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Piers and Lin du Pré are the owners of the Fleming 55 Play d'eau, based in Beaucette Marina, Guernsey in the Channel Islands at N49° 30’.197 W002° 30’.350.

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My 65th birthday celebrations!

Shell Beach with the family playing cricket
click to enlarge

Wow! What can I say apart from thank you so much to Lin who had arranged days and days of celebrations involving all my immediate family to come to Guernsey for the long Bank Holiday weekend and beyond for my 65th birthday.

For months, Guernsey had been suffering from rain and strong NE’ly winds, but as soon as the family began arriving the winds died down, changed direction to blow from the west, and best of all the sun appeared and shone bright and strong in clear blue skies. I had no idea that Lin could arrange the weather as well….

Our four sons and their families began arriving on Monday 29 April. My sister and brother in law, Hilary and Christopher Finzi, and two of our dearest friends, John and Beryl, arrived on 2 May with the last of our children the next evening. Rather than all 17 of us staying on Play d’eau (!) Lin had block booked us all into holiday apartments in L’Erée on the south west coast of Guernsey.

So what happened?

Whilst waiting for everyone to fly in over the next day or so, we spent time on the beach with the children playing cricket, digging for Australia, making dinosaurs out of pebbles and hunting for shells, especially the Cowry.

Friday 3 May

With blue skies and a hot sun, we all took the Trident Ferry from St Peter Port to Herm and had the most wonderful day on a virtually deserted Shell Beach. Whilst we all walked from Rosiere Steps, Kiffer, my brother in law who has difficulty in walking, was driven by Rose, the Herm gardener, on her quad bike.

We spent the day hunting for Cowry shells, playing cricket, eating picnics, trying our best to devour all the luscious Herm ice cream on sale at the Shell Beach Café, and covering ourselves with anti-sun burn lotion.

At 1600, Rose returned to collect Kiffer and we caught the 1635 Trident Ferry back to St Peter Port.

Saturday 4 May

Celebration lunch at Pier 17
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From L’Erée, all 17 of us caught the 1102 bus to St Peter Port from where we took the short walk to the Pier 17 restaurant where we were greeted by Chef Seamus. With the best table overlooking the harbour, we ate and drank to our hearts desire (and a bit more) from 1130 to 1600. The food was really excellent and the wines just perfect – especially the Zinfandel!

Sunday 5 May

After a ‘gentle’ start to the day, 15 of us boarded Play d’eau, donned lifejackets, listened to the skipper’s brief, and cast off bound for a round trip to see Herm’s Shell Beach from the sea.

From Beaucette, we threaded our way along the Corbette Passage and Percée Passage before heading for Belvoir and Shell Beach.

The sea was flat calm under blue skies and another hot sun. It doesn’t get better than this!

That evening we had a huge BBQ, eating large quantities of the Perelle Butchery’s gorgeous sausages and burgers hunted out by daughter-in-law Charlotte who’d negotiated a good price for the unusually large order!

Monday 6 May

After a morning under another hot sun on the sand at Port Soif playing endless games of cricket (I haven’t had so much exercise in ages), our sons and their families headed for the airport for their various return flights to the mainland. Many big hugs and tears of goodbyes were made amidst cries of ‘when are we coming back?’ from the grandchildren.

With our children and their offspring gone, it was suddenly quiet. Too quiet – we were missing the grandchildrens’ endless laughter and chatter. However, a sumptuous supper was prepared and devoured before we tried to watch a movie but in truth, we watched the opening credits and fell asleep.

The next few days were taken up with shopping, walks, working on Play d’eau, and eating at La Nautique.

Thursday 9 May

En route in Play d’eau to Shell Beach
heading between Herm and Jethou
with Sark in the distance
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John and Beryl caught the Blue Islands 1325 to Southampton. I say ‘caught’ but they almost didn’t. We were so involved in chatting in the airport lounge that we became oblivious of the time until Lin suddenly said, ‘You must go.’

Hurrying to Departures, we said our tearful goodbyes and they disappeared towards security. As Lin and I went back upstairs to watch them leave, we heard the PA system calling for them. A few moments later, an even more urgent request for them was broadcast with the threat they’d be offloaded if they didn’t appear immediately. Where were they?

Finally, we saw them hurrying toward the small Jetstream aircraft with John trying to hold his trousers up! Apparently, he’d kept setting the alarms off in security and despite many searches and frisks, nothing could be found. He hadn’t even had time to put his belt back on….

