2014 – Quite a year!

So yes, as we reach the last few hours of 2014 here in the UK, lets do a brief look back. I’m sure I’ll manage a look forward tomorrow somehow!

Most years of late, I’ve made 2 trips to the US (well, there was 1 to Canada, but), and had a few days in Ireland, taking in some cricket. This year I actually ended up having 3 weeks of holiday, 1 in a Jersey, a lot closer than the US. Yes, not New Jersey (though I went there a few years ago), but the one in the Channel Islands.

Long story. Had originally planned to be in Kansas, and Kansas City in May, but Kate’s work got in the way. Thing is, the rail trip to the airport was booked, so was the hotel there, so I ended up booking a short hop to Jersey, returning after just over 30 years. Glad I did it, saw what it was like now, but pretty sure I wont go back again, certainly not in 30 years time!

Then, in September, I finally got to meet up again with my wonderful friend Kate, in Kansas City, home town of Jean Harlow. Sadly, as is the way with big cities, finding any Harlow landmarks, 100 years on, pretty hard. Thankfully, when you go to smaller places like Cherryvale, finding Louise Brooks landmarks is far easier. Especially when there is a wonderful person called Tina there, to give us a guided tour to the town. I learnt so much more than we would have done on a casual visit, I owe her so much, she was wonderful.

The one place in KC that I knew Jean went to, that I could go to, the railway station. Walking around there, much quieter now than it would have been in the 20’s, and 30’s, really was quite something. I may not have literally stood in her footprints, but it felt that way.

The last big trip, in more senses than one, was later than usual, the end of November. Yes, Thanksgiving week, something I had never experienced before. Thanks to my dear friend, and editor, James, I have now. It was really special. I even got to see that public transport doesnt have to grind to a halt when the snow falls. About 9 inches, and the bus service never even blinked! Over here…more than a few grains…rolls eyes!

But there was one other thing from that trip, that will forever stay with me. In one sense, quite literally! A side trip to New Hampshire (via Worcester, MA) to be regressed to a past life, and just discover whether I really was Jean Harlow. No, I wasnt, but I was an actress in Hollywood in the 20’s and 30’s, if only in small parts. Clara Johnson, take a bow, I’m proud of having been you, or however you like to put it.

Of course, what happened after I recovered from that stunning news, a Hypno Jean-bot was created. I know the voice changed, apparently my whole demeanour changes, it really is incredible to experience, I must say.

Oh, and after 5 years, the old girl went for a job interview, if only an internal one. But getting dressed up, going out, and ‘kicking butt’, yes, it was fun. No, I didnt get the job, but did get high praise for my interview, ah well…

So fine, the last video of 2014. This artist was a star in the 60’s, is now in her 70’s, but still has it, in style. And yes, like Jean-bot, safely nestled in my sub concious would say, she always there to remind me, of an amazing 2014

Jersey day 8 (movie star moment), and then back to earth with a bump!

OK, lets tidy up the loose ends, before we return to the more normal blog stuff on Wednesday, my first day off from work this week.

When I arrived in Jersey, a week ago yesterday, I’d pre arranged a shuttle to pick me up, and take me to the guest house, as a matter of simplicity. To be honest, if I’d waited around for, and got a bus into St Helier, I would still have needed a taxi to get me out to the place I was staying, due to the weight of the bags and things, even if my sense of direction was good! Given I’m blonde…

So I had this shuttle, what you would generally describe as the larger type of vehicle used by taxi companies and the like nowadays. Nice, spacious for one, but sort of expected when you pay a fee for the privilege. So yes, yesterday, going back, I was expecting more of the same. Especially when I saw one of those cars park up across the road about the time I was due to be collected.

So when the driver comes in, picks up my bags, and escorts me outside, I start to head for that vehicle, only to be told, no, you’re going in this one. This one being a large coach, designed for over 40 people, and seemingly all to myself. Me, feel like a movie star, you bet I did! No, I resisted waving to the people as I went by lol! But oh God, it feels amazing, especially when your coach pulls up at the airport, the driver rushes out with a couple of bags, followed by me, and just me!

No, no photographers or journalists waiting for me, so not quite the full Harlow treatment, but I guess I know what it must have been like for them! Alright, secretly, I loved it.

Then as mentioned, back down to Earth with a bump. The flight back to Manchester was due to leave at 3.15. We were expecting to be called to the gate at 2.45, but in fact they did so just after 2.30. In fact, even allowing for late arrivals, we were all on board before 3.00. And we sat there, and we sat there…about 3.20 we had announcement made to say that there was a ‘delay in the paperwork, that we should be off very soon’, and then nothing more. We finally took off at 3.55, no other news, beyond the same information as we finally left the gate about 3.50.

