Friday, 31 August 2018

This is Jersey - 1979 - Part 7

From 1979 comes this holiday guide - "This is Jersey". This is a flat brochure which is larger that the later glossy designs, and it doesn't have nearly as many pages - 16 double sided in all, including front and back covers.

It does provide a very interesting snapshot of the tourism scene in 1979, just as it was more or less at its peak, just before Bergerac launched, and before the package tour market and cheap holiday destinations abroad made Jersey's prices suddenly more expensive and the bottom fell out of the market.

Tourism is today rebuilding a new approach geared to the lifestyle of the modern tourist. It still has plenty to offer, but the old style of tourism probably won't sell today. But here's a chance to capture that flavour.

The Royal Yacht has undergone a massive "facelift" since 1979. The London Grill still exists but it is now just "The Grill" - apparently the extra kudos of appending "London" no longer has the same appeal.

A TripAdvisor reviewer notes:

"My mother many many years ago worked in the London Grill and walking in brought back so many fond memories. As always, immaculately clean and just how I remembered it from way back. Food was great and the overall ambience was brilliant.... Thank you Royal Yacht for keeping this little piece of history. Mr Taylor, the founder would be proud to see it still standing, never mind the huge transformation from what it was once but now is today! "

This page is a good one for advertising pubs and eateries that are still with us! While La Marquanderie has morphed into "The Tree House", all of those listed above still exist.

"Jersey’s premier family pub" as today's adverts say. The Portelet Inn dates back to the 17th Century. However, while the original building indeed dates back to 1606 but the first mention of an inn or hostelry is 1950.

The "Singalong Nightly" has gone, however. 

I managed to dig up this TripAdvisor memory:

"We have visited this Inn many times over the years starting in 1976 when the floral bar at the back had a nightly sing song to organ and drums and the coach parties used to visit on their way around the island!"

Bonne Nuit Hotel, which was officially known for a short time as Bonne Nuit Chalet Hotel, continued to be known by this name by islanders long after the name reverted in 1958. It was not only a popular hotel for visitors to the island, but its restaurant was a favourite venue for Sunday lunches and special occasion meals for non-residents.

A prominent feature was the large lobster tank near the entrance to the restaurant, from which diners could select lobsters and crabs to become part of their meal. This tank was fed with water pumped from the sea.
Sadly the hotel is no longer, having gone the way of many similar establishments in Jersey and been replaced by a block of luxury apartments. Can anyone supply the date it closed?

Le Hocq Inn is the most southerly pub in the British Isles, and it is still open. The area from which it derives it's name - Hocq, or Hoc as it is spelt in early documents - means a cape, headland or spur of rock. It was originally called Arthur's New Pontac Hotel. And it is still around today!

Thursday, 30 August 2018

And so to bed...

Some more of my "end of day" quotes with added pictures.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Dick Tahta:

Seeing is not always used to mean looking with your eyes ... When we use our eyes we often see what we have already foreseen. We look at objects and see them in a perspective that we have learned to impose on our view. It has taken the experiments of modern artists, and the study of psychologists of the child’s view of the world, to remind us that it is possible to see in many other ways.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from John Masefield: 

Night is on the downland, on the lonely moorland,
On the hills where the wind goes over sheep-bitten turf,
Where the bent grass beats upon the unplowed poorland
And the pine-woods roar like the surf. 

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Oksana Rus:

At the end of the day…we are anchoring into the peaceful lagoon, smiling at the majestic sun and its flirting rays, slowly slipping into the glittering ballroom of immense night skies, sipping on the platinum moon liquor under the blues of rippling waves kissing my golden foot hanging over the board of gently rocking boat, and diving into the bed of galaxies whispering magical stories of their eternal lives connecting souls…till the dawn.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Alan Bradley: 

I dreamt of turrets and craggy ledges where the windswept rain blew in from the ocean with the odor of violets. A pale woman in Elizabethan dress stood beside my bed and whispered in my ear that the bells would ring. An old salt in an oilcloth jacket sat atop a piling, mending nets with an awl, while far out at sea a tiny aeroplane winged its way towards the setting sun. 

And so to bed... quote for tonight comes from David Paul Kirkpatrick:

I have always quested and still do for the Holy Grail, but I stopped looking in the earthen caves and in the stars. I started questing through the valleys and mountains of my own soul.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Pensions in Jersey

I’ve been looking through the Social Security Department report 2017, and there are some fascinating statistics in it.

A fact well cited is that women live longer than men, and the case is certainly true in Jersey where the female to male ratio slowly increases with age, reflecting the fact that, on average, women live longer than men. Of the 331 pensioners aged 95 or over, 255 (77%) are female.

At present some women continue to have a pension age of 60, if they were registered for Social Security purposes before 1975 – despite the fact they live longer.

But living longer means people will need to work longer as well.

Old Age Pensions amount to £179.4 million in 2017, supporting 31,880 pensioners. That’s fast approaching 1/3 of the Island’s population, although it should be noted that not all pensions are paid locally. If people have paid their contributions, and move abroad, they are still quite rightly entitled to a pension.

The current pension age is 65, with an option to take a reduced rate pension up to two years early. In 2014 the States passed legislation to increase the pension age in Jersey from 2020, with the pension age rising by two months per year, increasing the age from 65 to 67 by 2031.

Just over three-quarters (£179.4 million) of Social Security benefit expenditure is in respect of old age pensions. This cost is growing year on year as the number of pensioners increases. At the end of 2017 there were 31,441 pensions in payment. There has been an 8% increase in the number of pensions paid between 2013 and 2017 and an 9% increase in the rate of the pension leading to an overall increase of 16% in the total cost of pensions over this time

So despite reporting on a currently healthy Reserve Fund, the actuarial review also clearly demonstrates the need for the ongoing major review of the Social Security scheme.

The number of people aged 65 and above is due to rise by 65% between 2015 and 2035. Even with an increase in state pension age, the extra annual cost to be met in pension payments by 2035 is roughly £100 million (in 2015 prices).

Acknowledging these future challenges, the Department is undertaking a major review of the Social Security Scheme. The first part of the scheme review was a public consultation during 2016 and these results were published in May 2017. That consultation had over 1,300 replies and there was clear support for the old age pension to be maintained in its current form.

There was little support for a means tested pension or for the value to be reduced in the future. Respondents understood the pressure that the cost of pensions will put on the Fund and agreed that savings could be made in other benefit areas and that contributions may need to rise.

The alternative is to "time shift" the demographic time bomb by boosting immigration, which will eventually lead to an even greater imbalance as that population itself ages - as has been noted, that strategy bears all the hallmarks of a Ponzi scheme.

The consultation also explored how well prepared people were for supporting themselves financially in old age. Many people reported that they had made little or no provision for this and were supportive of the government providing extra support, perhaps through a compulsory workplace pension scheme.

The UK has grasped this nettle, and introduced a compulsory workplace pension scheme. Isn't it time Jersey followed suit?

