As Good An Excuse As Any For A Celebration
Undoubtedly the most significant event in Jersey's recent history was the island's occupation by the German armed forces during the Second World War. Although this was a relatively bloodless affair from start to finish the five long years of being under the German yoke were not the happiest of times for the islanders.
The island regained its freedom on May 9th 1945 when the German commander surrendered unconditionally aboard the HMS Beagle, which had sailed from Plymouth the previous day. Two of the ships officers went ashore to be met by the harbourmaster and their first act was to raise the Union Flag for the first time in five years at the harbourmaster's office and then subsequently at the Pomme D'Or Hotel in the centre of St Helier.
Since then the 9th May has been a day of celebration featuring a re-enactment of the flag-raising at the Pomme D'Or which fronts onto the public space now known as Liberation Square. The day has become an official holiday and other celebrations, in St Helier and around the other towns and villages, include live music events, tea parties and various parades.
Unfortunately I had to work the day whilst I was there but there certainly was a festive atmosphere in the pubs the evening before - pictured are some of the stages around Liberation Square which had been erected for the event.Add to your Trip Planner
Speading Smiles, One Flower At A Time!
I was catching the bus from Mont Nicolle into St Helier one morning when I noticed the bunch of flowers pictured on the wall behind the bus stop. At first I thought they'd been put there by someone whose loved one had been killed in a road accident at that place but on further investigation I discovered that these were a little freebie gift for whoever wished to pick them up.
A little further research reveals that the flowers are part of an international movement to spread a little happiness around the world by leaving bouquets in public places for total strangers to enjoy. Taking part in the exercise, which goes under the name of "The Lonely Bouquet" (website www.thelonelybouquet.com), are flower clubs and societies, commercial florists and even just keen amateur gardeners. Once found the recipients are requested to log into the Lonely Bouquet website, or its Facebook page, and leave a message as to where they found the bouquet and what they did with it. Heartening examples of the pleasure spread by the group include flowers found by people on their way to visit relatives in hospitals and as unexpected birthday gifts.
Here on Jersey the island's Flower Club are one of the donors and use their gifts to promote membership and include a note detailing the club's forthcoming meetings and events.Add to your Trip Planner
It's Not Butter At All!
Around the 16th and 17th centuries Jersey's major agricultural crop was apples, used mainly for the production of cider which formed part of the farm workers' wages. With a surplus of cider and apples the islanders developed a novel way of preserving them - by boiling down the cider and apples, along with sugar, lemon, liquorice and spices to form a black, treacly, conserve.
Traditionally this was used as a spread for bread , hence being termed "butter", and then became used in many unique Jersey recipes for things such as fudge and biscuits. The major producer these days is the La Mare Wine Estate and the products can be found in all the tourist shops and delicatessens throughout the island.
Chef's Tip - Mix a jarful with some lightly poached chunks of cooking apples and then bake it in a crumble - add a slathering of custard, enriched with Jersey Cream, and enjoy :-)
Pictured is the Black Butter stall at the indoor market in St Helier where you'll find a full range of gooey goodies.Add to your Trip Planner
Local Calls From Public Call Boxes Are Free
The main provider of telecommunications on the island is the States-owned Jersey Telecom, now known simply as JT. The company provides a full range of telephone, mobile and internet services throughout the Channel Islands and despite now being opened up to competition (Cable & Wireless's Sure being the most active) remains at the forefront of the provision of telecoms.
In addition to the private provisions JT also maintains the island's distinctive yellow public call boxes from which local calls (to 01534 numbers) are free of charge.Add to your Trip Planner
Money, Money, Money...
Despite Jersey not actually being part of the UK the island's currency is Pounds Sterling and although the States of Jersey issue their own notes and coins these are not a separate currency as such from the British Pound. Jersey money is not legal tender in the UK but notes can be exchanged in UK banks, without charge, for UK ones. The coinage is exactly the same sizes and shapes as those of the UK but with Jersey's own designs. These can generally be used in the UK unless closely examined by their recipients.
