Small island

At high tide it’s nine miles long and five miles wide here. At low tide considerably bigger. It’s not as big as Greater London. In London you’re never more then ten metres from a rat. In Jersey you’re never more then ten minutes from the sea. And I’d certainly sooner be hemmed in by those breathing beaches than by the M25.

Despite it coming into usual tourist season, it’s not too crowded here. The roads can get grotty with grockles in season which is why it’s traditional to hate them. Right now of course everybody hates everybody everywhere. But at least those filthy people aren’t trying to turn round in the middle of the lanes, or haring along at 18mph. The island conversation still goes quickly to drivers going too fast. It’s small here. Very small. You are being watched.

We walk through the lanes together, my friend and I, and I am regaled with stories of the island. Scandalous gossip and descriptions of individuals who come across as larger than life. Their social gaffes. Their dreadful preoccupations. Even the manner of their deaths. The foxgloves are coming out in the verges. The birds are singing. Occasionally a dog walker exchanges pleasantries with us and complains about the traffic. Everybody has to walk in the road because the place is so damned small. We meet a nanny from Lancashire. If I lived here I’d know where she buys her socks within a week.

A quick visit to the greffe in the afternoon and I’ve got a lovely shiny grant of probate for my mum. It might help shed light on a bank account we missed.

Then off for another walk, this time around a reservoir. There’s a lot here, packed into this tiny space. The world is limited by the sea. I’m trying to get an old man to stop being so fucking stubborn. That’s my main work over here. Old men are known for being stubborn anyway, and this guy is ex army and be has lived on an island for his whole life. He thinks his narrow frame is wide, and instantly challenges and resists anything that conflicts with his worldview. I don’t want to stress him out as it might kill him. But I’m going slowly mad. He’s bad enough on the phone…

Anyway. One more day of week. We might be lucky. We might not… I don’t want to have to extend my trip. But I’m not leaving until this is in process…

I like it here. I’m having to make sure I’m not distracted by how much I like it here. It’s lovely. And it feels like home… I’m not ready to retire for another few decades but maybe I should sew the seeds so I can be just as much of an annoying old bastard over here in forty years time myself.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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