It’s the fashion to knock our Island. The Jerseyman is an inveterate grumbler anyway, but the rise of social media – blogs, forums etc. has seen the rise of a sizeable claque of malcontents who seem to take great pleasure in knocking and criticising everything to do with Jersey whilst rarely acknowledging that there may, just may, be points in favour.
Yesterday I had the good fortune to be able to spend the day with two first-time visitors to Jersey. They were sisters Naomi and Constance Baltuck, originally from Detroit but now residents of Seattle, Washington and Juneau, Alaska respectively. Naomi, an author/storyteller, I felt I knew already via her awesome blog, whilst Constance is a talented artist. They were perfect company.
So we set off in the car, a gorgeous sunny day. What would my visitors think of Jersey?
- First stop La Rocque Harbour. A stroll along the harbour wall, boats bobbing easily at anchor, views of the coast and Seymour Tower, a chat with a couple from Yorkshire, regular visitors. Back on the slipway we found the bullet marks which bear witness to the German bombing raid on the defenceless Island in June 1940 which killed three people right here before moving on to inflict further fatalities. I hope those guys were happy with their work.
- St Catherine’s Breakwater ,’The Harbour That Failed’, and a chat with Simon Smith the amazing sand sculpture man. Also nice to see the German bunker, formerly a popular viviers is now revived as a turbot farm, but it was shut today.
- Rozel Harbour. Park on the hill, stroll down the pier, still plenty busy with holidaymakers in late September. The little cottages and fishermen’s barraques are enduring curiosities. And the legend that is The Hungry Man where we grabbed a coffee. You wouldn’t want to be in a rush ordering here but it’s an institution that we need to support to keep it going.
- Devil’s Hole. Many years since I’ve been down here, an attraction since Victorian times.
- The War Tunnels. If your visitors have only one full day then this is the one must-do visitor attraction. Constant upgrading means that this remains a powerful and moving experience and my visitors were duly impressed. A pity the gift shop is so cheap and tatty with a woeful selection of Occupation books. It brings down an otherwise awesome visit.
- Grosnez Castle. An unplanned diversion which turned out well with plenty of photo ops.
- Corbiére. A drive-by turned into a stroll across the causeway, always an interesting experience. And well done to the ice-cream man who accepted euros.
- Noirmont & Portelet Commons. My favourite part of the Island and the background for my novels A Jersey Midsummer Tale and Tess of Portelet Manor. An idyllic hour as the sun set reluctantly leaving a gorgeous, soft light behind. Drinks at the Old Portelet Inn – good that it still serves a nice Real Ale as well as doing a good food trade.
- Roseville Bistro, another institution that has been serving good food since before I rocked up in Jersey in 1977. Seafood chowder and scallop salad for me – perfect.
- Funchal Paradiso Restaurant. Rewind 24 hours to the previous evening to Colomberie where we were pleased to discover a small, friendly establishment serving good Portuguese cuisine at very reasonable prices.
A near-perfect day for me in the company of two gorgeous, intelligent and appreciative companions. I hope our paths cross again someday. But I feel so sorry for those that live here and fail to appreciate the many attractive aspects of the Island – many of them free of charge.
I’ve gone light on the images on this one. I know Naomi will be following up with a much better effort than I could ever manage, in due course.