Take Time to Smell the Roses

Do you ever fantasise about how millionaires spend their vacations? Do your dreams involve Lear jets, multi-decked cruisers and automotive exotica? Ten-star hotels with hot and cold running chambermaids? Been there – done that. I’ve piloted my private sea plane in the Seychelles, done the Orient Express first class, Concorde twice and private helicopter to and from the St Geran hotel in Mauritius. I even had my own private camel in the Sahara once – there’s posh for you! But frankly it holds no attraction for me anymore. So here I am… in… Sark! Check it out on the map – it’s in the Channel Islands off the coast of France. Welcome to the last unspoiled corner of Europe. There are no cars here – even the ambulance is tractor-drawn. Population 600 people, 2,000 sheep and a handful of assorted ducks, dogs and great clopping shire horses to pull the tourists around on ‘ye quaint olde horse carts.’

There are no clubs, one pub (mainly for serious hard-drinking locals only – turn your back on a rough night and you risk a bar-billiard cue in the back of your head) no cinema… in fact, let’s face it, there’s nothing ‘fun and exciting’ to do at all. So why do I love the place so much that this is my twelfth visit here?  Answer – it reminds me of what we have lost in the UK. You can… wait for it… actually hear the birds singing. At night, instead of a garish sodium haze there are (and you’re going to find this tough to believe) stars in the sky. Whole sweeps of them. The cliffs are ablaze with wild primroses and bluebells and the scent of wild garlic and gorse (which smells like Malibu!) fills the air. People say ‘good morning’ to you. Everyone walks or cycles. What’s all this got to do with your success and wealth? Search me! How can you think of something as vulgar as money when there are darling little baa-lambs to ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ at? I’m off to check that the six ducklings on the nearby pond are safely tucked in for the night.

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