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Pesticides and Toxins in Foods: A Guest Post by Nick Palmer

Ames Test

This was originally posted on Facebook, but it was very interesting and I asked Nick for permission to put it here to get a wider audience. As the "news" is out that there is no safe level of wine consumption, it is worth looking at the toxins in ordinary foods, and also considering that we have to weigh up risk against benefits. That wine can be beneficial is also established, but the recent study in the media focuses only on the risks.

Guest Post by Nick Palmer

There was a recent poll here which asked the apparently simple question "Should we ban Roundup in Jersey?" There is a lot of 'fake news' being spread about pesticides locally, which badly libels our farmers, although it's not surprising that people have become so confused, what with the long term misinformation consistently spread by the rhetoric of such as Greenpeace.

I have a view, based on the real science, stripped of the pseudoscientific hysteria, that some of the ways Glyphosate is used nowadays should be modified or eliminated for significant reasons other than alleged human carcinogenicity, about which there is a lot of confusion and deceit.

The fact is that the strongest science nowadays, trumpeted by activists, only says that Glyphosate is a PROBABLE human carcinogen. This is actually quite a weak classification and should not worry anyone, and here are the reasons why.

Carcinogenicity of substances is worked out using scientific tests, the most well known of which is the Ames test, which is done in laboratories using bacterial cell and rat cultures. Using the Ames test, 50% of ALL chemicals tested whether natural or artificial, whether created by industry or nature are 'carcinogenic'.

Where activists are deceitful or, at the very least, ignorant is that they do not tell people that these substances are only carcinogenic - as in actually might cause cancer - when there are enormously greater quantities present than those due to residues etc. 

The concentration of any chemical is the key to attributing any real toxicity to it. In toxicology circles there is a very old rule of thumb -'the dose makes the poison'. There is a reason why activists have to turn a blind eye to this to spread their agendas.

Prepare to have your preconceptions blown away. First one has to realise that there is no real distinction between natural substances and 'chemicals'. 

Using the very same tests that they used to establish the 'probable' carcinogenicity' of Glyphosate and other modern pesticides and fungicides it becomes clear that, in reality, a plate of broccoli, a kale smoothy, a tomato salad or just about everything cooked on a BBQ or fried on your hob is way more carcinogenic than any residues from pesticides in the food. 

This is true of perfectly organic vegetables too. This surprising truth is because of a little known fact - most, probably all, plants make their own natural pesticides and fungicides - toxins - to kill or dissuade their fungi, insect, and animal predators. Even less well known is that many of these natural substances are hundreds of times more carcinogenic, when tested, than even the 'bad' pesticides, let alone the very benign Glyphosate.

Human dietary intake of nature’s naturally created pesticides is about 10,000 times higher than the human intake of synthetic pesticides that are proved rodent carcinogens - the proof is this seminal 1990 paper by the very same man who invented the main test for carcinogenicity - Bruce Ames.

Ames estimated that Americans consume 5,000-10,000 different natural pesticides in their diets.

Here is a short list of the natural carcinogens present in vegetables and herbs and a few other foodstuffs- they contain proved (not just probable...) carcinogens. Also these substances are present in much larger quantities, therefore are even more carcinogenic. The full list is a whole lot longer - if you like it, it's probably on the list...

• Carrots – aniline, caffeic acid
• Cherry Tomatoes – benaldehyde, caffiec acid, hydrogen peroxide, quercetin glycosides
• Celery – caffiec acid, furan derivatives, psoralens
• Cream of Mushroom Soup – hydrazines
• Mixed Roasted Nuts – aflatoxin, furfural
• Green Salad – allyl isothiocyanate, caffiec acid, estragole, methyl eugenol
• Prime Rib of Beef with Parsley Sauce – benzene, heterocyclic amines, psoralens
• Broccoli – allyl isothiocynate
• Baked Potatoes – ethyl alcohol, caffeic acid
• Sweet Potato – ethyl alcohol, furfural
• Red Wine, White Wine - ethyl alcohol, ethyl carbamate
• Coffee – benzo(a)pyrene, benzaldehyde, benzene, benzofuran, caffeic acid
• Catechol – dibenz(a)anthracine, methylcatechol, hydrogen peroxide
• Tea – benzo(a)pyrene, quercetinglycosides
Naturally occurring mutagens and carcinogens found in foods and beverages;

• Acetaldehyde (apples, bread, coffee, tomatoes) – mutagen and potent rodent carcinogen
• Acrylamide (bread, rolls) – rodent and human neurotoxin; rodent carcinogen
• Aflatoxin (nuts)- mutagen and potent rodent carcinogen, also a human carcinogen
• Allyl isothiocyanate (arugula, broccoli, mustard) – mutagen and rodent carcinogen
• Aniline (carrots) – rodent carcinogen
• Benzaldehyde (apples, coffee, tomatoes) – rodent carcinogen
• Benzene (butter, coffee, roasted beef) – rodent carcinogen
• Caffeic acid (apples, carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, coffee, grapes, lettuce, mangos, pears, potatoes) – rodent carcinogen
• Hydrazines (mushrooms) – mutagens and rodent carcinogen
• Hydroquinone (coffee) – rodent carcinogen
• d-limonene (black pepper, mangos) – rodent carcinogen
• 4-methylcatechol (coffee) – rodent carcinogen
• Methyl eugenol (basil, cinnamon and nutmeg in apple and pumpkin pies)- rodent carcinogen
• Psoralens (celery, parsley) – mutagens; rodent and human carcinogens

And yet vegetables, and the others mentioned, consumed in ordinary amounts, do not cause cancers even though they have plenty of carcinogens in them - indeed, many can protect against some cancers.

The reason is that even though these natural pesticide chemicals are away more carcinogenic when tested than artificial agricultural or horticultural 'chemicals', and they are present in much larger quantities, the total concentrations they are in plants is still much less than the minimum levels needed to spark off or exacerbate cancers. 

It follows logically that the much lower levels of much less carcinogenic chemical pesticide residues are vanishingly insignificant in our diets and that all those who campaign against pesticides because of their purported dangers to humans are mostly misguided. In short, wrong.

Once one fully understands this, there are some surprising consequences. 

Modern vegetables are often said to lack flavour and, compared to 'heritage' varieties, this is often true. Plants have been bred to grow faster and larger and more appealing to the eyes of the majority of supermarket shoppers and sometimes this has ended up 'diluting' the taste. 

An irony of popular belief is that, in real measured terms, organic heritage varieties have more carcinogenic potential than standard watery supermarket veg. Heritage varieties are usually more naturally resistant to pests and this is because they still have more of the natural pesticides in them, which have been bred out in mass produced vegetables.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Authority by Mary Boole

I was first introduced to Mary Booke in "A Boolean anthology: selected writings of Mary Boole on mathematical education" which was compiled by by old Maths Tutor at St Lukes, Exeter, Dick Tahta.

