Jersey shores.

Jersey is an island and self-governing British Crown Dependency near the coast of north-west France. It is the largest of the Channel Islands (118.2 square kilometres or 45.6 sq mi) and is located 22km (14 miles) from the Cotentin peninsula in Normandy, France. It has a coastline that is 70 km long and measures roughly 9 miles from west to east and 5 miles north to south, which gives it the affectionate name among locals of “nine-by-five”.

The island is divided into twelve parishes (all named after their parish church), the largest of which is St Ouen and the smallest of which is St Clement. The island is characterised by a number of valleys which generally run north-to-south, such as Waterworks Valley, Grands Vaux, Mont les Vaux, although a few run in other directions, such as Le Mourier Valley. The highest point on the island is Les Platons at 136 m.

Jersey was part of the Duchy of Normandy, whose dukes went on to become kings of England from 1066. After Normandy was lost by the kings of England in the 13th century, and the ducal title surrendered to France, Jersey remained loyal to the English Crown, though never became part of the Kingdom of England.

Jersey is a self-governing parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy, with its own financial, legal and judicial systems. Jersey is not part of the United Kingdom and has an international identity separate from that of the UK, but the UK is constitutionally responsible for the defence of Jersey.

The island has a large financial services industry, which generates 40% of its GVA. British cultural influence on the island is evident in its use of English as the main language and Pound sterling as its primary currency. Additional British cultural commonalities include driving on the left, access to British television and newspapers, a school curriculum following that of England and the popularity of British sports, including cricket. The island also has a strong Norman-French culture, such as its ancient Norman language Jèrriais and place names with French or Norman origins.

01. Jersey airport

02. Old shed for the defunct Jersey Airlines

03. Rozel Bay, the closest beach to where I used to live. I would walk there  down Rozel Valley through the daffodil fields until I reached the shore.

04. A simple burger at the Hungry Man, Rozel’s most famous beach café. I loved walking there to get a coffee and watch the waves, while throwing muffin crumbs to the ducks. The tiny colourful houses on the background are beach huts.

05. Another view of Rozel. The tide is low, exposing the sandy beach.There used to be a lovely seafood restaurant on the seafront (the blue square house in the center of the picture), but I believe it’s now closed.

06. Jersey has 19 beaches and they are home to a plethora of fauna and flora. Masses of succulents cascade down the sunny rocks, providing shelter for little lizards.

07. This is where the old abattoir used to be, and in recent years it was turned into a mall. It wasn’t very popular. Retail isn’t one of Jersey’s strong points; there aren’t enough inhabitants to justify having a lot of shops. People do their shopping online (Ebay, Amazon, etc. but several retailers won’t deliver to Channel Islands postcodes), take weekend shopping trips to the UK or France or get by with whatever is available locally. The upside: Jersey doesn’t charge VAT tax, meaning that anything bought in the island or coming into the island from the UK is at least 20% cheaper – hence the many cosmetics/perfume shops, very popular with locals and tourists.

08. and 09. The parish of Saint Helier is Jersey’s capital and main retail area. There are plenty cafés, restaurants and shops, and also houses the bus station to where the vast majority of bus lines converge. Public transport isn’t a strong point either, as most people have cars and never take the buses.

10. Le Crapaud, the toad statue in Saint Helier in honour of the nickname given to the Jersey people by the french. It’s sometimes used as a meeting point; “see you at three by the toad!”

The politics of lipstick.

“i love lipstick. i want to write an essay about the politics of lipstick. i like lipstick that’s deep, deep red. i like lipstick that’s purple, lipstick that’s black and dark for when i want to dress up my melancholy. i like sharing lipstick with sisters. and i laugh at boys that think i wear lipstick for them to notice, i laugh, lipstick is an art you can’t ever understand. from picking out a color, testing it on the inside of my wrist, pursing my lips during the application of it. i like when i kiss a baby and leave lipstick on their cheek, when you hug someone and leave lipstick on their shirt, when it gets on your teeth and you use your tongue to get it off, when you sleep in lipstick and wake up with it on your pillow case. in 1997 mama left for ethiopia to see her mama for the first time in 12 years. i was six and i cried the entire way home from the airport. and when we came home there on the kitchen table was the teacup mama had been drinking out of. at the bottom a sip of tea and black cardamom seeds. and there on the rim of the cup the lipstick imprint of my mama’s kiss.” (nomad manifesto)

Bluer than blue.

Mother’s day in Brazil. Mine obviously wasn’t home to pick up the phone. Whatever. Ended up in Kent to collect a blue suede chair that I got from Facebook Marketplace. It’s huge and comfortable and beautiful. Perhaps a tad too big for the space available, but we’ll manage. My new spot for morning coffee has arrived.