Another bright sunny morning, though there was a stiff breeze which added to the chill factor as we poked our noses out onto the balcony to savour the view.
After a late breakfast we packed our small suitcases, checked out at reception and stored them away in a small room provided for the purpose. I booked a taxi for 6pm that night and we ventured out onto the beach.
There were not many people about, not even any crazy swimmers thrashing across the now quite turbulent bay. With curiosity satisfied and no shells collected we headed for the bust stop into town. We arrived just in time to see it disappearing down the road. A check on the timetable indicated an hour wait so we decided to spend it usefully and headed back onto the beach and turned left from the hotel towards the headland.
There were a few other well wrapped hardy souls doing likewise. The beach, though very picturesque from all angles, is just that, a sandy beach. Not much life or even seaweed to discover, just as the hotel’s name suggests a golden and sandy. It gets more interesting at its extremes as the granite rocks form into pillars and crags. We climbed onto the headland and checking the time we opted to descend down onto the next smaller beach and have a look at the Martello Tower located centrally.
Everywhere you travel on this island you come across fortifications, often ancient from when the French and English didn’t get on with each other but primarily concrete structures from the 2nd World War. As a child I would have clambered in, on and around every one, but today I don’t. Possible through recognition that lobbing imaginary grenades and spraying fanciful machine gun bullets, shouting, “Acting, die kraut!” is just not PC anymore, but more probably that I don’t dive, roll, crawl or run nearly as well as I used to.
We returned to our stop just in time to catch the bus.
The people of Jersey and St. Helier have decided that the life, culture and ethics enjoyed by the rest of the UK in the 60’s and 70’s was ok and they are actively preserving it. They talk to each other (even strangers), they go out of their way to be helpful (they don’t walk on the other side), they wish the bus driver a lovely day and thank him for getting them safely to their destination and they close their shops on a Sunday to protect family life. This is happens on an island where 75%+ of the working population are employed by huge financial organisations, operating in a cut-throat 24 hour environment. And they close on a Sunday! Their government recognises that they are an island, have limited resources and space and enjoy a society that through legislation actively protects its cultural identity. You cannot live on this island, own any of its resources and fall foul of any of its ancient cultural laws without being penalised heavily. The people are law-abiding and crime is rare. Usually drunkenness and not surprisingly, financial fraud.
There is a much larger island not far away that could well learn from this little outpost.
After disembarking we wandered the pedestrian precinct for a while, looking in shop windows and reading the numerous historical information boards as we came across them. We climbed up via some very steep steps to the top of Fort Regent situated high above the town. It is now a very huge, smart, hi-tech sports centre, but there is lovely a historical trail that takes you around its fortifications. Well worth doing if you want to know about the history of this prominent feature of the town, exceptionally well presented.
Heads full of facts we returned to our wandering around the town until the rain started. Hurrying back to the bus terminus we caught the bus back to St. Brelades Bay.
Settling into the comfortable hotel lounge chairs, sipping suitable refreshment we watched the gale and wind slowly obliterate the lovely scene outside. Sue passed the time reading the available newspapers and I surfed the net. At 4pm we braved the now much less fierce weather conditions and trotted to a restaurant further around the bay for fish and chips. I watched the 4:0 thrashing of Man U by Chelsea on a little TV in our booth.
We returned to our hotel in time to get our taxi to the airport.
The flight was delayed by 1.5 hours and after picking up the car at Purple Parking we were home for 2am to a verrrrrry cold house.
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