Mary Boole (1832-1916) was an influential mathematics teacher and educator. Here are is an interesting pieces which give a flavour of how she saw pedagogy. It some ways, she was unusual, an independent thinking on the margins of the mainstream, but also, in her day, influential.

Dick himself was not exactly what you might call a standard prosaic mathemathics teacher, but he was inspiring, challenging and making you look at mathematics in a different way. I can remember the names of only two teachers from my time at Exeter, and one was Dick, so he obvious impressed me. His written work, now alas lost in mathematical journals, should I hope be collated one day, and re-released, as I think it would still interests students of mathematics. It took me ages to track down a copy of his piece "Idoneities". A Kindle edition would be good too!

by Mary Boole

Three main symbols of authority have shared between them the attention of the world: the slave-driver's whip, the shepherd's crook, and the conductor's baton. A reasonable man should make up his mind which of the three he prefers : which he will submit to when it is his turn to submit and wield when the time comes for him to rule.

The slave-driver's whip has various modifications, conventionalised disguises: the sceptre, the mace, the truncheon, the cane.

The appeal of them all alike is to immediate impressions on the senses. Their message is brutal but honest: "If you will obey my will, your sensations shall be more agreeable than they will be if you thwart my will."

The shepherd's crook is modified into a bishop's crozier. The functions of the two are similar: to keep the sheep from strenuous exercise in high altitudes, where their limbs grow fleet and their tissues tough; to keep off wolves who might dispute possession of any portion of the flock with the man who considers himself its rightful owner; to lead them into plentiful pasture, so as to make them fat and their flesh tender, and guide them cunningly at last into the yard of the slaughter-house. The whole system is simply one long deception-often of sentimental self-deception.

The conductor's baton exerts no control except during certain hours of practice and of performance. Once the appointed time has expired, every man is free to go where he likes and do as he chooses. He is freer (because more able) than he would have been without his occasional episodes of servitude, to play by himself whatever tune he chooses, or to enter into effective combinations with musicians not known in that conductor's orchestra.

Friends, under which symbol will you serve? And by which will you prefer to rule?

“Seeing is not always used to mean looking with your eyes. The double meaning reminds us that when we use our eyes we often see what we have already foreseen. We look at objects and see them in a perspective that we have learned to impose on our view. It has taken the experiments of modern artists, and the study of psychologists of the child’s view of the world, to remind us that it is possible to see in many other ways... “ (Dick Tahta, 1970)

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Whatever happened to the Samaritans?

Whatever happened to the Samaritans?

I was thinking about the Samaritans in the New Testament and the Parable of the Good Samaritan, and pondering about what ever happened to them. We don’t really hear much about them now.

There’s an interesting article by Tom Heneghan in the Independent, which notes that (in 2009):

“At the time of the late Roman Empire, there were more than a million of them, but, by the last century, they were down to just 146 members.”

“Half the community lives in the tidy modern village of Kiryat Luza on Mount Gerizim, the faith's holy mountain in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The other half is in the Israeli town of Holon near Tel Aviv.”

How do they differ from Jews? 

Heneghan comments that:

“The Samaritans insist the women convert before marriage and commit to a religious discipline hardly imaginable elsewhere. The Samaritans believe Mount Gerizim near the West Bank city of Nablus was the holy place chosen by God, not Jerusalem. They have their own version of the Torah and holy days similar to Jewish ones. They say that Judaism in the south, especially after the 6th-century BC Babylonian exile, diverted from the original faith.”

“In addition, women must live separately from their husbands and children during menstruation and isolate themselves after giving birth – 40 days after having a boy, 80 after a girl.

The Samaritan Bible

The piece in the Independent mentions their own version of the Torah, and I’ve uncovered a bit more detail.

The Samaritan Pentateuch, also known as the Samaritan Torah is a text of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, written in the Samaritan alphabet and used as scripture by the Samaritans. It constitutes their entire biblical canon.

It is very similar to the mainstream Hebrew one – the Masoretic text– and most variations which mostly minor are minor textual ones, many of which are also common to the Koine Greek Septuagint, which was used around the time of Jesus.

But one of the most notable differences is uniquely Samaritan commandment to construct an altar on Mount Gerizim, their holy mountain.

Chavie Lieber, writing in the Tablet, notes:

“The Samaritan Torah also offers a slightly different version of some stories. It includes parts of dialogues that are not found in the Masoretic text: For example, in Exodus chapters 7 through 11, the Samaritan Torah contains whole conversations between Moses, Aaron, and Pharaoh that the Masoretic text does not.”

“In Exodus 12:40, for example, the Masoretic text reads: ‘The length of the time the Israelites lived in Egypt was 430 years,’ a sentence that has created massive chronological problems for Jewish historians, since there is no way to make the genealogies last that long. In the Samaritan version, however, the text reads: ‘The length of time the Israelites lived in Canaan and in Egypt was 430 years.’

Samaritans believe that God authored their Pentateuch and gave Moses the first copy along with the two tablets containing the Ten Commandments. They believe that they preserve this divinely composed text uncorrupted to the present day. Samaritans commonly refer to their Pentateuch as ("The Truth")

They do not recognize divine authorship or inspiration in any other book in the Jewish Tanakh. A Samaritan Book of Joshua partly based upon the Tanakh's Book of Joshua exists, but Samaritans regard it as a non-canonical secular historical chronicle

Holidays and Practices

Chavie Lieber, writing in the Tablet, notes:

“As an ancient Semitic people, the Samaritans abide by a literal version of Torah law. Eschewing Jewish practices that are rabbinic in origins, they believe only in the Five Books of Moses and observe only holidays found in the Pentateuch, such as Passover and Sukkot, as opposed to Jewish holidays like Purim or Hanukkah whose origins are found elsewhere in Jewish scriptures.”

“Their rituals mirror an ancient world that few religions still keep today. On Passover, for example, their high priest sacrifices a sheep in a community-wide ritual, where its blood is dabbed on foreheads and later eaten together with matzo and bitter herbs. On Shabbat, Samaritans abstain from cooking and kindling fires and pray barefoot in white, identical garments.”

Origins of the Samaritans

Some modern scholarship connects the formation of the Samaritan community with events which followed the Babylonian Captivity. But others believe that the real schism between the peoples did not take place until Hasmonean times when the Gerizim temple was destroyed in 128 BCE by John Hyrcanus. The script of the Samaritan Pentateuch, its close connections at many points with the Septuagint, and its even closer agreements with the present Hebrew text, all suggest a date about 122 BC

Frank Moore Cross has described the origin of the Samaritan Pentateuch within the context of his local texts hypothesis. He views the Samaritan Pentateuch as having emerged from a manuscript tradition local to Palestine.

The Hebrew texts that form the underlying basis for the Septuagint branched from the Palestinian tradition as Jews emigrated to Egypt and took copies of the Pentateuch with them. Cross states that the Samaritan and the Septuagint share a nearer common ancestor than either does with the Masoretic, which he suggested developed from local texts used by the Babylonian Jewish community.

