We’d both been there before, and had our own memories, so I thought it would be interesting to go back together, compare and contrast, maybe explore the areas that didn’t overlap. That’s what happened.
My plan was to revisit beaches. Z’s strongest memory was of Plemont, mine was probably St Brelade. So we went to both. I have to vote for Plemont – it reminds me of Traith Lyffn, a low tide beach in Pembrokeshire with flat hard sand, rocks, and a challenging climb down and up manmade steps. It’s unspoiled, and not even the worst efforts of Jersey corporate avarice can touch it. St Brelade, although I have childhood memories of picnics and obscure family reunions, is now a strip of sand fringed with places to eat and drink (both of which we did, very nicely and not always as expensively as I’d anticipated).
I also had to visit St Brelade because my paternal grandparents are buried in the churchyard there. I’d found their grave when I last visited with my sister in 2008, but I felt an atavistic need to do it again. We wandered around for an increasingly thirsty time – there must be more than two hundred graves in there, spread over twice as many years and ten times as many square yards – until I finally said enough, started to walk down the path between the graves towards the lych gate, glanced to my right, and there they were. Frank and Emmeline, 1939 and 1960.
We managed to take in the four main tourism destinations, which I’d managed to evade during about fifty years’ worth of previous visits – so here they are: Jersey Museum in St Helier (entertainingly spooky); the Botanic Gardens (beautiful, lovingly curated, great flapjacks in the café); the Durrell Jersey Zoo (confusingly organised, loads of invisible animals, but we found the orang utans!); and the War Tunnels (sorry, no comment, I can’t take on that much emotive content about the War). I meant to provide links, but frankly, it’s too complicated. Just goggle them if you want to know more.
Oh, finally, the Ommaroo Hotel. I’d booked us in there on a whim: having stayed there several times, I thought its whimsical, lightly tatty charm would appeal to Z. They’d refurbished, but enough of that charm remains. You still have to watch out for the trip traps in the corridors, where one level ascends or descends to a slightly different one on the same floor. And there’s an outdoor swimming pool: if you ever stay there, see if you can find it. I did, on our last day.