Growing up here really helps explain my attraction to water. Everywhere you go, the sea is there with you. In my wanderings today I ended up a few times on beaches. They just pulled me in.
I stopped the car for a second, got out and looked at the beach and the channel. They say there’s a man in St John’s and he’s never seen the sea. I can kind of believe that of the people here. It’s small and it can give you an island mentality where you artlessly assume that the global population is really only about a few thousand people but you don’t need to look beyond the ones you know already.
Not being in a Jersey car makes me a marked man. The roads are tiny. So narrow. I know this and in the past I’ve driven Jersey cars here and not experienced this. All the Jersey drivers are very used to maneuvering in limited space, and they assume nobody else is. None of the roads are faster than 40mph and they assume everybody but them wants to drive at 90. But you can’t, and you won’t, and you don’t need to. The island’s roads are like the wet dream of some bastard London planning counselor who comes into every meeting and suggests “maybe we could make it sound like fun to call it a 20 mile an hour borough”. But … you can’t really go much faster than 30 here. They’re all two way roads with enough room for one car. You get very used to watching for stopping spaces and waiting in them when necessary. There are even turnpikes in some of the towns as they take up less space than roundabouts. And the etiquette of the turnpike. You go in order. You don’t jump the queue. As Jersey drivers just assume that nobody else gets it. And every Jersey car starts with a J on the license plate.
I’ve been in those Jersey cars. They hate grockles, and here I am with my obvious UK car. Even the hire cars are branded with a bright red H at the start of the plate. There’s no escaping being known if you aren’t a Jersey car. And you’re a pariah. You needn’t do anything, you just have to exist and the other drivers have moving lips and hard eyes as they come by on the other side. There’s no honking, we’re all far too polite for honking. There’s just polite hatred.
One order of business was to drop off a print of the Jersey Races that I sold on eBay. I brought it over on the ferry as it worked out a little cheaper than it would have done sending it by Hermes – plus Hermes would’ve danced the mazurka on it, shot it three times and thrown it in the sea. “Hi this is Hermes. Your package has been delivered. We chucked it in the water off Cherbourg.”
Tomorrow is Friday and so an admin binge before hopefully getting some more plates spinning. And I’m beginning to settle in my doss house. “You’re saving about £30 a night compared to all the other places. You might as well just have a nice meal every so often and stay where you are.” And by God she’s right.