Rural – Jersey Country Life Magazine

EUNE FROUQU’THÉE D’JÈRRIAIS – (A FORKFUL OF JÈRRIAIS)

We continue our series of article in Jèrriais – Jersey’s own traditional native language.

The ‘frouque’ in question is a digging fork, rather than a table fork. An English translation follows. This contribution comes from Pauline Snarey

Mémouaithes dé ma preunmié vacanche

Quand j’tais eune pétite fil’ye dé trais ans et d’mi, j’laîssis man siez-mé en Jèrri pouor la preunmié fais pouor faithe eune extchursion à Merthyr Tydfil dans l’Sud Galles pouor payi eune visite à mes grands-pathents matèrnels et la fanmil’ye là. J’viagis auve ma méthe, man fréthe et mes soeurs, en chu temps-là j’têmes raiqu’ chînq êfants dans not’ fanmil’ye, êventuellement y’en éthait huit.

Ouaithe qué j’tais hardi janne et qu’i’ y’ a bein d’s années pâssées, jé m’rappelle acouo vividement bein dé tchiques dêtails dé not’ vacanche – p’t-être pa’ce qué ch’tait eune grand’ aventuthe pouor eune pétite fil’ye dé Jèrri tchi d’vant ch’na n’avait janmais viagi à l’êtrangi, raiqu’au Vouêt d’l’île et d’èrtou – St Ouën!

J’ marchînmes à la caûchie d’ St Hélyi où’est qué j’montînmes sus iun des vièrs batchieaux à lettres, Lé Sarnia ou Lé Caesarea, sait l’un sait l’aut’, jé n’sais pon létché, prêts pouor un long viage dé mé, d’vièrs les neuf heuthes. Jé m’rappelle qué j’chârînmes eune grand’ cabinne auve eune autre fanmil’ye et j’peux m’èrsouv’nîn qué j’têmes affliubés dans eune êpaisse breune couvèrtuthe fournie par lé navithe.  J’avais auve mé, ma jouette favorite dé chu temps-là, un marmoûset, qu’j’avais nommé ‘Midge’. J’aimais hardi chu p’tit marmoûset et i’ v’nait partout auve mé, au liet, en Ville, et ofûche à la grève, i’ ‘tait man miyeu anmîn. Malheutheusement, pon comme mé, i’ n’accomplyit pon lé viage car, tandi qué j’tionmes sus lé tillac (pa’ce qué j’avais lé ma d’la mé), d’eune manniéthe ou d’l’autre, j’pèrdis Midge ho’-l’bord – tchi catastrophe ! – j’tais d’solée et inconsolabl’ye comme j’l’èrgardais s’n’aller hors dé veue, sus la plieine mé, pèrdu dans les èrsins des louêmes à janmais.

À l’arrivée en Angliétèrre, probabliément Weymouth, j’montînmes à bord d’un train d’niet vers la Galles. I’ tait un vièr train locomotive et j’peux m’èrsouv’nîn des veues, des sons et des odeurs comme si ch’tait hièr! – J’n’avais janmais rein vu dité ! J’têmes dans un cârriage-dormant auve des cabannes à liet tâssées l’eune à haut d’l’aut’, châtcheune avait des ridgeaux halés l’travèrs pour lé privé, mais nou ‘tait trop agîtés pouor dormi. Jé m’ramémouaithe qué ma méthe nouos donnait d’sévéthes înstructions dé n’pon mett’ nos têtes d’houors les p’tites fénêtres ouvèrtes sus l’corridor sèrvant not’ cârrosse – j’comprîns les dangièrs dé ch’t’action pus tard.

Êventuellement j’arrivînmes siez mes grands-pathents, 28 Jowett Avenue, Toyn Rodyn, Merthyr Tydfil, où’est qu’j’èrchûmes eune caude beinv’nue. Jé m’rappelle qu’les arrangements pouor dormi ‘taient deux ou trais d’nous vrénots arronnés ensembl’ye dans un liet, pon difféthent d’siez-nous ! La maîson avait un grand gardîn en d’vant et en driéthe, eune tchuîsinne s’pathée et eune grand’ tchuîsinne, un grand corridor pouor la jouôthie, trais chambres, eune salle dé bain à haut et tchiquechose tchi ‘tait eune nouvieauté pouor nous – eune p’tite maîson en d’dans !

Jé m’rappelle être début dans l’gardîn d’vant d’la maîson à mes grands-pathents, sus l’bord dé la montangne et r’garder la traînée d’suage crachie du train comme il arquait alentou lé pid d’ la vallée en d’ssous nous – magique pouor un morpé comme mé! J’èrtcheins étout les j’vaux sauvages d’la montangne tchi couothaient librément en p’tits fliotchets avaû lé c’mîn d’houors d’vant d’la maison, châque jour. J’têmes êpaûmis par la veue et l’appathence dé ches mangnifiques bêtes d’vant nos ièrs. Tout dans chutte tèrre à nos anchêtres ‘tait nouvé et êtrangi pouor nous, notamment les accents de not’ mèrveilleuse, caude et aimante fanmil’ye Gallouaise.