Even bigger bump in the morning of course, back to work. At least the train shouldnt be busy, given its a bank holiday. But yes, in non movie star fashion, I will be travelling second class! Ah well, at least I’ve got the World Cup football to not look forward to lol! 😛

The video, to celebrate the fact that I felt like a movie star yesterday, travelling in a large coach, on my own, is

Oh, and Kiki comes from Bradford too, what a star!

Finally, a picture of a real star, or is it me?

Jean Harlow2

Fine, yes, its Jean, but it could be… seriously, unless anyone finds a way to shrink me about 9 inches, I could never be a true lookalike, but a taller version…just maybe? 😉

Jersey day 7 (last full day) – Young and beautiful???

Yes, the last blog of the holiday, as the next one should be from Yorkshire again, all things permitting.

Today was pretty much just a round up day, as is often the case with me on my last day of solo holidays. I did go out this morning to something claiming itself to be ‘The Jersey Story’, and pretty much, it was!

After that, back to town, for one last walk around, to say goodbye to a few places, as I’m pretty sure I wont be back, and if I am, it wont be for quite a while, so like before, it will have changed dramatically by then! Followed by a quick bus dash back out to Gorey harbour, to get one last look at that glorious view, then back here, for the last night, and things.

The thing that continues to amaze me, is how many guys are calling me, Babe, darling, and other terms of affection. Even more so, given how young some of them are, its highly flattering. Are they seeing me, or an aura of a young Jean Harlow, I have to ask lol?

I think on the whole, I’m glad I came back to Jersey, even if some things have been a bit strange to see again, after so long. Yes, one memory I could probably have done without, but that really is it. One meal I wish I’d chosen differently where to eat, but the irony is, thats the one chain I’ve eaten at (Pizza Express), all the local places have been lovely.

So, in tribute to all those who have called me flattering names during the holiday, I dedicate this song. Mind, I wouldnt say I was young, but…

Firstly, Postmodern Jukebox, my next big social outing, 3 weeks tomorrow

Secondly, the Lana Del Ray version from ‘The Great Gatsby’, set in the 20’s of course.

Sadly, this is all thats left of the original 1926 film, a tragic loss

Jersey day 5 – Invasion of the Channel Islands

Yes, thats right, its not so loudly recorded in the English history books, perhaps because of the way that Britain just left the Channel Islands to ‘do the best they could’, but part of Britain was invaded during World War 2. From July 1940, until May 1945, all of the Channel Islands became part of Hitler’s Third Reich, after Churchill, and the Navy declared that protecting them (given they were only 14 miles from occupied France at the nearest point) wasnt practical.

So after one brief bombing session on the 28th June (after which the Germans were quietly told that the Islands were demilitarized), the invading force arrived on the 1st July, and didnt leave until the 9th May 1945, after the war was over, given the Allies bypassed them on the D-Day invasion, and given the strong German defences, didnt go back and help until after the war was won! Given that the Island’s supply route was cut off at the time of D-Day, the situation there, for the locals was pretty awful before the end, not that for some it was all that good before then.

Today I paid a visit to the War Tunnels, built by the Germans during the occupation, created by a combination of exceedingly badly treated slave labour from Eastern Europe (due to every abuse known, men generally survived about 6 months of this, and far better paid workers from France, Spain and the Islands themselves.

Over 30 years ago, when I last visited the tunnels, the display was basic, to say the least. Nowadays, care of modern video and graphic capabilities, the display is far more impressive. Of course now, even allowing for inflation, its far more expensive to get in.

Obviously its impossible for me, at this point in time, to conjecture as to why Churchill did what he did, but…

All I know is, the Americans, when the Japanese invaded the Aleutian Islands (far less populated, far less a strategic outpost), they very quickly drew up plans to regain them, and did! But Britain…rolls eyes! In a sense, its amazing they still want to be part of our country!

The video, an amusing touch. A German lady, singing in both German, and English, about a little peace. More than these islands got during World War 2!

Jersey day 4 – never try to renew old memories

The principal event of the day

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. I know she wasnt there tonight, but it really felt like she should have been!

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

Not really much else I can say after that, still a bit overwhelmed by it all. But in all honesty, beyond a couple of pleasant walks around a pair of harbours (St Aubin, and Greve De Lec), there wasnt much else worth mentioning!

