Jersey, May 2011

One cannot beat arriving in the warm Jersey sunshine having queued on the tarmac in the wind and rain at Belfast International. Having solved the three dimensional puzzle of fitting four cases, hand luggage and four adults into a Ford Focus we left Trevor to conduct us to the Greenhills Hotel in St Peter’s Valley.  He achieved this with consummate ease and we arrived to a very warm welcome and just in time for lunch!

Sun at last!
Ruins of Beau Couperon

Having thrown the luggage into our respective rooms, ours with direct access out into the gardens, we set off to ensure that nobody had stolen any bits of Jersey since our last visit. Thus it was: Shock! Horror! Trevor and Helen discover that the hotel of their youth in Rozele had been almost completely demolished. Not only that but the developer had gone bust in the effort.

Other highlights of the day, Seared scallops for lunch, a charcuterie of continental meats with caramelized figs and Sancerre at dinner.

First days pictures are here

We started our day on Sunday with a visit to an Antiques Fair at the Agricultural Society show-grounds.  It is great to find an event of this type which actually has antiques and curios rather that a lot of middle and far-eastern tat.  Trevor and Helen, avid Belleek Pottery buffs, found some 2nd edition pieces which they snapped up at a bargain price whilst I discovered a silver retractable toothpick to replace the one I inherited from my father and which was confiscated at Gatwick airport as an offensive weapon!!

Ransom's Cafe

All this wheeling and dealing left us with no option than to drive to Ramsay’s Garden Centre cafeteria for a spot of lunch. Definitely try the Lemon Meringue tart!  The Garden Centre does not open on Sunday – Jersey has fortuitously not got caught up in the trend for 24 hour shopping.

Suitably replete we headed to Noirmont a headland with an excellent view across to St Aubin’s as well as the bay at Portelet.

Portelet from Noirmont
Kriegsmarine anchor

As with many of the headlands it is well endowed with fortifications built by slave labour during the last, well the last world, war. DF (direction finding) tower 2, part of the island wide enemy locating system is located here.

Sail surfers in line

From here we progressed to St Ouen’s strand which runs for over three miles.

There was a fresh wind so we were entertained by a group of sail surfers as well as the light aircraft overhead. Finally, stopping for an ice cream at the van, invariably parked by the Military Museum, we wended our way back to the hotel via the cove at l’Etacq.

Our second day’s pictures are here

Monday saw on a shopping spree to St Helier. Well it was a spree for Trevor whose foray into Austin Reid’s resulted in a fine new blazer. The only sports coat I found that I liked turned me into a pretty good clown figure! From there to the central market which has some fine stalls, the most impressive being those selling fruit and vegetables.

Market centrepiece

We lunched in De Grouchy’s who offer a fine line in scallops seared in the pan with garlic oil and a side salad to make it appear healthy eating – who cares anyway!

Fort Leicester, Bouley Bay

From St Helier we drove up to the north coast stopping at Bouley Bay, another of those sheltered deep water anchorages and home of one of the many diving clubs and of Leicester Castle, a 19th century construction recently adapted to a holiday apartment for 8.

Of course it would not be a proper cove without a legend and a pub, both of which go by the title of the Black Dog.

Study in chains - Bonne Nuit

From here to the picturesque harbour of Bonne Nuit before heading home once again.

Tuesday was a quite affair starting with a visit to La Moye Golf Club pro shop and from there to St Aubin, home to the Old Courthouse Inn, well known for it’s  association as Diamanti Lil’s Bar in the Bergerac TV series. It’s well known to my age group anyway.

Diamanti Lil's Bar

Our next port of call was the other end of the island and the Jersey Pottery. Not only do they manufacture some very fine pottery including the Winespeak series of mugs, inspired and decorated with the cartoons f Ronald Searle and associated paraphernalia but they have some amazing driftwood sculptures by James Doran Webb.

The restaurant at the pottery would rival any I have been to for quality and quantity.  It is a cross between self and waiter service. Try the oysters and their mixed cheese and cold meat platter – enough for two!  They also have a fine line in Piersporter Michelsberg.

Trevor and I finished off the afternoon with a round of “Adventure” golf at the Living Legend park. I’ll not mention that I won by one hole and an outrageous hole-in-one.


Day four photos are here

We see no ships

We planned to visit the Eric Young Orchid foundation on Wednesday so started off with a trip to  La Rocque, another harbour with a crescent of sand made for family holidays. We walked out along the harbour wall from where one can see St Catherines in the distance. From here we followed Helen’s “purple” route to the foundations nursery and exhibition area.

This is not the easiest spot to find on the island, however, the effort is definitely worth it. There are 20,000 species of orchid believe it or not. I will expand on it here you can follow the link above.  They have some absolutely stunning blooms on show.

beautiful blooms

Lunch at the Poplars.  This is the quintessential tea room with the best selection of cakes I have come across anywhere. Everything is made on the premises.

From here to Ouaisne;  no! I cannot pronounce it either,  where there is a beautiful cove and some amazing sights as you may see here!

Amazing views at Ouaisne

Our final port of call was the Catherine Best studio. Set in an old windmill one is able to view and buy her creations – if one is not subject to normal budgetary constraints that is. Personally I prefer her sculptures to her jewellery  but I am unlikely to get round to owning any of either!

Day 5 photos are here


Windy day at Elizabeth Castle

Today, Thursday 26 March, is Helen and Trevor’s 47th wedding anniversary. We took the bus from the Living Legend to St Helier. If it went straight there it would have taken 15 minutes but, being Jersey, there is not a direct bus in May so we got the Island tour taking an hour and costing the princely sum of £1.70. The idea had been to take the DUKW out to Elizabeth Castle but high winds had grounded the amphibians so we took off on another spot of sightseeing.

Sail framing the lighthouse

We drove round via l’Etacq to La Pulente where there is a well known bar and restaurant with views across the bays.  This is the first and only time I have been served an inedible meal in Jersey.  I had ordered mussels in a wine and cream sauce.  I think that they had dried the mussels before throwing them into the washing up water.  Needless to say I was not charged for them.

The wind brought out the best of the hardy sail surfers and surfers for that matter and we were given some truly amazing impromptu displays.

We headed back to the Greenhills where Trevor had laid on preprandial Champagne and a celebration dinner starting with oysters and for me a lobster thermidore, served in the shell. What better than a Sancerre to accompany it. A truly excellent evening with impeccable service as usual.

Day six photos are here

Gorey skyscape

Our last day was a reprise of some of the favourite spots starting off in Gorey progressing to Greenisland and on to Ransom’s.  A wander round the front at St Aubin and from there to St Brelade to visit the Winston Churchill Memorial Park. Generally a not too strenuous day.

All in all a very enjoyable holiday with near perfect weather and great food and company.

Cars - the Jersey passion

Our congratulations to Joe and Carmelita and the staff of the Greenhills who contributed greatly to the enjoyment and, needless to say we have already made a provisional booking for next year!

Last set of photos are here


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