Returning To Anguilla
Sandy Ground (Where We Stayed)
I'll be returning to Anguilla in July, for the first time in over 30 years. I was first there as a member of the Metropolitan Police, London, during the struggle for independence.
I spent three glorious months at Sandy Ground, where, along with about 8 other officers, we were guests in the upper floor of a house overlooking the beach. I was the cook and, after peeling the potatoes and preparing the vegetables in the morning, spent the rest of the day snorkeling in the bay.
One day, while busy preparing the evening meal, a snake came in through the door and headed towards my chair. I beat a hasty retreat and, because of the rumpus I was causing, so did the snake.
The lady owner of the house gave me a real good rollocking for not killing the snake. Apparently if a snake finds its way onto your property it will stay there and can be dangerous. I don't know if there are still many snakes on Anguilla - there are probably too many tourists now.
During my stay on Anguilla I travelled to most of the beaches and agree that they are the best in the world. I saw them before the arrival of the tourist - at that time there was only Blake's hotel in The Valley and another one down the west end of the Island (can't remember the name).
Now I'm returning, with my wife, two daughters and one son and their husbands and wife - eight of us in total to see the place I've been raving about for the past 30 years. Unfortunately we are not living in Anguilla but at the Sapphire Beach Club on St. Maarten - we own time share and it was easy to book an exchange.
I've no doubt we will be spending most of our time a 30 minute boat trip away on Anguilla. My wife and I have the family to thank for this experience.
My wife was 60 in December and the holiday is a present from the family. I hope it will not be 30 years till we return again.
Reply by Ken: A fascinating story, Alastair!
"Dickiebo," another member of that 1969 British unit, wrote a heart-warming story on the "invasion of Anguilla." It is full of photos documenting the times and warm relationships that developed.
It does not have all of the history correct (Anguilla actually did not want to be part of the St. Kitts/Nevis/Anguilla entity). But the rest of it, told largely by his photos from his time on-island during 1969, was a story of how "invasion" quickly became love for Anguilla and its people.
Thank you for sharing your story, too, Alastair.
And for those who are interested in Anguilla's history, you can read how the invasion fits into the timeline of Anguilla's history.