One of the many odd aspects of island life is that the concept of being “a local” is really important to us, yet no two people have precisely the same definition of whether you’re in the club or not. Go far enough back and every family immigrated here at one point or another, yet people can get very particular about establishing their exact degree of local-ness.
There are parts of the island where it gets more than a little Royston Vasey as soon as the sun goes down, but for lots of us describing ourselves as locals is just an affectionate way of saying you love the place you live, whether it took you five months or five decades to call the place home. There are also people who completely reject the idea, either because they are recent arrivals who don’t like it here and can’t actually wait to get on that fabled “boat in the morning” or because they’ve been here so long that they’re sick of the sight of a population who share most of their DNA. Where do you fit in? Are you somebody that will spill blood for a parish rivalry, or are you the sort of person who’s lived here long enough to own property but couldn’t pronounce Haute Croix if your life depended on it? As always – the answers are in the quiz.
1. How long does it take you to bump into somebody you know in the centre of town?
A: I’ve wandered around for hours trying to get reliable directions to the bus station
B: During my lunch hour, no more than ten minutes
C: Even in the middle of the night, no more than half an hour
D: I hate town, it’s been full of tourists since we got rid of Hitler
2. Which of these best describes your home?
A: a bedsit rented from a couple in Grouville, who own nine of them. It’s damp
B: a two bedroom flat costing £1900 a month, the owner has a connecting door that
opens straight into our bedroom
C: a heavily mortgaged three-bedroom cottage worth as much as an entire Welsh village
D: a six-acre granite farmhouse that has been in our family since the dark ages.
No idea what it’s worth, morve
3. Which of these best describes your attitude to Guernsey?
A: Is that the little harbour with the castle above it?
B: It’s the same as here, but with even less open space
C: It’s a necessary evil, but don’t ask me when I’ve had a few beers
D: *15 minutes of spitting and swear words in Jerriais*
4. What’s your idea of an unnecessarily long journey?
A: The drive from St Malo to Sweden
B: The drive from London to Cornwall
C: Crossing the middle of the island on a Saturday
D: The time it takes me to get to the big Co-Op
5. Do you view Fort Regent as…
A: Somewhere I’d like to visit when I get the day off work
B: A place to play squash or watch stand-up comedians
C: A sad symbol of all the good things we’ve let slip away. Bring back rollerdisco and The Krankies
D: last time I looked, somewhere used to house soldiers and store coal
6. How shocked are you if somebody married a second cousin?
A: This is an odd question to ask somebody in the 21st century
B: Appalled. Surely that’s not legal?
C: I pretend to be shocked, but we’ve all done it at least once
D: Second cousin? So your first cousin wasn’t good enough for you, eh?
7. What’s do you think is a healthy amount of alcohol to consume?
A: A beer every few days and half a bottle of wine over the weekend
B: Whatever the government says is a recommended weekly amount
C: The recommended weekly amount, but consumed on a Friday night
D: Calvados and Breda have kept this island ticking over for decades: man, boy and cow alike.
Ladies drink Babycham.
8. Which of these best describes your expectation of a Sunday afternoon?
A: I do laundry after attending church
B: Barbecues and dogs everywhere
C: Illegal to dance, buy flowers or rent a VHS
D: The only time off for the people who work in my fields, mah luv
9. What do you know about somebody from learning where they went to school?
A: Nothing, unless you’re talking about England’s famous St. Trinian’s or Hogwarts
B: If they went to school in Jersey, they don’t know what school dinners are like
C: Precise social class, family’s religious background and likelihood of being on the board at work
D: Whether I’ve ever mud-wrestled them to defend my family’s honour or settle a debt over a borrowed cow
10. Do you think the island is overpopulated?
A: No, there is green space everywhere and nobody has to live on the beach
B: Yes, but Guernsey is worse
C: Yes, everybody who immigrated here more recently than me should leave
D: Yes, even St Ouen is overpopulated. It was a lot nicer when the entire population could squeeze into the Parish Hall together and turn off the lights
How did you answer?
Mostly As: You’re not that much of a local yet, in fact you’ve probably not been here long enough to decide whether West is better than East. Give it a couple of years, you’ll be complaining about the traffic and house prices like everybody else
Mostly Bs: You’ve lived here a few years, but are still baffled by the pronunciation of road names, the occasional family name and why people are so upset at the absence of a swimming pool at Fort Regent. You only expect to afford a mortgage if you win the lottery.
Mostly Cs: You’ve lived here long enough to blend in, regardless of your origins. You might be from Namibia or Hawaii, but you can curse Guernsey and tell people to get on the boat in the morning with the best of them.
Mostly Ds: Hello granddad. You’re as local as a lump of radioactive granite, and the only reason you are reading this magazine is because you’re at a hospital clinic for squinty sun-eyes, Breda-related liver damage or “genetic diversity complications”. Please don’t write me out of your will though.