Day 3 of my Jersey Guernsey Diary includes a holiday crush, a one-eared pensioner and Dame Judi Dench in a public toilet. Read on to find out more.
On Wednesday I was woken up by the sound of traffic and construction work going on outside. Still, it wasn’t as bad as Grandad’s snoring. I went and met the aforementioned Grandad downstairs for breakfast. I opted for a cooked breakfast. Since it was self service, I had sausage, bacon, scrambled egg and hash brown. Oh, those damn hash browns. I picked one up, but the tongs were red hot, so I dropped it. The hash brown fell into the beans. I picked it up with another pair of tongs and tried to shake the beans off it. As I did, the hash brown split in two and one half flew into the scrambled egg. So that was a pain.
Talking of pain, my back seems to have cleared up now. About time.
After breakfast, I went back to my room to finish packing and came up with a new game: Confuse the Cleaner. Basically, I tidied everything perfectly – towels folded, bed made, complimentary toiletries unused – to make it look like it had already been cleaned. Hopefully the cleaner will see the tidy room and think “Did I already do this room?”
I then met Grandad and we had a walk into town. On the way he was on about the weather and shouted “Come on sunshine!” At which point the man in front looked around and moved out of our way. That made me smile.
I saw a sign in the Entertainer for a SmarTrike. I can see what they’ve done – merging the words ‘smart’ and ‘trike’ – but it looks just as odd written down as when spoken. “Oh this trike is very Smar.”
We got to the bus stop and decided that we’d head out for a trip to the Durrell Wildlife Park. It’s a good system they’ve got at the bus station, with all the bus stops having a letter and a timetable beside it. My favourite was bus stop A. Why? Because of a conversation I genuinely overheard;
“Which stop do we need to go to?”
“I said which stop?”
The bus took us past some very nice scenery, but my favourite sight was a public toilet. The sign outside one door said “ladies and dames”. I don’t know if it was a themed toilet or what, but I love the idea that if you go inside, there’ll be Maggie Smith, Kelly Holmes and Judi Dench queueing up to use the toilet.
Whilst on the bus, I also overheard a conversation between some tourists who were telling each other about their hotels. It gave me an idea for a sketch, which you may read here if you like.
The Wildlife Park was nice, although we didn’t see nearly as many animals as we had hoped. Not because there wasn’t time, but because they just weren’t there. And if they were there, they were sleeping.
For the first 20 minutes we never saw a single animal. We walked through a bird sanctuary bit and didn’t see one bird. Grandad joked that the noises were probably just on a tape recorder. I think there may have been a certain truth to that. Maybe they lost some animals and just told everyone they were ‘sleeping’.
The animals we did see were mostly sleeping, or at least not very active. Although it’s a shame we travelled all that way and didn’t get to see monkeys swinging or lizards dancing, I didn’t mind too much, as the animals are being held here against their will permanently, so we can’t expect them to be performing for us 24/7.
The animals were nice though, including the gorillas, the orangutangs, the flamingos and my personal favourites, the frogs. I don’t know why, but I was mesmerised by the frogs. Such nice movement and character. There was also a woman in the Fruit Bat room that told us all about them, including the fact that they are diurnal, so they sleep at night (unlike most bats, which are nocturnal and sleep in the day).
The best thing about the Wildlife Park for me though was a girl in the cafe. She looked just like Clara from Doctor Who, and I was smitten. Sadly I wasn’t served by her. I spent most of my time in the cafe staring at her and was sad to leave.
In the shop, I bought a present for Michael. I also saw a mug that had a monkey hanging off it as the handle. I showed Grandad and he agreed it looked nice. After we left the shop, I wished I hadn’t shown Grandad the mug because I would’ve liked to have bought it him for Father’s Day. I decided it didn’t matter if he’d seen it – if anything it assured me that he’d like it – so I pretended I needed the toilet and went back in to buy it. The woman put it in a box, but it was too big to fit in my bag. I didn’t want Grandad to see I’d bought something, so I asked her if she could remove the mug from the box and wrap it in some tissue paper or something so that it would fit in my bag. She didn’t understand my request, and after several attempts to explain to her, I took the mug out of the box myself.
When we got back into town, we had 2 hours to kill before the coach to the ferry to Guernsey, so we wandered around some shops, had a couple of drinks and then sat in the hotel lounge area listening to pan pipes playing in the background. Ugh, how I dislike pan pipes. At least it wasn’t Taylor Swift though (see Day 2). Ugh, how I dislike Taylor Swift.
