Gorey Bay: Jersey July 2018
Chris’s nephew Cameron is getting married in Jersey. The lovely bride Charlotte comes from Jersey and her mother has generously offered the use of the meadow for them to have their reception.
We left London on a Thursday lunchtime and made our way to the island of Jersey. Its a 40min flight(I wish Chris had reminded me before I ordered a gin & tonic on the plane and then had to down it in 5min), so we were there in flash and we met Alan (Chris’s dad) at the airport where we hired a car. Jersey is not big but it is necessary to have a car to get around. The busses looked good but a lot of the places are better reached by car.
A little note about Jersey from Chris:
Jersey, with a population of around 105000, is the largest of what is often collectively referred to as the Channel Islands. The others being Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm.
They are British Crown Dependencies but do not form part of the United Kingdom, all rather confusing. Lying just 20 kilometres off the Coast of Normandy; the French influence is felt in that all the road names are in French, Rue de la this or that. A lot of the islanders with boats will pop across to France for a bit of shopping or a bite to eat.
The main business of the island is financial services, so there are a lot of fairly wealthy, well-paid people with fancy cars living there but you can’t easily own property unless one is born on the island.
We were staying in Gorey Bay, at a hotel called “The Dolphin” (the dolly as the locals call it) and its right on the pier at Gorey Bay. A beautiful pier with coloured houses and little shoppes down the side. The bay and harbour are filled with fishing and sailing boats bobbing in the water. And then to top it off literally, there is a castle on the headland overlooking the bay.
The thing about a family “destination” wedding is that it’s lovely having all the family in one spot over a few days. It means uninterrupted family time and catching up which I really enjoy. Ok it can also eventually lead to some family spats but let’s not bring those up again!)
Let me fill you in on the “who is who”…we have Cameron the groom. His mother is Helen and her partner is also Alan. Then we have Tom, (Chris’s brother) and his wife Angela. Then the head of the family Alan Parsley( or pap as he is affectionately known). His wife Eileen was not well unfortunately and could not make it, so she was missed. Then there is Charles (Cameron’s cousin) and his wife Hayley. And of course, Chris and I. So that the Parsley bunch..(groan)
Charlotte is the bride and her sister Alex was on hand to lead the bridesmaids. Charlotte’s mum is Andie and her husband is Robert. Andie’s brother(Jason) lives at the end of the pier, with his partner, also Helen and their beautiful brood of teenagers. And Andie’s mum lives on the pier as well…..ok we are starting to get a little complicated but I wanted to just add that a lot oCharlotte’ses family from her dad’s side also attended and they are all French. So as you can see a completely International affair!
Thursday evening was one of those occasions you just cannot replicate or explain…it started off as a rainstorm which dashed plans of a barbecue on the castle steps behind Jason’s house…but the party went on regardless and when the rain suddenly stopped and the night turned into one of those very still and incredibly beautiful evenings it was the perfect backdrop to the “all you can eat” “freshly shucked” oysters. Sabrage by our host led to many an unlikely guest drinking straight from the bottle!
What a wonderful evening and a great start to this intimate friends and family wedding.
Friday was a slow start for some, but we decided to take a tour around the island. Our designation was Saint Ouen’s but we decided to ignore TomTom and just get lost. It was a lovely idea and we trundled along the narrow roads discovering interesting places and things…like the jersey royals (potatoes) which are sold with an honesty box system on the roadside.
Whilst we were sightseeing And and her team of elves were hard at work. Did you know? Andie grew all the flowers for the wedding herself! Yes, the sunflowers, the delphiniums and lots more. She worked like a demon on Friday making all the decor for the marquee, the floral centrepieces, the bouquets and then all the flower arrangements for the church. What was, in my opinion, a really bonding occasion was that all the ladies were invited to the church to help decorate. It means that both sides of the family got to know each other even better and let’s face it a group of women doing things together can only lead to great relationships.
Tom and Angela arrived on Friday and we were just waiting for Hayley and Charles to complete the group. Friday night dinner was booked at the Bass & Lobster and we looked forward to spending some family time with the groom and his best man Mo.
Unfortunately, British Airways spoilt it, by delaying and then cancelling Charles & Hayley’s flight which was so disappointing. (Not good BA!)
Dinner was a lively affair and the manager and waitress were so good and put up with all the nonsense this Parsley bunch could throw at them. The food was excellent, I highly recommend it.
By the time it came to Saturday everyone was feeling warm and fuzzy and ready for the fun. I saw this at our wedding last year…as the guests spent time together before the wedding, it meant that everyone knew each other and friendships had been formed. This makes the wedding much more enjoyable as there is none of the stiffness of people not knowing each other.
I won’t go into massive detail of each hour as it would take too long and its Cam and Charlottes story but just….some highlights of the day:
The bride was beautiful in a custom-made dress and I love the converse sneakers and the natural makeup and hair. Too many brides don’t look like themselves on the day and Charlotte looked just radiant.
The bridegroom and his best men wore different coloured converse sneakers with the suits, it was such a quirky touch…love it.
The flowers, as I explained earlier were beautiful but what I didn’t tell you was how thoughtful the family had been. Chris’s late mom has a pelargonium named after her. (Renate Parsley) and Andie had grown these plants from seeds and nurtured them to perfection. These beautiful flowering plants were on the family table with a picture of Renate, and let me tell you there was not a dry eye in the house with this special touch.
The food was supplied and cooked by Pipers Farm in Exceter. It would take too long to describe it all as it was superb. Let me just say the pancetta…..
The speeches were amazing, I have to say that as my husband made one that had us all in tears, and Mo made one that had us all speechless with his eruditeness…
I could go on for ages but my last note was that us South Africans really loved the way South Africa was represented, from the SA flag, to the SA wine and most especially the boerewors….made from the special spices our butcher friend Roger, had put together and then Pipers made it into boerewors that Roger would’ve been proud of!
And so we boogied, we ate, we drank and drank and then tumbled into bed…what a night!
Sunday was a slow slow day. We all trooped back to the house to indulge in some breakfast to soak up the alcohol from the night before. Pork patties, with black pudding, bacon and egg all handmade by Pipers.
We had arranged to meet some new friends. Gail is the sister of our very good friend Richard Key, and her husband Guy. What a treat! They took us on a tour of the island and filled our heads with so many interesting facts and info and the scenery was so picturesque. We really enjoyed the tour and the company was fantastic.
The people in Jersey are nothing short of exceptional hosts.
We have decided we are definitely coming back to Jersey to explore some more.