Monday, 4 July 2016

A walk in the country

Parishes seem to abound on Jersey...St Helier, St John's, St Mary's are a few we visited.  Along with each is a church, naturally enough, and some mighty fine ones too.  While the others went into town one day I got off the bus at St John's.  The plan was to meet a couple of hours later at St Mary's where there looked to be a decent country pub where we could eat.  More of that plan in a minute...

Entrance to St John's, door open invitingly.  I had to stand to one side, since there is a glass inner door which was catching my reflection, which you wouldn't want to see.  Off-centre is best anyway :) This one on Adox MCP312.  I've had trouble getting the best out of this paper in the past, but today it seemed to work well.  I had HP5+ loaded and was rating it at a 1600asa, which wasn't the best for a sunny day but was a hangover from the first few frames where I was indoors and in poor light.

St John's has the most beautiful church - it looks like it has been lifted from somewhere in France and set down on Jersey.  Most of the names on plaques inside and on gravestones are French-sounding.  I was beginning to appreciate that Jersey lies a lot closer to the coast of Brittany than the south coast of England.

This rather impressive structure formed the base of the pulpit in St John's.  There's probably a decent photograph there somewhere, although this certainly isn't it.  Kentmere paper.

I get the impression that there isn't much in the way of crime on Jersey - particularly once you leave St Helier.  The churches at St Mary's and St John's both had their doors open, and not a sinner in sight, as my grandfather would have said.  It was a hot day and it was nice to cool down for a while inside.  The church at St John's in particular had a lot of character - inside and out.

What can I say - it was a bright day!

There isn't much in St John's apart from the church, about 4 shops and an inn so after a dander about I set off for St Mary's.  I'd noticed a lot of people walking around the roads and although they aren't particularly wide (no room for a footpath) I set out on my way in buoyant mood.  I was on holiday, the sun was shining and I had a rangefinder loaded with HP5+.  Life was good.  After a couple of hundred yards I decided this was suicidal - there was too much traffic and not enough room for me and the cars.  As soon as as I spotted a Green Lane I made for it and soon was enjoying some peace and quiet again.

After a while I realised I had absolutely no idea where I was.  There were no signposts and since I'd turned off the main road and taken a turn this way and that I was beginning to think I was in trouble.  I passed the odd house or two, but there's never anyone around when you need them.  It was kind of worrying.  I half expected to come across skeletons of people like me who had set off for a walk in the Jersey Interior and were never heard of again.   Occasionally a car passed, but I had too much pride to flag it down and say 'I'm lost'.  Then I came to a junction.  Hmm...turn left, or right?  This could be an important decision, I thought.  I took a drink of my water and decided to play safe and turn right - going this way, I reckoned, would at least take me back to the main road I had left a while ago.  It might mean I may need to turn around to get to St Mary's, but so be it.  Energy levels were getting low but if all else failed I could always head back to St John's, admit defeat and take a bus.

Eventually, after a good walk, I came across a hamlet.  Ah ha, I thought, civilisation - there's bound to be people about here.  I wandered around and salvation came in the form of an elderly gentleman walking along.  From his demeanor I reckoned he knew where he was going and sure enough he put me right.  As it turned out I wasn't too far from my destination and suddenly the world seemed a better place.  The old built-in compass still working then...just.

If you look (very) closely, you might spot the scaffolding round the back of St Mary's Church.  The trees did a good job of hiding it.
In the end, I arrived at St Mary's in good time and had a good explore of the church there and even got as far as the Ecole Elementaire just behind (that French influence again), looking lovely in the sun with its white walls and blue piping.  The church was in the middle of renovations - there was scaffolding all over one side.  A lot plainer inside than the one at St John's.  Actually I'm all for plainness when it comes to churches - must be my Dissenter upbringing :)

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