We’ve just come back from seeing Stef’s cousin and his wife and kids in Jersey and it was really good. Now I didn’t really know much about Jersey apart from Nazi occupation and ‘Bergerac’ but I was impressed.
Jersey is divided into parishes, a bit like New Yorks five boroughs but there are twelve of them. The street names are in French as well as the architecture which is not surprising as Jersey is one hour by boat away from France and seven hours away from Britain. In fact the older locals can still speak their own dialect called ‘Jersey French’ if they want to speak without being understood by the recent arrivals.
Jersey is famous for the finance industry and the lack of VAT, making it a haven for the tax exiles. Now the Islanders have to pay a 5% GST tax (Goods and Services Tax) instead as the pressures of the global economic slump means the authorities need to raise more money. Locals are angry with the tax as they think it could rise to 15% over the years and become a VAT tax by another name. Anyway as everyone knows; the headquarters of loads of big multinational businesses are in Jersey in the form of PO boxes.
We went and saw the Durrell Zoo (founded by Gerald Durrell) where we we saw a mentally ill looking bear scratching its paw. Why do zoo’s keep bears as they always look malnourished and deranged? If you want your zoo to look good don’t keep a bear!
Anyway here’s some photos.. There was a young Komodo dragon there too but I forgot to take a photo of it.
I also forgot to take photos of all the other animals including the gorillas and meerkats.
On our last day, today, we went to the Jersey War Tunnels museum and it was brilliant!
It showed the sobering decisions the islanders had to make when Churchill couldn’t afford to defend them against the German advance during Dunkirk. The Mayor was ordered to stay at his post and receive the germans. Rather unfairly Churchill seemed to blame them for making the best of a bad hand and not fighting back, saying they should rot. As one of the Jersey officials said its hard to hide in the mountains with guns if you have no mountains and no guns. Anyway Churchill never visited the island after the war ended, make of that what you will.
Anyway here are some much better photos by Stef:
Anyway if you are ever in Jersey go to Jersey War Tunnels. it was brilliant and very sobering. You are given a replica of a real persons identity card at the start and when you finish you can go to the cafe and see what happened to them. Mine was caught listening to a radio and was sent to Bergen Belsen but managed to survive by his wits until he was freed by the Americans. Stef’s one never made it out of her camp. Terrible.
I hope this post and more to come will have some cultural value. I’m off to bed now.