Postcard From Jersey
|An evening walk overlooking St Ouen's Bay, Jersey.|
We took the ferry over which always feels like we're travelling abroad, and this was heightened by all the French road names and other references on the island. Many islanders - including the owners of our cottage - speak a local patois based on Norman French. William the Conqueror owned the Channel Islands as part of the Duchy of Normandy, hence the strong link with France.
We weren't in the UK either, but a Crown dependency, so it was interesting to see how the island's government works and how this makes daily life familiar, yet subtly different to ours. One example is the island's maximum speed limit, of a mere 40 miles an hour. It fits the narrower, winding lanes and the multitude of blind T junctions we encountered.
Highlights of our week included many cliff top walks and bay side strolls, plus the sighting of red squirrels and a dartford warbler. The heathland by our cottage is a Site of Special Interest which also hosts a ruined 14th century castle and lots of German WWII fortifications.
Evidence of WWII is everywhere, so a trip to the Jersey War Tunnels * was a must for our only wet day. It proved a thought provoking experience and an insight into how life would have changed for us if plans to invade the UK had come to fruition.
However, we learned later some people see a positive side to this darker part of the island's history. Our guide at the Durrell Wildlife Park told us her 95 year-old mother recounts how the occupation helped build a much stronger community amongst the islanders and regrets its gradual loss over the last 70 years. More food for thought for me to ponder upon.
Talking of food, our visit coincided with the annual Tennerfest - a marvellous excuse to eat out a lot. There's plenty here to delight foodies and ordinary diners such as NAH and I alike, especially if you like freshly grown local produce or seafood. There's also a host of beach cafes to explore, all offering sea views to die for, plus unpretentious yet great food which doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
I also have a couple of garden-related items to tell you about, which I've saved for later posts.
* = the link to the actual Jersey War Tunnels page has sound and I've not found a way to turn it off, which is annoying. Therefore, I've linked to the Wikipedia entry in the main part of the post and given you the option to go to the attraction's page down here if you'd prefer.