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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I left my heart in Jersey

It’s Love the Place You Live time again over at Design Mom and this month I’m loving the place I used to live. The Channel Island of Jersey.

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This tiny island, just nine miles by five but with a population of around 90,000, fourteen miles from France, but part of Britain, famous for Jersey cows, and beautiful beaches is where I was born and brought up. My family still lives there and last week we packed all the Berries into our little car and drove four hours to Saint Malo in Brittany to catch the ferry to Jersey.

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Sailing away from the walled town of Saint Malo

The ferry crossing takes just over an hour, you can visit for the day if you want, and the ease of getting there from our house in France has been one of the highlights of our move here. Especially now that there is a new addition to the Jersey branch of the family, my new niece Eva.

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Florence was fascinated by her new cousin!

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This is the parish church of St. John. I was baptised and married here, attending a whole lot of regular services in between! I grew up with the sound of the church bell chiming every passing hour; our family home is just behind those red roofs. My sister lives there now and with the new baby it’s a bit of a squeeze to get us all in so on this visit we stayed in a typical old Jersey house now converted into a holiday home.

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Pink is a popular house colour, it accentuates the pink granite that is the local building material!

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The picturesque parish church of St. Brelade, otherwise known as the Fisherman's Chapel

The house was just steps away from our favourite beach at St. Brelade. Beachfront property prices are insanely high, but for a week we lived the dream!

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The soft sand and shallow beach at St. Brelade make it the perfect playground. Too chilly for swimming at this time of year (although we did see lots of surfers) but perfect for acrobatics!

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When you’ve had enough of the sand head out to the rock pools and see if you can catch a crab.

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Good seafood is plentiful here and there are no shortage of great restaurants and beach cafes to choose from.

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This is our all time favourite. The Wayside cafe at St. Brelade.

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El Tico on St. Ouen’s five mile long beach was a big hit too with moules mariniere on the kids’ menu,

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surf boards for sale hanging from the ceiling

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and this view from the table!

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Our family loves the beach so a lot of our time was spent there, but the countryside is pretty too.

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Florence and I took a little stroll around the lanes of St. John looking for cows. They weren’t in their usual field so we couldn't photograph them for you, but we found this patch of bluebells just outside my old school.

From the looks of these photos you would think the sun shone every minute we were there. We weren't quite that lucky. Our week was windy and cold and it did rain, but the good thing about being on a small island is that bad weather quite often passes over quickly and a stormy start to the day can end in a beautiful sunny evening. When we couldn't be on the beach we found plenty to do.

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Always a must see is a visit to the animals at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. The big girls also love the activities at outdoor adventure park aMaizin and as we were there after the British school holidays had ended they had the place to themselves. Like France, the Channel Islands were occupied by the Germans during the Second World War. India is currently fascinated by that period in history and she and the rest of us learnt a lot about Jersey's wartime experience at the Jersey War Tunnels. As always there was so much we didn't have time to do.

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I haven't lived in Jersey permanently since I left home to go to university, but I've been lucky to return every year. Wherever in the world I'm living arriving back on the island feels like coming home. As sure as the tide goes out and comes in, I'll be back!

7 comments:

  1. So beautiful! I just did some reading about the Channel Islands because a tv series I watch was filmed there.

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  2. What a wonderful tour! I have never been to the Channel Islands, but my son's godmother, my good friend Carole, lives in Guernsey. I hope we visit her one day-- Love St Malo too, and Dinard, of course, so the ferry trip would be perfect. Thank you for showing us around. It looks like a good time was had by all. I agree with you. They say home is where the heart is, but now that I live away from France, I believe there is only one place that feels like home, no matter where you are in the world... Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

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  3. I"m so jealous you have such an amazing place to call home (I grew up in the suburbs of Toronto). Thanks for sharing the wonderful tour of the island - it is gorgeous. I would love to visit someday.

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  4. That does look amazing. Great pictures. I loved learning about a place I'd never heard of before.

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    1. Thanks Charissa! If you haven't already read it The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a great novel about Guernsey, Jersey's sister island and really captures the spirit of the place. http://www.randomhouse.com/rhpg/guernsey/

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  5. what a perfect place to grow up - and how amazing to be baptized and married in the same lovely church. i am definitely putting this high on the list of places to visit the next time we rent a car...which i hope will be in the next 2 weeks! thanks for sharing this dreamy place!

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A bientôt! Nicola

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