Given that the gap was over 30 years since my last visit to Jersey, lets say that most memories of the place were pretty blurred. And walking around St Helier has only confirmed two things, one that it has changed dramatically in the interim, and that beyond a couple of landmarks, I don’t remember anywhere!
So fine, you know already what one of those memories were, or do if you’ve been reading the rest of the blog this week. The Alexandra Hotel, gone about 10 years or so, and the one place outside the hotel that Sue and I would eat together, which I havent mentioned before, a really good curry house, which as far as I can tell, is also no longer there.
Why I say that is simple, the town centre has changed so much, that when I get down town, I cant get my bearings as to which way I would have gone, when going from town, back to the hotel. And the back route for that, is where the curry house was. So yes, highly unlikely it is, but, it could still be there, and I just cant find it. Chances of that, less than 1%, but… I’ve decided that before Saturday comes around, I need to walk up the front, to West Park, go to where the Alex used to be, and try and find that road, so I can at least vaguely try and work out where it was, and what it is now.
Right, get to the story. Last night, as I was either going into the bus station, or leaving it, what did I spy across the road, yes, you’ve guessed it, an Indian restaurant. And fine, like a fool (as I now know) I thought it would make a good place for an evening meal, for old times sake, and all that.
So tonight, I went in. One thing I am sure of, especially having looked at a town map of St Helier, that wasnt it! Keeping this brief, the food was really good, the service was equally good, and it was all reasonably priced. But I couldnt go back there again, not even for a million dollars! Why, simple, talk about invoking the ghosts of holidays past, big time! All too much, thinking back on the times of curry houses, in St Helier in the past, with her, way too much for me. Even though it wouldnt work now, she was into guys, not girls, and I doubt that has changed, even if I have, dramatically.
Fine, I got through the meal, but as soon as I’d eaten my main course, I called for the bill, paid it quickly, and went just as quickly once I’d done so. Yes, as I discovered, way too much of an emotional experience doing something like that. So, if anyone from the Jaipur restaurant, on the Esplanade should read this, or anyone who knows anyone who works there should read this, say I’m sorry. The reason I almost rushed out of the place had nothing to do with them, and was entirely down to some memories of events over 30 years ago, that the place invoked for me.
The video, well, this was the most Indian song I could think of, nothing more. Great song though
Well, actually, to be honest, since I last posted, not much blog worthy has actually happened. So lets focus on one strange, and ironic moment that happened today, on the journey to the guest house.
As we were coming along the front in St Helier, I was talking to my driver, who was shuttling me from the airport to here. And of course, soon after the airport, I got asked that question that I suspect so many visitors get asked, “Have you been here before?”, and I admitted that I had, but a very long time ago.
After some chat, he asked me where I’d stayed back then, and I told him, The Alexandra, and he confirmed what I already knew, that it was no more, seems it closed about 10 years ago or so. In that time (unsurprisingly) there have been developments along the front, and indeed some land reclamation as well, making it almost impossible to get many bearing points that I could remember.
So I asked him (just in time, in fact), to point out to me where the hotel used to be, and he did. I’ll admit, even after all this time, seeing the park, but not seeing the hotel was a bit strange. I have a vague image of it still, but thats all, I visited it enough for that. And yes, now its got me wondering, whatever happened to Sue Clark(e)(?), the member of staff I had regular contact with, and visits to, back then. No idea, its over 30 years since I last spoke to her, and given she was just slightly older than me, I assume she’s still alive, but have no evidence. Beyond her work at the hotel, I know she was originally from Bristol, but thats all I can remember.
If anyone who knows her, realises who I’m talking about, let her know I mentioned her. No, I dont expect contact, and lets face it, I’ve changed a lot since then, in more senses than one!
So anyway, as its been a glorious day over here today, late afternoon (I only arrived at the guest house about 3.15), I took a stroll down into St Helier, and didnt recognise anywhere! Not surprising I guess, in all honesty, but I sort of thought, one landmark, but, not one so far. 😦 Mind, I ended up in the shopping area, and that would look totally different anyway!
Tomorrow, probably plan to do another memory trip, by getting the bus out to Corbiere lighthouse, then walking back a way, and then getting a bus back to town. No, I doubt very much the lighthouse has changed lol! The buses, what I saw of them, are a lot more modern than then!
I never was a diary keeper (I have one, but only for recording my work shifts in), and I have no idea if Sue kept one either, and if she did, whether I ever made an entry in it. But despite all that, this brilliant Yazoo song deserves a bit of love!