If there’s one thing I dislike more than pan pipes and Taylor Swift – and there’s not a lot I’ll be honest – it’s waiting. I hate doing nothing, I like to keep busy and do something, otherwise it feels like I’m just wasting small bits of my life. But with waiting it’s worse, because you know in an hour or so you’ll be doing something, but for that hour you have to sit there and just do nothing until the time passes. While we waited I played a few games of soduku and solitaire on my phone and did a bit of writing, but it was still a boring hour.
We got to the ferry port, checked in and sat down. Then we had another half hour wait. It was at this point I started doing some people watching. I noticed that the guy who checked us in looked uncannily like Dick Van Dyke. When Mike and I are out – usually around town – we point out people who look like celebrities. On the holiday, I’d already seen a few, including Christopher Biggins on the bus to St. Hellier, Sandy Toksvig (voice only) on the bus to Durrell and of course Jenna Coleman in the Durrell Cafe.
In the seats opposite us were a few old ladies who were talking incessantly. One woman, who looked like she thought she was quite posh, had bits of chocolate around her mouth. On the ferry, there was another woman who was just as irritating. She kept pointing out things that weren’t what she thought. The first thing she spotted was a lighthouse. It was actually just a buoy. She also spotted a toy boat (a speedboat) and a diver (a duck).
As we got off the ferry, we were in the line behind a woman who kept telling everyone she had a bad arm and generally moaning. I thought “Jeez, I bet her husband wishes he had no ears.” But to my surprise, he actually did have only one ear. One ear! The right one was missing, there was just a hole where the inner ear was. Despite the initial shock, I actually think it looked cool. In fact I’ve gone right off ears now. I mean, what do you use the outer bit for anyway? You’ve got the ear lobe just dangling there doing nothing. It looks ugly.
We got to the baggage reclaiming place and the woman was shouting at her mono-eared man. “I said move to the back! What’s wrong with you?!” … He’s got one flamin’ ear, that’s what’s bloody wrong with him! And I think that’s a pretty damn good excuse for not hearing you properly love. Although, I suspect she’s been with him for many years and has grown weary of his impediment. She did say something on the way out that made me smile. As she ushered him down the corridor she said “Keep on… Just keep on keeping on.”
When we left the ferry port, we were picked up by a coach to take us to the hotel. When we were picked up from the airport and when we were picked up from the hotel, we were in small minibuses with a few others. But this time, we were in a 33 seater coach with no other passengers. Not quite sure how that works out. It wasn’t an ideal choice of vehicle either, as the roads in Jersey and Guernsey are very narrow, so you can barely fit two cars on them. It amazed me how the coach drove around the island, down narrow side roads and turned tight corners without any problem. The driver’s seat also kept bobbing up and down. I’m not sure if it was something to do with the suspension, but it didn’t just happen when we went over bumps, it kept bouncing up and down every now and then. I think he’d just installed a hydraulic thing to entertain himself on long journeys.
We arrived at the Best Western Moores Hotel and checked in. I enquired if they had any spare rooms, explaining the snoring fiasco, but they were fully booked. I made a note to buy some earplugs before the end of the day. The room was very nice. Bigger and better furnished than the one in Jersey.
Grandad and I left the hotel and had a wander around the town centre, which is mainly one long high street and a market square. It’s a nice shopping area. The streets have cobbled pavements, and there were a few buskers too, but not the generic Wonderwall-wailing generic buskers you get in Birmingham. These buskers were playing Italian songs on acoustic guitars or strumming unexpected classics on an electric guitar-styled mandolin. I did manage to get some earplugs too, which I was pleased about. We went into Boots to get them, but we couldn’t find them initially so we asked a woman where they were. The woman in question was stacking earplugs on a shelf right by where we were standing. Oops.
After a brief time shopping, we went back to the hotel for our evening meal. Again we’d decided to dine at the hotel to save having to find somewhere on our first evening here. The restaurant was a stark contrast to the Jersey hotel. It was so posh! The waiters were all in suit and tie. They greeted you, took your coat (if you had one) and led you to your table. They offered you wine, bread and anything else they could get you sir. The waiter also placed the napkin on my lap. This was the first time a waiter had ever done this to me, and although I knew of the practice, I wasn’t expecting it. So when he whipped up the napkin and waved it around to open it, I genuinely thought he was about to do a magic trick! I had the monkfish, as it’s my favourite fish. It was quite nice, although I preferred the crab pasta from the Jersey hotel. The food here was also much more expensive, with mains starting at £16. We decided we wouldn’t eat in the hotel restaurant for the rest of the trip – mainly because we couldn’t afford it.
After dinner, we retired to the bedroom. I had a bath and a read, ate some snacks and then tried my earplugs out. They worked perfectly. I got a great night’s sleep.
Tomorrow: Shell beach, the Little Chapel and the Terminus Cafe.
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