Friday, 26 September 2014

A Visit to Rozel Bay

"One of, if not the sweetest bays of Jersey, is Rozel", Henry Inglis, The Channel Island, 1834.

On Battle of Flowers day, Katalin and I decided to try to get to Rozel Bay, on the presumption that most people would be at the Battle, and we would stand a fair chance of getting parked. We had tried once before, but it was a sunny day, and the bay was packed out.

It is one of those bays part of whose charm is that it cannot be too crowded, because it is difficult to get there, rather like the restaurant in the G.K. Chesterton story - "It was a thing which paid not by attracting people, but actually by turning people away.".

Rozel is a small fishing port at the north east of the Island, and the name means "reed". It comes from the ancient Roselle family in Normandy, and the family also went across to England with Duke William, from which came the Anglicised version of the name, Russell.

One of the highlights of Rozel, and a reason for its popularity, is the "Hungry Man", a beach cafe which serves all kind of food, most of which is probably not healthy in any shape or form, but which is very, very tasty! So of course, we went to eat there. As Trip Advisor says:

"The Hungry Man is a Jersey institution, right on the harbour at Rozel, Kate and her team serve up everything from crab sandwiches to Jersey cream teas and bacon rolls to tasty burgers, all ready to eat at the alfresco tables outside"

And they are not wrong!

A singular feature of "The Hungry Man" is the fabulous pieces of artwork by local artist Edward Blampied."My art is a reflection of how i see life...colourful, sexy and very funny", he says, and it is certainly the case.

Waiting in the queue - and there is always a fair queue at the Hungry Man - means you have time to enjoy these very funny pictures, almost in the old seaside picture postcard style, although while cheeky, not quite as rude as Donald McGill.

I don't know if Edward Blampied is directly related to the famous Edmund Blampied, despite looking on his website, so perhaps it is just a name in common, not a genetic talent.

We had a roll with sausages each - and yes, that is the standard size, not the "Heart-Wrecker" one - and a portion of chips between us. Often that's a side order and quite small. At the "Hungry Man" it is almost two side orders in one. Here I am, chomping my way through the roll, with as ever, some tomato ketchup also on the plate! Anyone who knows me will know I am a fiend for ketchup.

No one knows how the word "ketchup" came about. There are theories that it was Chinese in origin, or Malay or Arabic. The word appeared in Britain during the late 17th century, appearing in as catchup (1690) and later as ketchup (1711).

We managed to get under shelter, because there was an occasional light shower, but close enough to have a nice view outside - well, Katalin did, as can be seen here. I had a nice view of her, so that was good too!

The food was very filling, but we just had enough room for a soft scoop ice cream, which we shared between us. Jersey ice cream has a creamy quality that the shop bought ice creams simply do not have; it is all the richness of Jersey milk. Heart attack heaven!

We bumped into my friend Debbie, who was there taking her uncle around the sites. It is amazing how small a place Jersey is, and how despite there being a population of 90,000, you still find yourself meeting up with people you know.

Katalin wanted to look for shells on the beach. She loves collecting sea shells. So we went down to the beach to see how many there were. But she doesn't sell them, so we are not quite into tongue twister territory. However, if you, gentle reader, would like one appropriate to the shore and sea shells, try this:

"She sells seashells by the seashore. The shells she sells are surely seashells. So if she sells shells on the seashore, I'm sure she sells seashore shells."

Try saying that fast!

Going inland a bit from the bay, there are some interesting road signs, including one which warns drivers of "ducks and geese on road". Actually we didn't see any on the road. However one enterprising motorist who did see them made this short video.

Further inland, the road winds past an antiques shop and several houses. There is also a wall mounted post box, still in use.

The initials ER II, standing for Queen Elizabeth II, show that this was put in place during the post-war years, when the tourism boom hit Jersey, and people posted massive amounts of postcards. It's all gone now. The tourists are not over in such numbers, and mostly they take camera shots with mobile devices to place instantly online.

There's a nice bench given in memory of Bill Dilks on the pier, which is a fitting location for a fisherman to be remembered. I like these "in memoriam" benches, and the way they tell a tale. And poor Bill was only 56. Who was he? I have not, alas, managed to find out more.

As we walked around, I spotted an old house which had a datestone. Datestones are descibed by Alex Glendinning:

"The initials of husband and wife and a date were often carved on a piece of granite and used as a lintel above the front door. Sometimes the two names have between them a heart (or two entwined hearts - as above) hence the description marriage stone. These stones rarely commemorate a marriage however, but usually mark the inheritance, construction or alternation of a building."

This one is "JRS & JLS 1832" next to Fishermen's Rest, Rozel Harbour. Alex has done a lot of work identifying the people on date stones, but this one is still unknown.

Along the harbour wall are fishermen's huts, some in quite bright colours, like the pinkish / mauve one in this photo. These are a particular feature of some of the smaller Northern bays of Jersey, like Rozel and Bonne Nuit, but are not much in evidence elsewhere in the island. It is a reminder that the Island's fishing heritage is still very much alive in Rozel today, as it was when the postcard below was taken some decades ago.

Rozel has a small and beautiful harbour. It has come a long way from the 1685 survey when it was only described as "a small creek called Rosel, where the Islanders keep several boats, both for fishing and for going to the Ecrehou". The Northern bays tend to be smaller, more intimate, than those on the South and West coasts, and Rozel was certainly one of the nicest for us to visit, despite the overcast skies, which could not mar its beauty.

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