Herm is a tiny island with the most glorious beaches and wildlife, that has remained unspoiled. It is a favourite destination for many islanders as it is just half an hour’s boat ride away from Guernsey and has family-friendly restaurants, a lively bar as well as a hotel and rental cottages.
Our cottage was perfect for our family to all stay in, with enough comfortable beds and even a small garden area for us to relax in if the weather allowed! As I home school, my children, as well as run this business, everything has to be timed and can be hectic, so, I need time to chill. After finishing teaching the girls, I took the dog outside and looked up at the bright blue sky, heaven I thought, some time for just myself, to sit and listen to the sounds of the ocean and try to think of nothing.
I sat out on the grass in a field near the cottage and marveled at the number of bees buzzing around the flowers and surrounded by so many different plants and bushes.
June is a good month for Elderflowers, they burst into bloom with sweet nectar awaiting butterflies and other insects, before then being pollinated and turning into Elderberries. The scent is amazing, and I thought of how much my family loves Elderflower cordial and lemonade, in fact, we made it each year in France from our local hedgerows just a few years back until we had to sell up due to the Brexit issues and poor health.
Hmmm, I thought to myself, what else do I see? I walked further up to the top of the field which had a great vantage point that overlooked Belvoir Bay. This gorgeous bay sparkled like brilliant diamonds below the hill, surrounded by deep drifts of elderflowers, nettles, and blackberry bushes.
At this point, the excitement started to brew, I had a base for a new tea, now I needed the toppings for this ‘soon to be’ new tisane blend. I grabbed my notebook and phone to see what else was tucked away that may be a great addition to the blend and looked back into my own memories of my childhood visiting the islands. Those memories still echo now of strawberry jam sandwiches and salted crisps, ice cream, and picking blackberries in late summer.
That was when I rallied the girls together and we took a walk from the cottage through the narrow tracks that were only suitable for walkers and the occasional small tractor, down to the tiny village area that contains a gift shop, bar, and restaurant as well as the White House Hotel and restaurant, that is it, nothing else to disturb or distract you.
As it was a sunny day, some islanders had come across from Guernsey for lunch at the nearby Mermaid Tavern so, we all decided to visit there first, eat some lunch, and then retire to one of the beaches for the afternoon.
As we ate fish and chips, drank a good glass of wine, and watched passers-by, I decided that the Channel Islanders love Herm for its simplicity, natural surroundings, and love being ‘away from it all, Herm is indeed a great stress reliever of a place to be!
I wrote few notes down about what I was feeling during this break in our day, then, after getting the girls ready for the walk to the beach, we left the Mermaid and walked across to one of Herm’s most popular beaches, Shell Beach.
The honeysuckle was growing wild and smelt so sweet, Red Campion swayed in the soft breeze and the hedgerows were full of brambles and nettles. After crossing the Common, we arrived at Shell Beach with its glorious sand and turquoise waters, laid out the towels, and let the girls go off and explore.
After several hours, the sun started to head towards the far west and started to set. We packed up our towels and headed back towards the village and a chance to grab a meal at the Mermaid before heading back up the hill towards our cottage.
The sky started to deepen in colour, reds, pinks, purples, and turquoise that were so beautiful, we just stopped to watch the sky light up, all of us, the girls and dog included.
That is it, I thought, I need to add strawberries as a topping to this tea, one that echoes not only my memories of coming to Herm but also to paint a picture of the amazing sunsets that many a visitor has been blessed to watch. It is hard not to feel mesmerized by the vivid, flame-colored sky and clouds, setting over Guernsey to the West.
So, folks, I had now created Herm Evensong, my experiences of our stay on the island and its effect on my memories, and now my children’s memories of being able to visit such a remarkable jewel in the English Channel. This will be launched in August 2021!