What next?

My sister and brother in law are staying on for a while. With my birthday on Sunday, we’ll be eating at The Restaurant at Beaucette Marina and next Thursday we’ll take the Condor fast cat to Jersey for a few days.

What it is to be 65!

Piers
from the Saloon of
Play d’eau
Fleming 55

You can get in touch with us any time by using our Contact Form.

Shell Beach Cafe
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The gorgeous colour of Herm lichen
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A deserted Shell Beach
as the family hunts for Cowries
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My sister Hilary and husband
Christopher Finzi on Shell Beach
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Grandparents and two grandchildren
hunt for Cowries
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The hunt for Cowries intensifies
Herm ice-creams are dependent on the result!
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‘Found one!’
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…and the winner is?
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Diccon takes aim…
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…and scores the first ‘six’ with a brilliant stroke!
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Our dear friends, John and Beryl
always insist on paddling
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Golden sands, golden Beryl
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Would you like some of my seaweed?
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Lin with one of our four grandchildren!
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About to leave Shell Beach after a glorious day
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Boarding the Trident for St Peter Port after Rose had driven Christopher to the dock
on her quad bike
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Our eldest son’s two children
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Lin and a tired granddaughter
arriving at St Peter Port
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Two tired Mums after the day on Herm
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Leaving Herm on the Trident Ferry
after a glorious day in the sun
on a deserted Shell Beach
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Adam starts with Champagne and Charcuterie
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I always wear my Aunt’s sunglasses
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Uncle Toby with an armful of nephews
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This is my bestest uncle Adam
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Adam and Didi
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Do I have to share him?
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Our 4 sons & 4 grandchildren
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Creativity in sand and pebbles
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‘Almost through to Australia’
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Didi with two of our grandchildren at L’Erée
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Two cheeky weasels
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Come on Dad, let’s get going….
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Leaving Beaucette through its narrow entrance
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Almost through…breathe in!
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Our eldest son sizzles the sausages for a BBQ
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The sausages all a-sizzle!
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11 comments to My 65th birthday celebrations!

  • Pip Flynn

    Sounds like you all had a fantastic time celebrating Piers’ 65th birthday (albeit slightly early). Long may the celebrations continue! The photos are superb – and weren’t you lucky with the weather.
    Px

  • Patrick J. Colahan

    Happy Birthday. Here is wishing you all the best.

  • Thank you Patrick. Always good to hear from you! How’s Paloma doing?

  • Charlotte AKA Daughter-in-Law #2

    Finally got chance to look at your website…some great pics! We all had a fantastic time, and were so lucky with the weather. Grandchildren #3 and #4 (Oscar and Maia) can’t wait to come back and visit again…and promise not to break any more bits off Play d’eau!! Hope you have a fantastic time in Jersey with Hil and Kif. C :o) xx

  • Patrick J. Colahan

    Doing great, we are waiting on new furniture for the flybridge, expectations are for delivery first of June. Next weekend May 25th through the 27th is our Memorial Day weekend. We have about 14 boats planning a trip to Bremerton, WA. First trip of the season. I have been working to get everything ready. Should be a lot of fun. Music, food, exhibits, friends and hopefully, some sun. Several of our friends are into home brewing their own beer. They are very talented, looking forward to sampling their endeavors.
    All the best to you and yours.

  • John and Beryl

    Awesome time – awesome memories. We so enjoyed the family, the place, the fun… and the weather – can hardly now believe those blue skies! And the photos bring it all back – Wow! Lots of Love, J&B.

  • Mojca

    Dear Mr. du Pre!
    I hope you do not mind my writing to you. But recently I came across the film made after your and your sister’s book, and I would like to drop a line or two to Mrs. Hillary but cannot find her email address. Could you provide it for me? I would be very grateful.
    Thank you in advance! My best wishes Mojca

  • susana

    Just to say I loved the book, I think to tell the true story is good, no offence to your, sister. I am from Spain but I love Enghish literatura, and your costums and your country. I think you are so lucky to be enghish. You had so courage to explain everything about your family.

    Best wishes

    • Thank you so much for your kind comments. The book took a long time to put togther and was the result of many interveiws, hundreds of Jackie’s letters and many diaries. Pure truth. Again, thank you.

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