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 Helen Romeril

MA VIE D’TRAVÂL’LIE

Bouônjour bouonnes gens. Ch’est Helen Romeril tch’a l’pliaîsi d’chârer ses mémouaithes auve vous aniet.

Pouor c’menchi j’dais vouos d’mander eune tchestchion. Comment qu’ou dormez ches nyits? J’soulais dormi comme un pourpais quand j’tais mousse, mais d’pis qu’j’ai pâssé l’âge dé souaixante ans, j’sis souvent êvilyie à deux heuthes lé matîn. Ah mé, tch’ n’est pon bouôn!

Au lieu dé pitchi et èrvither dans man liet, tchiquefais j’compte à r’tchulons dé chînq chents pouor m’aîdgi à èrdormi ou j’accorde mes mémouaithes du temps pâssé et d’nouvelles idées à jouer dans man esprit. Lé drein viage avaû la ruette des mémouaithes ‘tait au sujet dé mes empliais et j’espéthe qu’ous allez aimer les ouïe.

Man preunmié travas payé ’tait d’netti lé bas dé siez-nous auve ma soeu touos les Sanm’di mâtins. Ch’est seulement quand j’avions finni qu’not’ mémèe nouos donnait un mio d’sous d’pouchette. Man pépèe ‘tait un fèrmyi et i’dêbottait seulement quand i’ ‘tait dans san liet. (J’sis bein seux un mio à faithe d’eune moûque un êléphant mais ou viyiz l’înmage)! Ch’est en tchi la maîson d’fèrme avait hardi dé poussiéthe dans les sés mais d’ l’êté et ou ‘tait couvèrte dé pité dans lé fond d’l’hivé. Et d’même, brîngi les nattes ’tait un grand mange-temps.

I’ fallait étout aîdgi à man pépèe dans les clios. Quand j’tais mousse jé m’êtchèrforchais sus lé tracteu et jé l’cachais sus la londgeu du clios. Comme jé n’tais pon assez forte pouor lé faithe touônner au haut du clios, i’ fallait qué j’ saute du tracteu à drouaite et man pépèe montait à gauche. Auprès qu’lé tracteu avait touônné, i’ fallait tchiquefais qué j’saute dé nouvé d’ssus ou man pépèe lé cachait jusqu’au fond du clios et mé j’y couôrrais. J’n’sais pon chein qué “Health & Safety” en pens’sait viyant qu’ tout s’pâssait tandi qu’ l’tracteu bouogait acouo!

Dans chu temps-là j’travaillais d’vant et auprès l’êcole mais ch’tait là, la vie sus la fèrme. Jé m’ramémouaithe qu’un jour i’ fallut qué jé èrtouônne jusqu’à la maîson en couôrrant à seule fîn d’ram’ner deux’-trais oeufs.  Lé radiateu du tracteu coulait et un sîmpl’ye et vif èrmiède ’tait d’mettre des blianc d’oeufs en d’dans pouor bouchi l’ creux.

Man Pépèe aimait bein ses patates. Ieune des mes mémouaithes favorites est d’li à chanter à tue-tête lé cantique “J’touônnons les clios  et jé s’mons la  bouonne graine sus la tèrre ” comme i’tait à bînder sus san tracteu. Même aniet, et bein d’s années auprès, j’ai acouo la mémouaithe dé l’assenteu d’ la fraîche tèrre touônnée et châque fais qué j’sens du diesel ch’na m’ramène bein vite à ches journées-là.

Quand javais dans les quatorze ans, ma miyeu anmînne Abbey et mé prînmes un travas du Sanm’di à tchilyi des champîngnons dans les vielles tonnelles ès Allemands sus La Route dé L’Aleval driéthe La Vallée dans Saint Pièrre. Jé c’menchions à huit heuthes lé matîn et j’travaillions comme des j’vaux jusqu’à méjeu. Auprès j’prannions la beusse en Ville pouor acater eune grand’ assiette plieine dé frites en nagegie d’ sauce dé tonmates. Tchi goût d’èrva-s-y!

La prîncipale tonnelle ‘tait fraide. Oulle avait un rodgîn et ‘tait plieine d’ échos. Y’avait plusieurs p’tites tonnelles tchi brantchaient hors d’la grande. Châque avait ieune ou deux rangies d’ lyits d’champîngnons tâssées sus trais nivieaux. J’tions payées s’lon les neunméthos d’ boêtées qu’j’avions r’emplyies. Et don, lé pus quédaine qué j’travaillions, lé pus d’sous qué j’èrchévions. Bein seux, j’têmes les saque-feues. Châque s’maine man pônchet à gauche avait un tas des p’tites copes et j’tais un mio breune mais ma pouchette ’tait plieine!

J’travaillînmes étout à la Fèrme des Frâses mais raîque pouor un jour! Lé matîn i’ fallut remplyi toutes les bolles auve des frâses, en muchant les molles au fond de la bolle. J’n’aimînmes pon faithe chennechîn et d’même j’en mettînmes seulement eune mauvaise dans châque bolle et j’en pitchînmes un tas dans lé bathi à tés. Quand j’eûnmes finni j’allînmes à la tchuîsinne pouor laver toutes les vièdes bolles. J’eûnmes l’ordre dé lus donner eune rapide tremp’thie en d’dans d’l’évyi et r’hors. Pourtant, j’avions netti châque bolle précaûcieusement à fîn d’netti hors la crème, don i’ sembliaient tout à fait neuves. Malheutheusement, à la fin du jour i’ nouos dîtent qué j’têmes hardi lentes et don i’ ne voulîtent pon qué j’èrtouônnions à janmais.

