An answer for everything

Another month has gone by and so much has happened – power cable problems, policemen taking to bicycles and two hotel fires. Emile has plenty to tell his cousin, starting with the U-turn on traffic lights...

(Illustration by Peewee)
(Illustration by Peewee)

Cher Eugene,

I SUPPOSE there’s some who think there’s not enough happens in Guernsey to write a letter every month, eh?

But there’s a few things been going on lately, mon viaer, and when a States department decides the locals know better than their UK experts, hang, that’s worth writing about, eh?

It’s the Environment, Eugene, they’ve finally agreed to take away those traffic lights to the airport, and go back to a filter after all. It took a hang of a lot of complaints, mind, and they’re still going to keep those ones to Bulwer Avenue, them.

Well, I suppose they can’t ignore their experts completely, even if they’re wrong, or people will say they’ve wasted money, eh?

Bert, from L’Ancresse, he says if they want to know how to sort out the traffic on the small roads of Guernsey they should ask the locals who use them. They’re the experts, not people from England who sit in offices overlooking big wide roads and who probably go home on the train, eh?

Old Bert, he’s still going on about those lights they’ve put to the Route Militaire, them. I think I told you, they put extra ones to the Saltpans, and changed the ones to Crossways, and then they put more for a junction that doesn’t even exist yet, eh? Bert said the last ones are just there doing nothing, with black plastic bags over their heads. He says every time he drives past them he thinks of the States members who put them there, eh?

He was saying about that island-wide power cut we had a few months ago, when all the traffic lights went out. He said people just started filtering at the junctions and the traffic carried on, and as far as he knows there weren’t any accidents at all. No-one had to stop and wait for English experts to come and tell them what to do, eh?

It’s turned out now that power cut was caused by the cable between here and Jersey, Eugene. It’s in a bit that’s buried under the sea, so they’re going to have to dig it up to mend it somehow. Caw, I hope they don’t give the job to the Environment, mon viaer, or their experts will be telling them to put up temporary traffic lights and road-closed signs for the ferries, eh? Bert said they could use the fisheries protection vessel to keep watch over the area, if they keep a watch for reefs as well, them.

I was up near his place last week, to the Bridge, me, and one of these new police pushbikes went past.

It’s this new police chief, Eugene, he’s gone and put some of his policemen back on bicycles now, eh? He’s said it makes them part of the local community, but he probably spent so much on that armoured Land Rover he hasn’t got any money left to put petrol in the cars, eh?

The funny thing is, at the same time he’s letting his special constables use motorbikes. Caw, I don’t know what that does for police recruiting, mon viaer, when the ones who thought they’d be cruising round in armoured BMWs or tanks are put on pushbikes, and the reserves can drive past them on motorbikes, eh?

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s police investigations going on here into two big fires, eh? One was to the Idlerocks, so I don’t suppose that caused much damage: it’s been empty for years ever since the last fire, eh? I heard there was something going on there, and someone might have put in planning permission for the site, but no-one seems to know what for. I suppose it’s the same old trick to get round the planning laws, Eugene. You know, the owners let it get all dilapidated and run down, so people say it’s an eyesore, then developers come along and get permission to turn it into flats so they can make more money. It’s happened with that hotel to Cobo as well, mon viaer. The trouble is, some of the plans these developers get away with, they’re more of an

eyesore than the buildings they replace, eh?

You just have to look at what’s happened to the Town Markets since they let developers get at it, eh, mon viaer? I told you there’s some putting fruit and veg stalls there on one day a week, eh? Well, I’ve heard now the developers want to improve the area, and they’re talking about putting some sort of covering over the square. Caw, in a few years time when the English shops leave because they can’t get their tax advantage, someone might come up with the idea of putting fruit and veg stalls inside, eh?

Jack Torode says if the States had any sense they’d make them put the toilets back before they do anything else. He says there must be plumbing all ready under the square, so it should be possible to connect up to that. Mind you, thinking sensibly and connecting things up doesn’t sound like the States and their planning permissions, eh?

It’s like this business with the Crapauds advertising on the television how Jersey is the warmest place in the British Isles.

It’s only because they measure their temperature in St Helier where it’s warm, but ours is taken up to the airport, on the highest part of the island,

where it’s covered in fog half the time, eh?

But the trouble is, the English people who watch the adverts, they don’t know that, them, so there’s a few people saying it affects our tourism, and we should take our temperature in a warmer place. Old Bert’s always saying it’s warmer to the Vale, so they should measure it there, but I heard someone on the Guernsey radio saying they couldn’t move the weather station because they’ve got archives going back years and it would spoil all their old records.

Caw, it’s funny how the island has to move with the times

and get all modern when it comes to new buildings that don’t suit Guernsey, but we can’t take the temperature somewhere else because of 100-year-old records, eh?

Anyway, Bert said they wouldn’t need to move their weather station, they could just put another thermometer in his garden, then they could use his temperature when it comes to advertising and tourism, and get one back at the Crapauds, eh?

When I told the lads to the slip, they said he didn’t even need to do that, him. He could just put a mirror in his garden, and reflect the sun from the Vale up towards the airport thermometer, that would make it go up, eh?

It just shows, Eugene, if the States want experts, they just need to pop into a couple of pubs and talk to the locals. They’d get answers to just about anything, eh?

A la perchoine,

Your cousin Emile