His explanation accounts for the Samaritan and the Septuagint sharing variants not found in the Masoretic and their differences reflecting the period of their independent development as distinct Egyptian and Palestinian local text traditions

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

It is interesting to reflect that while Samaritans were regarded with considerable hatred. Jesus' target audience, the Jews, hated Samaritans to such a degree that they had destroyed the Samaritans' temple on Mount Gerizim.But tensions were particularly high in the early decades of the 1st century because Samaritans had desecrated the Jewish Temple at Passover with human bones.

A lot is often made of the fact that the Priest and Levi walked by, not just holy men, but holy men who also would not want to become ritually unclean. But it is worth noting that the Samaritans had the same taboos, just as rigorous, about blood and ritual cleanliness, and yet the Samaritan in the story broke that taboo for the sake of a fellow human being. That's a level of the story that's not always seen.


Saturday, 25 August 2018


Inspired in part by the Star Trek Next Generation episode of the same name, and the song "Tapestry" that I recall sung my Mary O'Hara ages ago.


Looking back, the mottled hands,
Almost at the end of flowing sands
Of the egg timer. The hair thinning,
As the record ending its spinning.
A relic of archaism in a digital age:
The lost earth magic of the sage;
At the ancient stones, long ago,
Passing of the sun, rain and snow,
Now beginning in old age to slow;
But the memories persist, remain:
Times of great joy, times of pain;
A tapestry, threads woven ,whole :
Completion as time takes its toll;
The hour is here, the time is late:
Threads woven by a spinning Fate ;
And memories fading into gray;
A twilight world, no speech to say,
As words drift off, decay, are lost
For this is the price, the final cost
Of long life, well lived, an ending;
The tapestry rips, a last rending:
Frayed threads, it comes apart
The last beating of a dying heart

Friday, 24 August 2018

This is Jersey - 1979 - Part 6

From 1979 comes this holiday guide - "This is Jersey". This is a flat brochure which is larger that the later glossy designs, and it doesn't have nearly as many pages - 16 double sided in all, including front and back covers.

It does provide a very interesting snapshot of the tourism scene in 1979, just as it was more or less at its peak, just before Bergerac launched, and before the package tour market and cheap holiday destinations abroad made Jersey's prices suddenly more expensive and the bottom fell out of the market.

Tourism is today rebuilding a new approach geared to the lifestyle of the modern tourist. It still has plenty to offer, but the old style of tourism probably won't sell today. But here's a chance to capture that flavour.

The hydrofoil was for two decades at the forefront of fast ferry innovation, until the catamaran stole its thunder. Thomas Muller notes:

"The hydrofoil made its first appearance in British waters when in 1964, new Jersey-based ferry operator Condor Ferries decided it would compete with the established Channel ferry companies by investing in this fast ferry technology. It proved a shrewd move, the Italian built PT50 named ‘Condor 1’ proved an immediate hit with passengers travelling between the Channel Islands of Jersey, Guernsey and Sark and the Brittany port of St Malo. Between its maiden year of 1964 and 1966, passenger numbers grew from 10,000 to over 60,000."

"However, the hydrofoil’s niche role was not to last. The early 90s saw a new craft appear on the scene that combined its speed with generous capacity and passenger comforts. The catamaran was the new fast ferry on the block, and it made the hydrofoil look outdated very fast. Not surprisingly, the progressive ferry company Condor was quick to discard the old guard in favour the new wave piercing catamaran."

"The limitations of the hydrofoil were bound to seal its fate sooner or later. It may be quick but beyond that there wasn’t much for the ferry passenger to savour."

"There are few comforts on board, for instance. Most unappealingly it adopts one of the worst aspects of aeroplane design; consigning passengers to sit in close quarters in a confined cabin, when the freedom that most ferries offer the passenger is one of the highlights of sea travel. In addition to that it also wasn’t able to cope well in bad weather conditions, and services were often cancelled."

Mind you, the current batch of fast ferries still has trouble in that respect!!

But the great advantage of the hydrofoil for Channel Island waters was that it could go places larger craft could not. I remember a trip to Sark and a trip to Alderney by hydrofoil. There is still a ferry direct to Sark, but not as fast, and there is no longer a direct boat to Alderney. The nippy hydrofoil could offer fast speeds, and the opportunity for day trippers to get the most out of their day. Less than an hour to Sark, not more than that to Alderney. Isn't it a shame we actually have less opportunities now?

Alderney I recall travelling alone with a school friend. And it really was "easy to get to". Now it is hard to get to, hard to leave, and expensive to travel to and from Jersey.

Preston Travel for decades provided tour operator services via Condor until its parent company went bust. Here are a few way stations of that demise.

February 2014

Jersey Tourism is working with Channel Island tour operators to help holidaymakers following an announcement that Preston Travel Group has ceased trading.

UK-based Preston Travel has been operating to the Channel Islands since the 1960s. It was the largest tour operator bringing visitors into Jersey. Its insolvency will affect local transport and accommodation services.

Director of Jersey Tourism, David de Carteret said ‘We are working closely with our other Channel Island tour operators to ensure that affected clients have alternative packages in place to so that they can rebook their breaks to the Island.’

May 2014

A defunct travel company that brought 20,000 visitors per year to Jersey will be relaunched under new ownership.

Preston Travel went out of business in February but its assets have been bought by UK-based 3X Travel, which will be rebranded as Preston Holidays.

Herm is and was a gem, and that's largely down to the vision of Peter Wood and in 1979, he was still running the Island although he and his wife Jenny would hand this over to their son-in-law Adrian Heyworth and daughter Pennie in 1980.

Here's a bit of Herbert Winterflood 's obituary for him in the Independent:

"PETER WOOD brought joy to thousands of people by transforming one of the smallest of the Channel Islands into a mini paradise. As the tenant of Herm Island he saw his vision of a small, self-supporting community become a reality. A 15-minute boat ride from Guernsey, Herm has one hotel, self-catering cottages, a campsite and no cars. Here visitors from near and far find peace and tranquillity."

"Peter Wood acquired the tenancy of Herm after the war and, with his wife Jenny, worked closely with the States of Guernsey to improve its standards."

"At the outset they looked at some of the ruins on Herm and believed that they had the tenacity to transform the place into a holiday retreat. While their young played on the beaches, the parents set about creating their dream. A working farm was established, telephone communications set-up and the Manor House and St Tugual's Chapel restored. Their hard work was rewarded by boatloads of day trippers arriving from Guernsey."


Thursday, 23 August 2018

And so to bed...

