Thursday, 14 June 2018

Chapel & Chips - Family Holiday, Guernsey


Cycled to the charming Little Chapel, hand mosaicked in multi-coloured china and tile by a monk about 100 years ago.  Nigel remembered visiting here on a childhood holiday.  We came again when our own children were tiny and I remembered accidentally leaving my copy of Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth here.  I had a quick look round but it seemed to have vanished during the intervening eighteen years. 

The ceramic decoration was mesmerising - themes and patterns would emerge over certain sections, but would then meld into the general melee of varied fragments.  There was a pattern of ormer shells on the vaulting above the Virgin Mary.  And what I didn’t expect, the Chapel took the visitor on a journey through to a further two tiny chapels at lower levels.  

Nearby were Guernsey clockmakers, inventive and imaginative yet tacky at the same time – segments of each clockface split, unfurled and twirled in time to Swan Lake or The Waltz of the Flowers, accompanied by motifs of tutu-ed ballet dancers or tulips, and regrettably studded with Swarovski.
Then north west on our bikes again, along lanes lined with a braid of red campion and wild sorrel.


We visited the tiny ancient chapel of St Apolline, the patron saint of toothache (following a  gruesome martyrdom which I'll leave to your imagination), and appreciated the exquisite mediaeval wall-painting of the Last Supper.

Then back in time for the Fleetwood Mac Tribute balcony concert at Cobo Bay Hotel.  Thousands of people thronged the coast road and beach to chill out  to the music, but I had something else on my mind: there was a chippie very close to the concert.
So last time we went on holiday en famille, I had brought with us salt, white pepper, malt vinegar and ketchup, all in anticipation of fish and chips.  However, Nigel had discovered that the chips that time were fried in beef dripping, thus putting them off-limits to four family members.  I had sadly taken home my condiments unused. 
This time however, Nigel solved the problem by not asking what their chips were fried in and I colluded by not questioning him.  Instead, I opened the fragrant paper parcel he had purchased, pulled the Sarsons malt vinegar from my ruck sack and drenched the delicious fish and chips.  They were so good that I barely remembered to feel guilty.  And as if fish and chips were not enough to make the Halleluiah Chorus play spontaneously in my head, we were eating them perched on a sea wall, my favourite spot for making any food taste twice as good.  Plus, the Fleetwood Mac Tribute was playing in the background.
After the chips, we lolled on the beach like seals, happy in our own blubber and decided we would wait on the beach for the sunset, even in spite of the fact that some local twenty-somethings came and began to hurl a rugby ball around far too close to us. 
One dropped the ball:  “You’re so gay!”  “I may be gay, but at least my dick’s bigger than yours.”  An object lesson in witty banter to be treasured by each one of us.