The trouble with this current run of glorious weather we are experiencing is that I’m so busy out and about doing stuff that I just don’t seem to have the time to sit down and write and tell you all about it. But today is different. Today I was up at 6am and browsing old maps of Jersey, by 7am I was in the field and weeding, watering and planting, by 10am I was walking, and by 4pm I was snoozing on the couch and enjoying the sound of the fat raindrops. Having suitably tired myself out I can now settle down to some serious catch-up writing.
A few days ago my sister and hubby came to visit. I love visitors as it gives me the chance to play guide and take people around our beautiful island. Portelet is one of those beaches I usually admire from afar, and by afar I mean from the top of the steps leading down to the beach. But not today, today we leisurely wandered down the steps and path and on to the beautiful sandy beach. Can you see how golden the sand is here? I love to feel my bare feet sink deep into the sand, it’s like leaving a memory of me, until the next tide washes it away. The beach here is granite boulders at the high tide mark, which gives way to golden sand, and then more pebbly as you head down to the shore. I wish I knew more about the geology of the island, and I could tell you the different types of granite and where they are found – but I’m just getting to grips with archaeology without going off on a tangent towards geology. If you are interested though please take a look at the the very helpful Jersey Geology Trail. At the back of the bay there is a raised beach eroding from the cliff line. You can see the huge sea worn boulders way above the current beach level, a beach from a bygone era. We walked across to the Ile au Guerdain, the rocky islet in the middle of the bay, and home to Janvrin’s tomb. Phillip Janvrin was a sea captain who was working the route to France in 1721 when he wasn’t allowed to dock back in Jersey for fear the crew had brought the Plague back with them. He died the next day and was buried on the islet. The building isn’t a mausoleum to Janvrin, but is an observation tower built later, in the 1800’s. The views from here are pretty impressive. To one side you can see the rocky coastline and aquamarine waters leading to Noirmont. And over to the other side you can see the plateau of Portlet common (and a very impressive residence). But no dolphins today, though they can be seen regularly from here. Coming back off the islet it’s clear to see where seams of softer rocks have been eroded away over time. There was only enough time for a quick daydream of a lottery life with sailing boats moored in beautiful bays. One last look back out across the bay, and then we braced ourselves for the steps. All 125 of them, from bottom to top! And we were thankful for the well-earned drinks at the perfectly positioned Portlet Inn at the top.