And so to bed... a collection of my quotes posted every night on Facebook, with added photos / pictures of the people mentioned.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Matt Haig:

Music doesn't get in. Music is already in. Music simply uncovers what is there, makes you feel emotions that you didn't necessarily know you had inside you, and runs around waking them all up. A rebirth of sorts.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Laini Taylor:

Happiness. It was the place where passion, with all its dazzle and drumbeat, met something softer: homecoming and safety and pure sunbeam comfort. It was all those things, intertwined with the heat and the thrill, and it was as bright within her as a swallowed star.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Anatole France:

An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don't.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from John Amos Comenius:

We are all citizens of one world, we are all of one blood. To hate a man because he was born in another country, because he speaks a different language, or because he takes a different view on this subject or that, is a great folly. Desist, I implore you, for we are all equally human…. Let us have but one end in view, the welfare of humanity.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Fred Rogers :

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers-so many caring people in this world.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

But the plans were on display!

“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
“That’s the display department.”
“With a flashlight.”
“Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”
“So had the stairs.”
“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.” 
--- Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

I was trying to find the Tambar Park Planning Inspector’s report, and emailed the Department. This was the reply:

“Thank you for your email.  The Inspector could not himself find his reports (there are two) on the States of Jersey website, and has written about this to the department concerned.  He eventually found them listed as “ILAP Officer Report Assessment Sheet”  under “Other Documents” for application reference P/2017/1023. 

“Please note that the Inspector’s reports are wrongly labelled as they are not the same thing as a Planning Officer’s Report and they are not “assessment sheets”.  You may wish to take this matter up with Chris Jones, the case officer in the planning department to whom I am copying this email for information”

The mind boggles!!! Douglas Adams was closer to the truth than one thinks!

So the last report is dated 25/07/2018, and entitled “ILAP Officer report/assessment sheet Inspector Supplementary Report to Minister dated May 2018.”

It’s an interesting report, not least because it is a review after significant changes had been made. The earlier report says basically “back to the drawing board”, and while the revised one gets passed, it has caveats.

What the report concluded and the Media coverage

In summary, both these proposals would have planning benefits and disbenefits. The proposals are linked in such ways that they stand or fall together - it would not make sense, for example, to grant planning permission for the proposed dwelling on the east site, which if implemented would take away the parking for the Tamba Park tourist attraction, unless the replacement car park were to be provided on the west site. Nor would it be sensible to permit the proposed holiday village and enlarged parking and other facilities for Tamba Park on the west site whilst leaving the existing car park off La Rue des Varvots on the east site.

The decision whether or not to grant planning permissions depends on the weight put on various aspects. The cases are more evenly balanced than has been claimed for the applicant, and than might be suggested by the relative volume of evidence or submissions presented by the two main parties; but in my judgment the benefits of the proposals - including removing the redundant glasshouses, restoring a substantial part of the land to a condition suitable for agricultural use, helping the tourism-related economy, taking traffic away from La Rue des Varvots and enabling improvements to be made to local drainage – carry considerable weight. on balance, I judge that the public interest planning gains would be sufficient to overcome the objections to the proposals, including the normal presumption against most forms of urban development in the Green Zone.

It should be noted that while there is building on the green zone, with the removal of glasshouses, there is also “restoring a substantial part of the land to a condition suitable for agricultural use”, so that the merits of the case are not about taking land from the Green Zone, but also about putting land into the Green Zone.

This is something which is not apparent in the media summary, which is why I wanted to see the full report. It also comes in the recommendations further down: “the removal of existing glasshouses, the restoration of land for potential open-field agricultural use”. That must have weighted as significant, but the fact that it is only “potential” may have one factor in tipping the balance when John Young reviewed the plans. It is not an actual trade off, only a potential one.

It is also worth noting that while the Inspector comes down in favour, he also regards the matter as “evenly balanced”. This is also not a case of an Inspector saying one thing, and the Planning Minister, Deputy John Young, just ignoring what he has to say.

So while the media were right to report that the Minister turned down the report, the way in which they did so is misleading.

Here, for example is one account from ITV News:

The Inspector cited several pros and cons and considered that, on balance, "the public interest planning gains were enough to overcome the concerns, including the fact that Tamba Park is in the Green Zone, where there is a general presumption against development".  However, the Environment Minister did not agree and refused the plans.

And the JEP says even more forcefully:

The Planning Minister announced he had refused the application for 27 self-catering units on the tourism site, based in St Lawrence – despite an independent planning inspector recommending it be given the green light.

Given those reports, the average reader would be inclined to ask: what is the point of having a Planning Inspector if the Minister can ignore his counsel. That, of course, only makes sense if all you have is the media reports, especially that of the JEP.

In fact the very fact that the Inspector says the decision is “evenly balanced” means that the Planning Minister certainly had a right to review the plan and could well have come to a different decision.  An evenly or finely balanced decision is one in which the arguments for and against it were of almost equal merit, and clearly how one weighs up priorities may differ in such circumstances.

And finally, I’m passing no judgement on the merits or otherwise of the site. All I am trying to do is dig down and clarify the matters at hand in the differing decisions of Inspector and Minister.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Yes, Housing Minister

Yes, Housing Minister?

“I have done what I always said I'd never do, traded the niche I had built for myself on the backbenches for the Department of Folding Deckchairs.”

- Chris Mullins

"I have chosen to stand for election as Senator because I want to seek a mandate from across the whole Island for our manifesto."

- Sam Mezec

Before making these criticisms of the Housing Minister, I should come clean and declare my credentials. I have delivered manifestos for a Reform party candidate, and in the last election, I cast some votes for Reform members.

While I did not agree with all of the Reform manifesto, I did think they raised some important issues which needed to be addressed, not least in the field of housing. But so far, the results have been very disappointing.

The slogan of Reform was that “This election is a chance for the people of Jersey to vote for real change”, but change is something we haven’t seen a lot of.

I do understand that there has been a relatively short time since the Minister took office (in June) but there are no propositions even mentioned in the pipeline, let alone in the calendar for the next States sitting, nor even any news on “research” on the various housing matters either on Sam Mezec’s blog or the Reform website (which seems to have been effectively mothballed since the election, as there is nothing new on there).

'in the fullness of time, in due course, when conditions allow, and at the appropriate juncture. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day' Jim Hacker, Yes Minister

I look forward to the Minister replying at some point, perhaps on his blog, to the matters raised herein.

Housing Matters 1: The Petition

“A law to limit rental prices is required in Jersey in my opinion. Rents are far too high. Rents should be around 30% of people's salaries. The present rents are causing rent distress in individuals and businesses to close.”

This petition has reached 1,896 signatures. Ministers have to respond to all petitions that get more than 1,000 signatures

I am looking forward with interest to his response. Meanwhile, let us refresh our memories of the Reform Manifesto:

“Reform Jersey believes that every Islander deserves to have a secure and affordable roof above their head. Home-ownership should not be out of reach for the many, and those in the rental sector should receive a decent service for the rent that they pay.”

“Much of Jersey’s private sector housing is completely unregulated, with no safeguards in place on whether those properties are suitable or being rented for a reasonable amount.”

"We believe that the cost of accommodation, whether to rent or buy, at its current high levels is unsustainable."

