Retiring, March 2020 - sorry, you have missed our final public course.
The Coronavirus situation has lead us to suspend public training - which was on the cards anyway, with no plans to resume
Please ask about private 'maintenance' training for Python, Tcl, Perl, PHP, Lua, etc
Happily continuing private consultancy / programming work
An Open Source course on the Channel Islands
I trained on Guernsey
last week. My first visit to this particular island, and in many ways it felt more English than England, yet with a taste of France. A midweek crossing on the "Commodore Clipper" took me there, 7 hours from Portsmouth. Commodore Clipper is a smaller ship than most of the cross channel ferries that I'm used to and is short and squat; she bucks and heaves a bit even in what looked like fairly gentle seas - I have to say that's a good thing for me, as it helped lull me off to sleep. Others weren't so sure - there was a lady across from me who was telling folks that she was concentrating on the TV to avoid being sick!
As a general rule, I travel by land and sea to on site courses
. It allows me to provide one workstation per trainee for the duration of the course, to carry plenty of books on the subject I'm teaching
, and to arrive fresh and early on site with my own transport rather than having to trouble the customer for airport pickups, taxi runs during my stay, etc. "Just provide a room and the students ... we do the rest"
applies just as much to locatons on Guernsey as it applies to Manchester or Sheffield.
The two main Channel Islands are Jersey and Guernsey, each around 10 miles long. And there are smaller islands too - Alderney, Herm and Sark, famous for "The Dame of Sark" and its lack of cars. They're all just a few miles off the French coast, and were the only part of the UK to be occupied by Germany during the second world war. There's a number of museums here that recall those times; many are close for the winter, though, and I didn't have much chance to get to the others as I was there to work and I did so all day until Saturday.
St Peter Port on Guernsey is the Island's main town, and where the ship berthed. My hotel was just a few hundred yards away in narrow back streets, ovelooking the picturesque harbour. Parking there was nonexistant (I brought the car to carry about 10 laptops for my trainees to use during my course - for "normal" people public transport would be MUCH more sensible!) and in a touch of irony, the hotel's best offer was to "park back at the ferry". Good hotel though - most importantly it's got a wireless hotspot so that I could work from there. The kippers were good at breakfast, the old Georgian building gave me a few ideas for fine tuning of our place of a similar age, and my room was spacious.
Before arriving, I had heard that the speed limit on the Island's roads is 35 mph and I felt this was a bit cautious. Having seen the roads, I think it's about right. The busiest roads are still just country lanes that snake around the island, with high walls, hidden gateways from houses and blind corners at every twist. You're lucky if you can actually get up to the 35 mph. Oh - and petrol at 47p per litre; I filled up before my return.
The Channel Islands have a curious status; they're part of Great Britain, yet not a part of the European Community and much of their activity is centred on being a tax shelter. Even in January, they're busy. On return, I had no passport control, but had to go through customs as if we were coming in from outside the EU (I was!) with a 145 pound per person limit. And, yes, I had special "duplicate list" paperwork to allow me to carry all my tools of trade without getting hit for a further 17.5% VAT and import duty as I tried to re-import them into the UK. (written 2005-01-31, updated 2006-06-05)
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articlesG404 - Well House Consultants - On site venues 
Ruby training, half a world away - (2016-05-14) 
From Salford - (2013-02-19) 
10 reasons why I travel the night before a course starts - (2012-12-10) 
Best tenner I ever spent? - (2012-03-04) 
Every tenth picture. - (2011-05-17) 
Lua, Tcl, Python; Worldwide training classes - (2011-01-14) 
New Computers for delegates to use - (2011-01-13) 
Oddballs in Plymouth - (2010-10-08) 
Training Courses - time of change - (2010-04-19) 
Lua training class in Spanish - (2009-07-29) 
Last week - picture of the Perl course - (2006-06-02) 
A journey, an arrival, a people - (2006-05-21) 
Central London Courses - Perl, PHP, Python, Tcl, MySQL - (2005-07-18) 
Taking Equipment offshore to run a course - (2004-11-02)
Some other Articles
Tips for the topPost course support - part of the serviceA new skill may not be quick and easyAllow for peak traffic on your web siteAn Open Source course on the Channel IslandsCustomer service - examples to warn usPublished PhotographerThe wrong MySQLCurrent MySQL and PHP paths and upgradesSetting up a training room for a course
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