Saturday, November 22, 2014

Back from Jersey, with a mixed bag

Thank you very much for your kind comments about Tom's garage. He wanted people to know that he wasn't looking at his most elegant in the pictures. Vanity is a harmless vice, I've decided.

Just back from Jersey, which was pretty good. I didn't really take any photos once we left St Malo because... oh I don't know, I just wanted to walk and look and not worry about the camera. And we didn't go to the zoo, as it was raining and wet and we reckoned if the animals had any sense they wouldn't want to come out and play, so we moseyed round the covered market where I bought two tins of smoked paprika, an ingredient I have never been able to obtain here and the museum, which is a good one, with a restored interior of a 19th century merchant's house, and a terrific horde of really old Celtic coins and gold, so people haver been stashing large amounts of money in the Channel Islands for quite a while.  They have a special laboratory in a kind of glass box within a room of the museum, so you can peer in at the men in white coats carefully working on the treasure piece by piece, as well as organic material they find in amongst it. This was one of the best bits of the trip for Tom because the very charming and helpful lady on the desk when she took our admission said, apparently without guile, 'So no reductions? Obviously neither of you is over 65...'

After that when it had stopped raining we had a very interesting walk around the port, and watched men at work on a big wet and muddy civil engineering project with some really serious plant and gear and tackle (though I still resisted the temptation of getting the camera out), and some others loading containers, and sundry other salty, boaty, watery activities, and I bought a red model VW combie in aid of the Lifeboats from a little RNLI shop on the quayside.

smoked paprika and a Volks combie

Indeed, there were quite a lot of rather fun things like Lifeboat shops and collecting boxes converted from big red Second World War mines or in the form of life size dogs and cats with slots in their head, which rather seemed to be out of a time warp from my childhood. 

We had some unbelievably good Indian/Bangladeshi food from Café Spice; we couldn't eat it all but we did our best and I brought some of the naan bread home with me. We couldn't believe how big a medium sized coffee was from a well-known chain selling oddly-flavoured hot coffee milkshake (sorry, I'm afraid latte mostly seems to me like a kids' drink, as I think it probably is in Brazil; we had a black and a white, or as they insist, an Americano and a cappucino). 

Unfortunately I think I fell foul of some dodgy scrambled egg at breakfast on the second day, and couldn't enjoy things quite so much after that. In fact it was a really lovely hotel with very good food (including Madeiran espetadas) and run very well by really nice people, so I don't like to think they may have poisoned me even a bit but I did suspect the scrambled egg, though it tasted fine at the time. On the other hand, eating more rich meaty food in 24 hours than is normal in a month, and the fact that everywhere you go is so warm and stuffy, it seems to us, I think makes one a bit susceptible to being upset. It's a little tiresome really, how adjusting and adapting doesn't get easier; we live in a certain way, with parameters of food and drink and temperature quite finely tuned, and going outside those seems to pose problems, and they then need to be readjusted to. The house seemed cold and damp and a bit miserable when we came back too, though we left the radiators on a reasonable setting, and they'd not come on, and it smelled rather sour and sooty. But it's cheering up a bit now, and the chimney sweep's coming next week. It's a bit late to go away really, the house doesn't really like us to do so at this season, we find.

The optometrist took a long and careful time over Tom's eyes, and wrote him a doctor's letter, so that was time, effort and money well-spent, but means we've things to sort out now. 

So a mixed bag, but still a good trip.  I'll find some more pictures soon.


marja-leena said...

Your trip sounds like a mixed bag indeed - fun to see new sights but sorry to hear about the tummy upset! Now home, hope all is being restored, including Tom's eyes in tme.

We find travel, especially eating out to be challenging because of our certain dietary restrictions due to food sensitivities. Funny you mention coffee - when we were in London some years ago we could not get a good cup of coffee with real cream anywhere until at a certain well-known chain in St Pancras station while waiting to board the Eurostar to Paris!

Catalyst said...

You are fortunate to be able to travel to such places so easily, in spite of the possibly dodgy eggs and your resentful home. I greatly enjoy hearing about your tours.

Zhoen said...

Tom is always stylish, no matter what he wears.

Sorry about the upset tum, always a worry when traveling.

We were enchanted with the Coast Guard museum in Astoria, OR, and I wish we'd gotten more toys from their gift shop.

The Crow said...

I travel vicariously via your posts. This was a very pleasant trip.

Avus said...

I agree about the size of coffees, Lucy (and, indeed the size of cakes as well) from most outlets these days. We seem to be following the "American" theme of bigger means better - although we are also following their theme with increased obesity!

Roderick Robinson said...

Is Tom suffering from what I've just put behind me? If so, there is a very definite upside: the outcome can be revelatory.

the polish chick said...

as much as i love taking photos, there's something rather freeing about just using your eyes. forces you to "look" better, as it were, because it's all you've got.

glad you had a nice trip, sorry about the dodgy eggs.

Lucy said...

Thank you kind people.

ML - we enjoy eating out, and look forward to the greater variety and things that we miss when we go back to the UK, the temptation then though is to be greedy, especially when there's a short time to take advantage! And, as mentioned, the portion sizes of some things have got very large over there, and as we're really quite moderate in our eating at home, it's easy to get uncomfortable. My own fault really, shouldn't grumble. I have the impression no one ever thinks that anyone from any other country makes coffee right!

Bruce - I know; I do count my blessings really. It was a nice excursion, a bit of the old country within easy reach that we weren't able to take advantage of while Mol was alive. There was also a certain amount of anxiety around this trip because of Tom's eye problems which were the real reason for it. The house does sulk about being left alone in the chilly damp season!

Z - I saw some model Volks combies in a shop in the covered market there, which was also the kind of place I didn't think existed any more, with puzzles and kit aeroplanes and Corgi cars and all kinds of miniatures. I fancied one but didn't go for it (perhaps the shop was closed anyway), so when I saw the lifeboat one I didn't hesitate. We got some cards and stuff too. I rather missed the kind of collecting box they used to have where you put in a coin and the lifeboat shot down the ramp.

Crow - that's nice!

Avus - yes, like I say it can be difficult as it can be tempting when there are things one misses a bit from home like British-style cakes (to which, IMHO, most French
patisserie cannot hold a candle). The coffee is nice, and I was quite charmed by the chocolate snowflake sprinkle on the top, but it was enormous, and so would I be if I continued to consume in such a way...

Robbie - yes, and your experience and encouragement will be a help, I think. I'll e-mail soon and let you know how it's going and perhaps ask some questions. I'm so glad about the revelations!

PC - I rather regret now I didn't take a few more pics. It was a good trip but there were a few anxieties and discomforts (dodgy eggs being one, dodgy eyes being another) which I think distracted us from taking full advantage, but it was only a short time anyway.