“We will re-establish the Rent Tribunal to allow tenants to challenge unjustifiable rent increases, whilst we conduct further research into housing regulation to make sure that the housing market works in the interests of people who need a roof above their head.”

Any sign of the Rent Tribunal? And where is the further research? And when will it be published, and who is doing it? Some details would be most welcome.

Housing Matters 2: High Cost of Housing.

The JEP reported that: "JERSEY house prices have risen by six per cent in the past 12 months and are now more than £100,000 higher than the Guernsey average. "

Gill Hunt, president of the Jersey Estate Agents Association, said that for first time buyers, there would “‘come a point where wages simply cannot sustain the increasing prices both in the buying and rental markets”

Dan Edmunds from Statistics Jersey said:  ‘We have seen a six per cent rise on this time last year – Guernsey has gone the other way. Jersey is seeing broadly one per cent population growth each year while Guernsey seems to be relatively static."

The JEP attempted to contact Senator Mézec but had not received a reply at the time of going to print.

So let us remind ourselves of the Reform Manifesto:

“Jersey’s housing market is broken. The Jersey Household Income Distribution Survey 2014/15 showed that the cost of housing was the largest contributor to poverty, and we have a much lower home-ownership rate than the UK. For too long, the States has regulated the market in the interests of investors, rather than the interests of people who need a place to live. “

Housing Matters 3: Andium Homes 90%

States social housing policy sets social housing rents at 90% of the market rate. Sam Mezec has said he is committed to changing this, as pledged in the Reform Jersey manifesto, but adds. "This won’t be done overnight though, as there will be a cost implication we will have to manage,"

Has Reform turned into a toothless tiger? So far, while nothing will be “done overnight”, there is little evidence that anything is being done at all. Has Sam Mezec turned into Jim Hacker? I always grow suspicious of these kinds of procrastinating remarks. Have his civil servants trained Sam already?

Just to remind you, this is what the Manifesto said:

“Introduce a rent freeze on the social housing sector and research and develop a fair rent regulation system for all sectors”

“Social housing usually has rent levels set at a maximum of 80% of those in the private sector, whilst ours is set at 90%. At such a high level, housing is by no means "affordable". Reform Jersey proposes a freeze on social housing rents.”

Any sign of the freeze? Any sign of the fair rent regulation? An update on the development of regulation – including when we might expect to see it emerge – would be useful.

Housing Matters 4: Letting Agent Fees

Remember this in the Reform manifesto:

“Simple regulations exist in other jurisdictions which the current government has refused to implement here, despite the clear impact they would have in improving access to affordable housing for Islanders. If a Reform Jersey member becomes Housing Minister in the next government, they will ban letting agent fees for tenants immediately (as has already been done in the UK).”

Note the word “immediately”.

There are not, as far as I can see, any propositions or ministerial decisions put forward. Is Reform like the Liberal Party in Coalition, giving up principles and commitments in exchange for the opportunity to be insiders? Senator Mezec might just remember what happened to them in the last UK election but one. Are we going to see commitment to manifesto statements, or prevarication? More of "this won't be done overnight"?

Sir Mark: Why so little success?
Jim Hacker: Rome wasn't built in a day.
Sir Mark: - No. It's because all the Ministers have gone native.
Jim Hacker: - Surely...?
Sir Mark: The civil service has trained them!
Jim Hacker: Oh!
Sir Mark: Know what the civil service say? You're a pleasure to work with.
Jim Hacker: Oh!
Sir Mark: That's what Barbara Woodhouse says about her spaniels.
- Yes Minister

Monday, 20 August 2018

Social service and citizenship by Clement Attlee

Back in 1920, Clement Attlee wrote "The Social Worker". This is an extract from the book.

In this introduction, he anchors the idea of social work in a broad sense with the idea of civic duty or responsibility:

Social service is not the monopoly of the few, nor is it confined to any one class ; it is not a particular set of activities so much as an attitude of mind to all human actions. It is the demand that their existence as members of society, and as members of a particular part of that society, makes on all men and women. It is essentially the duty of citizenship not only to the city and the State but to the world.

It is also notable for how he finds the English roots of the desire for justice and fairness and a call for change in the rebellion of the Romantic movement, and not in Karl Marx. Attlee sees in this a prophetic vision, which both critiques and calls for something better, but something which is not founded in an Marxists ideology but in the English traditions themselves.

If anyone has the idea that Attlee was a man of little or no intellect, this should certainly dispel that notion.

Social service and citizenship
by Clement Attlee

The term social service that forms part of the title of this series requires some examination. In its simplest meaning it comprises every contribution that each member of a society, individually or working through a group, brings to society in so far as his or her work is not an absolute disservice.

The miner who wins coal from the pit, the farmer who grows food, the railwayman who assists in its transportation, and the business man who facilitates the exchange and distribution of commodities, are all engaged in social service as much as the civil servant, the member of a governing body or the charitable worker ; but in actual every-day speech the term has been narrowed down to denote a fairly distinct sphere of human activity.

If one hears of anyone engaged in social work, a very definite picture is formed in the mind ; one sees the man who gives up his evenings to the work of a boy's club, or the woman engaged in district visiting or assisting at a school clinic or infant welfare centre. The term suggests the secretary of a Charity Organisation committee, the hospital almoner, or the probation officer. Social service presents itself as either an occupation for the leisure of the better-fed classes, or a specialised employment for certain professionals. Particularly it suggests persons of a superior position in society engaged in the endeavour to ameliorate the lot of the poor.

The picture may not be thought very inviting, rather drab, dusty and uninspiring, with a touch of the patronising about it. In the foreground of the picture are a number of people in sad-coloured garments with a parson or two among them sitting round a deal table in an aroma of soap and water or disinfectant, obviously engaged in doing their duty towards their neighbours, who are represented in the background by a shabby and ill-at-ease group of mothers and children, with an infrequent and deplorably humble man.

" Social workers," someone will say rather pityingly, " good people no doubt in their way, but very dull, forever fussing over their lame ducks ; all very well, of course, for people who like that sort of thing, elderly spinsters and men with no settled occupation."

This or something like it is a not uncommon view, but it is, I believe, a profound misconception. The Social Service movement of modern times is not confined to any one class, nor is it the preserve of a particular section of dull and respectable people. It has arisen out of a deep discontent with society as at present constituted, and among its prophets have been the greatest spirits of our time.

It is not a movement concerned alone with the material, with housing and drains, clinics and feeding centres, gas and water, but is the expression of the desire for social justice, for freedom and beauty, and for the better apportionment of all the things that make up a good life. It is the constructive side of the criticism passed by the reformer and the revolutionary on the failure of our industrialised society to provide a fit environment where a good life shall be possible for all.

Poetry has been called a criticism of life, and in the work of the great poets of the nineteenth century we can see the discontent caused by this failure getting stronger and stronger as the fruits of modern industrialism began to ripen. The note is struck in the earliest of the new school that renewed the poetry of imagination after the long sleep of Georgian artificiality. William Blake, visionary and prophet, declared :

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall the sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England's green and pleasant land.

