Jamestown high street Saturday afternoon!
My week started rather well with an invitation to Plantation house which is home to the Governor of the island.
The Governor is the Queen’s representative and so carries quite a high status to say the least. St Helena is without Governor at the moment but his number two arrived in St Helena on the ship that I arrived on. Its common practice here (and I suppose all British Territories) to welcome new dignitaries on an official level and for them to meet with the islanders. So 6.30 on Monday evening I was in a line of 100 or so people waiting to meet and shake hands with Owen O Sullivan the new Chief Secretary to St Helena. Drinks were flowing and a variety of very tasty canapés handed out. The noise level in the room indicated that a good time was being had by all and although I had a few thoughts about “taxpayer’s money”, it was a great way to meet some very interesting people and to get a feel for colonial life!
The Governor himself arrives on the next ship at the end of this month. Sadly I won’t be around to enjoy more hospitality courtesy of Her Majesty’s Government as I will be travelling home. When he arrives there will be a ceremony on the parade ground in town where he will be welcomed in style. The bunting will be out and hats will be worn, it should be quite a show. Earlier this week I heard an unusual sound outside my office window, the sound of marching! On further investigation I could see 15 or so fully uniformed police being drilled by their chief to march in time down the main street of Jamestown.
A couple of thought s came to me:
1) There must be more police here in St Helena with its population of 4000 than in my home town of Yeovil population 40000!
2) Perhaps if the UK police marched through town once in a while there may be more order on the streets!
On the work front I have been looking at what resources could be useful to the Tourist Office and the proprietors over here. There are a number of stumbling blocks which prevent things like online bookings of accommodation. One major one is that there are no credit card facilities anywhere on St Helena. No one takes credit cards because the Bank of St Helena doesn’t process them. If you book accommodation with someone here you have to send a money transfer to the bank or pay cash when you arrive. This is going to have to change pretty quickly owing to the pace at which bookings will come and go once the airport is a reality.
I am really looking forward to this week as I am starting my “Chef Patron” part of the project. It’s designed for anyone working in catering, whether restaurant or snack bar. We are going to be tackling menu planning, ingredient quality, consistency and food costings. Local produce and seasonal items which perhaps get forgotten are going to be part of the programme, some of which I have never worked with before such as Cactus fruit or Tungi as its known here!