Wednesday 31 August
BA, lunchtime flight after just under two weeks of guests, both friends & paying (Homestay) and we find ourselves on an full (of mostly spectators from the bike racing) Embraer 170 Jet to London City when normally the service is operated by a prop plane.
Cloud over the Midlands but fine weather over the Essex coast and good connections using our Oyster Card to Gatwick where we do have a few hours to pass before we are off to Jersey.
Bonus: we find a £20 note in Gatwick airport and flight to Jersey on time with 2nd bonus: a £10 note found at Jersey airport before Ali picks us up. Harry asleep when we get to their house.
Thursday 1 September
Sarah & Ali both at work so we take Harry to Elizabeth Castle on the amphibious vehicle ((duck)) although as the tide is out we only travel on land.
Harry not sure of man who he called a “pirate” but was in reality a guy dressed up as an Elizabethan Soldier who gave a talk in the courtyard.
The thought of a loud bang from the cannon made him scared again but he did like the German built bunkers (left over from the WWII Occupation) and the walk up the stairs to St Helier’s Hermitage.
In fact when the cannon fired he just accepted it as it wasn’t when we thought it was going to be.
The castle is a fascinating place showing structures from early days to the time of the German Occupation of the Channel Islands.
We used to live in Jersey and one of the places we lived in was overlooking St Aubin’s Bay where the castle is situated so for about 5 years we had seen the castle every day we were on the island with our middle daughter even working there for a few years in her teen years.
Possibly only the third or fourth time we had been in the castle though.
Friday 2 September
Take Harry on the “Bessie Bikes” which is a strain on both our legs as the bikes are old and very heavy.
For our one hour, we only manage a cycle to First Tower and back, probably a distance of two miles – Harry says when he is taller he will be able to help by peddling himself!
Then off to The Coronation park for a couple of hours, Harry loves the zip wire and the big orange swing , goodness knows how many times he went on them.
Ali had arranged for us through his work, to have a short test drive in a Kia Sportage and whilst we had it only for about 40 minutes, it was on trade plates so the small sized roads were a challenge. Nice car though and one to consider when we are changing ours probably next year.
Saturday 3 September
Harry shows us his surfing skills at Ouaisne, managing to kneel up for a couple of waves – impressive.
The downside of the day was me getting a wasp sting but thanks to the beach cafe, Kismet Cabana, who provided a frozen bottle of water, the swelling and sting effect was marginally reduced. (Red swelling and itching still in evidence a week later – mark of sting still there when we left Jersey).
Sunday 4 September
A trip on the bus to St Aubin and a ride back on the mini train whilst Sarah runs a Lifesaving course followed by lunch at La Fregate.
Harry not particularly well tonight but hopefully will be better by tomorrow for his big day.
Monday 5 September
Harry’s first day at school with Sarah & Me walking up to the school with him. The traffic!
With at five schools in the vicinity catering for children of all ages it is no wonder there are lots of cars as the bus service for schools is not good to say the least.
A part of the walk involves walking on a pavement no wider than about 4 foot and guess what, cars wiz by at 30 mph (or illegally, more) – it is a recipe for an accident.
No breakfast club for him today as it is his first day. He was warmly greeted by the staff and didn’t seem too phased by it, certainly not upset.
Sarah cycles off to work and I walk back before Sal & I head out for breakfast at Colleen’s at Greve de Lecq, a paddle in the sea and a lazy day.
Collect Harry after school rather than send him to after school club on his first day. He doesn’t say much about what he did though!
Tuesday 6 September
I take him to school myself – he has settled in so well he tells me to go once he has put his things on his peg; you know when you are not wanted!
We go off to St Peter’s garden centre for coffee with Pam Hainsworth which turned into a lunch as well – so much to catch up on.
Harry not happy when we pick him up from after school club, he was crying as there was “nothing to do” but perhaps we had picked him up too early. He soon got over it though.
A meal out tonight for us with Laura & Jim at the Windmill in the north of the island. Food good but a very limited menu and no deserts offered, I don’t think they have a desert menu!
