Postcard from the past: Jersey

“St Helier, Jersey”
by MacBeales is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

I’ve visited Jersey 3 times over the years – this ‘postcard’ is a compilation of all 3 trips.

1st Time – Summer 1987

At the tender age of 21 myself and three school friends stayed at The Merton Hotel in St Hellier.
At the time I didn’t have a passport and couldn’t be bothered to get one so travel abroad was somewhat limited. Jersey being just a one-hour flight from Bristol airport was also attractive, although flying has never bothered me at all. There were other attractions too. Until the 1990s pubs in mainland UK were forced to close between lunch and early evening. The thought of being able to wander to a pub and get a beer or three was a novelty and an experience we were keen to explore. Just typing that sentence some 30+ years later, makes me smile about what motivated me at the time. The joys of youth.

We spent much of the week in various pubs, bars and restaurants. I can also recall buying some cigars dipped in port and looking at gold chains in the jewellery shops.
I don’t think the weather was that great and we certainly didn’t spend any time on the beach. I do remember that we had a brilliant guest allocated to our table in the restaurant. He was probably late 60s or early 70s and had plenty of stories to tell us at meal times. I remember thinking at the time how sad it must be for him to be single and spending time in hotel in Jersey drinking whiskey in his room with only 4 young lads to speak with at meal times. However, he seemed content enough with his life and what concern of it was mine anyway?

2nd Time – Summer 1988

Clearly, I enjoyed Jersey enough to return the following year with the same group of friends. I cannot remember the name of the hotel we stayed in but I know it was in St. Hellier. This time we hired a car for a few days and did a complete tour of the Island. We visited the German underground hospital, officially known as the ‘Jersey War Tunnels’. It’s a really great experience and you have to feel for the many men who toiled away to
create the tunnel network. I think we visited the Zoo and also a number of beaches.

German Underground Hospital

I think the weather was OK during our time there but we didn’t spend that much time on the beach if I remember it correctly. We did visit a number of nice fish restaurants (one of my mates was well into his food and encouraged us to go to some really nice places).
One visit I can remember clearly, was to Le Braye beach. We wandered along the shore and came across a number of skate with their wings cut off. A bit gruesome but that’s life sometimes.

3rd Time – September 1993

5 short years later and I was visiting with Mrs Reggie on our 1st wedding anniversary. I had also acquired a mortgage and a house somewhere along the way. Incredible to think how different my life was from the carefree days of the late 1980s.
Instead of flying I chose to take the ferry from Weymouth, operated by Condor. It was an overnight crossing and all went well as the weather and sea were calm. We arrived to St. Hellier early in the morning and drove headed to our hotel, the Longueville Manor in St. Saviour, to the east of St. Hellier. It was a lovely old mansion house type of building and the rooms were quite luxurious compared to any hotel we had stayed in previously. We had a Corby trouser press in the room – what more could you need?

Longueville Manor in St. Saviour

We were only staying 2 nights so had to cram quite a bit in over the time we were there. I took Mrs Reggie to the German underground hospital (she didn’t like it one bit). We also visited the Zoo (again another must visit place). We also had Sunday lunch in a rather odd farmhouse type place – again I can’t recall exactly where. The food was good though.
We did a bit of window shopping in St. Hellier too but a lot of the shops were closed on Sunday and there wasn’t really anything we desperately needed.

Our time in Jersey passed all too quickly and we headed back to pick up the ferry early on Monday morning. The weather was far from good and poor Mrs Reggie spent the whole time sat on a chair outside on the deck for the return journey. I was in no fit state myself and thankfully some kind souls had fetched Mrs Reggie some blankets to protect her from the worst of the elements. It took me 3 hours to sum up enough courage to buy a cup of soup from a vending machine. It certainly helped and after drinking it I started to feel a bit better.

Arriving back at Weymouth we drove the car on to terra firma and parked up whilst I called my mum to ask her to go and get the cat from the cattery as we were going to be back home later than planned. We were both still feeling a bit green by the time we got home after 9pm…. Mrs Reggie has never quite forgiven me for putting her through this torture.
So, perhaps not terribly interesting stories but it’s a place I have fond memories of and I’ve often thought about returning to Jersey (and hopefully) will again one day. We will be flying next time….

© Text and images Reggie’s Mind Of Evil 2020

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