A little local difficulty

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Saint Helena
April 9th 2012
Published: April 9th 2012
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Monday 9th April

A little local difficulty – or how to meet your neighbours

Firstly, you need to have some picture of where my house is a new 2 bedroomed bungalow with (as most houses on the island have) a corrugated roof. The land slopes sharply towards the sea and, so, a terrace had been dug out of the slope for the build. The garden is completely undeveloped and when I arrived, after what had been a considerable dry period, it reminded me of those almost finished villas in Greece or Spain in the sixties or seventies. To access the grounds I have to take a narrow track and then swing into the garden and follow a steep slope to the terraced area. Once you know what to look out for, not a problem.

After a few days of sunny and warm weather things took to a bit of a change yesterday with short and sharp tropical-type rain showers. Arriving home yesterday afternoon following the dolphin watch trip (we encountered a small ‘pod’ {collective noun} of about 150 dolphins) instead of coming to a graceful halt outside the house I slid down the slope, churning up the incredibly soft soil.

Anxious that I might have some difficulty this afternoon in getting up the slope I gave it a dry (wet) run this morning. Completely impossible to climb the slope and rather a mess left of the flat area outside the house.

Now, to digress slightly and to go back a few days. On arriving at the house on Monday there was clearly another exit to the ground that was completely on the level and led to the some small drive coming off the road. I know this to be true because I used it. I was a little surprised later that day when, attempting the same exit move, I found a series of rocks (painted yellow) across the exit. On enquiry I find that there has been some long-standing dispute about legal access and exit on the drive. This has been a source of some local and legal difficulty that needs careful handling (so I am told).

Not wishing to upset the boulder-wielding neighbour, I asked around the locality, phoned the house agent and was instructed – ‘don’t move the boulders (I had, perhaps, exaggerated the difficulty) – we will sort it out.’ Joy, together with Loretta and Leslie, made all the necessary phone calls and permission was accordingly granted to move the rocks (that no-one else but me had noticed) as long as we replaced them afterwards. Accordingly, the path was cleared, the muddy car driven up to Loretta and Leslie’s for long-term parking and your correspondent is now free to attend the barbecue this afternoon and, perhaps more importantly, will be able to carry on with his work and won’t be stranded here until the rainy season ends.


9th April 2012

Michael - you've only been in St Helena for a week, and already you've tumbled into someone's garden, been involved in a boundary dispute, and you've churned up the drive with, presumably, a motor vehicle (rather than stout walking boots). I know you set out with the intention of making your mark in the South Atklantic, but was this what you really had in mind?
10th April 2012

Car trouble?
Looks like you are settling into old ways on the island. You seem to have a. Uncanny knack of getting stuck in mud in your car. I have to confess to a pang of jealously. Hope Di enjoys her experience too. Anthony, Simon and myself were off camping in Bala for the Easter weekend. Simon encountered a series of both amusing and unfortunate events which prevented him actually coming with us. Including a screwdriver injury to the eye, his car being towed away and an electrocution while attempting a light fitting. So you see we also have adventures albeit in Bala :) Look forward to more updates Sue
10th April 2012

your local difficulty
Brilliant to read your posts (as ever). Access problems with cars seems to be quite a speciality for you . . . Have you just arrived? Are you really there for a whole year? How was your arm twisted this far?? Have you had a potato?
10th April 2012

A Little Mud!
Well Michael, it's good to know you've settled in so well. Diplomacy is all in these places and you'd make a good ambassador! I'm in a wet and thundery France where I've just acquired a Renault Megane Estate left hand drive to keep down here! French bureacracy when it comes to registering and insuring it is just as one would expect! So you have to learn to live with the locals! Keep up the blog! Ann :)
11th April 2012

Start as you mean to go on!
Loving your blog, Michael! It would be great to see some pictures too.

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