Tag Archives: St Helena

Evening on the sea wall

Friday 26th November 2021, 6.25pm (day 3,746)

Boats in evening, Jamestown, 26/11/21

Jamestown is one of the very few places in St Helena where you can actually get down to sea level, and that, plus its place on the leeward side of what can be a rather windy island, is why the town is there. There’s no actual harbour, though. The boats and yachts congregate out to sea, and this evening, caught a few rays.

I have to move into different accommodation for the last few days of my stay and am unlikely to get internet access for the remaining time here; so the next few days probably won’t be uploaded until I get home on December 2nd. See you then.

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Bare hillside

Thursday 25th November 2021, 5.40pm (day 3,745)

Bare hillside, 25/11/21

Until the 1500s St Helena was covered in forest. Then humanity arrived, and even if people didn’t cut down the trees themselves, they released goats onto the island, which munched away at any new shoots for the subsequent half-millennium. Although some recovery has been made recently, in places, a lot of the lower parts of the island look like this as a result. It’s attractive, in its way, but it’s also dead land. Only about 21% of the island is cultivated with another 11% afforested. 54% is classed as ‘barren’. Two years ago today I was in Java, another steep volcanic island; but one festooned with terraces, every inch used to support the population. The contrast is notable.

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Tammy of Saint FM

Wednesday 24th November 2021, 8.00am (day 3,744)

Tammy, radio woman, 24/11/21

Tammy is clearly the driving force behind St Helena’s radio station, Saint FM (I could give you the frequencies, but you’re not going to be able to pick it up right now unless you are on a boat somewhere in the nearby South Atlantic). I was an interviewee not just once, but twice today — the first very early, so apologies to Saint listeners if I sounded a bit fazed.

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Back to school

Tuesday 23rd November 2021, 11.30am (day 3,743)

I am an educator, yes — a teacher if you like — but that doesn’t mean I hang around schools very often, if at all. This morning was an exception, however, and here’s where I spent it; St Helena’s only secondary school, opened in 1988. This is, of course, a model, which resides in the reception area, but it’s as good a way as any to get a feel for the place. The eponymous Prince visited in 1984 and obviously made a big impression on the islanders. Whether, in light of more recent events, they are thinking of changing the name, is not yet recorded.

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Briars Pavilion and the Heart-Shaped Waterfall

Monday 22nd November 2021, 10.35am (day 3,742)

Heart-Shaped waterfall, 22/11/21

Briars Pavilion — the first home of St Helena’s most famous resident, Napoleon Bonaparte. When he arrived here in 1815 post-Waterloo, he lived here for the first couple of months while his more permanent home (Longwood House) was being prepared.

The Heart-Shaped Waterfall — well that is its official name, and you have to say that it is appropriate. But it seems they only turn it on during the winter months (May – September).

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Sunday 21st November 2021, 1.30pm (day 3,741)

Canary, 21/11/21

Specifcally, a yellow canary (Crithagra flaviventris) — a name which seems a little tautological, but that’s the particular species which resides here on St Helena. They have done very well since being introduced, as there’s thousands of them, all over the island as far as I an tell. And very attractive birds they are too. I like this shot — it was trying to hide away in the undergrowth, but I shot it (metaphorically) all the same.

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The interior

Saturday 20th November 2021, 12.25pm (day 3,740)

Time to do some exploring. It’d be nice if the weather improved — even the locals are complaining that it should be sunnier and warmer by this time in the year — but at least the drizzle gives this shot a nicely melancholy atmosphere. This is taken almost in the very centre of the island, very close to where Edmond Halley, the famous astronomer, set up an observatory in 1677.

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Out (in Jamestown)

Friday 19th November 2021, 10.15pm (day 3,739)

The Muleyard, 19/11/21

Friday night — and I’m out! In every sense of the term. So were plenty of other people who were on the flight, ten days ago. The Muleyard pub in Jamestown hosted ex-pats and locals alike, and we all celebrated being part of the land of the living.

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Visitors’ parking, Bradley’s Camp

Thursday 18th November 2021, 9.20am (day 3,738)

Bradley's Camp view, 18/11/21

After eight days in a row in the house, a morning out — so I could have something stuck up my nose, and then be returned. Somebody, somewhere, thinks there’s a point to all this. (I will add that I had things stuck up my nose both before flying here, and on arrival, and have been in isolation since.)

The island has a verdant interior but the rim is very barren. Out by the airport sits “Bradley’s Camp”, a bunch of prefabs surrounded by barbed wire and personal security that is presumably where the local authorities stick the asylum seekers, people with a 0.0001% chance of having a currently fashionable communicable disease, and other undesirables. But at least it has parking facilities for visitors.

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The bigger picture

Tuesday 16th November 2021, 1.15pm (day 3,736)

Hillside Villa view, 16/11/21

OK, it’s time to do the main panorama from my place of incarceration. The movie director in my head would still prefer to wait for the lighting to be just so, but to be honest, breaks in the cloud have been rare this last week — indeed, as I type this on Wednesday morning, it’s raining heavily and none of this can be seen at all.

To the left, Ladder Hill, depicted in close up a few days ago. Below it, tucked in its valley, Jamestown, the capital and one of the few places on the island where one can actually land a boat. To the right, Rupert’s Valley, more industrial (i think those are fuel pipelines visible) — between them, Munden’s Hill. All to be more intimately explored at a later date. In the direction shown, the next land is, I calculate, the Ivory Coast, or perhaps Ghana, at least 1,800 miles away.

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