Jersey is a Weird Place

Jersey is a small island in the English Channel just 15 miles away from France. Measurements vary from between 9 miles by 5 miles to 12 miles by 8 mles with an agreed area of approx 45 square miles. To give you some idea of the size, it would fit into one of the car parks in Florida's Disneyworld.

On most maps of Europe, it does not even show up.

Yet the impact of this island is much larger than it's size would suggest. It has the oldest police force in the world. It has played an important role in most European conflicts. And, of course, it gave its name to a little piece of America just North of New York - much to the annoyance of many locals todays who have to keep explaining to people that they are not from New Jersey.

Although it is so tiny, it is divided into 12 parishes each with a distinct accent and dialect of Patois (the local Norman French language) and its own police force - making a total of 13 police forces when you include the States of Jersey police force. Despite this number of police, crime is virtually unknown. Recently, one of those reality shows that follows members of the police in their duties came over and left after three days because there was little to film

A clue about Jersey's strange and unique character comes from its formation just over 800 years ago in 1204 when the English crown gave up its claim in France. Jersey was given a choice: join the French and have an ally just 15 miles away with an potential enemy over 100 miles away; or join the English, have an enemy on theirr doorstep and an ally too far away to react immediately but have political independence and rule themselves. Given that choice, they chose 800 years of war, conflict and invasion just to get self-rule


A clue about Jersey's strange and unique character comes from its formation just over 800 years ago in 1204 when the English crown gave up its claim in France. Jersey was given a choice: join the French and have an ally just 15 miles away with an potential enemy over 100 miles away; or join the English, have an enemy on theirr doorstep and an ally too far away to react immediately but have political independence and rule themselves. Given that choice, they chose 800 years of war, conflict and invasion just to get self-rule


Everything about Jersey is strange. Its geology is monstrously complex. A geological map of Jersey looks like an explosion in a paint factory in order to show all the different rock types. But the really strange thing about Jersey is the affect it has on people. You get someone coming over to work or holiday in the island and all they do is complain about how useless it is and how they can not wait to go back home. Most of the time their complaints are well-founded too. Nonetheless, six months later, you would bump into them in the street and have the following conversation with them:

“Hello, I thought that you were going back home”

“I did. But then I began to miss the island. So I had to come back.”

Personally, I think that it is something in the water.

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festersporling1 profile image

festersporling1 6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Aha, now I get why you live 15 miles from Paris.

I imagine you use the airport in Paris or ferry to England?

Daniel


philmaguire profile image

philmaguire 6 years ago from Jersey, Iles de la Manche Author

I am sorry if I confused you, Daniel. We are actually 15 miles away from the French coast. Paris is a little further away. But there is a direct air route to a small airport on the outskirts of Paris or we can take the ferry to Saint Malo (which takes an hour) and take the TGV from there straight into the heart of Paris. So we really do not have much of an excuse to go more often. My wife has been several more times than I because she is mad keen on Disneyworld Paris. In fact, she is planning a trip at Easter to go there again. We have discussed that we could get a hotel just outside of Disney and then she could go to Disney and I could to Paris but we will have to wait to see on that one

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