So it’s been a while since we have Blogged (is that even a word!) as I sit here on a slightly rainy Saturday I am looking out across to Alarm forest with a view to my right of the ocean in the distance and the sun shining down in Jamestown…it is one of the many interesting and unique things about St Helena.
Where we live is described as ‘the country’ and a short 10min drive away is ‘town’ and whilst it is rainy here in the country, it will be sunny and hot in Jamestown…
Most of you would have seen that Ruby broke her wrist last weekend, obviously this could have happened anywhere, but being here, isolated and away from friends and family, when things go wrong, it’s a natural response to feel it’s because we are here. Obviously, that is totally irrational but nonetheless true. Now she is on the mend, we can laugh about that evening…the scream that alerted us was unnerving, followed by Ruby shouting and screaming at me whilst I drove her to the hospital, unfortunately the roads here are quite bumpy, and her arm was obviously hurting a lot…. The quotes of ‘Throw my roller boots in the bin’ ‘I hate this Island get me off it’ ‘stop driving so fast your making the car bump up and down’ ‘nobody speak!’ are all good comments for us to laugh at now!
Before moving here, both Jo and I thought about health care and what would happen if one of the kids were hurt, our experience last Sunday has certainly put our minds to rest. There was no busy A&E or waiting time, Ruby was seen immediately and looked after amazingly well by all the staff. Sergio ‘the Bone doctor’ was called in and we can’t thank him enough, as he was brilliant with Ruby. Another first for me was watching the surgeon come into the hospital and examine the arm in his flip flops and shorts, another unique thing that St Helena offers! Sergio saw her again on Friday (looking smarter), her wound is repairing and the K-wires are doing their job.
What else has been happening? well both Isaac and I have experienced our birthdays on St Helena, Isaac had a lovely 10th birthday, he had friends over and lunch out, and I enjoyed drinks at the Mule Yard and experienced my first ‘Sundown’ which is where people go on a Friday after work to chat about their week, enjoy a drink together and watch the amazing sun set across the waters of the South Atlantic.
As a family, we are slowly ticking of the Post Box walks. As we have already mentioned there are 21 Post Box Walks in St Helena, ranging in length and difficulty. The walks provide opportunities to experience and explore the wide variety of landscapes and the natural heritage of the Island. Last weekend Archie chose the walk and we did ‘High Hill’ The walk is described as a short walk that is a little steep in places. The walk is in the South-Western part of the Island which is called the district of Blue Hill. High Hill is composed of rocks that were formed at a late stage in the St Helena’s volcanic activity. Over the last 7 million years the soft surrounding rock has been eroded to expose what is now High Hill.
One of the reasons for embarking on the St Helena adventure was to spend more time with the kids, and the post box walks provide that opportunity. When we set out the day looked slightly overcast, but quickly cleared to a sunny afternoon. The kids have got used to walking up hills now, so the complaining has stopped and they all seem to genuinely enjoy these walks, obviously having Cooper helps, but they do seem to like the accomplishment of completing a walk and stamping our book. When we got to the top of High Hill we stopped for lunch. As always, the scenery was stunning, but what always strikes me is the quietness which is a beautiful thing to experience.
We are four months into life on St Helena, and we are starting to feel settled, life is settling into a rhythm and we have met some lovely people which helps us to miss home slightly less. Many things are similar, the kids still argue at times, Isaac still needs reminding to do everything, Archie continues to refuse to have his hair cut, and Ruby remains stubborn and bossy (like her mother). I have settled into work, the kids are doing well in school and Jo has become the model house wife (clearly people that know jo and I would know this is not true!!).
Other things are quite different, work / life balance is different for me, I am seeing and being able to spend so much more time with the kids, (I am wondering if this is a good thing or not!!) the climate is beautiful despite it being ‘winter’ at the moment, and overall life is stripped back and much simpler that our lives in UK. Sometimes this is a positive, at other times it’s a frustration…
So far so good is the overall impression from Team Ansell… We will be experiencing history and a changing context over the next few months as commercial flights will start. There will be weekly and regular access on and off the Island. It is fascinating being part of the Island at this time, seeing how St Helena and its people react and respond from being one of the most isolated places in the World to the opportunities of regular air access. Time will tell…xx