J’passînmes nos jours là à marchi l’travèrs des bouais’sies mèrveilleuses et au bord des montangnes, à crouaîsi les russieaux en marchant sus les galots, à joui des pique-niques en d’ssous les viaducs et à absorber tout entouor chu mèrveilleux, êtrange et nouvé monde où’est qu’drôlement, jé m’sentais compliétement siez mé. En réflexion, ouaithe qué j’piêsse vividement m’èrsouv’nîn d’ma grand’méthe Barry, d’mes tantes, d’mes oncl’yes et d’mes couôsîns, malheutheusement, j’n’peux pon m’ramémouaither man grand-péthe, probabliément pa’ce qu’i’ ‘tait à travailli duthant not’ séjour.

Jé n’m’èrsouvins pon hardi entouor man trajet d’èrtou à not’ pétite île et, ouaithe qué not’ fanmil’ye Gallouaise nos visitîsse souvent avau l’s années en Jèrri, jé n’èrtouônnis pon en Galles jusqu’à mes vîngt-trais ans et, par chu temps, tristément, man grand-péthe avait pâssé l’pas. Toutefais, à ma grand’ jouaie, la maîson à mes grands-pathents et lus bieau gardîn ‘taient exactément comme jé m’les ramémouaithais et comme j’les avais veus pouor la preunmié fais vîngt ans d’vant – acouo et êtonnamment, j’eus l’ sentiment d’èrvénîn siez mé – si êtrange pouor eune hardelle tchi s’considéthait être eune Jèrriaise jusqu’à la nouai!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Memories of my first holiday.

When I was a little girl of three and half years old, I left my home in Jersey for the first time for a trip to Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales to visit my maternal grandparents and extended family there. I travelled with my mother, brother, and sisters, at that time there were only five children in our family, eventually there would be eight.

Although I was very young and it was many years ago, I still vividly remember some details of our holiday – perhaps because it was such a big adventure for a small Jersey girl who previously had only ever travelled to the wilds of the West and back again – St Ouen!

We walked to St Helier harbour where we boarded one of the old mail boats, the Sarnia or the Caesarea, either one or the other, I’m not sure which, in readiness for a long sea journey of about 9 hours. I remember we shared a very large cabin with another family and can recall us all being wrapped in thick brown blankets, provided by the ship.  I had with me, my favourite toy at the time, a monkey which I had called ‘Midge’, I loved that little monkey, and he came everywhere with me, to bed, to town and even the beach, he was my best friend. Unfortunately, unlike me, he did not complete the journey as whilst we were on deck, (because I had sea sickness), l somehow dropped Midge overboard – what a catastrophe! – I was devastated and inconsolable as I watched him drift out of sight on the wide, open sea, lost in the ebb of waves forever.

On arrival in England, probably Weymouth, we boarded an overnight train to Wales. It was an old steam train, and I can recall the sight, sounds and the smells of it as if it was yesterday! – I had never seen anything like it! We were in a sleeping carriage with bunkbeds stacked one on top of the other, each had a curtain pulled across for privacy, but we were far too excited to sleep. I can remember my mother giving strict instructions NOT to put our heads out of the small open windows of the corridor serving our carriage – I understood the dangers of this action even then.

Eventually we arrived at my grandparents’ house, 28, Jowett Avenue, Toyn Rodyn, Merthy Tydfil where we received a warm welcome. I can remember sleeping arrangements were two or three of us lively small children snuggled up together in one bed, no different to home! The house had a large garden at the back and front, a separate kitchen and living room, a big hall for playing in, three bedrooms, an upstairs bathroom and something that proved a novelty to us – an inside toilet!

I can remember standing in my grandparent’s front garden on the side of the mountain and watching the trail of steam spewing from the train as it arced around the foot of the valley below us – magical to such a young child! I also recall the wild mountain ponies which ran freely in small herds along the road outside the front of the house each day – we were stupefied by the sight and appearance of these magnificent beasts before our eyes. Everything in this land of our forefathers was so new and foreign to us, particularly, the accents of our wonderful, warm, and loving Welsh family.

We spent our days there walking through the wonderful woodlands and mountainsides, crossing streams via steppingstones, enjoying our picnics under viaducts, and absorbing everything about this wonderful strange new world where oddly, l felt completely at home. On reflection, although I vividly remember my Nanny Barry, aunts, uncles, and cousins, unfortunately I cannot recall my grandfather, probably because he was working during our stay.

I don’t remember much about my journey back to our little island and although our Welsh family visited us quite often over the years in Jersey, I did not return to Wales again until I was twenty-three years old by which time, sadly my grandfather has passed away. However, to my delight, my grandparents’ house and its beautiful gardens were exactly as I remembered on first having seen them twenty years previous – again and surprisingly, I experienced a feeling of “home coming” – so strange for a girl who considers herself to be Jersey to the core!

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