It’s only 3 weeks until the Herm World Aid Walk which takes place on Monday 5th May, starting at 9am from Herm harbour.
This will be the 4th time that the 5.25 mile walk has taken place in Herm. It takes place on the same day as the Guernsey and Sark World Aid Walks and all three islands raise money for third world charities: Oxfam, Save the Children, Christian Aid, Action Aid and The Tumaini Fund.
For more details about the Herm World Aid Walk please look at http://www.worldaidwalk.org.gg/?page_id=52 where you can download an entry form.
The Herm World Aid Walk entry form should be sent to Lesley Bailey, Herm, Guernsey, GY1 3HR
Last year 62 walkers took part in the Herm World Aid Walk and between them raised almost £1000. Can we do better this year?
Events | Herm guests | Island Community
On an overcast April day the spring bulbs in flower around Herm add a welcome bit of colour.
The daffodils in the picture on the left are flowering in the Woodland Valley where the wildflowers were last summer. The different varieties growing give a wonderful display.
Elsewhere on the island tulips in tubs are in bloom and outside St. Tugual’s Church there is a display of daffodils in pots..
The spring wildflowers are looking good too, each day there are more blooming. The primroses are at their best along the coastal cliff paths and they are interspersed with violets and red campion. If you want to see the bluebells in bloom they will be at their peak in about ten days time. The walk through the woodland walk from the top of the hill to the valley will be spectacular.
If you don’t get a chance to visit Herm at this time of year then enjoy the photos below.
Flora and Fauna | Gardening
We all take it for granted – the consistent supply of Herm’s electricity.
Herm engineer, Pete Makemson, works quietly behind the scenes to make sure that island residents and guests are never without a supply of electricity.
Herm has three diesel generators which are all in the power station situated at the top of the island in the Manor Village. To ensure that they stay in tip-top condition they are all serviced regularly but they don’t last forever so earlier this year Pete had the task of replacing one of the generators.
There is always one generator running and depending on the time of year and how busy the island is depends on which generator will be used. During the winter months the third and smallest of the generators is used. The current No. 3 generator was installed in 2007 and so far has been used for 26,500 hours. To give you an idea of how much work it has done it would be the equivalent of a car running for 650,000 miles!
When all the Herm business establishments are open one of the two larger generators will run. For 80% of the time running generator No. 1 or No. 2 is sufficient to supply all the electrical demands that islanders and guests are calling for but the other 20% of the time, during lunchtime and evening meal service, generator No. 3 will automatically start. Coping with peaks and troughs in the electricity demand can be challenging and that might be when the island has a short power cut. If there is a sudden, large electrical demand it may be that a second generator needs to start up. It takes a few seconds for this to happen and meanwhile the first generator may cut out causing an interruption in the electrical supply.
It is No. 2 generator that has just been replaced after being used for 15,000 hours over the past five years. The larger generators don’t last quite so long as the ‘baby’ one. The island could manage for a short time without the smallest one but it is imperative that the two larger generators can be relied on so they are replaced more regularly. If one is being serviced the second one needs to be 100% reliable.
Replacing the generator hasn’t been without problems for Pete. There was a delay when part of the machine was damaged in transit and had to be returned. This, and a couple of other problems which arose, added to the time it would normally take Pete to install the engine so it was finished only two weeks before the island opened for the 2014 season. Pete would have preferred a little bit longer to ensure the generator runs as it should but meanwhile he keeps a close eye, and ear on it watching and listening for any change in it’s performance.
Next time you are in Herm and you plug in your mobile phone to charge or switch on the electric kettle give a thought to Pete and the service team who work behind the scenes to make sure our lives are comfortable. Thank you Pete and team.
Tags: Environment, Island resident
Herm environment | Island Community
The Herm fire team have recently spent a day training at the Guernsey Fire & Rescue headquarters. The team train regularly in Herm but once a year they go to Guernsey to be put through their paces by the Guernsey Fire & Rescue trainers and to make sure that the high standards expected of them are maintained. To avoid leaving Herm without fire cover, half the team does the training one day and the other half goes the following day. Good to know that there is always someone in Herm ready to fight a fire!
The fire team have a very busy day when training in Guernsey and do a number of different drills and ladder work making sure that all the team are confident to go up a ladder to fight a fire. One of the things they practised was carrying the branch (hose) over their shoulder whilst climbing up the ladder and to fight a roof fire and also to rescue people out of windows and bring them safely down the ladder.
When training in Herm the team always practice using a different scenario. The most recent one was putting out a fire at the log cabins. Although the Herm fire tender carries 5000 litres of water the team need to know what water is available to use if they need more. This time they made use of the water tank used to supply the log cabins and surrounding accommodation and the swimming pool in the garden of one of the private island homes.
Being part of the Herm fire team is something they all enjoy. There has been no change on the team for the past three years so they work well together and as they have done so many practices it all comes naturally to them. They enjoy the responsibility of being a member of the community fire team and whilst they would love to put out a real fire they realise it would mean that it could be the home of one of their team members that they are trying to protect.