UK notes and coins are legal tender on Jersey, as are those of Guernsey and Scottish notes, and day-to-day transactions usually result in a mix of these currencies. ATMs on Jersey only issue Jersey notes with the exception of the cash machines airside at departures in the airport. You'll also find many places accept Euros too but you'll rarely get a favourable exchange rate and any change will be in local currency.
If staying on the island for a short period, and not intending to return, the easiest way to avoid having left over Jersey currency is to set aside any UK notes and coins from your change and save these for use on your last day and if you do have any residual Jersey money then just buy a beer at the airport with it - well, that's my solution anyway ;-HIC!Add to your Trip Planner
Although I didn't see anywhere near as many 'hedge veg' boxes on Jersey as I did on Guernsey (which may tell you something about the island), they do exist.
The idea is simple: you construct a box with shelves and a roof...a cupboard without doors, in effect...and you put it somewhere on your boundary roadside: garden wall, gate, hedge...wherever it will go. Then you put onto the shelves your surplus fruit, vegetables or eggs or your surplus books, or the kids old toys or whatever and passersby will stop, buy things and leave the money in an 'honesty box' which you also provide.
I was a bit early in the season for fruit and veg though I saw several 'hedge veg boxes' with Jersey Royal new potatoes which were just coming into their prime.
I even saw a sortof 'hedge veg' box at Jersey airport, at the entrance to departures. Brown paper bags of Jersey Royals, costing 2 pounds for 1kg (a bit pricey imo).
It's a nice idea though certainly not one which is exclusive to the Channel Islands, I've seen similar boxes dotted about all over the UK, with much the same things on sale.Related to:
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Some of the famous people who lived on Jersey are, LILLIE LANGTRY, VICTOR HUGO, GERALD DURRELL, SIR WALTER RALEIGH, SIR JESSIE BOOT, ALAN WICKER, BILLY BUTLIN-- Today Gilbert o Sullivan and Nigel Mansell,Ian Woosnam,Graham la Saux ----The supermarkets on the island are Waitrose, Costcutter, and the local Cooperative.Add to your Trip Planner
THE FAMOUS 1 POUND NOTE OF JERSEY!!
The Brittons never ever had one, I mean a 1 pound bank note.......so in Jersey they are very proud having one!
In the UK there is only a 1 pound COIN.
Here you see a photo of a one pound banknote, which Leo (Globerover) was so kind as to send me after having read and kindly commented on my Jersey page.
He is right: now it is complete!!
Vielen Dank, Leo !Add to your Trip Planner
Most people know that Jersey is free from UK taxes so things can be be more affordable as there is no 15% vat element to pay. The Island has many wealthy patrons living here, my travel guide said that newcomers to the Island are closely vetted although this info may be outdated.
Jersey has its own currency even though all places accept UK sterling you may be given change in Jersey pounds, these notes will not be accepted in the uk. You can change your Jersey notes at the postal exchange at the airport but they will only offer exchange for GBP5 and over. They still use the one pound note so your wallet may feel fatter then usual. Many places will be able to give you back UK sterling notes if you ask them.Add to your Trip Planner
Harvest of the Sea
In the fall the Jersey farmers collect seaweed from the high water mark to use on the land as fertiliser. The seaweed rots into the earth, and is then ploughed in. They say it gives the unique Jersey Royal New potatoes its favour!.Related to:
Abalone, Awabi or Ormer
Here in Jersey we call them ormers and know full well that these much sought-after shellfish are one of the finest culinary treats the seas have to offer. During the months with an R in them, and inconveniently only on a very low tide can one find the Ormer.
Catching them with diving gear of any sort is prohibited, so ormering involves a long trek down the shore, a scramble over weed-covered reefs and a careful search of every nook and cranny where your quarry might be lurking.
