Soggy start to the year

AS IF we didn’t all get wet enough in waterlogged 2012, Alderney revellers greeted 2013 in similarly soggy style.

The volunteer fire service opens its hoses on around 40 children and families who gathered in Marais Square for the now-customary New Year’s Day drenching.
The volunteer fire service opens its hoses on around 40 children and families who gathered in Marais Square for the now-customary New Year’s Day drenching.

AS IF we didn’t all get wet enough in waterlogged 2012, Alderney revellers greeted 2013 in similarly soggy style.

New Year’s Day is when the brave people of Alderney decide to dress up and dunk themselves in the chilly waters of Braye Beach and/or submit to the tender ministrations of the volunteer fire service.

The island’s second-wettest New Year event was at the Marais Square at 11am. Around 40 children and families gathered on the cobbles and prepared for a second wave of winter fun.

Alarms blaring, the fire engine came rushing down the street right on cue. Children’s faces lit up with glee at the prospect of what was coming next. Mobiles were put away for safety and out came the hoses. Dodging in and out of the range of the firemen, any person in sight got a merciless drenching – and loved it.

An hour later, around 50 plucky island revellers got the year off to a traditional teeth-chattering start at Braye Beach. Dozens more came to watch.

By some miracle, it had stopped raining and the sun shone down as tourists and locals plunged into the chilly water. Cries of joy – they could have been pain – pierced the air.

Some swimmers, as is now customary, went in fancy dress. Two Vikings, otherwise known as garden centre owner Jack Bingham and stonemason Andy Black, graced the event. Regular participant Tess Woodnutt dressed in an elf outfit and led the way.

As is traditional, swimmers and the hose-drenched wrapped themselves in towels, some in the season’s ubiquitous onesie, some imbibing a small tot of something medicinal to warm up.

It was a fun and upbeat opening to 2013 and it is hoped this has set the tone for the months ahead.