John & Susan Simpson
Mon 26 Apr 2021 17:31
We’ve been really impressed by the Government of Jersey's superbly organised Covid track and trace system. Everything has been really well-organised and good-natured, from the PCR testing to the monitoring of our 10-day isolation. We even had a personal visit from a volunteer who came to see us in the Marina, as well as a few phone calls to make sure we had everything we needed. Once our visitor had established that we were following the isolation rules and didn’t need anything, we had a good chat about Jersey and its relationship with the other Channel Islands and France. Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm have formed a bubble that doesn’t include Jersey, whereas Normandy and Brittany would quite like to form a bubble with Jersey and not be counted as mainland France. Even in a pandemic old tensions run deep! As he left, our visitor bade us a cheery goodbye and said ‘not long now….remember to think negative!’
Ten days passed amazingly quickly and it was a good opportunity to get used to living on Casamara. She’s really well equipped and comfortable but the systems that support all the luxuries are not quite like living at home. We do have a large fridge, a freezer, microwave, hot running water and (as Ian Lillington would like us to note) we even have heated towel rails!! We can’t run everything at once though and we’re getting used to remembering to switch off the immersion heater if we want to use the electric kettle and toaster at the same time. First world problems!!
Day 10 of isolation saw us cycling back to the Airport for our final PCR tests. We were there early for our 9.45 am appointment, so keen were we to complete this final step. Fortunately, the results came back in less than 12 hours - and HOORAY they were negative - so we were able to go ashore for our first foray into the night life of St Helier. It being a cool and windy Thursday evening, and with an absence of tourists, all was very quiet but we enjoyed that feeling of rejoining mainstream life. It felt odd to be amongst people again.
Since our ‘coming out’ we’ve used the time in a combination of continued boat jobs and exploring. John has been working on the satellite communication system, installing new cabling, which has meant spending an inordinate amount of time squeezing himself into small spaces.
Or being winched aloft in harness.
We’ve also discovered the wonders of the ‘E-bike’ and have registered to borrow these trusty steeds from the various bike racks around the island. They look a bit ungainly and they’re super heavy to manoeuvre when stationery, but the acceleration as soon as you start to pedal is incredible and going up hill is almost pleasurable. I say almost because they do still require a bit of oomph on steep hills and there are plenty of those around the island, as we have discovered.
We absolutely love the island. The beaches and countryside are so beautiful, and the clear blue skies and sunshine make the most of the colours. We cycle round exclaiming over one view after another and gawping at the more opulent houses. There are some stunning properties here, both modern and traditional, but the prices are also eye-watering. It’s a good job we brought our own home with us!
Our first cycle route was around the West of the island towards St Aubin, St Brelade and La Corbiere.
Luckily there are cafes open!
Today’s route was around the East of the island towards Gorey and St Catherine. Mont Orgueil Castle was very impressive as we approached and I couldn’t help noticing that Orgueil would have been a very handy word for the lifetime Scrabble tournament John and I have resumed after a couple of decades of inactivity. Unfortunately we’ve mislaid the record of wins we’d kept from when we first started the tournament in our youth, but John is convinced it said he was ten games ahead. I think not!
Here’s John at St Catherine’s breakwater. Yes it was that cold! We had to have soup and hot chocolate at our lunch stop to warm up.