I really meant to come to Jersey for a laze. I did. Well, the Festival, of course, but then a laze. But what with one thing and another, and what with the decided reluctance of the northern summer to leave the starting gates, I seem to have been able to fill a blog every couple of days, and eat and drink and eat again, without really eating any lotuses. But since my damp Sunday at Les Landes, the sun has come out properly and I’ve been able to linger in lotus-land at my leisure.
The change was marked by the fact that, with the sun, Bayview powered up its spa bath. Just the thing for the dicky shoulder and frustratingly semi-useful arm and hand. I have profited from it (since its 20 metres from my room) daily! 20 minutes spa, dry off in sun, repeat dose … shower, snooze …
I’ve pampered myself a little too.
You know, when I travelled across the world on my beloved cargo ships, or visited Hoar Cross Hall, I enjoyed immensely having my quiet and comfy little serviced cabin or room, meals on tap, and things like massage to hand. Well, I’ve just realised: I don’t need ship nor spa any more. I have manufactured my own little place right here.
My room is bigger and better equipped than any cabin or ‘hotel’ room, with of course 24 hour-wifi! Monica and Fatima look after my needs wonderfully, I have the Dockyard and Bohemia at hobbling distance, and it’s but a short walk to all sorts of in-betweeny delicacies at Relish and also to the pampering.
I started my pampering at Rio. Officially a ladies’ hairdresser. But I had one of the most agreeable (and reasonable) haircuts of my life. From Gaby (below). One doesn’t really like to ask a lady to snip the intimate hairs which a stroke means a man can no longer reach, but Gaby tidied my ears, nose and eyebrows, and that wretched little bit below the back collar, without flinching.
As a result, I decided to pursue the adventure and get Rio to look after the other bit of me I can’t reach. My feet and toenails. My feet are really good for my age, except for the broken toe that Chris Molloy stomped on in South Pacific and which has, ever since, pointed the wrong way. But they wont stay that way if I don’t look after them. Well, Kerry of Rio lavished such care on my tootsicums for ¾ of an hour that … I shall go barefoot for a week. And she recommended a good masseur…
Pamper for me definitely includes the inner man, and I haven’t reduced my restaurant going. Quite the opposite.
Firstly and foremostly, I returned (with Chris of the Dockyard) to Bohemia. I know I threatened to leap into detailed panegyric about the occasion but I won’t. I looked at the menu, sighed, and ordered exactly what I’d had the previous week. But this time, before I destroyed it, I photographed it. The delicious beetroot dish, the wonderful sea bass with its parsley sauce risotto, the super-delicious assiette of desserts …
OK, we pushed the boat out – why go to the best and not? – and my bill came to nigh on 300 quid (with two good bottles of wine). But it’s something you only do once a .. oh, or twice .. or maybe thrice a month. And each time it has ranked in my top ten of all time food experiences.
I lunched with my pal Barbara at the new Quayside Restaurant: a lovely spot overlooking the marina, where I indulged in an bullish dish of tasty Thai soup (served with a ‘Thai’ spoon which is the devil to handle) and a plate of nice scallops and prawns on lots of greenery. But, oh! when they served Barbara’s coffee it came with paper packets of sugar! So my very pleasant idea of the place dropped just a cran. A shame. Why do something so ‘caff’ in an otherwise nice place. Yes, it matters.
I returned, of course, to the Dockyard, where I fell heavily for Chris’s Surf and Turf (beef carpaccio with scallops .. his best yet!) and last night I returned to my li’l old love, the Roseville bistro. I sampled an interesting spinach risotto with blue cheese, and a light and bright sizzling scallop dish with a bacon sauce and came out quite satisfied with a bill of 21 pounds (including 2 pints).
Restaurants are fun and fine, but there’s nothing like home cooking, when all’s said and done. On Sunday, Jennie picked me up and drove me to Gorey. Ah, Gorey! It was the spot I fell for originally in Jersey, and I see why all over again. It is a charming village, and I can’t believe that some iconoclast is trying to build 50 modern monsters on the site of the old pottery. Jersey has sufficiently ruined itself as a tourist attraction (and a pretty place to live) by defacing St Helier with the infamous four grey towers, the incinerator, and the pre-fab hotel: do they want to destroy Gorey now?
Anyway, I aperitifed with Jennie at her house overlooking the cute village green, and then we proceeded to Charlotte’s house for a family BBQ … I am an honorary member of the family pro tem! Thank you, everyone, especially Kate for driving me home, and pouring me into the Bayview after a homely evening to warm the heart. And the rest of the body.
It is just as well I have decided to come back here for the month of August. Now I’ve got my own personal Spa ticking over so nicely, it will be difficult to leave. But Berlin is calling – loudly, and with multiple voices – so, en avant and à bientôt!
Isn’t it amazing how much one can write about doing … nothing! Much.