To Rise Again
Le Broc’s family store is less than a mile from our house.
Just on the edge of the village.
In fact, once you’ve turned right out of our drive and negotiated the bends and twists in the narrow winding road, it’s the first thing you come to, if you don’t count the fields full of grazing Jersey cows. The cattle, with their luscious, delicate, brown coats stand out in stark contrast to the brilliant green of their home fields. And I’ve noticed the tourists often stare at them through their car and coach windows.
But I scarcely threw them a glance as I strolled down the lane towards the village. And I don’t suppose they took too much notice of me, either, as they continued to chew their cud.
It’s always okay going down the hill, but a different matter entirely coming back up. Our house stood at the apex, commanding fine sweeping views of the English Channel, whose deep blue waters glistened and sparkled, as if set on fire with a million gems. Tourists could only catch an occasional glimpse of the house as it hid coyly behind the copse…the curved gravel drive stretched some five hundred yards from the gleaming white gates by the roadside, to the sturdy Oak front door.
The heatwave was in its fifth day, and I mused how much it would take out of me to climb back up from Le Broc’s.
BBC Radio Jersey has only been on the air for about a year, but I find it a useful source of information. Only yesterday, for instance, it had told us islanders that our weather was hotter than anywhere else in Europe. At eight-five degrees Fahrenheit – that’s twenty-nine in this new-fangled Celcius money – it was one degree hotter than Athens. But of course, even those gorgeous sunbathing temperatures could not compare with Jeddah, where it was said to be one hundred and three (oh, alright, thirty-nine in Celcius – I still don’t think it’ll ever catch on, though).
However, in Athens and Jeddah it would be a different kind of heat, I thought, less humid and more bearable. Here, you only had to be out of the shade for a few moments and the sweat was flowing like a river in flood.
I’d spent the first part of the morning lazing by the pool, and indeed, hadn’t really intended stirring from our grounds all day.