A Day in the life of Matt……..
5 weeks into life in St Helena I thought it would be timely to update on what we have been getting up to and provide some comparisons to my working life in the UK.
Journey to work:
UK: depending on where I had to go it would involve anything from 45mins – 1.5hrs in my car, normally spending a fair proportion of this sat in traffic listening to Mr Evans breakfast show.
St Helena: a vigorous 10min stroll up the steep valley we live in to Rosemary Plain, from there I wait for my bus which takes me into my office in Jamestown via several twists and turns. Door to Door 30mins.
Arriving in the office:
UK: after spending 15mins trying to find somewhere to park, I walk into the office and then locate a desk (hot desking all the rage at WSCC!)
St Helena: I have my own office! I get off the bus, walk past the mango trees and then head up the stairs to my office. Often one of the team has already arrived at work and would have placed some freshly picked mangos on my desk. I start the day by opening the windows to let in the warm breeze and the chirping birds.
Going into the town at lunch:
UK: I Would often walk into Horsham, Chichester or Crawley depending on where I was working to buy some lunch. Often this would involve getting soaked in a downpour.
St Helena: If I have meetings at The Castle (Central government), I will stroll down the hill. This involves saying hello to all that you pass, and waving to all cars that pass you. The people of St Helena are very friendly and will always have time to stop and say hello and wish you a good day. The stroll offers an opportunity to enjoy the warm weather. I have already found a favourite place to eat lunch, the coffee shop on the front, serves great toasties and the perfect cup of St Helena coffee. Sitting looking out to sea provides a relaxing place to plan for meetings.
Leaving the Office:
UK: Return journey of traffic as per the morning……
St Helena: Firstly, most of the St Helena people leave work around 4.30pm. There is very little (if any) email traffic in the evenings. I do not have a smart phone for work so would not be able to check for emails even if there were any!!
When I leave the office, normally around 5.30pm, twice a week I change into my shorts and trainers and tackle ‘The Ladder’ 699 steps up the cliff face from the valley of Jamestown. I understand that the record stands at around 5mins…(incredible) I am currently around 14mins…I will aim for under 10mins in the next few months.
UK: For the last few years I would rarely get home to have dinner with my kids.
St Helena: We all eat dinner together, the main favourites are fresh tuna or wahoo steaks, with homemade coleslaw and salad, sometimes washed down with a bottle of Castle Lite..xx
We have no dish washer, but I have found washing up with the kids an enjoyable experience! Time to chat and laugh and get complaints about the standard of my washing up.
The main disadvantage is we have a South African TV network, at least 4 nights a week there seems to be some sort of football on, full Premier League, Champion League coverage…Jo insists on watching this every evening…life is tough… We do get some British programmes, we get BBC Brit which mainly runs Top Gear repeats from 10 years ago, Isaac loves this!
There are many things that I miss about the UK, my friends and family, hockey and our home. It does feel very weird being on an Island in the middle of the South Atlantic. I have already started to feel cut off, not getting regular news updates is weird.
I thought I would miss the convenience of being able to get anything whenever you wanted and a Sainsbury’s local just a 2min walk from our house, but I don’t mind the fact that there are no shops open after 6pm most nights, that the internet is the most expensive in the world so going online must be limited and that other than a few food stores there are literally no shops on the Island! I also don’t miss Jo trying to get me to go to B&Q!
I ‘m sure as time goes on there will be more things we miss, but it’s funny, when it comes down to it, friends and family are the most important things in life. We have left behind our parents (the kids grandparents) and we have left some amazing friends. But I really hope that those friendships stay strong and that when we return to our UK lives our friendships have not changed, and have continued to grow as true friendships last.
What the 5 have been up to over Easter…
Easter weekend in St Helena has many traditions. Maundy Thursday is celebrated by the men on the Island fishing overnight (off the rocks) and then fresh fish is cooked on Good Friday for families and hot cross buns eaten. Many St Helena people (Saints) camp over Easter.
So, I have no fishing rod and we don’t have our tent, so we were thinking….ummm not sure we are going to have a great weekend! However Good Friday arrived and we completed our first post box walk, The Heart Shaped Waterfall, we then swam in the beautiful clear and warm ocean before heading home for a family dinner.
We were then visited by the daughter of my Finance Manager, Mandy bearing gifts of homemade chocolate cake and fruit buns. It was such a thoughtful and lovely gesture for Mandy to have thought of our family and to have baked us some lovely cakes.
On Easter Saturday, we were invited out for a BBQ. The kids played all afternoon in the pool and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon and evening getting to know Frankie and Dean.
The beautiful weather continued all weekend, we were invited to a bring and share BBQ on Easter Sunday and then enjoyed a relaxing Bank Holiday Monday before eating out at Ann’s Place (a great restaurant in Jamestown)
It’s still very early days for us and our adventure has just begun. I’m sure there will be low points, (the dead rat Cooper brought Jo for a present is up there) and there will be times when we really miss people and will want to be back in the UK, but…. St Helena is an amazing place, its history and culture is fascinating and we are only just discovering it…….so, if I haven’t bored you too much, keep following us and we will keep you posted as we go along…
Love to all….Matt, Jo, Isaac, Ruby, Archie and cooper…xxx