Sunday, 25 May 2008

Cow parsley, croissants and homemade cake

What is the difference between a weed and a wildflower? I am sure there are those who can give me a definition, but suffice it to say that, for me, a weed is sometimes simply a wildflower in the wrong place, but most frequently it is the type of wildflower, or garden flower gone wild, that will if left overwhelm all the smaller plants. Saturday saw the first official meeting of the St Saviour Jardiniers, the woodland volunteers who are bringing new life to the Jardin des Buttes, just below the parish hall. It was a drizzly morning, but mild, and the jardiniers, wearing thick gloves, worked with a will to pull up the cow parsley that has shot up to head height and beat back the nettles to areas where we can allow them to flourish. At this stage the goal was to cut them off at the root and then return in the autumn to dig out the roots. After an hour and a half of steady work, the jardiniers came up to the parish hall where we enjoyed tea and coffee, buttered croissants and delicious homemade cake supplied by Mary Le Brocq. Thanks must go to Parish in Bloom co-ordinator Graham Langlois and the committee for organising the event and to all those who came along to take part: the woodland already looks so much better, the sunlight can get down to the ground, plants and, yes, not a few weeds are flourishing and birds are nesting in the trees.

Friday, 23 May 2008

A excerpt from Russell Gammon's blog

Russell Gammon from Canada is a great enthusiast of the Jersey cow and of the Island. A senior vice-president of the World Jersey Cattle Bureau, he is attending the cattle conference in Jersey this week. The Island has certainly pulled out all the stops to make this a week to remember for the delegates and I am delighted that St Saviour has played its part in the proceedings. I hope Russell won't mind if we share an excerpt from his blog:

Loving every second! May 23, 2008 – 6:11 pm
We have now reached the point of advanced sensory overload. Allow me to try and explain why!On Thursday current WJCB President Johannes Van Eeden of South Africa and Uruguay commented that while this was his seventh trip to Jersey he was still finding an overflow of new things to see and do! I believe every single delegate at our conference this week would know exactly what he meant! As the official and formal conference sessions are now over we spent Thursday together and on the move all day long! Fascination reigned as we walked to West Centre to be awed and enchanted by the “urban herd” who “reside” there. Bureau Patron/Matron Annie Perchard of St Martin explained the involved life story of these exquisite creatures (and their wee Crapaud friend!!). It would be interesting to know how many camera shutters were hit as photo upon photo of cows with people were taken once Annie’s explanatory speech was concluded! Trundling around the commercial centre of St. Helier was followed by a short bus ride to the Country Life Museum at Hamptonne in St. Lawrence and then the Leith family Chalet herd. It was a day to look forward and around and ahead. 95 years young, Jack Le Sueur had been brought to the museum by his daughter Sadie Rennard and greeted friends old and knew in the museum’s kitchen. It was gripping to see how people who had known Jack or who had heard of this seasoned ambassador for Jersey trooped in for a few minutes of communicating with Jack! Jack has reached iconic status as an ambassador for Jersey from his many trips to North America to work with Jersey cattle. Despite light rain, the Leith cattle got a good work out as cowaholics reviewed the herd and the management program. A special treat for a sub-set of the tour group was a side visit to the farm of Frank and Val Cudlipp in St. Lawrence. The Cudlipps manage their smaller herd in a very traditional manner with prodigious energy despite advancing years! At their farm visitors were exposed to horned cattle, tethered on pasture, the use of mallets to drive pegs into the ground, explored small scale potato managment and planting practices and also grass-cutting with a sycthe. Frank “had people at hello” by simply being nothing more or less than himself.It was a refreshing glimpse into once-common but now rare ways of farming the land and animal husbandry. Thursday evening was spent at the glistening grounds of Trinity Manor inspecting the fine cattle in the Trinity herd and enjoying yet another festival of eating fine food in a massive marquee on the immaculate and pristine lawns.We are now at the point of saturation where we have been given so much to remember and reflect upon. Thousands upon thousands of conversations have been held about cattle breeding and management, Jersey attirbutes, politics and life in our home lands and the future of the Jersey breed. We’ve lunched on physical food and a bounty of “brain food” and now we’re both into digestion of past “meals” and ready for more servings of information and knowledge!!We can only say-bring it on!!! Loving every second of it.

Perfect moments! May 21, 2008 – 1:53 pm
It has been said that we will not know true perfection in this life, this world-we’ll have to wait until we depart for our heavenly home some day.However; World Jersey Conference delegates experienced a “foretaste of heaven” on Tuesday with afternoon visits to the Houze and LeGallais herds in St Saviour and later the Perchard herd at La Ferme in St. Martin! Clear air, blue skies, greenest of green grasses and tree leaves, blooming trees and spring flowers and the icing on the cake-brown cows in abundance!As we strolled the country lanes between the Houzé and Le Gallais pastures the magic of Jersey on a spring day was fully and completely evident!! Later after a photo-taking session at the RJA we landed at La Ferme for an astounding evening of great fun! Many of the 24 countries here offered a song or jokes or skits and the massive marquee resounded with hoots of laughter and thunderous applause for “highly professional” theatrical contributions! Joy and thankfulness were over-flowing as a long string of buses wended their way to our home away from home at the splendid Hotel de France-conference HQ!! Today we’ll continue soaring with reports from five young Jersey supporters from our five global regions and head “west” for more brown cows in St. Peter and St. Brelade! The fun continues!

