Day 4 of my Jersey Guernsey Diary includes the smallest chapel in the world and the worst cafe in Guernsey. Read on to find out more.
People often complain when they go on holiday that the length of the stay is either too short or too long. I think we timed our holiday perfectly. We had Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning in Jersey, and then Wednesday afternoon, Thursday and Friday in Guernsey. This meant by the time we’d done everything we wanted in Jersey and were getting a bit bored, we moved on to Guernsey.
Not long after we got to Guernsey, we left it again. We’d decided to get a boat out to Herm. Guernsey has a few small islands nearby: Sark, Herm and Alderny. The last one is my favourite because it’s where the Womble got her name from. Although Grandad had been to Sark, he’d never been to Herm, so this was as much a new experience for him as it was for me.
Herm was lovely, if a little lacking in things to do there. Just off the harbour, there was a big gift shop. Other than a few dozen houses and a restaurant, that was about it for buildings. It did have a lot of beaches though. I was interested to see Shell Beach, so we headed for that.
Shell Beach was, as I had expected, a magnificent place. A massive beach with plenty of shells to pick. The weather had really picked up by this point, so it was a great time to be on a beach. We had a stroll along the beach and picked up some shells. I got about a dozen. I don’t know why though, because I’ll never do anything with them. It’s just nice to have them really. Before we left the beach, we sat and had an ice cream. I opted for the classic Twister.
The island is only 1.5 miles long and less than a mile wide, with a population of 60. We walked all around the edge of the island. It was a nice walk, but near the end I checked the ferry ticket and realised the next ferry back was in 25 minutes, with the next one being another 2 hours after that. I did not fancy waiting around on an island with nothing to do for 2 hours, so I picked up my pace and suggested to Grandad that we hurry a little. 25 minutes may sound a lot, but being on an island I’d never been to before and not knowing our way around, I was worried that we wouldn’t make it. We almost didn’t.
We got to the harbour with 6 minutes to spare. I was relieved. We couldn’t see the ferry or anyone waiting for it, so we asked a man if this was the right place to wait for the ferry back. He said it wasn’t. He said it was further down by the big steps. A sign said it was a 10 minute walk. Damn! We hurriedly walked to the steps. Grandad is almost 80, so obviously he’s not exactly the fastest walker, but I was determined to get to the ferry before it left. Luckily we did.
We got back to Guernsey and went back to the hotel to freshen up. Grandad went to the Information Point to find out where we needed to get the bus to the Little Chapel, so I took the opportunity to go off on my own for a bit. I do like time on my own, especially on holiday. No matter who I’m with, at some point in the holiday I get fed up of being with people and I need to spend some time on my own for a while.
I decided to go to the shops and buy Grandad’s Father’s Day card. I’d bought him a mug from the Wildlife Park, but I needed a box to put it in. I bought a nice wooden box and some tissue paper to wrap the mug in. I also bought him two cards: one from me, and one from my brother, who’d asked me to pick him one up while I was in the shop. He also asked if I could write it and put some money in there. Still, it’s the thought that counts.
I met back up with Grandad and he told me we needed to get the 71 bus, so we headed to the bus station. The next bus wasn’t for an hour, so we decided to have a drink and a snack in a local cafe. This would prove to be the most memorable part of the holiday.
I went up to the counter and ordered a ham and cheese toastie, a glass of cold milk and a tea. The woman on the till looked stunned. She scribbled the toastie order on a piece of paper (which also contained other orders and random notes to herself) and then attempted to use the till. The first problem was that she did not know the prices of any of the items on the menu. The person before me had ordered a ham, cheese and tomato toastie, which was on the menu as £3.60. The woman charged her £3.40. I was having a ham and cheese toastie, but she charged me £3.50. Now, I don’t mind that because it’s still cheaper than it should be, but how on earth did she arrive to the conclusion that a toastie with less on it was more expensive?!