In the poetry of Keats may be observed the gradual invasion of misgivings as to the Tightness of the position of the dreamer, striving to create 'beauty, but turning his back on the parallel creation of ugliness, moral and material.

Thus in " Isabella and the Pot of Basil " the summary of the murderous brothers' worldly position is startlingly modern, and is capable of, and clearly intended to bear, a wider application :

With her two brothers this fair lady dwelt,
Enriched from ancestral merchandise,
And for them many a weary hand did swelt
In torched mines and noisy factories
For them alone did seethe
A thousand men in troubles wide and dark,
Half-ignorant, they turned an easy wheel,
That set sharp racks at work, to pinch and peel.

While in " The Fall of Hyperion " the note becomes even clearer.

" Are there not thousands in the world," said I,
" Who love their fellows even to the death,
Who feel the giant agony of the world,
And more, like slaves to poor humanity,
Labour for mortal good ? "

In Shelley an even more militant note is sounded, in such poems as " Men of England, wherefore plough," or " The Masque of Anarchy," or " Queen Mab."

Here we have the spirit of revolt against social injustice, not intruding on the poet's vision, as in Keats, but animating and inspiring all his work.

Later comes a still more striking figure, the greatest of the modern prophets, Ruskin. A man extremely sensitive to beauty, greatly gifted in its portrayal, is torn from his contemplation of the scenery, the architecture and the paintings that he loves by a horror of the ugliness around him, a disgust at the injustice of the social system under which he lives, and feels an imperious need to do all that he can to denounce the evil and sweep it away.

As he says himself, "I feel the force of machinery and the fury of avaricious commerce to be so irresistible that I have seceded from the study, not only of architecture but of art, as I would in a besieged city, to seek the best mode of getting bread and butter for the multitude."

Thus he was led to denounce the current economic theory, and in " Unto this last " shook its ascendancy, while he demonstrated in " The Stones of Venice " and the " Seven Lamps of Architecture" that the root of ugliness was social injustice, and that beauty depended on freedom and justice. But further, in contrast to the mere rebels who only denounced, he definitely attempted to put his ideals into practice.

His co-operative commonwealth failed and cost him a fortune, but it is just this determination to make practical experiment as well as to theorise, to do as well as to think, that is the kernel of social service.

William Morris, again, was drawn from the practice of the many arts in which he delighted, and of which he was master, to the uncongenial duty of street-corner agitation, for which he was little fitted.

Now, in all these cases it will be observed that it is precisely the finest, most sensitive and most daring spirits of their age who feel the call for change. The social worker is in high company, and social service is not the preserve of the parish worker, the charitymonger and the statistician, but is the legacy of the prophets.

Social service is not the monopoly of the few, nor is it confined to any one class ; it is not a particular set of activities so much as an attitude of mind to all human actions. It is the demand that their existence as members of society, and as members of a particular part of that society, makes on all men and women. It is essentially the duty of citizenship not only to the city and the State but to the world.

In the course of this book we shall be obliged to use the term " social worker " in its narrow sense, but it is necessary to emphasise at the outset that although this may be done, the more extended meaning will be kept in view.

The development of the social service idea from the old position of the charitable worker must now be considered, and we will turn to the examination of some of the factors that have altered the outlook of the social worker from the time when his principal object was benevolence down to the modern conception of social justice.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Assisted Dying: A Difficult Issue

Looking at the proposition in the petition before the States, with the greatest respect, I cannot agree that “assisted suicide” is just about “freedom of choice”.

We need to deconstruct in these circumstances what might be meant by freedom, and what might be meant by choice, and above all to consider not intentions, but as Karl Popper always reminds us, of unintended consequences of changes to the law.

Freedom of choice implies freedom without coercion, and I am very concerned about the admittedly largely anecdotal evidence – but true accounts none the less – of where arguments are made either by medical professionals (themelves under pressure to triage against elderly people with rising costs of medical care) or relatives and friends to “choose” assisted suicide. A picture is certainly emerging where psychological pressure can be brought to bear against weak and vulnerable people in which case “freedom” becomes a much more ambigious and contested action.

I would therefore take very seriously the questions raised by Justin Welby:

“How do we know that someone has come to a settled and informed decision? Psychiatrists tell us that it can take the full six months proposed in the Bill to rule out an individual suffering from clinical depression; a condition that would surely preclude them from accessing prescribed lethal drugs. “

“How can we be absolutely certain that individuals will not be put under considerable pressure to end their lives? Of course, no one is going to march their elderly relative to the GP’s surgery. Pressure can be subtle and might begin years before a terminal illness is diagnosed. “

"How can we be sure that proposed protocols will be properly followed? Sadly, we know that there have been terrible lapses of care in some parts of the NHS and in some care homes over the past few years. Can we be completely certain that this could not happen if assisted suicide became legal?"

Medical Cost Cutting
In 2017, Canada legalised physician assisted suicide and euthanasia (PAS-E). Following this, a recent report noted: "Medical assistance in dying could reduce annual health care spending across Canada by between $34.7 million and $138.8 million." Given the pressures on health budgets, how long before the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) becomes the norm?

Many witnesses have testified that elderly patients were admitted to hospital for emergency treatment and put on the LCP without documented proof that the patient consented to it, or could not recover from their health problem; 48-year-old Norfolk man Andrew Flanagan was revived by his family and went home for a further five weeks after doctors put him on the LCP. The Royal College of Physicians found that up to half of families were not informed of clinicians’ decision to put a relative on the pathway.

As Justin Welby asked:

"How can we be absolutely sure that a “right to die” will not eventually become a “duty to die”? If assisted suicide was legally available in the UK can we be assured that an economic evaluation of costly palliative care over inexpensive “assisted dying” would have absolutely no impact on any subsequent treatment?"

Having seen how much cost cutting there is already in the heath service, I am not optimistic about this. A law introduced for one purpose can easily be subverted in this way.

The Effect on the Disabled

I would note that the position of the disabled in the Netherlands, where assisted suicide is permitted, seems to have led to a marked lack of tolerance for disabled children and the parents who raise them. In fact, Professor J. Stolk, a specialist in mental retardation at the Free University in Amsterdam, has documented cases where parents of disabled children are rebuked.

For example, parents have heard statements such as: "What? Is that child still alive?"; "How can one love such a child?"; "Nowadays such a being need not be born at all"; "Such a thing should have been given an injection.". It is demoralizing and frightening for parents to hear such things about the children for which they care.

The Slippery Slope
Justin Welby mentions “slippery slopes”, and that is happening in the Netherlands.