Jersey days 2 and 3 – Ma, he’s (not) kissing me

Though despite the title, if my beau had had long enough, who knows!

Last night, I went across the road from where I’m staying just outside St Helier for my evening meal. Whether it was a restaurant, with a few guest rooms attached, or a guest house, with a restaurant attached, no idea! Either way, a fish supper, without a long walk, at a reasonable price, suited me fine.

Now before I go any further, may I remind folk that I’m 56, was wearing no make up (I never do my own due to a slight hand tremor) and was only in top, and slacks, not some wonderful dress, but anyway…

I was sat at my table, looking out on the view of the bay (not the best one, should have sat on other side of table), sipping on my wine, when I heard a man’s voice ask if he could join me. Now, for some reason best known to someone (not me!), I said yes, and he sat down, and started talking to me, I wondered if I’d pulled, without even trying! Now, how far this might have gone, who knows, because about 2 or 3 minutes later, my dinner arrived, and he excused himself, and I never saw him again. Why is it that when you dont mind a few minutes wait for dinner, it arrives promptly!

Please let me add, before any other potential beaus (of either gender) get any ideas, I’m not looking! But it was flattering, and fun, and maybe shows me that there is still life in the old girl yet, if I was interested! I’m wondering if I am carrying some aura of Harlow or something, the way men are charming me this holiday, they’re seeing a vision of her, not plain jane me!

Sorry, but thats the big event of the blog, even if it was last night. I went up to Gorey this morning, didnt climb up to the castle, my knees took one look at the long, and steep set of steps, and just said no, firmly! So after a walk around the harbour, and a coffee, I headed back into St Helier, and had a look around the shops. Apart from a pair of nice charity shops (yes, more vintage style tops!), most of the places were selling clothes way beyond my budget, and that was that.

So eventually this afternoon (after an ice cream) I came back here, and wrote a story, already posted up at the Garden. No, it wont be going to the Archive, not unless I tweak it drastically, there is no mind control in it, I knew I missed something…facepalm!

The video, an absolute oldie, 75 years old! But given the aura of Harlow I seem to be carrying lol, its actually quite young!

Jersey day 2 – No, this bus isn’t going to St Brelades!

Yes, dont worry, I will explain the title away lol.

Sitting here in my room at the guest house, its hard to believe this is mid May in the UK! Seriously, its 72 degrees over here! Which might be fine, but the humidity is nearly 90%, and thats the killer for me. I’ve been in San Francisco, when its been 86, and 88 in Minneapolis, but because there was no real humidity on those occasions, it was fine. But seriously, this is like a sauna, and all I have on is a very light top, and trousers. Alright, bra and knickers as well, my name really isnt Jean Harlow…yet! Sadly, unlike her, I have just too much boob-age to go without a bra!

But alright, I mustnt really complain, it could be in the low 50’s, and raining hard, so…live, and let live, and all that.

Oh, fine, that title. I shouldnt laugh, but…

After visiting Corbiere, and enjoying the view of the lighthouse today, I decided to apply that well worn tactic of not coming back by the same bus route as I went out. Therefore, I got back on the next 12 (an hour later) and caught it to the end of the line, at Greve De Lecq, where it turns into a 9, and takes a different, and quicker way back to St Helier.

Fun started when the bus finally turned up, he didnt have the correct destination showing, he was showing St Brelades Bay, a point he had already passed through, instead of his destination. Apart from one couple, everyone listened to him, and all that wanted that route back to St Helier got off again. They didnt even realise until he was calling everyone off at Greve De Lecq! To be honest, they were ignoring him even then!

Finally he got the message through, or so it seemed, a bus to St Brelades Bay (a 9, turning into a 12) would be along in under 15 minutes, and after much discussion they got off to wait for it. Or so it seemed, because just as we were about to pull off, they jumped back on again. Despite again being told we were not going to their destination, they stayed put, and finally, about 10 minutes late, we pulled out.

I think they only finally got the message when we hit the main road to St Helier, on the front, and we turned left, when St Brelades was signposted right! I’m guessing that meant they would eventually get back home nearly 30 minutes later than if they had listened to the driver in the first place! Before you say anything, they spoke English, so should have understood what they were being told, but…all part of life, I guess?

So far today, the darling count is lower, though the bus driver on said bus did his best to keep levels up, I must say. Mind, as I havent gone out to eat yet, it might yet soar!

The video, a Steve Harley classic cover of a very apt Beatles song