Heaven forbid we disturb the tranquillity of St Mary – let’s build in St Clement

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AS the general consensus of the thinkers and drinkers down at the pub decided one evening last week, you’ve got to hand it to them – the residents of St Mary, that is – for effectively putting up a wall around their few vergées that would probably rival Donald Trump’s barrier with neighbouring Mexico.

Actually, the group handed those St Mary residents, who seem to whinge and gripe about anything which might disrupt their twee little English village form of protectionism, precious little. For there was general criticism of the near monotonous regularity with which what’s probably a small but vociferous and certainly influential minority object to anything and everything which involves the dreaded ‘change’.

Not that many years ago, a reporter at this newspaper received a call from a woman who explained that she and her family had only recently moved to Jersey and had spent ‘an awful lot of money’ on a house in that particular neck of the woods.

So you can imagine her dismay when that very morning she’d opened doors and windows to be greeted by ‘this almighty and indescribable stench’. She asked if the newspaper could investigate and get something done.

Cutting an extremely long story short, the ‘almighty and indescribable stench’ was actually a farmer spreading liquid manure on a patch of land about a hundred yards away and, with the wind being in the right direction, she copped what one of the thinkers and drinkers described as a ‘whiff of the Jersey countryside at its best’.

So I don’t suppose it was surprising that when it was suggested that the Animals’ Shelter move to St Mary, the noise of the protest made folk in neighbouring St John and St Ouen think that Alphonse the nightwatchman at Flamanville’s nuclear facility had drunk a calvados or three too many, thrown the wrong switch and the lid had come off the reactor.

Of course the Nimby brigade won, reinforcing the view that St Saviour should be home to a wholly disproportionate number of schools, not to mention homes, that it was getting to the point where St Clement – actually the Island’s smallest parish by area – would be so built up that the only patch of green left in a few years’ time would be the island which bears that name, and that nothing must be allowed to ‘spoil’ St Mary.

Well, the old lads last week decided that it was high time St Mary did its share and, furthermore, what better place to start than by throwing its weight behind Jonathan Ruff’s imaginative scheme for Tamba Park – described by one of our number (with very much a hospitality industry background) as one of the best tourism initiatives he’d seen in years.

To be fair, and my thanks to Herself for pointing this out, according to Facebook there have been very many expressions of support – some of it qualified, but there’s nothing wrong with that – for Mr Ruff’s plans from residents of St Mary, so it’s not all selfish doom and gloom.

THE very justifiable protest by people about the disgusting state of Cross Street – the privately owned highway between Conway Street and Hope Street – brought back memories of tales my mother used to tell me about life in Jersey in the years immediately prior to the outbreak of war in 1939 and our subsequent Occupation by the Germans.

One in particular that I remember was about an establishment in Cross Street called The Striped Monkey. Without putting too fine a point on it, the place was a bit racy and not the sort of establishment to which you’d take a couple of maiden aunts, although others might tell a different tale.

I have a feeling it was run by George Troy, who of course served with distinction during the war – reaching the rank of major – and who in the post Liberation years became one of the most effective members of the Big House of the day.

I doubt very much whether there are many who have first-hand memories of the place, but I distinctly recall seeing the caricature of a striped monkey still painted on a wall in Cross Street, probably in the late 1950s or early 1960s.

AND finally… I see that the all but moribund aircraft registry – the vehicle upon which our financial woes would be eradicated – is having yet another rebirth, with Lyndon Farnham trying to convince everyone that there’s life in the old idea yet. Good money after bad springs to mind.

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