Thank you Herm Fire Team for being there for islanders and visitors.
Island Community | Out and about
Whilst out for a Sunday morning walk I spotted the Guernsey RNLI boat ‘Spirit of Guernsey’ dropping anchor just off Belvoir Bay. It was a beautiful bright March morning so a great opportunity to get my camera out of my pocket and to take a couple of pictures.
The volunteer crew were out for a practice deploying the anchor and checking navigational equipment.
Although I’ve lived on Herm with my family for over 19 years we have never had to call on the services of the lifeboat or the St. John Marine Ambulance the ‘Flying Christine’, but we know that if the need should ever arise that they are always there. It is reassuring to know that if any islanders are unfortunate enough to have an accident or are taken ill with a medical condition that they will be taken to Guernsey on one of the boats. The lifeboat is always on standby if the marine ambulance is out of the water or on another call.
When not in use The ‘Spirit of Guernsey’ and the ‘Flying Christine’ are moored in St. Peter Port harbour so we see them every time we go to Guernsey on the Trident ferry. All Hermites are very grateful for the volunteers of both vessels who give up their time to crew the boats.
‘Spirit of Guernsey’ and ‘Flying Christine’ are funded by public donations. If you would like to know more about either of these services please see their website pages:
Out and about
Spring has sprung and with that a group of yoga enthusiasts arrived for a weekend retreat on Herm. This is the sixth year that Emma Despres of ‘Be Inspired’ based in Guernsey, has brought a group to stay at The White House Hotel where they have sole use of the building.
Over thirty guests came on the afternoon boat on Friday and within an hour began their first yoga session in the conservatory of the hotel, an area guests usually go to for their breakfast and evening meals. Yoga is followed by a vegetarian evening meal at The Mermaid Tavern.
Fog had shrouded Herm and Guernsey at the end of the week and although several of the guests travelled from the UK and Jersey only one didn’t make it until Saturday morning by which time the fog had disappeared and it gave way to warm spring sunshine. A small group were up bright and early for a quick dip in the sea, if they weren’t feeling very awake before the swim they would certainly have been after as the sea temperature is only a chilly 10 centigrade at this time of year! The first yoga session of the day started at 8am and this was followed by a nutritious vegetarian brunch at The Mermaid Tavern.
Guests taking part on the course enjoyed having Herm to themselves and said that it was good to be able to stay in the hotel and to be the only group there. “You couldn’t wish for a more ideal location” said participants, “the island is so relaxing and it was made even better when the sun came out on Saturday.”
As well as yoga, guests had a chance to have treatments such as reiki, reflexology and holistic massage. Some joined in a gentle run around the island and a jog on Shell Beach. After a light lunch a guided walk was offered around the south part of the island. For those visiting Herm for the first time it was a gentle introduction to life on the island past and present whilst regular visitors to Herm went away knowing a little bit more about their yoga paradise.
Emma Despres of ‘Be Inspired’ likes the yoga guests to feel that they can take part in as much or as little of the weekend as they wish, Emma adopts an easy going attitude and wants them to feel that it is their retreat and that they can take part in what feels right for them and if they prefer, to simply make the most of their own time to rest, read a book or drink tea and chat to others.
“It all ended too soon”, said one of the guests as she left on Sunday morning, “Herm is the perfect retreat for a yoga weekend, I’ll be back next year”
Emma has already booked sole use of The White House Hotel for next year’s annual ‘Be Inspired’ yoga retreat - 13th – 15th March 2015 . For more details look at the ‘Be Inspired’ website.
Tags: Herm guests, Herm environment
Herm environment | Herm guests
The second Monday in March is Commonwealth Day. It is usually a day that is un-noticed by those who live in Herm but this year the island took part in the nationwide Fly a Flag for The Commonwealth ceremony.
Herm resident Nigel Waylen, is head chef at The White House Hotel but in his spare time he volunteers for the Guernsey branch of the Sea Cadets where his title is Advanced Cook Steward Examiner. On Monday 10th March 2014 he swopped his chefs hat for his Sea Cadet hat and was proud to raise the Commonwealth flag from the flagpole in the garden of Herm’s White House Hotel.
At 10am on Commonwealth Day over 500 flags were raised around the British Isles. This culminated in Her Majesty The Queen ‘breaking’ the Commonwealth Flag outside the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey before Her Majesty attended the Annual Observance in the abbey.
Although Herm may only be a tiny dot in the ocean it is good to know that we are of the bigger picture which is known as The Commonwealth.
