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
Apologies to anyone who has commented on one of the Herm blogs since mid January 2014 as they have been deleted in error. We have recently had a problem with spam comments getting through the system. This is no longer a problem but when moderating the comments the wrong button was clicked on and some comments have disappeared into cyberspace! SORRY.
Apologies to those who may have written comments since mid December 2013 but haven't been published. Whilst dealing with the spam comments some genuine comments my have slipped through the net.
The blog comment system is now working well. Keep reading the blog. We look forward to reading your comments.
We have recently been dealing with some very strong winds and stormy weather on Herm.
Last March saw persistent Easterly winds bring very cold and windy weather along with snowstorms which caused a large amount of damage to our trees. The start to 2014 hasn’t been extremely cold, just very wet! Luckily, so far we haven’t had any major trees fall in the winds, but are keeping a close eye on them, as the ground is now sodden and they could move easily. The only damage we have encountered so far is to our sea defences, harbour wall and roadway and will all be repairable.
The outdoor team have been working hard during the low season on Herm to deal with all the trees and branches that fell last year. The logs are stored and stacked ready to be used on the open fires in the Mermaid Tavern and White House Hotel, as well as residents homes.
Head Gardener, Brett Moore, has been saving some of the larger logs that are too big to split into firewood to create new seating for our Woodland Walk and Valley picnic area. He has carved them using a chainsaw and will let them dry out before sanding and coating them ready for guests and visitors to perch and picnic on in the Summer season. There was also a enormous pine tree in May Queen woods which unfortunately fell in the storms. It had been left where it lay until recently when Brett had to cut it up to get to a buried cable. Brett had to saw the tree into slices that were light enough for the tractor to move, so we have now got future table tops to match the seating! There are also plans for the Herm School to use the picnic area as a outdoor classroom and learn more about how to look after our environment and natural resources, but not until the weather calms down and it’s warm enough!
Tags: weather, Art in the Landscape, Storms, Recycling
Herm environment | Out and about
This week the children at Herm School were very fortunate to be part of a new art project taking place in St Peter Port. Marcel Lenormand and Antonia Ramsey, two of the team of community artists at the Guernsey Arts Commission visited Herm School and led a lantern building workshop with the children. Throughout January and February there are going to be a number of workshops where anyone can join the team and help to build lanterns which will later be part of a parade.
Using Willow twigs and masking tape the overall structure of the lantern is made first. Then smaller willow twigs are used to create all sorts of shapes to make the frame even stronger. At Herm school the children were creating their Initials out of twigs, there were also sunrises, butterflies, aliens and even a portrait of ‘Jedward’ made out of willow! The small LED light is positioned inside and will later illuminate all the fantastic shapes and structure. Then the messy bit began of gluing the thin sheets of ‘wet strength’ tissue paper to the willow structures. The children were paired up to make it easier to be able to position willow or gluey tissue paper that had a habit of sticking to itself or the children! They enjoyed working in teams to see what shapes and designs they could come up with and especially enjoyed getting sticky hands at the end of the day.
Head teacher at Herm School, Mrs. Mary Carey said ‘The school enjoyed spending the whole day working on Arts and Crafts as we normally don’t have enough time in our busy schedule to set aside so much time'. It is also nice that the children can feel part of a bigger project than the small community on Herm and have helped towards the art project in Guernsey.
The Lantern Parade will be held in Guernsey on Saturday 1st March at 6.30pm, starting in the Market Square and ending in Candie Gardens where there will surprising performances, exhibitions and free entry to the Guernsey Museum itself. The Guernsey Arts Commission say ‘The lantern workshops are a fantastic activity during the last months of winter,’ and they will be making the lanterns in lots of different schools, with specific community groups as well as the general public. They hope to make around 350 lanterns so that the parade through the town achieves a great impression. We managed to make 6 lanterns at Herm School so hope they will be able to reach their target with the help of the other schools and workshops.
The next public Lantern Building Workshop is on the 15th February at St. Martin Parish Hall, to find out more about the project please follow this link to the GAC website; http://www.arts.gg/index.php/lantern-workshops/
Tags: Herm School, Herm Children, Art in the Landscape, Guernsey Art Commission, Art and Craft
Art | Island Community
As more stormy weather is forecast to hit Herm this weekend and Monday, the residents were lucky to manage to get to Guernsey for supplies and appointments on Saturday. The month of January, although quite mild, has been very wet and windy in the Channel Islands and at the beginning of January we were hit by very high winds coinciding with high tides. This resulted in rough seas pounding the coastline of the Islands. Guernsey came off worse than Herm with roads being closed because of damage to the sea walls and risks of flooding. In the Manor Village, right at the top of Herm, the residents don’t have to worry about filling sandbags but Herm’s coast still got a good beating from the waves.
The Harbour wall suffered quite a lot of damage, as the waves crashed through the wall moving large Granite rocks and cracking the cement holding it all together. The water surged its way through finding any small gaps and created large holes in the wall as a result of everything moving around. As the water came over the top of the wall many lose lumps of granite were thrown around and left the Harbour looking a very sorry state.
