A dance weekend in Jersey

Amazingly I’ve never visited this charming island, the largest of the Channel Island group.

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Liberation Square

I’d planned to go with a group of other Scottish dancers, to participate in their anual dance weekend.  This consisted of dances on the Friday and Saturday evenings, 18 dances each evening, some of them rather challenging, and a welcome drink and buffet supper included.

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Water feature in the market

 

Not wanting to let the side down, we had dilligently met each week and worked our way through all 36 dances! These included such formations as La Baratte, a reverse set and link, and Hello-goodbye poussette. Phew!

And then, half way through the summer, I fell and broke a bone in my foot.  We carried on with our practice sessions, me barking orders from the sidelines, and my ultimate target was to be able to come along, walk the parkrun to get my letter J, and do some gentle dancing.

There’s only one flight from Belfast each week.  One of our group took that option, and made a whole week of staying on the island.

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Other members of the group flew via Liverpool.

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Crapaud – French for toad, slang for islander

 

There’s one flight a day from Dublin, and that’s what I went for.  I took the very good value bus from Sprucefield right to the airport, £17 return.  It’s an Aer Lingus flight, but operated by Stobart Air on a wee propeller plane. I’d wished I had a map in front of me as we passed over various headlands, islands and rocky outcrops.  A small airport, but well connected to St Helier via the Liberty Bus srvice – £2.30 cash, £2.00 contactless.

Once in the centre, I used google maps to take me to the Mornington hotel.  This was a rather circuitous route, going thorugh a tunnel under Fort Regent, but I found quicker routes later in the trip.

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strings across open air spaces to discourage birds

 

The Mornington is on Don Road, just past the main shopping streets. So it’s a convenient spot to reach the centre.

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I was a bit concerned about the layout of the room, with stairs up/ down to the en suite.

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After a GnT in the hotel bar, I went for an orientation walkabout, stopping for dinner in the So Bar.  Fab sounding cocktails, but I plumped for a genorous prawn pad thai.

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On Friday, I’d intended to do the museum and a boat tour, but when I called into the boat/coach tour place there were no boat tours due to high winds.  And the coach tour was number dependent, and they still needed another 5.

So I decided to be my own tour guide, and took the number 7 bus to la Mare wine estate.

There is a real relaxed pace to life on the island – maximum speed limit is 40 mph, and most places are 30 or 20.  The roads are rather twisty, and with much bicycle and farmimg traffic around, drivers are quite often stuck behind slower vehicles.  There is a politeness in the driving, at roundabouts it’s Give Way in Turn, and there are a number of green lanes where cyclists and horses have priority.

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The tour at the winery was lovely – I really liked the white, the rose was a bit bland, and the red not to my taste.  But an interesting tour, and I treated myself to a cream tea in the cafe. With black butter!  Not a butter at all, a sort oF apple preserve with Christmassy flavours.

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The Liberty Bus  service is excellent – get yourself a timetable and a map and you can be your own our operator.

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I always buy jewellry when I travel.  It’s easy to transport, something I use, and I have a story to tell anytime someone asks Oh that’s a nice necklace!

 

I opted for a set in polished Jersey granite, bought from the designer, who told me this was the first design she ever created.

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To the Friday night dance! It was wonderful to meet up with friends I’d met at St Andrews and other events, particularly those from the south of England and from France.

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Saturday morning was parkrun, of course!

Jersey parkrun

Back in town, and I usually have a local fish’n’chips.  But I was too tempted by the seafood linguine with Jersey crab.  I do like a seafood restaurant that provides tartare sauce for you to help yourself.

Dessert was a Jersey ice cream!

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A quick change at the hotel, and I wandered through the lovely Howard Davis Park, before taking a paddle in the sea.

Then I caught the number 1 bus round the coast to Gorey Pier, a delightful little cove with bars and shop hugging the pier, where I treated myself to some grey drop earings in Jersey pearl.

then caught the number 13 bus to stop off at the Hotel de France.  My husband had stayed here 50 years ago, where he’d watched the moon landings.  As it was his birthday, I toasted him with a glass of bubbly. (Oh don’t worry, he was happily camping in a field with a crowd of bikers!)

Back to the hotel, change into LBD for the evening, and back to the town hall for another fabulous night.

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My foot lasted well, the food was lovely, the camaaderie was warm, and the live music from Strathallen was just brilliant.

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Affectionate goodbyes, see you agains, do come to Belfasts, and it was all over.

Breakfast in the Mornington was generous, but no hot options.  Fruit juice and cereal on the table, warm croissants are offered, then a choice of platters – ham and cheese, fruit, or cheese.  I went for the cheese one, which had English and French cheeses with a selection of fruit.

I put some cheese on my toast, and added the strawberries and peach to my delicious Jersey yoghurt.  Having not eaten the banana on my first day, I noticed there was no banana on my plate the next day.  If that was deliberate, then 5 gold stars for personalised service!

At the airport, I was delighted to find a Jersey produce shop, where I could buy some black butter and white wine, and enjoyed a fish finger snadwich which was generous goujons in some seeded sourdough.  Oh, and an orange and peppercorn g’n’t.

I would so visit this place again – feels like a holiday with the French influence and warm climate, but speaks English and uses same currency (with added pound notes).  The food is amazing – cream, butter, ice cream, yoghurt, wine, seafood….

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  1. […] A dance weekend in Jersey […]

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