Guernsey

The Island of Guernsey, sometimes referred to by its Roman name ‘Sarnia’, is located in the English Channel, roughly 30 miles from the French coast and some 70 miles from the south coast of England. The Island has an area of approximately 24 square miles and a population of 62,000.
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In addition to Guernsey, the ‘Bailiwick of Guernsey’ includes a number of other islands, namely; Alderney, Sark, Herm, Jethou, Brecqhou and Lihou.

Guernsey and the other Channel Islands, which Include the larger sister Island of Jersey,  represent the last remnants of the medieval Dukedom of Normandy, which held sway in both France and England. This is a key factor in the rather unique relationship the Island has with the United Kingdom.

Historically Guernsey’s deep water harbour meant that the Island held a strategic position in the English Channel and as such the coastline has been heavily defended with a wide range of fortifications, the most recent of which formed part of Hitler’s North Atlantic Wall.
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The Channel Islands were the only British soil occupied by German troops in World War II.  Many of the Island’s children were evacuated to England, but those that stayed (and indeed the German soldiers based on the Island) suffered greatly during this occupation and Guernsey’s ‘Liberation Day’ is remembered each year on the 9th May.

Although Guernsey is geographically closer to the Normandy coast than the south coast of England, it is a British crown dependency but is not part of the UK or of the European Union. However, the UK Government is constitutionally responsible for its defence and international representation.  The Lieutenant Governor is Her Majesty’s personal representative and official channel of communication between the Crown, the UK Government and the Bailiwick.

The Island has its own parliament called ‘The States of Deliberation’, this is democratically elected. There are no political parties in Guernsey.  The States of Deliberation is made up of forty five democratically elected Guernsey Deputies and two Alderney representatives, wthe power to raise taxation, determine expenditure and pass legislation.
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The Island has its own Flag which is white with the red cross of Saint George (patron saint of England) extending to the edges of the flag and a yellow equal-armed cross of William the Conqueror superimposed on the Saint George cross; the red cross represents the old ties with England and the fact that Guernsey is a British Crown dependency; the gold cross is a replica of the one used by Duke William of Normandy at the Battle of Hastings.

The Island is world renowned for being the home of the Guernsey cow, a creature that produces some of the most glorious rich creamy milk, and beef in the world.  This coupled with a strong ‘Growing’ (agricultural) tradition and our obvious ties to the sea mean that we are blessed with magnificent local produce which attracts some of the finest eateries on the planet.
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Finally, the people of Guernsey are referred to as ‘Donkeys’ by the residents of the other Islands.  It is believed this nick name comes from a trait they share with the Granite they live on as being stubborn.  (If you think that’s bad we call residents of Jersey Crapaud (toad), this being because, unlike Guernsey, Jersey has toads.)  That said Sarnians are a friendly and humorous bunch of folk as you are likely to happen on and this is reflected in the poetry you will find on this blog.
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These videos show you what Guernsey and the other Islands in the Baliwick look like in the summer;


- and on a stormy winters day



With thanks to VisitGuernsey for the top 2011 DVD and Yazzphoto for the bottom Video.

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