Stranded in Jersey

19 11 2009

I’m stuck in Jersey, Channel Islands waiting for a break in the weather to get our yacht across to the Canary Islands and ultimately, some sunshine.

But there aint much to do in Jersey, unless you’re a banker, in which case you shuffle rich dudes’ money around and try to stay warm. It’s extremely dull here.



There are 6 of us escorting a 75ft Hoek sloop to warmer climes, including my pals James and Jodie who have spent the past 8 months in Lymington, UK, overseeing an expensive and time-consuming keel repair. In that 8 months, they’ve sailed a grand total of 110 miles on ol’ Braveheart, from Lymo to Jersey and that’s it.

Daily we scour the weather reports for any break that will let us flee these northern waters, but we were around 2 weeks late getting out of the UK and with each passing storm, the European winter edges closer. Got. To. Leave.

The English owner had planned to compete in the ARC, a leisurely cruisers’ race from Gran Canaria to St Lucia, but delays in the shipyard and now the weather have seen us miss the start this week.

Eventually he plans for James and Jodes to pilot his fine yacht thru the Panama canal and onward thru the Pacific next year, but that’s only if we ever get out of Jersey.

If Jersey were a little more interesting it might be ok, but it suffers a weird lack of identity – an odd combination of English high street / nouveau financial hub / provincial French seaside village.

ask for maryanne

gorey castle jersey

ruins at elizabeth castle

st helier's house


12 11 2009


Along with the promise of being permitted to clean out the shit tanks on James’ new yacht, part of the lure that drew me to the UK in early September was that of Bestival.

Last of the season amongst the country’s ‘big’ festivals and long raved-about by my music-loving mates, Bestival is eclectic, manageable, close by and a complete fuckin’ hoot.


there were a lot of BenderBots but this was the best

The location just across the water from my new home in Lymington made it too easy to roll in there on the Thurs night

And with just 35,000-odd people attending across the weekend, it was simple to get around.

Four days of glorious sunshine didn’t hurt either. As anyone who has attended an English festival will attest, it’s the weather that makes or breaks em’, but we rocked sunglasses rather than Wellington boots.

Most of the acts were dance-based and there was no true headliner, but this simply meant we could stroll from stage to stage without too much of a schedule, taking in plenty of tasty unknown bands and djs.

Soulwax blasted an amazing set at sunset on the Friday with screaming electro rock on the mainstage and we caught their ‘other’ band 2ManyDjs in the big top – amazing mash-up dance rock and all new material. Insane.


Kraftwerk were visually impressive but fairly dull, while Massive Disappointment, sorry…Massive Attack, were simply rubbish,

The Secret Disco [hidden craftily in the same spot as last year] provided a swag of the weekend’s highlights, mostly from unknown

dance acts such as A1 Bassline, Annie Nightingale and others. Top stuff.

As an added bonus, 2009 meant space- theme dress-up day on Saturday so we were treated to around 20,000 nutters wandering about as aliens, robots, space cops, Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, Kevin Spacey [geddit?] and even a space bar off a keyboard.

Cheers also to the photog whose pics I’ve used. Sorry I’ve lost your website address – let me know and I’ll credit it immediately.]





9 11 2009
pond glass

glassy ponds

Before fleeing the US once and for all, I convinced Niko to steal the keys to his father’s ski condo in Vermont for some forest fun as fall approached.

Smart move – that place is tops.

The Stratton mountain resort was just four hours from New Bedford, which also allowed us to stop past Kelsey’s college house and check her mouldy apartment.  Summer tip: leave the de-humidifier on when you go home for holidays.

Once we’d finally found ‘Rising WASP Lodge’ or whatever it was called, we settled into the serious business of getting drunk before taking on the mountain next day.

And it’s quite a mountain. Stratton rises 1200m from sea-level, but a glorious morning had us sweating up the summit in around 2hrs.

up stratton

taking a little break

The weather played the game all weekend allowing us to revel in the green, red, greenery of New England in the fall.

A few misguided trees were even showing orange-gold foliage in early September, pointing to the ridiculous palette of colours that must burst forth in fall proper.

It was a just a super-nature-getaway all weekend long.

canoe island

island of ben

kels canoe

captain kelsey

Vermont is an outdoors paradise even in summer (moreso?) offering mountain biking, hiking, canoeing, fishing and all that good stuff. We revelled in it.

We also narrowly avoided a Blair Witch-style night in the woods caused by a combination of poor navigation, lack of maps, an excess of spliff-breaks and aimless blundering in the wrong direction, but it turned out alright in the end. Barely.

susp bridge

found ourselves a suspension bridge