My evening wanderings have taken me here today – L’Etacquerel Fort. Protected from one side by sea and the other by a deep dug moat, some enterprising individual has put it on the internet as an unusual place to stay. No beds, but it sleeps ten. No electricity. No running water. Compost toilets and hard benches and an open fire. Of course I’m immediately tempted. I could book it next Wednesday and Thursday for £340 and hang out with the ghosts, but it’s too much when I’m still not sure how effective my bureaucratic meanderings will be. It’s more for a party really. Confused Jersey teenagers and beer and spin the bottle and fumbles.
I’m sitting outside it though as the sun begins to fall, watching the horizon above that ancient stone. There’s nobody else near. Just the ever present roar of the sea and the various calls of the rare birds that flood this sanctuary of an island. No litter here either. Just the grass, the bluebells, a foxglove and me.
I was at Bouley Bay earlier. I remember it as a place where the grownups would gather to get tipsy and shout at each other. It’s quiet now, with the huge wreckage of The Water’s Edge Hotel making the corner – (is that where they used to go?) The letters have been ripped from the front by time and the same teenagers who have their parties at the fort. There’s just a scuba school at the bay now, and a little ill attended beachfront coffee shack run by “Mad Mary”. She’s Irish, and her madness manifests more as a persistent curiosity. She knows everything about me before I’ve paid for my coffee. I like her, but I’ve been pretty starved of human company so it’s nice to be asked questions.
Things are in process. Tomorrow I’m off to the registrar and then onwards into this mission I’ve set myself. Time goes so quickly. It’s hard to believe how fast it goes. I still can’t countenance how long ago it was that I lived here and the edges of this island were the edges of my world. But my ferry is booked for the 5th of June and even though I might have to extend it I’d prefer not to. I’m happy here though. If travel wasn’t so complicated and money was less of a restriction I might well come back here more often. The more I’m here the more I think I could live here again, with the sea and the birds and the ghosts. I’d have to find a home closer in feel to this fort than my beige hotel room first, though…