At Rosaire steps, our low water landing, there was evidence of the power of the waves when we found that iron hand rails had been broken free and even some of the concrete steps were missing. The water had managed to break a large concrete slab from its foundation and wash it from one side of the steps to the other.
Belvoir beach became out of bounds when the bottom half of the wooden staircase was washed away from the top platform, leaving a long drop onto the beach. We also noticed that there had been another rock fall where the unstable rocks had crumbled in the corner of the bay. The rock faces at Belvoir are closely monitored and reports are sent to the States monthly to make sure they are always safe for our guests.
The North coast of Herm has also suffered and where we have no rocks to protect them, the sand dunes and cliffs were battered by the tides. Large clumps of grass, soil and sand have broken off and lay on the beach resulting in areas of the cliff edge dangerously overhanging the beach. We ask any walkers to be careful when walking across the Common and not stand too close to edge or climb down the sand dunes onto the beach as they are now unstable.
Recently Felicity Millard, working for the Environment Department of the States of Guernsey, visited Herm to assess the damage and record any work that needed to be carried out to correct any of the problems. Felicity has drawn up a repair schedule and the work has gone out to tender to companies in Guernsey. Simon George, Technical Director of Herm says ‘The States are responsible for the Harbour, Rosaire and Belvoir, so they have a duty to maintain them and we have always worked closely with them to ensure this is achieved.’ The work will hopefully be completed by the time our guests start arriving in April, weather permitting of course!
Tags: weather, Belvoir Beach, Storms
On Monday the 6th January, some of the residents on Herm helped to give Belvoir Beach a good spring clean. After the storms we experienced over the Christmas period, rubbish, fishing gear and other things get washed up on the beaches. The sand and rocks move around periodically revealing things and disturb any rubbish buried in the sand.
Every year, Helena Rowe who manages the Beach Cafés notices how all the beaches change in the winter months. Belvoir Beach loses a lot of sand and large rocks are revealed and the same happens to the North Beach where lots of pebbles are washed up with the high tides. However, by the time the season starts in Spring the sand is washed back from the sand banks to the North of Herm and returned to the beaches, just in time for our visitors!
These big tides provide good Ormering conditions to collect the local delicacy, but also wash up things like lobster and crab pots, parts of the nearby Oyster beds, buoys and other fishing gear tangled up in seaweed. On a Quarterly basis, we collect and record what we find on the beaches in our Beach-Watch programme. This helps to give us an idea of how clean the seas in Bailiwick are and make sure our Herm beaches remain clean and safe.
We collected 2.9kgs of rubbish off Belvoir this January, which included 18 drinks bottles and 202 bits of polystyrene! It was great to have everyone helping even 15 month old Charlie Moore enjoyed using the litter pickers. It was very lucky that we chose to go on the Monday because by Tuesday morning the steps to Belvoir Beach had been washed away!
Tags: Belvoir Beach, weather, Beachwatch
Herm environment | Island Community
Before the Mermaid Tavern shuts for the month of January, the Herm community all get together for a fun evening of darts. However this night the children take over and play for the Under 14’s darts trophy.
Organised by Mike Rowe, the darts competition saw 9 of the Herm children take part. All their names are pulled out of a hat for the tournament. Unfortunately Maya George, 12, was drawn against Harry Moore, 5, for the first game! So little Harry was allowed to stand on a chair to make it a bit fairer. There was also some sibling rivalry as Catrin and Ffion Dobson-Jones had to play against each other as well as Brandon and Emy Hastings!
Ethan Dyer, played the day before his 5th Birthday and all his practice paid off and made his Dad, Edwin very proud! Ethan also had to stand on a chair to play against Ryan Jones, 10. Despite being very distracted by all that was going on around him and then playing up to his audience, Ethan managed to hit the board with some high scores and kept Ryan on his toes as well as keeping the adults entertained!
The Dobson-Jones sisters had obviously been practicing their darts skills too, Ffion scored 89, but unfortunately her older sister Catrin, beat her with the highest score of the night of 95! That’s better than most of the adult matches!
The Final was between Catrin Dobson-Jones, 10 and Ryan Jones, 10. The game was extremely closely fought and both the Jones’ played very well with everyone cheering them on. At the end of the night Ryan won overall and took home the trophy! Well done to all the children that took part, and thank you to all the Dads who had to go home and sharpen their darts after a few hit the granite walls!
Tags: Darts, Herm Children, Mermaid Tavern
The high tides and strong winds have taken their toll on the steps at Belvoir Beach. The bottom flight has been torn away meaning that there is temporarily no access to the beach. At least it didn’t happen last week when holiday cottage guests enjoyed being in the sunshine and out of the wind pretending it was summer! The steps should be back in place by the start of the 2014 season at the end of March.
Tags: Belvoir Beach, weather
Powered by BlogEngine.NET 220.127.116.11