The other week, in London on various work matters, A.S. and I managed to find the time to continue our stroll along the Thames Path. I say continue as I’d covered a good stretch of it before – last year I think, only with A.B., not A.S. Anyway, the Thames Path starts (or ends) at the Thames Barrier (near London City Airport) and finishes (or starts) somewhere up by the river head. Yes – it’s long. A whole ~300km long! And since, though not fully gym-shy we’re not quite Ultraman triathalonists, we take sections of this premium path separately when in town, this time from the very end/start – the barrier – to the Golden Jubilee Bridge, and from there we wander off-pistepath to other London places of interest, of which there are plenty, as you’ll either know or guess.
Tag Archives: uk
My recent short trips to the Channel Islands (in particular, Jersey) had left me with many unanswered questions and much bewilderment. And of course what amazed me most was the official status of these mini-territories, and the fact that some have their own currency and even Internet domains.
Mercifully, my friend and colleague, V.G, (inter alia, our resident history buff) filled in the blanks in my knowledge regarding these so-called crown dependences in a blogpost he recently put on our intranet on the Second World War – in particular, on the Nazi occupation of crown dependencies. I was going to give you my version of what he wrote there, but, on second thoughts, I decided it’d be better straight from the horse’s historian’s mouth, as they say. So here’s his post – verbatim. All righty. Here we go…
In August 1940, a month after the beginning of the Battle of Britain, the German occupation regime of the Channel Islands – up to that moment crown dependencies of Great Britain – was finally established. These islands became – and remained, until May 16, 1945 – the only territories of the British Commonwealth occupied by the Wehrmacht.
A crown dependency is a territory dependent on the mother country (the United Kingdom) – not a colony; this had been the custom since the times of the Dukes of Normandy, and became law in 1563. In 1565, Elisabeth I introduced the institute of governors of the islands of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, and others. The island of Sark falls under the jurisdiction of Guernsey and is ruled by a constitutional monarch with the title Seigneur of Sark or Dame of Sark.
Herewith, more tales from Jersey.
I wasn’t quite expecting it but the island is a very beautiful one. It’s very green, with brightly colored flowers in places (in-between the potato fields). To the north it’s all rocks and cliffs along the coast. In good weather you can see the neighboring islands, and even a bit of France to the east.
In the evening we got to see a nice sunset above the sea:
But anyway. You might be wondering what we were doing on Jersey. Of course – working; plus touristy bits added on, as always ).
Jersey feeds itself with the plentiful supply of potatoes that grows here; but all carbs and no protein is good for no man, woman or child, as you’ll all know. God knows this too, clearly, because he gave Jersey plentiful coastlines which, in combination with suitable climatic conditions, are the perfect place for oyster (protein!) breeding plantations. Which is where, unexpectedly, we were headed for a continuation of our touristic inspection of the island – shrouded by a thick fog and on the most unusual means of transport.
Read on: Here’s our ride
Hi folks – from the Bailiwick of Jersey, UK. Time for some touristic study of the history, ethnography, and other places and things of interest on this curious little island in the English Channel just a stone’s throw from France.
All righty. Before I get started here, er, could someone in the audience please tell me whether Jersey is an independent state or not? Why do ask? So I know whether I can add a +1 to my ‘been-to’ list of countries, of course!
The other reason I ask is that I couldn’t work it out for myself. I mean, WHAT?!: “[Jersey is] a Crown dependency of the United Kingdom, ruled by the Crown in right of Jersey. … Jersey was part of the Duchy of Normandy, whose dukes went on to become kings of England from 1066. After Normandy was lost by the kings of England in the 13th century, and the ducal title surrendered to France, Jersey and the other Channel Islands remained attached to the English crown. … Jersey is a self-governing parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy, with its own financial, legal and judicial systems, and the power of self-determination.”!!!
Ok, I’ll just have to work it out by the feel of the place… And it sure does feel like the UK. The houses lining the roads, the signposts (all facing the wrong way:), the license plates (on cars driving on the wrong side of the road:), the open fire in the hotel, the cricket grounds, the fog, and the money with a Queen called Elizabeth on it… yep – sure all looks and feels like the UK to me. Curiously, one thing that doesn’t seem quite so typically British is the openness of the inhabitants and how easy it is to strike up a conversation with them! Or maybe it just seemed that way in the opaque atmosphere of existence here.
I mentioned the money; well, they’re pounds all right – just a little different (‘Jersey pounds‘):
Phew. That was a tough two days in the UK capital. Herewith, a few words and a lot of pics of those two days…
It was two days of rising at the crack of dawn and getting to bed late. Three conferences + three speeches thereat + lots of meetings + lots of interviews + lots of traffic jams + lots of walking (to avoid the traffic jams) + nothing else! I mean – nothing non-work interesting or touristic. Boo. Still, did manage to take a few snaps over the two days:
A murky Thames:
During a short break in Moscow between business trips, I had the honor of having none other than the British Ambassador to Russia, Laurie Bristow, and colleagues over for tea and a chat. Shame we don’t have a croquet pitch up here on the fifth floor veranda :).
Onward we march on our Thames-side hike. The other day you got the first leg of this day’s walk (taking in a cable car ride + Greenwich and arriving at the Cutty Sark); here’s the second leg.
After the Cutty Sark we came upon the entrance to the under-Thames foot tunnel again through which A.B. and I walked the other week. Not this time…
…This time we didn’t turn right and down through the tunnel, we carried straight on – along the embankment of the river. Why not we thought: the path was nice and smooth, there was loads to look at, the sun was out… even the clouds that day were worth photographing. Yep, no tunnel today…
What ho, folks!
I’ve been all week in London on business: two conference speeches; interviews, business lunches – all as per the norm. Also as per the norm – a little sightseeing fitted in for good measure. Just the other day I was real lucky that all the work for the day was to be completed before lunch, leaving the rest of the day for recreation. So that morning I donned the trusty ‘smart’ jeans, put my sneakers in my bag for changing into from my office shoes, and out we headed after the obligatory Full English :).
The morning’s work I mentioned consisted of a presentation given at Cloud Expo Europe. This was held in the enormous ExCel London, here, which I soon discovered was not far from the Thames, my fave river :). So it was Thames-wards we – my travel companion A. Sh. and I – headed after the conference…
From the exhibition hall it’s just five minutes’ walk to the Emirates Air Line cable car link that crosses the Thames – the one A.B. and I saw but didn’t have time for just the other week. So glad we had time this week as a short ride on it is just awesome. Highly recommended – if the sun’s out, like it was for us.