The search also involves turning over a great many rocks - which should of course be turned back to protect the many unwanted creatures which also seek refuge beneath them.
In spite of cold water, cold winds, scratched and bruised hands and sometimes meagre returns, many Islanders go ormering for pleasure as well as to search for a feed. If, however, the pastime were a feature of penal servitude with hard labour, it could be classified as a harsh and cruel punishment.
There has been rumours of chinese or japanese blackmarket in these ormers leading to illegal diving and selling of the ormer.Add to your Trip Planner
Jersey Pullover ' The Jersey'
When I have travelled far and wide, and I mention that I am from Jersey... People often link the name to the Cow, New Jersey or even the Jumper/Pullover.
Jersey has been associated with knitting for nearly 400 years. In the 16th century many articles of knitted apparel were exported from Jersey to England and France. The principle knitted articles of this time were stockings and men's waistcoats.
Although Island farmers no longer rear sheep for wool, the traditional fisherman's 'Jersey' is still manufactured.
The Jersey is normally coloured Blue, but the people of St Ouen prefer to have a natural Grey, hence thay are called 'Grey Bellies'.Add to your Trip Planner
This is where an ancient Island tradition, the branchage, enters the picture.
At its best, this twice-yearly operation involves the careful trimming back of luxuriant late spring and summertime growth to leave roadside margins looking smooth and manicured.
As well as preventing foliage from spilling over into public thoroughfares, the branchage makes junctions safer by clearing the view of drivers pausing at yellow lines or turning off major roads into minor ones.
Later In the summer months of July or September is likely to see an earnest group of men in each parish solemnly measuring the height from the ground of any overhanging branches. The group consists of the Parish Constable, Centeniers, Vingteniers, Road's Committee and Road Inspectors and they will be checking to see that no branch is nearer a footpath than eight feet (2.4 m) and no nearer a road than 12 feet (3.6 m). This bi-annual inspection is called 'visites du branchage' and anyone found not having cut branches on their property to the correct height used to be fined 50p.Add to your Trip Planner
Jersey a Police State
There are 13 Police forces in Jersey! 12 local forces have power within their own areas (parish) and one paid federal uniformed 'States of Jersey' Police Force. The Honorary Police Force have, for centuries, been elected by parishioners to assist the Connétable (Mayor) of the Parish to maintain law and order. Officers are elected as Centeniers(inspectors), Vingteniers(sargents) or Constable's Officers each with various duties and responsibilities. The Honorary Police had provided the only law enforcement prior to the appointment of paid Police officers, first for the Parish of St Helier in 1853 and later to serve the whole Island. However, the Honorary Police still provide an essential and very valuable service to the Parish and community in which they live. The Honorary Police have no uniform and sometimes all they wear is a metal lapel badge!!!Add to your Trip Planner
A Jersey Crapaud
Jersey people are sometimes referred to as 'crapauds' (toads) by residents of our sister island, Guernsey. How did we get this less than flattering name? The legend goes like this:
When St. Patrick arrived in Jersey he was unfortunately pelted with stones and insulted. On his arrival in our smaller, sister island of Guernsey, however, he received a very warm welcome from its in habitants. He liked Guernsey very much and decided he would lay claim to it. St. George was also in Guernsey at the time, and he, too had decided to lay claim to the island. Rather than argue the wise saints decided that neither would have it, but before they left they would bestow gifts on the hospitable islanders.
St. George was standing by a small stream and he decided to bless the waters of the stream so that they had the power to heal.
St. Patrick gathered all the nasty creatures that inhabited Guernsey at the time and promptly went back to Jersey and deposited them all there. From then on Guernsey would be free of everything nasty and Jersey would have more than its fair share of snakes and toads.
I suppose if we were rude to a Saint all those years ago then we deserve our unflattering name. There is, however, a gentle rivalry between Jersey and Guernsey and we tend to get our own back by calling Guernsey people 'ane' (donkey), a reflection, I am told, of their innate laziness.Related to:
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