When we all got banged up last spring I could never have predicted that the next time – apart from Christmas Day – that I would share a meal with Brian we’d be in St Aubin and I’d be sober. But there we were this evening at The Muddy Duck, just down the bay from the church where we had my uncle Peter’s funeral. In the actual garden of the guest house where I stayed the last time I came here to try and do what I’ve just done.
We were served by bemused waiters who are likely only working as a favour to the owner while they fix a staffing issue. They seemed both nervous and unimpressed at these four noisy friends in the corner. The food though – it’s cooked by experts. Definitely the best meal I’ve had so far on this island. Sure, the saucier is a bit heavy on the mustard. But there’s got to be a Frenchman in that kitchen.
I wonder how much of my enjoyment was because of the company we were in though, frankly, even taking into account how much of what I’ve consumed up until now has been portable food. Sandwiches galore, occasional hydrated pots of gunk, lots of fruit, crisps…
We slipped back into old friends this evening around a table with a bit of shared history and a mirrored passion. Brian and Mel and Adam. Familiar faces unfamiliar in a familiar place. It’s good to eat with friends.
I had steak and lobster, and Coquilles St Jac and some sort of mocktail and we talked about all sorts of things including the passion that binds us in some way – making living breathing stories where you can get swept up in the world of them.
“It’s so easy to get to Jersey,” said Mel, and again the idea of moving back here and making art – it plays at the edge of my mind. To do that you have to complete twelve labours and then correctly answer the riddle of the sphinx. But I’ve just discovered that I can do that sort of thing if I set my mind to it. We all can. Our limits are mostly set by ourselves. It might be a thing. You can come back if you’ve gone away. I’ve definitely gone away from here. But to come back… Perhaps.
It’s been a hot day but calm. I stood a while in the waves up to my knees, feet sunk into white sand and eyes looking west and out across the vast Atlantic.
A couple of non alcoholic beers and plenty of coffee, lots of thinking and making a number of lists. Busy but contemplative day in the sunshine. My energy this evening was calm and grounded and I didn’t feel the pull of the booze despite past evenings well remembered with this crowd. In fact It was delightful to roll them all into the crowded back of the Audi with the gargantuan fucked cat box, and to drive them laughing back home.
I haven’t got back to the hotel after dark before. Parking is at a premium and it was all gone so I ended up trying to put the car in front of a garage but was told I was gonna get a big ticket for blocking the ambulance.
It’s ended up in a car park the other side of town and I picked my way back through drunk St Helier on a Saturday night. Alive but totally safe. Nothing worse than shouting kids and seagulls. It’s a nice place to be, this rock. And nicer still with old friends here.