Today started sunny but soon lapsed into grey skies with occasional flashes of sun. The plan was to go into St Helier and visit the museum.
According to the timetable, there should have been a bus at the bus stop near the hotel a little after 8:30, so we went and waited. As usual out of town, the bus stop is just the word “BUS” painted on the road surface. At this point, there is a turn off from the main road into a smaller road beside us.
This gave rise to more examples of Jersey courtesy. Motorists stopping to turn right saw us standing on the side of the road and assumed we were waiting to cross. They therefore kindly halted and waved us across. To explain, we pointed to the word “BUS”, and they smiled and drove on.
According to the timetable, there should have been two buses within a few minutes of one another but after half an hour it was obvious that neither was coming and we resorted to sending a text for bus information. They reply indicated that the next bus from the stop was still over an hour away.
Just as we were discussing what to do, we saw a bus approaching in the opposite direction and decided to take it. We waved and he kindly stopped. There was traffic on the road but I hurried across taking my life in my hands and trusting to the courtesy of Jersey motorists. They did indeed refrain from running me over…
The bus route was a circular one so we still got to St Helier, despite going in the “wrong” direction, though it took a little longer than it would have done going the other way.
In St Helier and other towns, some streets are named in French and some are named in English. Still others are named in both languages. In these cases, the oddity is that the French and English names are completely different, not merely translations of one another. Here is a clutch of examples. The French often has more character than the English.
Today, everything was open, hurrah!, so we had a walk round and visited the beautiful Central Market, where we had coffee and took photos.
We were surprised at the number of jewellery stores there were in the Market but soon discovered they were even more numerous in the surrounding streets. Either we had discovered the Jersey equivalent of Hatton Garden or the people of Jersey are particularly keen on jewellery, clocks and watches.
Jersey Museum occupies 4 floors and the attic of the building. First you take the lift to the 2nd floor which is set out as the early 19th century Merchant’s House. The rooms are furnished as they might have been in his day, with the main rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the building with the nursery and schoolroom in the attic. I would say that this gave an impression of the houses of the time rather than being a true-to-life replica.
The main part of the Museum concerns the history of Jersey, told through archaeology for its ancient part and through relics and documents for the modern part. The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles that were invaded and occupied by Nazi forces during WWII. The occupation lasted for 5 years and ended amidst great rejoicing.
After the museum visit we decided to go for a bus ride. We took the 14:15 to Corbière, in the southwestern corner of the Island. Battered by the sea and the strongest winds I have experienced for a long time, Corbière is reminiscent of both Land’s End and Dungeness.
On a sunny day (and by now the sun had come out, fortunately), the place has a wild beauty to it. The only signs of wildlife, however, were rabbit droppings. Even the usually ubiquitous gulls were absent. Perhaps the wind was too strong and gusty even for these master flyers.
I thought it wise to jam my hat well down on my head and attach it with a hat-anchor. Although at times the brim fluttered like the wings of a bird, the hat never actually left my head but it was a relief to step inside the Corbière cafe and restaurant where we had coffee.
When we left the cafe to go to the bus stop, the wind had dropped slightly and we began to see wildlife. The first we saw were two wood pigeons sheltering in the bush. Then we saw some rabbits running about between the gorse bushes. A few more birds appeared, a crow near us at the bus turning point and, finally, some gulls wheeling over the buildings.
We boarded the bus and rode it as far as St Brelades where we disembarked for a look around. There would not be another bus for an hour, so we decided to start walking. Once more we found ourselves on a busy road without pavements so when, after about half an hour, we found a footpath going off the St Aubins, we gladly took it. We thought we might pause there for dinner.
St Aubins is quite a pretty town with a harbour and at least one Indian restaurant. We made a beeline for this and had an enjoyable meal.
By the time we had finished eating, night had fallen so we walked a little way along the seafront enjoying the view of the bay sparkling with lights. On returning to the bus stop outside the restaurant, we found that on this occasion we timed things well: within a couple of minutes, a bus came.
This deposited us at the Liberation bus station at St Helier. There would be a bus in 40 minutes for Grouville, where we are staying, so we retired to a cafe called La Pomme d’Or for double espressos.
At Grouville, we were faced once more with a walk along unlit roads to the hotel but this time we had our little Maglite torch to help us see the way. At the Museum, I had bought a keyring with an LED torch attached and this gives an impressive amount of light as well. This time, then, we had no trouble finding our way home.
Back at the hotel, I found a small box waiting for me on the bed. “What’s this,” I enquired but Tigger merely responded with a mischievous smile.
When I wake up in the night I like to know what time it is. Aware of this, Tigger bought me a gift today when I wasn’t looking. It is a talking alarm clock: press the button and it speaks the time. It can be set to speak automatically every hour or to do so just when you press the button.
I just hope that my checking the time at night does not disturb Tigger’s slumbers.