Day 1 of my Jersey Guernsey Diary includes a dangerous toilet, a terrified octopus and a waiter called Ted. Read on to find out more.
Woke up Monday with the worst back pain I’ve ever had. I think I must have lay on it funny. Not the best start to the holiday. At the airport they had fancy massage chairs, £1 for 3 minutes. Grandad suggested it might help so we both had a go. Afterwards, my back was worse and Grandad had developed back pains too, so that was money well spent.
The thing I don’t like about flying is the 2 hour wait at the airport before the flight. They have some shops there to pass the time, but who wants to spend 2 hours going into WH Smith, Next and Dixons? You’re going on holiday, so the last thing you need is more baggage. I didn’t even know Dixons still existed!
We went to Wetherspoons for breakfast. You can’t go wrong with Wetherspoon. Unless, of course, you’re eating in the one at Birmingham International Airport. The place was hot as hell, the waiters had hidden the condiments and the food was barely edible. I had porridge and honey, which was bland and revolting. Grandad had a bacon sandwich, the bread of which wasn’t even buttered. So we weren’t happy with that.
I was, however, happy with the tannoy. It announced everything in different languages to cater for international travellers. Anyone who knows me will know I love accents and different voices. My favourite was the French woman who sounded quite saucy when announcing flight 211, or as she said it “deuh, uh, uh.”
We spent the rest of the time sitting on a chair staring at a poster advertising Ray Bans that removed ‘99.9% of glare’. It’s a shame the scientists couldn’t figure out that last 0.1% really. Meanwhile in Dixons, they were playing songs on the speakers. Or rather a song – Rude (by Magic). They played it on a loop and I heard it at least 8 times. God, I hate that song now. Why would they even do that?! Could they not afford more than one song to play? Or maybe it was one guy in charge of the music and he loves that song.
The flight itself was great. I do love flying, although the gliding slowly over the sea part can be a bit boring, so I was glad that ours was a short flight. We were on there for less than an hour!
We arrived in Jersey and we had a transfer minibus take us to the hotel. We had to wait a while before we left though, as he was also taking people from another flight. While we were waiting, a woman gave us some maps and we had a bit of a chat with her about Jersey. The wait was annoying because we were now in Jersey, so the holiday had started, but the first part of the holiday was waiting.
While I was waiting, I asked the woman where the toilet was. She told me it was through the doors and under the stairs. I went through the doors and under the stairs I saw this door:
I’ll be honest with you, that worried me a little. Why would there be a danger of high voltage in the toilets? Are Jersey men that powerful that their urine contains lightning? I had a wander around and found the toilets on the other side of the stairs. She really should have explained better.
We eventually got to the hotel. It was a nice enough room. It had a TV, which is the main thing when you’re on holiday isn’t it? It also had a bath/shower and a trouser press, though thankfully not in the same room. I’ve never used a trouser press. I was tempted to on this holiday, but, not knowing how they work, I didn’t want to ruin a pair of good trousers, so I didn’t use it.
I forgot to take a photo of the hotel, which would’ve gone here, so I tried to find one online. I could only find tiny photos, but I did come across this video. I love that video, because the bouncy ukulele music doesn’t match the slow, badly lit, uncolour-corrected video. I should’ve offered to do them a new video while I was there.
After we had a brief rest in the hotel, we went to explore a bit of Jersey – namely the shops. We found the high street after a 10 minute walk, and saw lots of those little independent foreign shops like Boots, Topshop and Marks & Spencer. Okay, it was mainly the big chains, but you’ve got to remember this is like town for the people who live in Jersey, so it can’t be all gift shops.
We then went to Elizabeth Castle. Bit of an odd name for a castle, not very manly. It was named after Queen Elizabeth I. I’m sure she was flattered.
“I’ve named this castle after you ma’am.”
“Thank you, but why?”
“Because it’s old and hard and there are a lot of German people trying to penetrate it.”
“Off with his head!”
To get there we went on a ferry. I say ferry, it never actually went anywhere near the water and didn’t look anything like a ferry. It looked like this:
What it actually is, is a van. We went by a van disguising itself as a ferry. For the most part of the day it’s low tide, but when the tide comes up, then it becomes a ferry.
On board the SS Ford Transit, they played a short safety video featuring pirates and then some muzak. This really made a beautiful accompaniment as we sailed/drove over the dirty sand, covered in seaweed and dirty rocks. The ‘ferry’ also had some cartoons painted on the side. My favourite was the terrified octopus:
The castle itself was very good. It was the first point in the trip where I actually felt I was on holiday. We watched as a gunman demonstrated to a crowd how they used to set up the cannons and then, with the help of some volunteers, he let one off – he fired it, I don’t mean he farted. That was exciting.
I also saw one of my favourite 17th century artefacts, the buggy:
We then walked up to the top of the castle, where I asked an old man to take a photo of me and my Grandad. With hindsight, he wasn’t really the ideal choice, as he decided to fill 90% of the frame with sky, whilst repeatedly stating “I’m no David Bailey.” Because that’s the only photographer anyone knows.
After the castle, we returned to the hotel. We decided to have a meal in the hotel to save wandering around finding somewhere. I had Jersey crab pasta with anchovies and spinach, which was very nice. Grandad had salmon with prawns, which he said was nice, but it had the heads on the shrimp, so when he took them off, he put them on the side of the plate staring at me.
We were served by a young guy called Ted, who spoke a bit to Grandad. He said the accent brought back memories of living in the West Midlands. He asked if we’d been to Jersey before and Grandad told him he had many years ago and then proceeded to tell the waiter all about how he and nan met, which the waiter thought was a nice story. Although he seemed like a nice guy, I had a feeling he was only feigning interest to get a tip, as he hardly spoke to us until we were finished with our meals.
Back in the hotel room, I had a bath and then it was time for bed. This was was where the trouble started. What I hadn’t thought about when we booked the twin room was Grandad’s snoring. At times it was like a pneumatic drill, while other times it was like someone pumping up a balloon. I just lay there, trying to get to sleep. Now and then I checked the time. 10:00 … 11:00 … 3:00. At 3am I’d had enough. I went down stairs to reception to ask if they had a spare room I could book to get some sleep. There was nobody in reception. I went back upstairs and after half hour or so I managed to get to sleep.
Tomorrow: the Jersey War Tunnels, the Glass Church and the Jersey Pearl.
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