Alderney Island, Guernsey, to Southampton, England

Thursday 4/16:

I followed tracks east; tiny Alderney Island boasts the Channel Islands’ only railroad.  No danger of meeting a train; it’s just an excursion train, and it only runs during the high season.

The sky was misty and the wind chilly.  My first objective was The Nunnery.  Here, remnants of a Roman stronghold were exploited as two walls of an English house (an Abbey?) and part of a German bunker and anti-tank wall.  The tide was out, and the sand was pink.

I crossed over to the north side of the island to look at Fort Albert, another large Victorian shore battery with some German additions overlooking the harbor.  It had a fine view, tho today it was obscured by mist.

The wind was penetrating my fleece.  So I walked up to Saint Anne to find someplace warm with food.  The track didn’t go this way, so the trip involved dancing with the traffic on the Longis Bay Road.  Fortunately traffic was light.  But there were some tight spots, and I imagined some farmer who’d just had a cognac smearing me across an ancient stone wall.  As I neared town, sidewalks appeared; but they’re no assurance of safety.  Islanders like to park with two wheels on the sidewalk; and, in case of any obstruction on the far side, they just drive over it.  The curbs are low; often they’re no more than decorative strips of pavement.

When the cab came to take me to the airport, I went to the right side out of habit.  “You can drive if you’d like,” the driver said.

“I keep forgetting where the wheel is,” I told him.

“I can hardly keep track of it myself!”

But he turned serious when I commented on Alderney Island’s history.  “History is made by rich people.  The rest of us just have to put up with it.”

IMG_7422He carried in my suitcase and put it right on the scale; 31 pounds, acceptable for Aurigny’s tiny planes. The airport consisted of a little canteen and a room with a metal detector.  Once we’d gone thru security, we waited on a patio to be summoned to our plane.  Good thing it wasn’t raining.

The plane was another Aurigny tri-motor.  In 20 noisy minutes I was in Southampton (map).  A train station was next to the airport, and the City Park Guesthouse was four blocks from the central station.  Traffic in Southampton was heavy, but at least I didn’t have to dance with it.

On my way back from supper, I came upon the Mayflower Theater.  Crowds of people were streaming into it; so I went in too.  The show was “That’ll Be The Day,” a rock and roll tribute with occasional comedy sketches.  These included the inevitable-in-England guy in a dress, shrieking.  The music was very good, tho I didn’t recognize some of the songs.  There was an Elvis impersonator and a lot of Beatles songs.

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