With time to kill before the annual office dinner last night I baulked at the prospect of battling the mobs in the town centre bars with my work colleagues. Instead I mosied over to The Wellington on the edge of town. I recalled that it was to here that I fled 24 years ago as my first child was being born at the old maternity hospital down the road. I wasn’t the first or last father to do likewise. Yesterday I was told that the Liberation Ale was ‘off’ as no one bought it there. This good old Jersey boozer sells not much more than Mary Ann beers and lager to its clientele. This strange taste in beer might explain why most old Jerseymen are cantankerous, but nevertheless it was a nice change to spend an hour in one of Jersey’s fast-disappearing old locals.
For some reason it put me in mind of my darts-playing days with the Bagot Inn team back in the late 70s. The Bagot was, and is, the epitome of the Jersey local. I lived a stone’s throw away and used to spend my spare time drinking pints there and trying to improve my dart skills. Eventually I was recruited onto the pub team mainly because I was (a) available and (b) able to drink with the best of them.
We used to travel to away matches by minibus which enabled everyone to drink away merrily during the matches. I was rubbish, winning only three matches in the one full season I played. One evening I turned up for a home match only to discover we were in fact away at La Moye, the league leaders. I jumped into a cab and arrived just in time to be beaten two straights in about three minutes by John Couppey, one of the La Moye stars of the day. 0-8 we lost that night. Chic Channing our captain reimbursed me the cab fare though!
On another night we played at the old Corbiere Pavilion on the south west tip of the Island. There was a fierce storm that night and the landlord, rightly figuring that no police would venture out to check on the matter on such a night, served on for an hour after closing time.
That night as on many others the journey back included a rendition of Alouette, complete with hand actions, led by an old fellah called Vernon. I’m certain the Bagot still turn out a team but I doubt it’s as rubbish and happy as ours was.
Alouette, gentile Alouette
Alouette je te plumerai