J’fînmes mus à la fèrme des poulets et j’restînmes là deux ans. Not’ travas ’tait d’ramâsser touos les oeufs. Un jour jé n’eûnmes pon assez d’boutchets pouor tchilyi les oeufs et don j’ dis à Abbey d’ mettre la dreine vîngtaine d’oeufs dans la bonnette dé ma câsaque car i’ n’y’ avait pon d’autres boutchets. Ch’tait eune bouanne idée jusqu’à ch’qué j’eûnmes à r’touônner au hangar d’emballage et qué jé m’baîssîsse pouor mettre l’s autres boutchets dans l’aithe et touos les oeufs dans ma bonnette tchiyitent et finnitent en milles omelettes sus lé plianchais. I’ fallut qué jé trouve des cats tout d’siette pouor mangi l’êvidence!

Auprès qu’jé finnis l’êcole jé c’menchis à travailli au Midland Banque et j’ l’aimis bein. Mais, auprès deux’-trais années l’appel d’eune aventuthe ‘tait forte et jé tchittis pouor viagi au Mouoyen Orient où j’pâssis eune année en Israël, lé Palestîn, l’Egypte et la Turtchie. J’travèrsis même lé d’sèrt Sinai sus un chanmeau tch’avait nom Taxi! Jé m’ramémouaithe d’aver embrachi la tèrre quand j’ èrtouônnis en Jèrri car j’tais si heûtheuse. J’pâssis les préchaines trente-chînq années dans lé monde d’la finnance et j’mé r’tithis enfîn en 2017.

Jé sais qu’i’ y’ a un tas d’vacanches dans les boutiques achteu en Jèrri. Et don, quandi qué j’sis couochie dans man liet dans l’mitan d’la niet, la pensée dé mé travaillant un jour châque semaine à l’Hôtel Chocolate et mé r’chévant lé paiement en chocolat m’aîgue tréjous à m’endormi en rêvant des douoches choses.

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

MY WORKING LIFE

Hello good folk. It’s Helen Romeril who has the pleasure of sharing her memories with you today.

To start I must ask you a question. How do you sleep these nights? I used to sleep really well when I was a child, but since I passed the age of 60, I am often wide awake at 2am. It’s not good!

Instead of tossing & turning in my bed I sometimes count backwards from 500 to help me go back to sleep or I let the memories from time past and new ideas play in my head. My latest venture down memory lane was about all the jobs I have had and I hope you would like to hear about them.

My first paid job was to clean the downstairs of the farmhouse with my sister every Saturday morning. It was only when we had finished that our Mum gave us a little pocket money.  My dad was a farmer and he only took off his boots when he was in bed. (I am of course exaggerating a little but you see the picture)! Consequently, the farmhouse was full of dust in the dry summer months or covered in mud in the depth of winter. So, brushing the mats was a big-time consuming activity.

I also had to help my dad in the fields. When I was young, I sat astride the tractor and drove it the length of the field. As I wasn’t strong enough to turn it around at the top of the field, I had to jump off the tractor on the right-hand side and my dad would leap on from the left. Once the tractor was turned, sometimes I had to jump on it again or my dad would drive it to the bottom of the field and I would run there. I do not know what Health & Safety would think as all this happened while the tractor was still moving!

There were times I worked before and after school but this was life on a farm. I remember that one day I had to run back to the house and bring back a couple of eggs. The tractor’s radiator was leaking and a simple quick fix was to put a couple of egg whites inside to block the hole.

My dad loved his potatoes. One of my favourite memories is of him singing at full volume the hymn “We plough the fields & scatter the good seed on the land” as he was bouncing around on his tractor. Even today & many years later I still remember the smell of freshly dug ground & when I smell diesel it takes me right back to those days.

When I was about 14 my best friend Abbey & I got a Saturday job picking mushrooms in the old German tunnels in La Route de L’Aleval by St Peter’s Valley. We started at 8 in the morning & worked hard till midday. Then we caught the bus into town to buy a big plate of chips swimming in tomato sauce. What a delicious taste!

The main tunnel was cold. It had an unpleasant smell & was full of echoes. There were several small tunnels which branched off the main one. Each had 1 or 2 rows of mushroom beds stacked in three levels. We were paid by the number of boxes we filled. So, the quicker we worked the more money we were paid. For sure, we were quick workers. Every week my left thumb had lots of little cuts & was a little brown but my pocket was full! 

We also worked at the Strawberry farm but for only 1 day! In the morning we had to fill all the bowls with strawberries hiding the soft strawberries at the bottom of the bowl. We didn’t like to do this so we only put 1 bad one in each bowl & threw away a lot in the bin. When we had finished, we went into the kitchen to wash all the empty bowls. We were told to give them a quick dip, in and out again as quick as possible. However, we cleaned each one carefully wiping the cream away so they looked like new again. Unfortunately, at the end of the day we were told we were very slow and not to come back ever!

We did better at the chicken farm and we stayed there two years. Our job was to collect all the eggs.  One day we did not have enough buckets to collect the eggs so I told Abbey to carefully put the last 20 eggs in my coat hood because there weren’t any other buckets. This was a good idea until we returned to the packing shed & I bent down to put the other buckets on the floor & all the eggs in my hood all fell & smashed on the floor. I had to find the cats straight away to eat the evidence!

After I finished school, I started work at Midland Bank, which I really liked. But, after a couple of years the call of an adventure was strong so I left to travel the Middle East spending a year in Israel, Palestine, Egypt, and Turkey. I even crossed the Sinai desert on a camel called Taxi. I remember I kissed the ground when I came back to Jersey because I was so happy. I spent the next 35 years in the world of finance finally retiring in 2017. 

I know there are a lot of shop vacancies at the moment in Jersey. And so, while I am laying in my bed in the middle of the night the thought of working 1 day each week in Hotel Chocolat and being paid in chocolate always helps me to fall asleep again dreaming of sweet things.  

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