This island is 46.14 square miles. The population comes in at 100,080. That’s 2,169 people living in every square mile. Compare that to The Isle of Man. 220.9 square miles, 84,287 people. Fewer people, well over four times the space. Ok, so the middle of the IOM is an almost uninhabited race track. Still only 381 people per square mile. That’s a hell of a difference. 5.6 times less dense in The Isle of Man. You can feel the space out there. It’s tight here. Although nothing compared to London.
Here, you go for a walk down the country lanes and to your right 20 people are pulling potatoes out of a field by hand. Six people walk past with dogs in half an hour and say hello. You stand aside for five cars and a tractor and wave at all the drivers. And you don’t really think about it. You just do it. Because everyone here is used to it. I took this photo to illustrate. It’s a normal sized two way road. They get much smaller than this, with much harder edges:
And added to that, it hasn’t stopped everyone driving around in great big SUV’s, honking their horns as they go. It’s worse than Chelsea. One of my friends over here has it completely right, nipping around in a mini. Why would you choose something else, unless you were anticipating taking loads of stuff.
I’ve got an SUV. It’s going to be full of shirts, bags and jackets. My uncle had so many shirts. Terrifying. He used to get them posted to him by the dry cleaners and then collected. But he probably had one for every day of the year. I’ve given so many of them to the charity shop it felt like I’d devalue them if I dropped them all. They fit me. I’ve got about 4 boxes of nice shirts that I can guiltlessly wear once and then drop in the charity shop. I won’t have to steal Brian’s when I’ve got an audition. He was the same shoe size as me as well, so now I’ve got variety in my audition shoes and I can chuck out some of my existing crap pairs. I’ll have to be more ruthless with the jackets, depending on how much I manage to ferry through the narrow lanes to the hospice shop tomorrow. It’s closed on Tuesday.
And boy the roads are narrow. Every inch of space is colonised, and the residents build low hard granite walls to demarcate their property. My car has a lane assist. I switched it off immediately. Hyundai is getting us used to automatic cars. If you cross the centre line without indicating it tries to correct you, while making disapproving beeping noises. If you take your hands off the wheel it keeps you on the road, and shouts at you. Handy for long distance motorway driving. But in Jersey it’s often either drive over the centre line or take a chunk out of your car on the edge of someone’s property. They’ll probably charge you for the wall repair as well, and they’ll turn out to be a multimillionaire retired lawyer with time on their hands into the bargain.
The population density though – it’s why there’s so much theatre here compared to The Isle of Man. Unless it’s TT season over there you haven’t got the numbers to recoup the investment of getting everything over on the ferry with box office. Four Poofs and a Piano can just about get away with it in the IOM because they’re off of the tellybox, as I discovered only after meeting them briefly. But here in Jersey there are friends of mine who aren’t from the island but bring freeform slightly experimental Shakespeare plays over and sell tickets for them.
I dunno, maybe I’m an island boy at heart still. I had a walk on the beach this evening and I felt totally at home. Just like I did in The Isle of Man I thought “I could live here”. Here more so than there, frankly. 100,081? So long as I could afford the regular flights to London I’ll be that one… Just a bit more profile please. Gonna land one of those tellybox jobs…