She inputted the cost into the till and made up prices for the rest. “Tea is about £1.40, I think… and milk… £1.20?” I didn’t bother checking the price on the menu, but this woman was clearly not fit to take orders. If you don’t know the price of something, you should at least check, not just guess a random number and hope the customer agrees!
She then asked if I wanted anything else, so I said I wanted a cookie (for Grandad). After me explaining what a cookie was and pointing to it in the glass cabinet, she said “Oh… I don’t know about cookies.” What?! What is there to know? You don’t need a degree to sell someone a cookie! Anyway, she let me have one and charged me another of her random prices.
I sat down and relayed the experience to Grandad. Between us, we couldn’t stop laughing, but it only got worse. The table next to us had about 6 African women on. One of them had ordered a sausage roll. Nothing else, just a sausage roll. The woman from the till brought out a plate of chips for her. In what way can you get a sausage roll and a plate of chips mixed up?! Not only that, she got everyone’s order from that table wrong!
Like us, they were all waiting for a bus, so they had a limited time period in which to order and eat their food. They weren’t happy and made a lot of noise. I only prayed that I’d get what I ordered. After about 20 minutes, there was no word on my toastie, so I went up and asked the woman if it was nearly ready. She said it was and wandered off into the kitchen. From where I was, the only things I could see in the kitchen were a toaster and a microwave. It would not surprise me if that’s all they had in there.
Eventually I got my toastie. It wasn’t very nice. I wanted some red sauce for it, but to my surprise there was only 1 bottle in the whole cafe. I had to go and ask a stranger sitting at the other side of the cafe if I could borrow it for a minute. While I was eating my toastie, the woman from the till walked out of the cafe. She had her bag and coat on, so she’d clearly finished for the day. But the thing is, it was only 3pm. The cafe was still open, but she’d just upped and left. Did she not understand working hours? My guess is that she was fired. Grandad and I spent most of our time there laughing. We looked around and saw other people come in to order. “No! Go! Save yourself now.” Grandad joked. There was one old man with a beard sat on his own. “He was 21 when he came in.” I joked.
For the remainder of the holiday, the Terminus Cafe – or Terminal Cafe as Grandad nicknamed it – became a running joke. We kept joking that we’d go back in before we left or take mother/nan in next time we were here. But for now, we had a little chapel to see.
The Little Chapel was built in 1914 by Brother Déodat, a monk who wanted to build a miniature replica of a grotto in Lourdes. They weren’t lying when they thought up the name. Each room was big enough to fit maybe two people. It’s said to be the smallest chapel in the world, but nobody’s brave enough to actually confirm that statistic.
It was nice, but a bit odd. The walls and everything within them are made of bits of broken crockery. I’m guessing if he had more plates and bowls then he could have made it bigger. It only took about 10 minutes to look all around it and get some photos and videos of it. It didn’t really feel worthy of the 30 minute bus ride to get to it if I’m honest.
The next bus back wasn’t for another 40 minutes, so we decided to look in a little shop just down the road. It was a jewellers, clockmakers and gift shop, with the workshop out back. There were some nice clocks in there that passed some of the time away.
When we got back to the hotel, we went for a meal at a seafood restaurant that Grandad had stumbled upon earlier on his way to the Information Point. We went in and were greeted by an Italian man, who showed us to our seat. While we were looking at the menu, two paramedics came in and took a little old lady out into an ambulance. “I hope it wasn’t food poisoning.” I whispered to Grandad. It’s not very comforting seeing paramedics in the restaurant just before you’re about to eat. Still, eat we did. We both ordered Goujons of Sole with a side of broccoli, and Grandad had a green salad with his. The meal was very nice. Lee (my brother) had given us £20 before the holiday for us to have a meal out while we were here. The meal came to just over £40. Needless to say, we didn’t have a pudding.
On the way back, Grandad shared his thoughts on the hotel with me: “The hotel’s very good really… The beds are crap, but the outer brick work is alright. Just change the staff and it’ll be okay.”
Tomorrow: The final day.
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