We do like to be beside our very own seaside

Post-staycation observations by Peter and Thérèse Tabb from their eyrie on Queen’s Road

A latte at Colleen’s, Greve de Lecq (30552173)
A latte at Colleen’s, Greve de Lecq (30552173)

SPURRED on by a JEP supplement and local television advertising (featuring a former Chief Minister at leisure), we’ve done our bit. We’ve enjoyed another staycation and boosted the local hospitality economy. This time we stayed at a quaint seaside resort known as St Aubin and in a sea-view room at the Somerville Hotel.

We stayed two nights and, although the promises of holidaying in Britain’s sunniest resort didn’t quite live up to meteorological expectations, everything else did.

However, this time we didn’t leave the car at home, since the Somerville is halfway up a steep hill or halfway down an even steeper one. Some years ago we spent a similar break at the Havelet Hotel in Guernsey (when our sister isle was rather easier to get into), where there was a bus stop at the bottom of the hill so we could walk down to it and a bus stop at the top of the hill so that from there we could walk back down to the hotel.

As well as at the hotel, we also dined at the Smuggler’s Inn, which neither of us had visited for years – great food and service and, despite social distancing, a great atmosphere.

Similarly with a lunch at the Moulin de Lecq Inn – again, very good food and service and realistic separation of the customers. Roll on normality!

We also enjoyed morning coffee at Colleen’s along the quayside at Grève de Lecq, a very popular spot, since it was well patronised on a weekday morning and, evidently, mostly by locals.

There’s always something unusual that happens on breaks like these. Boss Lady has regaled friends and family with how Man about the House (having dropped her off at the St Aubin Post Office alongside the Harbour Gallery, in case you didn’t know) drove, as it were, around the block to retrieve her and managed, despite her standing expectantly by the railings on the appropriate side of the Bulwarks wearing a striking mustard jacket and waving furiously, to drive right by her. His claim that he was expecting her to be on the other side of the road so just didn’t see her was greeted with appropriate disdain. And some quite colourful language. Guess from who.

Man about the House had also, a week earlier, managed to put himself in Boss Lady’s bad books by managing to burn out the clutch of her car. Praise for the AA and Number One Recovery, but a touch of the angry silence from elsewhere.

During our staycation we visited one or two parts of the Island not usually on our regular itinerary. Like Grève de Lecq, which is about, it seems, to undergo another transformation as radical as knocking down the old Pavilion. Who recalls regular star Stuart Gillies (once referred to as ‘Steve McQueen with kneecaps’ by a then JEP colleague – no offence, Stuart!) in the late Dick Ray’s extravaganzas when the Pavilion became Caesar’s Palace? Caesar’s Palace is now a row of faux fishermen’s cottages but very evocative, nonetheless.

We took our staycation before the latest easing of restrictions on our movements and this piece is being written before Easter, so the joys of further liberation are not yet in place, but we are looking forward to the Easter break and a family get-together. We are also waiting for our second Pfizer jab, which hopefully will not be long in coming.

The piece last month which featured liberty bodices caused several comments from readers. These varied from the academic who thought the phrase was an oxymoron (look that up if necessary) to the more modern ‘a what?’. Reference to the aforesaid liberty bodice stemmed from a time when school uniforms were very much de rigueur.

Boss Lady, being educated at the Convent FCJ in David Place. was outfitted by Southwood & Mackenzie in King Street while Man about the House, attending Victoria College, was kitted out by Le Poidevin’s a few doors further along. In those far-off days, the now ubiquitous black and gold trimmed blazer was worn only in the summer term (when the prefects boasted boaters), so Mr and Mrs Tabb Senior also had to fork out for a grey flannel suit for the other two terms. Sad that Southwood & Mackenzie, Le Poidevin, John Collier (the Fifty-Shilling Tailor), Top Shop and even Burton are now names from the past, not the present.

Man about the House recalls that, being a fan of the TV show The Avengers, whose leading character was the actor Patrick McNee (alias John Steed), who was always very smartly turned out, he ordered a bespoke suit from Burton (they did them in those days) which included a flap over the breast pocket just like John Steed’s. The curl of the lip of Burton chief tailor was wondrous to behold.

He doesn’t know whether it’s Covid or just his own advancing years, but Man about the House is finding it more and more difficult to keep up with Boss Lady and her iPad, which keeps opening up new worlds of interest for her. She has become very interested in watermills and has enrolled herself (and ’im Indoors) in a group dedicated to restoring Gigoulande Mill in St Peter’s Valley. Gigoulande Mill is pretty much a ruin, but the group are keen to explore whether or not the ruin can be renovated. Man about the House did impress you know who with the knowledge that Gigoulande Mill was unusual in Jersey in that it had two overshot waterwheels, a fact he thinks he picked up from the local history classes run at the College by the late Mr Melville Green.

If watermills weren’t enough, Boss Lady has also been Zooming to study local butterflies. Therefore monitoring lepidoptera will be added to the eyrie’s interests. Man about the House, always eager to show off his own knowledge of even such bizarre beings as butterflies, made rather a fool of himself by asking about the butterfly called a Pink Lady, only to be informed that a Pink Lady is actually an apple.

Talking of things spherical, readers might be interested to know that the balloon purchased on 22 December to celebrate Boss Lady’s birthday is still in being, although he or she (whatever gender a balloon is) has now become seriously deflated and is barely capable of supporting the weight of the streamer that prevented him or her or it taking off into the stratosphere. It’s sad, rather like seeing an old and treasured friend slowly declining. It can’t be too long before that last of his, her or its helium is used for just one or two Donald Duck impressions. Sad.

It is a year since we penned our first view from the eyrie overlooking Queen’s Road last April and, for all of us, it has been the most unusual that we have ever experienced.

Writing on All Fools’ Day that the world was being closed down by something brought about by bats in China was almost as credible an April Fool as Richard Dimbleby’s spaghetti harvest on BBC’s Panorama and the JEP’s yarn that an elderly German soldier had been found living in a bunker in Trinity three decades after the Occupation’s end.

In one of those early columns, we mentioned a saying uttered by John Lennon: ‘Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.’

Be warned. Keep safe and keep well.

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