Tag Archives: St Helena

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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Gareth and Jamie bring essential supplies

Monday 15th November 2021, 2.40pm (day 3,735)

Gareth and Jamie, 15/11/21

The tape marks the legal limit of my world. But I have suppliers who can transfer across it some essential supplies, not least a couple of six-packs of Windhoek beer, from Namibia. Thank you Gareth — who’s also, in the end, the reason I am here in the first place (more on this next week, probably) — and his other half, Jamie. Dear St Helena Government: I didn’t cross the tape.

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Baby flora

Sunday 14th November 2021, 1.55pm (day 3,734)

St Helena flora, 14/11/21

A new place means a new ecosystem, and new flora. I have absolutely no idea what these babies (they are about the height of my hand) will grow into — cacti perhaps, but that’s just a guess. I don’t have a garden here as such; these are growing at the top of the rocky bank at the back of my house, that currently marks one of the limits of my world. But they’re something cute to look at, all the same.

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Ladder Hill, from afar

Saturday 13th November 2021, 12.30pm (day 3,733)

Ladder Hill, 13/11/21

Sunshine has actually been at a premium thus far, and I’ve been waiting to give you more of the panorama from my place of incarceration until the light gets better. But a burst of it after lunch did today illuminate the distant Ladder Hill. So named as it is the top of Jacob’s Ladder, visible heading down to the right — an infamous 700-step climb up from Jamestown below. People run up this for fun, so I’ve been told. Rest assured that once I get out of here, I shall not be joining them.

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Little f***ers

Friday 12th November 2021, 11.45am (day 3,732)

Ant army, 12/11/21

Four (or, if you count like the St Helena Government, three) days into quarantine and I already have enemies — namely these little ants that seem able to get into sealed boxes and packets of food, march across my ceiling (as here) in regimented lines, turn up anywhere and everywhere. They’re irritating rather than harmful but I am still on a war of extermination. It gives me something to do, anyway,

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Verandah, Hillside Villa

Thursday 11th November 2021, 5.55pm (day 3,731)

Verandah, 11/11/21

I reckon there are five or six decent shots available that between them will encompass the view from my place of quarantine. This is the left-hand-most of them all, if you see what I mean. We are here looking west; while not very apparent on this shot, on the top of the hill is an old fort, dating from the 18th century. To the right (north), a spectacular view over Jamestown to the ocean, but you can see that another day.

While I do resent having to spend time in quarantine, particularly as I was tested not only before I flew, but at the airport, and came up (inevitably) negative both times — I accept there are worse places to do time.

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The mynah birds check me out

Wednesday 10th November 2021, 2.40pm (day 3,730)

I’m in quarantine, meaning I know that for another week, I can photograph only what is within, or seen from, the house I occupy. It’s a very nice house, with a superb view, but still, I have pretty much already worked out what shots might be worth trying, and will just have to pick my way through them, in a kind of drip-feed way. For a start, I am not putting up the view just yet, because today was cloudy, and there’s no sense blowing that one until the light is at its best.

Therefore, we’ll start today with some of the local fauna. My talents as a naturalist are not great but I’m 99% sure these are mynah birds — if they’re not, they’re doing a damn good impression of them. The one on the right fluffs himself up dramatically, as they check out the new human on the block.

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