You didn’t think I had come all the way out to St Helena just to work, did you? Not a chance, not when there is some great walking to be done. Like the hike out to Great Stone Top, here on the right — and its smaller (but less accessible) brother, Little Stone Top as well. (More detail and photos on my other blog.)
Philately is one of the few concerns that has ever made St Helena any money. If you want your hard-to-get first day covers of the local stamps, this is the place to get them. The rock walls above, 500 feet tall, are ubiquitous in all views from Jamestown, crammed as it is between them.
Jamestown is one of only three places on St Helena where it is fairly easy to get down to the sea, and that is where I was standing at the end of my day’s work when I looked down and was faintly revolted when a whole sqaudron of these little black crabs scuttled out from just below me and headed for the water. They looked rather plain and black from above but I got the camera out anyway. On uploading the pictures it was pleasing to see the detail on this one, the spots, the red and the blue. Perhaps there is beauty in all things. (Except jellyfish, which really are disgusting.) This specimen can become the first of its biological order (Brachyura) to make the blog.
After booking the second set of flights to and from St Helena, and a couple of airport hotels, the travel budget was well and truly spent: there is literally £5 left of the £5,000 we were granted back in 2021 to do this project. So over the next two weeks I am crashing with these two good individuals, Mr. Gareth Drabble and Moonlight the cat, to whom I must defer. The guitar case is representative of both of them too: Gareth plays. Moonlight sleeps in it sometimes.
Random African country, 2/2, although unlike Ethiopia, this one — Namibia — was on the original schedule. Walvis Bay is where the Johannesburg to St Helena flight stops to refuel. On the approach, over miles of utterly barren desert, it is inconceivable that there could, or should, be a town of over 60,000 people here, but it seems that Walvis Bay is the one natural harbour for hundreds of miles in either direction, and so is the principal port for the whole country, not to mention handling traffic for landlocked Botswana and Zimbabwe as well. What the construction visible on this shot is, I have no idea for sure, but it might be the top of an artesian well, as almost all the water supply for the town comes from underground.
That’s it for my 3-day perambulation around two continents, and six airports (Manchester, Geneva, Addis Ababa, Johannesburg, Walvis Bay and St Helena). Two weeks on St Helena will now follow.
Until late morning yesterday, if you’d have suggested this blog might feature the capital of Ethiopia at some point in the near future, I would not have treated you seriously, but it’s amazing where one ends up (at 7 in the morning) when airlines are obliged to work out alternative routes of travel for passengers let down by non-optimal handling of local weather conditions (see yesterday). In fact I have always quite wanted to go to Ethiopia, it’s definitely on the bucket list — but a 90-minute stopover in Addis Ababa airport won’t really count when I come to sum up the itinerary of my life at some future date. It looked good from the plane, though, and one day I might come back. I like the flash of sunlight off the building to the right. Always get a window seat — always.
At the point in time that this photo was taken, I should have been somewhere over the Congo, maybe Zambia. This, however, is definitely not the interior of Africa. Having got up at 4am, by 6am I and a few dozen other people were sitting on a plane at Manchester Airport waiting to depart, only then the powers-that-be decided that due to a few snowflakes falling, nothing could move. Time passed, and by 9am we were all back in Terminal 2, the MAN – AMS leg of my journey wiped from existence. (Other excessive flight delays to have featured on here: Bergen, Nov. 2012; Keflavik, Jul.2019 [still the epitome].)
I finally left the ground about two and a half hours after capturing this shot. I will still make my final destination, and already know that a completely unexpected new country is going to make the blog tomorrow, perhaps that can be seen as a minor compensation. At least I won’t be seeing any more snow for a couple of weeks, that’s guaranteed.
No apologies for returning to a theme touched on yesterday — this is the better shot. This was the view I saw on opening the curtains in the bedroom this morning. As it’s the last time I will do that at home until at least February 6th, this will keep me going for a while. The rising sun tinges the higher woodland on the Heptonstall hillside.
A dash into Manchester and back failed to trouble the camera, so let’s go with this one, there haven’t been many early morning shots for a while: it’s no longer a time of the day I engage with much, particularly in the winter. You’d think that some four weeks after the solstice the sun might deign to start putting in an appearance before 8am, but no, not in this valley anyway.
There still doesn’t seem to be a great deal going on in Manchester, but at least the light was good today. Lancaster House stands on the intersection of Princess and Whitworth Streets, and is a good example of the Victorian tendency to stick these grandiose flourishes at the top of any given commercial building. Does it assert some kind of dominance, or did they just have a lot of stone left over? Either way, I like it.