Life on Sark Island
Sebastian Peake

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Sebastian, Fabian and Maeve Peake

"On a bright, mid-summer's day in the late 1940s, my father and I set off on the mile- long walk from our house, known as Le Chalet, former German headquarters of the occupation force, to La Coupee, the isthmus that separates Big, from Little Sark. It was a favourite spot from which to observe the two beaches 300' below, and from where on either side of the sheer drop, Jersey and Guernsey, the other two main islands, can be clearly seen in the distance, but I soon sensed a surprise in the making....

Illustrations From the "Sunday Drawings Books" Peake Made For His Children

Low Tide at Dixcart Bay, Sark
"From the high, grassy, sloping bank above the German-built narrow concrete walkway, Grand Greve bay lay calm, sheltered, open, and sandy in high summer, while its counterpart, the Convanche Chasm to the south, brooded; dark, eerie, and malignant beneath the granite cliff. But it was from this point, the Chasm on the dangerous side of La Coupee , that my father set off that morning with the intention of finding me an example of the semi-precious stones which, with luck, one can sometime find there. I now awaited his return, while not really knowing what he had gone to look for....

Jim and the Gold: One of Peake's Illustrations for Treasure Island
"Almost as soon as he set off, he was out of sight. Initially he took the barely outlined path to the stony beach below, but it soon gives way to shifting shale -- extreme caution is required in order not to plunge, as one or two visitors a year still do, to their death on the rocks below. After what seemed an eternity, but was probably only an hour or so, I saw my father's full head of dark hair, then his whole body, as it slowly came into view, returning to the grassy knoll on which I had been waiting. 'Close your eyes, and hold out your hand' he said, as we sat together under the midday sun. 'Now open your eyes' he said, as I felt the weight of the stone in my palm. And there, in my hand, was a beautiful green stone; a real topaz, and the most evocative gift I've ever been given."

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February 19, 2018
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