Excerpt from Russell Gammon's Blog, 22.05.2008, Jersey Evening Post

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

"Log off" takes on a new meaning

Last Saturday dawned bright but cool and there was an excellent turn out of boys from Diarmid House at Victoria College for their enterprising charity fundraiser. No sponsored sit or leisurely stroll this, the boys set to and moved all the log piles stacked in the Jardin des Buttes, the area below the parish hall which is undergoing a facelift to become a managed woodland refuge for wildlife. Working with St Saviour in Bloom co-ordinator Graham Langlois and the newly-appointed president of the National Trust for Jersey, Mike Stentiford, and under the eagle eye of Diarmid House's Mrs Angela Swindell, the event admirably fulfilled three purposes - to do something to benefit the Island, and in this case particularly St Saviour, to work together as a House and to support their chosen charities. The Diarmid students were working to raise money for their ongoing project at Loldia School, in Kenya, and also to support the work of Jersey Hospice in memory of former Diarmid House member Marc Nieuwberg and Victoria College teacher Ms Helen Blake. The whole group were a credit to their House and school and their achievements in the woodland will be really encouraging to our newly-formed Woodland Volunteers, Les Jardiniers, who will be going down this Saturday, 24th May, to continue the good work.

The parish school hums with learning

Our Parish School, St Saviour's, threw open its doors last week to the whole community, but especially to the families of its young pupils, to join in and share the rich learning experiences to be found in a lively and busy building that was fairly humming with activity as I arrived. I was delighted to be invited to join this celebration of education in a school that has been setting young parishioners on the road to learning for more than 100 years. I am sure there were among the parents and even grandparents quite a few who had attended st Saviour's School in their day. I was made to feel very welcome by my young escorts and taken to visit all the classrooms and see the splendid work on show before joining the audience in the hall to listen to singing and music performed by the children. My congratulations and warm thanks to headteacher Kate Sugden and her staff and, especially, to the young people themselves for providing such an encouraging example of school life today.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

The warmth of sunshine and good company

Liberation Day dawned grey and drizzly but the sun soon shone and by the middle of the day it was warm and sunny. It was a great start for our parishioners to have fine weather for their outing to the festivities and celebrations in Liberation Square but, whatever the weather, we were always going to be sure of the warmth of good company. I had to go off early to be sure to be in the States Chamber in time for the special sitting after which I walked down in procession after the Bailiff, the Lieut-Governor and the President of Madeira, with all the members of the Royal Court and the States, to join the crowds in Liberation Square. I could see Elaine and our party of parishioners on the other side of the square, and have to admit that I would have much rather been sitting with them! Elaine had joined our party at the Parish Hall, under the guidance of Mike Mallet who is a past-master at organising these events, and our bus-load of parishioners were driven down to Liberation Square by another parishioner, Brian Malzard. St Saviour certainly had a good spot from where to view and take part in, the proceedings. The honouring of Liberation Day remains very close to Jersey hearts and we were delighted to see so many of our war years parishioners made it down to the square to enjoy an occasion that so fittingly marked their experiences, but we were also very pleased to welcome our Miss St Saviour, Claudia Freitas, who represented the young people of our parish in honouring our older parishioners. I have to say that for our parish at least ─ and quite a few others, I would say ─ the highlight of the afternoon was when our own Sadie Rennard went up on to the podium to sing Man Bieau P'tit Jèrri (Beautiful Jersey).

Commemorating a lifetime's service

At a well-attended celebration and commemoration of the life of service my predecessor, Philip Ozouf, gave to the parish, we were able to present the gifts we had intended to give to the Connétable on his retirement to his children, Elena, Elissa and Senator Philip Ozouf. A superb photograph to join those of other previous Connétables hanging in the Assembly Room was unveiled by Philip's brother, Francis. Elena and Elissa formally uncovered the Parish gift of a traditional Jersey marriage stone in carved granite featuring Philip and Olga's marriage date and two entwined hearts with, underneath, details of the Connétable's dates of office. The Honorary Police, represented by Chef de Police Colin Foley, presented the family with a sculpture in bronze of a cow, in memory of the many occasions when the "honoraries" turned out to deal with escaped cattle that turned out to be from Highstead. Earlier, we had met the family in Patier Park to dedicate the handsome young pear tree that has been planted by the St Saviour Parish in Bloom committee in honour of Philip Ozouf's commitment to improving and enhancing the parish through our entry in the Parish in Bloom competition. I was delighted that so many members of the Ozouf family, including Miss Doris Ozouf, and parishioners, including our Lieut-Governor, General Ridgway, as well as a good company of States members and others wanted to join us in commemorated a superb record of service to the Parish of St Saviour which is unlikely to be surpassed. I am sure we were all moved to hear from Senator Philip Ozouf speaking on behalf of the family that the familiar Parish Flag, lowered on the day of his father's funeral, is flying once more at Highstead.