere else too), tipping (just because I cannot calculate 17.5% so usually overdo it), co-pays at the doctors, salted codfish and potatoes, unreliable internet, the cost of everything; but even reading through this list I wonder if any of them really bothered me, they just add to the memories.
I have taken over 4000 photographs, written 150 or so blogposts with 13,000+ visitors (to my blog, not to my home!) and have thousands of memories.
And one day, I may come back, you never know.
Quo fata ferrunt!

Advertisements

Walking Bermuda

Now the weather has cooled down a little we have been getting out for some walks.

The most important was the PKD walk along South Shore beaches to raise money for research into Polycystic Kidneys. I hear there are 17 families with ADPKD on the island which places quite a demand on the island’s renal services. it was the first walk for PKD that I have done, but won’t be the last – they happen in UK as well. Beautiful weather, friendly company and not too long – brilliant for first walk of my walking season.

Bermuda PKD Walk 2015

Bermuda PKD Walk 2015

Halfway point for PKD walk

Halfway point for PKD walk

Our next walk was Coopers Island, the old NASA observation station at the end of St David’s Island. On a Sunday afternoon we found it deserted, had the beach to ourselves.

A Sailing Boat on a reach around the end of the island

A Sailing Boat on a reach around the end of the island

IMG_1545

Looking back towards St David’s from Coopers Island

This is all for a purpose – my walking boots are coming out from under the bed back home.  So I need some practice.  One of my Bermuda friends who “went back home” earlier this year has begun walking around the coast of Britain – in stages over time, she’s not completely nuts – and as I may have said before in this blog, I am competitive – so if she can do it then so can I ….. (might live to regret saying that)

Last weekend we continued the East End explorations and started at Ferry Point. This is where the ferry took people from St George’s across to the mainland before the causeway was built in 1871. The gap between Ferry Point and Coney Island was bridged by the Railway Line in the 1940s but today it is rough parkland surrounding ruins of 3 forts and one impressive Martello Tower, built in 1820s by a Major Thomas Blanchard.  Apparently it was restored in 2008 and for a period was open to the public – sadly no longer so.

We took the path from Whalebone Bay keeping close to the edge of the bay itself, an overgrown footpath coming off the Railway Trail.

IMG_1565

Despite having fallen in the hurricane, the casuarina tree stubbornly grows in a sideways reorientation

IMG_1566

Military cemetery for the Queen’s Royals, 1864

The military cemetery to the side of the trail  – 18 graves of soldiers from the Second Battalion of the Queen’s Royal (West Surrey) Regiment.  That regiment was first raised in 1661 to protect Tangiers, becoming one of the senior regiments in the British Army.  The regimental history  doesn’t say what they were doing in Bermuda in 1860s, but sadly they fell to the outbreak of yellow fever in 1864.

Review of 1864 from The Royal Gazette - paragraph about yellow fever

Review of 1864 from The Royal Gazette – paragraph about yellow fever

The above exert from the Royal Gazette digital archives made me curious – not the commentary on the epidemic, but the sentence that follows – what, exactly, is a “Day of General Humiliation”? Google   comes up with Queen Victoria  calling for Wednesday 7th October 1857 to be a day of general humiliation to pray for “tranquility in India” .  So it is a day of prayer, “humbling”.  It seems early humiliation days were accompanied by fasting and penitence, but later ones seem to have morphed into thanksgiving type of celebrations.  I cannot find out at all why they had one in Bermuda on August 30th, 1864.  It was not yet the end of the epidemic, there were no wars or battles in close proximity, it is not a current national holiday  – could it have been a late recognition of Emancipation Day which is more commonly held at the beginning of August?

IMG_1567

That yellow thing on the rocks looks rather like a Minion

IMG_1568

Lovers Lake

Lovers Lake is further along the trail, a land-locked brackish pond some 400 by 200 feet.  It is fed by subterranean channels from the ocean and so the level of saltiness is variable.  Despite the low oxygen content of the water there is here a specific, and protected, species of Killifish found only in this pond – Fundulus relicts.  

IMG_1569

Railway Trail

IMG_1570

The lime kiln is very overgrown

IMG_1572

Please can someone name this flower? A bit like buttercup?

IMG_1571

In case you cannot recall your O level chemistry

A view of Whalebone Bay as we walk back to the car.

A view of Whalebone Bay as we walk back to the car.

So that was last week. Tomorrow we are heading out to Dockyard, the west end of the island. I’ll let you know how we get on.