Monday, 22 April 2013

Five notes from a small island

1.      Jersey roads are carefully designed such that all right turns from side roads onto mains are blind.  The solution is to edge forward, gently or aggressively according to how local you are, until someone gives way.  The driver who gives way will invariably have ‘H’, for ‘Hire car’, on their number plate.  I suspect this is an island sport.

2.      The Jersey Bug.  The hospital has closed for all but A&E admissions.  It strikes without warning, literally – one person had to exit from a high-powered meeting, again literally on the trot – and then wipes you out for twenty four hours.  This happened to almost everyone I had contact with, from Friday evening through to Monday morning.  The worst thing is that none of the doctors seem to be able to guess at the incubation period.  So I’m possibly still in with a chance.

3.      The toilet in the General’s house doesn’t have a lock.  We are instructed to sing loudly to advise our presence, K’s song being ‘The White Cliffs of Dover.’  Hence a new bit of local near-rhyming slang: “Just off for a white cliffs …”

4.      Here’s the notice in the hotel lift, which amused me.  I could have rounded up some candidates …

5.      What was 5?  Oh yes, it was K’s 90th.  Despite some important guests being unable to make it due to (2.), she bounced back from the disappointment, feisty old tough Yorkshire pudding that she is, and had a great evening.  One thing that moved me was that people sent huge bouquets even though they knew she wouldn’t be able to ship them back home, just to show their affection.  (K, of course, moaned about ‘waste of money’, hiding her obvious delight; the General has arranged for surrogate bouquets to be delivered to Reading.)


  1. Sounds like a fun weekend.
    Is there an Otis office in Reading? How cool would that be?
    I'm adopting 'White Cliffs' for my own.
    Eg Rory Bremner's new travel show is utter White Cliffs

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. 1. Yikes

    2. Double yikes!

    3. Excellent work with the White Cliffs there - we don't have nearly enough euphemisms for visiting the bathroom in this country.
    There is no lock on the bathroom door here at The Bear Cave either; our policy when we have visitors is that the door is only shut properly if someone is in there. My nephew is no respecter of this rule.

    4. Who ate all the pies?

    5. Sounds like a splendid party, although possibly not so much for the people regularly visiting the white cliffs. I hope I'm spritely enough for a big party when I'm 90.

  4. I visited Jersey in the late 1960s and stayed with friends of my parents who lived there. Hire cars were known as Horror cars and gave rise to much amusement, often because the drivers parked on bends while bemusedly studying the misleading road map.

    June 29th is well outside the incubation period, I'm quite sure.

    Our bathroom door doesn't have a lock though it does have a wedge. However, the policy here is the same as Liz's.

    Time for someone to put the fork down?

    Wonderful to be loved so much at that age. I'm having lunch today with a friend of 91, my oldest friends (ie most old) are very dear to me.

  5. Ahhh...that reminds me of driving in Zambia. Happy days!

  6. Well, the Jersey Bug did get me, yesterday. Not on anything like the industrial scale some people were afflicted with, but nevertheless not pleasant. I'm fine now after twelve hours sleep.