Cows and Potatoes

A new port of call for us when we woke up this morning – St. Helier in the Channel Island of Jersey, or the Bailiwick of Jersey to give it its correct title.  Jersey is the largest of the four main Channel Islands, the others being Guernsey, Alderney and Sark.  Jersey is most famous for its Jersey Royal potatoes and, of course, the light brown Jersey cows which produce the high-cream content ‘gold top’ milk.

The Adonia had dropped anchor and we were up bright and early to get the liberty boat across to the island for our “Coast and Countryside Panorama” excursion.  The sun shone brightly although there was still a brisk breeze.  Our first impression of St. Helier was how pretty it was; the rugged coastline, the gorgeous blue sea, whitewashed buildings and little crab and lobster stalls, along with attractive little souvenir shops and seafood restaurant.

Jersey is only 14 miles from Normandy in France, so although it is a British Crown dependency a lot of the place names and street signs are very French.  In fact, there are three official languages spoken in Jersey; English, French and its own regional language called Jèrriais, which looks and sounds a cross between English and French.

We set off on our tour bus along the fantastic coastline to the north-western parish of Saint Ouen and our driver, who was also our guide, explained that the property prices in Jersey were very expensive; an average three-bedroomed semi costing around half a million pounds!  So we won’t be moving to live there any time soon.   🙂

We stopped briefly for a photo opportunity where we bought some postcards and stamps to write out later.  Then we continued on our way, eventually stopping at Jersey Pearl in Saint Ouen, where we were given special offer vouchers for a free pair of pearl earrings with any purchase.

Jersey has its own oyster beds and as well as cultivating the oysters for eating, they also culture their own high-quality fresh water pearls.  I love real pearls and like to buy the pearls loose so I can knot them onto silk myself, but I didn’t buy any this time as I’d bought some last year when in China.

While at the pearl shop my mobile phone rang; it was one of the job agencies who’d seen my CV on one of the online job boards and was calling to see if I was still looking for work.  In light of recent events I said I was, and spoke to them for a while to tell them which jobs I’d be interested in.  I was also waiting to hear back from a temp agency with a job I could potentially be starting on Monday; wouldn’t that be a great chance to stick two fingers up at my current employer!

Back on the bus we continued on our way to see the Jersey war tunnels.  Jersey was under total German occupation during the whole of the 2nd world war and there is still a lot of evidence of this around, including the tunnels and the remains of some German lookout towers.

We next went to the picturesque Bonne Nuit in St John’s parish.  This is a small natural harbour which used to be used for smuggling in the 17th and 18th centuries but is now mainly a crab and lobster fishing port.  By this time I was quite hungry and could really have eaten some delicious fresh shellfish, so I was hoping to find a cockle and mussel stall somewhere.  🙂

Once we were back in St. Helier, we decided we wouldn’t go straight back to the Adonia but would fulfil my quest for some seafood and then go and find a pub to write out the postcards and enjoy a nice cold beer.  So we set off towards where we remembered seeing some seafood stalls, about a mile away.  When we got there, however, they were only selling lobsters, crabs and some uncooked prawns as well as the only cooked shellfish which was prawns.  No cockles and mussels.  So we got a big carton of fresh king prawns, and ate them as we walked back along into the main town.  They were delicious.

We had a look around the shops where everything seemed to be expensive in keeping with the rest of the island.  We then found a lively-looking pub that had tables and chairs outside, so we got a pint of beer each and sat outside, where I wrote out my postcards.  We noticed that the pub had free wi-fi, so we went inside with my laptop where I could check my emails over another pint of beer.  As we were doing that we noticed a Royal Mail van pull up outside, so Trevor took the postcards outside to ask the postman where the nearest postbox was, but the postie just took the cards and put them straight into his post sack.  Good timing.  🙂

At about 4.00pm we decided to get the tender back to the ship as the last one was at 5.00pm and we didn’t want to risk it being full.  Dress code on the Adonia tonight was elegant/casual, and of course we had our packing to do before disembarking the ship tomorrow morning.   However, we first of all had to visit an off-licence to obtain a bottle of something for the long bus journey home tomorrow; we ended up getting some Cava out of M&S.  🙂

We also wanted to be sure not to miss today’s sailaway deck party, so we could redeem our Peninsula Club vouchers for a free glass of champagne.  🙂  Up on deck, a local band called Acapella Brass had been invited on board to entertain us with some lively British tunes, so there was a lot of singing and flag waving.  We spotted Charlie and Linda, and Charlie was wearing a Union Jack waistcoat; Trevor also has one but he didn’t bring it as we didn’t know there was going to be a ‘British’ theme to any of the parties.  We enjoyed our champers in the sun and then went back to B117 to get washed and changed for dinner.

After dinner we nipped back to the cabin to finish our packing, then we went along to the Curzon lounge for the final cabaret act this cruise, and we were pleased to see that Anthony Stuart Lloyd was performing once again.  As ever, we really enjoyed his show.  Then it was up to the Conservatory for the last time for the syndicate quiz and we didn’t win.

Then back to our cabin for our last night on board, after putting our cases outside the door.  😦

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