To read more about Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth click here http://flyaflagforthecommonwealth.co.uk/index.php
To read more about the Guernsey Sea Cadets click here http://www.sea-cadets.org/guernsey/home.aspx
Events | Island Community
Every year a number of staff return to work in Herm for another season. This year Karl Ginniver, pictured left, is returning to work in the kitchens of The White House Hotel as the sous-chef. It will be his 6th season in Herm having worked here for the first time aged 16. It was his first move away from home in Bolton, Manchester and he said it was a good place to come if you want something a bit different but don’t want to be too far away from home. Karl likes working in Herm and being part of a team, a team where everyone is working towards the same goal and he enjoys working and socialising with people from around the world. In 2013 Karl was pleased to be part of the team that won the second rosette for the Conservatory Restaurant in The White House Hotel and is keen to make sure the high standards stay.
Karl returns each year as he said that one of the good things about working in Herm is that you really feel part of a team and not just a number. He has always enjoyed the potential for gaining experience in his chosen career and that he can go off for the winter months to explore, gain more experience elsewhere and return with fresh ideas and ready to go for another season.
Many staff who come to Herm to work for a season find that the lack of opportunity to spend means they can save money and then go off travelling during the winter months. Last winter Karl travelled with an ex-colleague who used to work at The White House Hotel, to Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
If you too would like to come to Herm Island to work for a season look at the department pages of the recruitment section of the website. Whilst many posts have been filled by new and returning staff some opportunities still exist. If you would like to be part of a unique working environment where your commute to work is only minutes and where you can be part of a community, send your application to the relevant department manager.
During the February Half-term, some of the Herm School children helped Rosie, the Assistant Gardener to make some bird-feeders to hang in the trees in the gardens. The recent stormy weather has made it difficult for lots of our wildlife to find enough food to get them through the winter.
Recently, there is concern for our seabirds as many have been found washed up along the Guernsey coastline. Jan Dockerill, from the Environment Department in Guernsey said ‘Almost all the birds found had negligible body fat, so it does seem to indicate that most died of starvation or exhaustion.’ Here on Herm we have had some birds washed up on the beaches and took part in a survey carried out by the Environment Department and La Societe Guernesiaise Ornithology Section along with societies like RSPB Guernsey and GSPCA last weekend. The species found in the Bailiwick were Guillemots, Razorbills, Shags, Kittiwakes, Herring Gulls, Gannets, and the rare and charismatic species of the Great Northern Diver and Puffins. The full impact of the death of these birds wont be clear for a while as there is expected to be a drop in breeding this year and our seabird populations could be very low.
To help out our smaller garden birds like chaffinches, wrens, sparrows and blue-tits who are also suffering with this hard winter, the children on Herm made fat balls from peanut butter, lard and birdseed, mixing it all up and filling ormer shells collected from the beach. These had ready-made holes in the shells so made it easy to hang in the trees with string. The peanut butter stuck the mixture together while the fat was cooling and setting but also made the feeders smell very tasty and the children said it reminded them of Snickers bars! We waited overnight for the mixture to set and hung the shells in the trees in sheltered or less wind-swept gardens the following day. We just have to wait for our wild birds to find the feeders in the trees and I’m sure they will appreciate the snacks we have provided them.
Tags: Herm Children, herm fauna, herm wild life, Herm School, Bird life
Flora and Fauna | Herm environment
In October, the Beekeepers on Herm took part in the Annual Guernsey Honey Show and hoped to continue their success of last year.
Apiarists, Rosie Wheeler and Ben Makemson were able to enter our Herm Honey into 7 different categories in the competition.
They entered 2 perfect jars of liquid honey, 2 jars of 'chunk honey' (with honeycomb inside), a frame of honeycomb taken straight from the hive ready for extracting, blocks of beeswax and beeswax candles all collected from the Herm beehives.
The results were brilliant and our Herm Honey won 10 awards overall, four of which were 1st place prizes! Rosie and Ben also managed to collect enough points over the different categories to be awarded the Nora Watts Trophy again this year! In addition, their hand-made beeswax candles and blocks gained them enough points to be rewarded with the Gautier Trophy. Ben said ‘We had some good results and it’s great to bring home two trophies, one better than last year!’
Jeannine Tanquerel, who helps look after the Herm beehives explained why 2013 was a difficult year for bees to produce honey; ‘A wet and windy May and June during the main nectar flow, followed by a hot and dry period has made 2013 a challenge for both beekeepers and bees. However, for Herm the quantity of honey is not as important as the quality and by winning both the Honey and the Wax trophies, Rosie and Ben have once again proved the point. They have gained experience and knowledge, and nothing can dampen their enthusiasm and genuine interest in the craft.’
This years Honey Show judge, Mrs Suzy Perkins has given the beekeepers some notes and things to work on so that we can carry on improving for next year. But Rosie seems confident and says ‘we are already planning and preparing for 2014 and the Honey Show.’
The yield of honey in 2013 was much smaller than the year before, and the jars flew off the shelves in the Gift shop over the Christmas shopping weeks. The awards prove that the Herm bees are still producing great honey, but lets hope for some better weather for this Spring so they can get to work pollinating the flowers on Herm.
Tags: Herm Honey, Awards
Flora and Fauna
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