Wednesday 7 September
Ali and I take Harry to breakfast club to show Ali where to go. Ali jogs back home to get his car rather than sit in the enormous traffic jam that forms from St Saviour’s School to town at this time of day – well over a mile and a half – whilst I turn the car around and return to their house sitting in the jam.
Morning coffee with Sue Thorne at Le Quesne’s garden centre and after lunch I walk into town to visit NWB but have to wait for about an hour to see someone, then off to Trek Plus, which is closing down soon, to see if there are any bargains.
There weren’t but Sarah had yesterday found a North Face jacket reduced to £50 from over £200. Bump into Mark & Sarah Baudet who I hadn’t seen for about 14 years and who I had worked with when in Jersey. The walk up the hill back to Sarah & Ali’s is a hard hill to climb.
Thursday 8 September
Battle of Britain Air show day and the schools are closed for the day. Sarah @ Ali have to work though so it is our turn to look after Harry who is not particularly enamoured with the noise of the planes.
We take him out for a play in the Elephant park near Red Houses, spotting an enormous grasshopper on the pink elephant whilst we are there.
We are told that the Red Arrows will be taking off soon from the airport on their way to the Guernsey air show in the morning so we drive up to the airport and then down to St Ouen’s.
Quite by chance as we turn off and head back to the Co-op for food shopping the Red Arrows take off over our heads in their take off formation of threes.
Quite a site but I wasn’t prepared enough to have a camera handy.
Back home after shopping and watch some of the display from the back garden including a Lancaster being followed by a Spitfire and the French equivalent of The Red Arrows.
Sarah phones to say there is plenty of parking at her office so we drive up there just in time to see a Vulcan(?) but well in time for the marvellous display of the Red Arrows, an annual part of the Jersey International Air display.
Their manoeuvre included some overhead flights with a clear blue sky and the sun more or less behind me so some good close up photography was possible albeit that the Red Arrows travel at anything up to 600 miles per hour!
A 30 minute display was, sadly, all too soon over.
Friday 9 September
Harry all settled in at school so my early morning service was merely to virtually drop him at the door of the breakfast club.
Morning coffee in Ransoms followed by a walk round Queen’s Valley Reservoir and an ice cream with real Jersey cream at Gorey. Lovely view of Mont Orgueil castle with the tide quite high. One of my favourite views in Jersey is of Mont Orgueil castle with France in the background.
Drinks in town at Cock & Bottle with Martin & family who are over from Switzerland partially on business and partially to watch the air display. I haven’t had a Friday night in St Helier for probably 16 years!
Saturday 10 September
A dull day with some rain around, although still hot. Watch Harry at his swimming lessons and whilst he can swim, he needs the proper breathing to be taught to him. Then into town, get a clock battery for £1 in the market and bump into Ian, a Harmony Men singer who I last saw – quite by chance – on a flight to Orlando a few years back. Ali has gone climbing and Harry is at a party so we have a couple of ours rest before we are out to Laura & Jim’s for a curry.
Sarah, Ali & Harry sleep out in their new tent tonight but not sure it was a total success.
Sunday 11 September
Off blackberry picking near the prison but they are not quite ripe yet, still, manage to get some for Sarah to make jam with.
Somehow manage to mislay Harry’s croc there so have to go back to look for it from the other side of the island after our lobster lunch at St Catherine’s breakwater café. Harry loves his lobster!
Fortunately, the croc was there some 4 hours later so grandpa’s blushes were spared. Naughty Grandpa. Still it did allow us another Jersey Ice Cream at St Ouen’s whilst we watched a truck pull a camper van out of the sand.
Harry off to lifesaving tonight with Sarah whilst we pack for home tomorrow.
Monday 12 September
Ali drops us at airport and whilst we have an uneventful flight, luggage takes over an hour to arrive and by the time we get to railway line, train to London Bridge not for another 30 minutes, so it is 90+ minutes since landing that we leave the airport complex.
Arrive 30 minutes too early at London City airport but soon through for our flight home, somewhat exhausted. We will sleep well tonight, I think.
Menorca next stop.