As the report “Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia in the Netherlands: A Report to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution” notes:

“The Dutch experience vividly shows how judicial sanctioning of physician-assisted suicide for terminally-ill patients motivated by supposedly high ideals such as the right to individual self-determination and the "compassionate" alleviation of physical suffering can easily lead to the unchecked nightmare of non-consensual termination of human life. Simply put, an individual's so-called "right to die," over time, can be transformed into a demand by society that certain individual's have a "duty to die." This is the slope down which the Netherlands has slid. The tragedy of the situation in the Netherlands should serve as a graphic reminder to courts and legislatures in this nation that there is no way to regulate euthanasia. There is no way to stop the slide once a society steps onto the slippery slope by legalizing physician-assisted suicide.”

The problem with “autonomy”

Jason Micheli highlights, I think, some of the problems of human beings as autonomous individuals,and thereby “freedom of choice” as not something which is without consequences for others.

“The language of individual autonomy, though common, is deceptive. It may sound true that my life is my life, yet a family’s experience of suicide proves just how false a claim that really is. The language of individual autonomy is limiting because the fact is our lives are bound together with family and friends in a number of ways.”

“My life is not just my own because it’s a life that exists in relationship with scores of others: many who love me, many who depend upon me, many who understand their life in relationship to my own.”

And Karl Barth puts this well in his Church Dogmatics:

“When one person is ill, the whole of society is really ill in all its members. In the battle against sickness the final human word cannot be isolation but only fellowship.”

Saturday, 18 August 2018

The Bringer of War

Today's poem is largely about war. Mars hangs high in the south east these nights, very bright, altough fading over the month, and clearly an orange red colour. Traditionally, as picked up with Holt's Planet Suite - such an astounding piece of music - it is the "bringer of war". So this poem is about war, and the way the ancients saw the baleful influence of the planet Mars.

The Bringer of War

Mars is rising red, the bringer of war
Fighting takes place on many lands
The seeds of death within our hands
And darkness beyond the open door

Many casualties, who keeps the score?
Hear the drum beat of the warrior bands
Mars is rising red, the bringer of war
Fighting takes place on many lands

See the tapestry they ripped and tore
Who can make sense, who understands?
Fight, conquer, invade: shifting sands
It is like the opening of a tiger’s door
Mars is rising red, the bringer of war

Friday, 17 August 2018

This is Jersey - 1979 - Part 5

From 1979 comes this holiday guide - "This is Jersey". This is a flat brochure which is larger that the later glossy designs, and it doesn't have nearly as many pages - 16 double sided in all, including front and back covers.

It does provide a very interesting snapshot of the tourism scene in 1979, just as it was more or less at its peak, just before Bergerac launched, and before the package tour market and cheap holiday destinations abroad made Jersey's prices suddenly more expensive and the bottom fell out of the market.

Tourism is today rebuilding a new approach geared to the lifestyle of the modern tourist. It still has plenty to offer, but the old style of tourism probably won't sell today. But here's a chance to capture that flavour.

The guide has this to say on Jersey's beaches:


ST. OUEN'S BAY. Five miles of gleaming sands and a paradise for surfers.

ST. BRELADE'S BAY. Glorious golden sands.

OUAISNE BAY. Good stretch of sand with safe bathing.

ST. AUBIN'S BAY. A lengthy stretch of sand (about 3 miles) all the way from St. Aubin to town.

GREVE DE LECQ. A very popular sandy beach Safe, but deep water is reached very quickly.

HAVRE DES PAS. A pleasant stretch with two small sandy beaches.,

THE DICQ, LA MARE, GREEN ISLAND. Three more safe, sandy beaches with cafe facilities.

ST. CLEMENT'S BAY, THE ROYAL BAY OF GROUVILLE, LA ROCQUE. The first two have long stretches of sand and are safe for bathing .

ANNE PORT, ARCHIRONDEL. Small sandy beaches in attractive settings.

ROZEL BAY. Bathing is safe in the area of the harbour.

The perfume advertised by Babs Tilley here was very recent in 1979. My research gives this:

Mystere by Rochas is a Oriental fragrance for women. Mystere was launched in 1978. The nose behind this fragrance is Nicolas Mamounas. Top notes are coriander, galbanum, hiacynth, aldehydes and bergamot; middle notes are carnation, tuberose, violet, orris root,jasmine, ylang-ylang, lily-of-the-valley, narcissus, rose de mai, cumin, rosemary, gardenia and plum; base notes are styrax, cypress,
patchouli, musk, civet, oakmoss, cedar and sandalwood.

Babs Tilley was just one of many perfume shops in St Helier, and was in the Parade. Elsewhere in King Street and Queen Street there was Vanity Fayre, Elegance and Au Caprice, as well as the larger shops - Boots, De Grucy, Voisins - with their own perfume counters.

Cheap perfume, along with cheap cigarettes and cheap booze was one of the major attractions in Jersey, and  at one time principals of a number of the perfume companies also met together once a year before the holiday season to ensure they didn't undercut each other's prices - there was plenty to go round! It was, I suppose, a form of cartel with price fixing.

But perfume still remains less expensive than the UK. In 2006, the Telegraph reported:

Fragrances, cosmetics and bodycare products are even more of a bargain. Au Caprice in King Street sells an impressive choice of brands, including Chanel, Dior, DKNY, Estée Lauder, Givenchy, Gucci, Prada and Versace, at up to 25 per cent less than in the UK. Chanel No 5 100ml eau de parfum costs £51.75 (rrp is £69 in the UK). All the latest fragrances are here, along with old favourites such as Balmain's Jolie Madame (100ml eau de parfum cost £16.95 compared with £39 in the UK). I even found a personal favourite, Paco Rabanne's Calandre, which I haven't been able to buy in London for years.

Now most of the individual shops have gone, and Au Caprice was sold to a UK chain - Feelunique - a few years ago. The JEP reported in 2011:

A LONG-ESTABLISHED Channel Islands cosmetics and perfume business, Au Caprice, has been acquired by Europe's largest online beauty retailer,

Thursday, 16 August 2018

And so to bed..

Some more of my favourite quotes, as posted on Facebook to end the day, now with added pictures.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Lemony Snicket:

Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don't always like.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Bamigboye Olurotimi:

If where we are now and whatever we are going through does not motivate us to leave this world better than the way we met it, we are in this world for wrong reasons.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Carl Sagan:

For me, the most ironic token of [the first human moon landing] is the plaque signed by President Richard M. Nixon that Apollo 11 took to the moon. It reads, ‘We came in peace for all Mankind.’ As the United States was dropping seven and a half megatons of conventional explosives on small nations in Southeast Asia, we congratulated ourselves on our humanity. We would harm no one on a lifeless rock.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Danny Castillones Sillada:

The graveyard is not the final resting place of our dear departed but an ephemeral repository of their remains. The real graveyard, however, is somewhere deep in our heart, where we can always visit them at any time of the day, talk about some unforgettable summers, or cry in solitude as if they were always there for us to stay.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from A.A. Milne:

“How does one become a butterfly?' Pooh asked pensively.

'You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar,' Piglet replied.

'You mean to die?' asked Pooh.

'Yes and no,' he answered. 'What looks like you will die, but what's really you will live on.”