My arrival in October seems many moons ago; in fact it has been only two months!
In that short time we have been setting the foundations for the upskilling of Saints who want to work in the hospitality industry.
This has been done by the creation of a small training restaurant which will pave the way for a larger more permanent training centre.
It was fortunate that a number of offices in Jamestown were being vacated in early November and one of them was perfect for a temporary training centre. The idea has always been to create a centre as a place to inspire people to work in the hospitality sector. This is because not only is it a great industry to work in for those with the need for full time work or a career. Many staff who work in the many hotels, bars and restaurants world over are part time and these are the folk who sometimes miss out on appropriate training.
With that in mind we set about planning the physical aspects of the building, setting up the format for the restaurant,
recruiting trainees and managing the many other aspects of starting up a new business.
Front room of the restaurant showing entrance
The journey from then to now has not always been a smooth one as the logistics of getting things onto an island 1500 miles from anywhere were just one part of the jigsaw.
Other snags included:
· Not enough paint of the right colour on the island for the restaurant walls…we mixed some up!
· Not having any decent halogen light fittings on the island, so carpenter Mark made some out of MDF
· Not having a safe staircase down into the basement of the building, again thanks to Mark who made a great staircase in less than a week!
· Sourcing tables, chairs, crockery & cutlery locally, many, many thanks to Hazel at the Consulate Hotel who has loaned us much of the equipment to get started and to all who have helped get this show on the road
· Getting enough refrigeration to hold food for the times between the ship’s visits
· Having to install a hot water system into the building and other plumbing nightmares, thanks to Dave Marr from Scarborough!
· Getting a cooker from Johannesburg to Cape Town in time for the RMS to carry it over here and getting it through the door once it arrived!
· Parts for the Three Phase Electric only available on Ascension Island 700 miles away
· Getting the cooker connected with permission from the authorities BEFORE CHRISTMAS!
When I look back on all this I cannot believe that we have gone from office to functioning restaurant in 8weeks!
Perhaps the pictures tell the story better.
After the best part of three months at sea the container with my belongings in it finally arrived in St Helena.
It should have only taken around six weeks but things came to a halt in Cape Town due to high seas which prevented containers being offloaded from the ship they arrived on from Tilbury.
So it missed the RMS to St Helena and had to sit on the dock side in Cape Town until the next sailing almost a month later.
Better late than never, in early December I was informed that my container had been deposited on the Jamestown Wharf and to go down to have it cleared by customs.
Anticipation was mounting by the second as not only did the container have household effects in it but also my car which I had been in two minds as to whether to send it down here.
Is this a VW Jetta?
It was a hot sunny afternoon and the wharf was full of people, cars, trucks and of course containers! The container’s arrival had coincided with the St Helena Christmas shipments, whether presents from afar or cranberry sauce and crackers from Tesco.
Talking of Tesco, it reminded me of the pre Christmas Tesco rush!
It took a while to fine a customs agent who was free and then a little longer to find a man with some heavy duty cutters to take the seal off the container.
Eventually the contents were revealed. As I hadn’t packed the container I had no idea how it was going to look when opened, especially since the communication about delays due to high seas off Cape Town. Where was my car? On first inspection it didn’t seem to be there as my belongings had been piled around it. Peeking over the chairs which were perched on the outside I could just make out the familiar silver of my VW.
A couple of hours later the car had been extracted from its temporary home and was handed over to one of the local garages for an MOT and to turn it into a St Helena Plated vehicle rather than a UK registered one.
Inspecting it closely revealed a few scratches and a small dent but it started first time and I am happy to say is in good working order.
It has taken me the best part of a month to unpack (yes I probably brought too much stuff) and now I am pleased to say my little rented house looks more comfortable and homely and almost ready for my husband’s arrival in February.
I had been told earlier that that one year the island's Easter Egg supply didnt arrive until June owing to bad weather delays so I guess I had been lucky!