Islanders are stiffly resisting new attempts to stop parking on slipways - because it could end a long tradition of feeling smug watching someone else’s car getting swamped by the high tide.
For generations, Jersey folk have been warmed by a sense of schadenfreude, as they either witness or view on social media a vehicle - the more expensive the better - slowly becoming as good as scrap because the owner has left it on a slipway for too long.
Ideally, this unfortunate person or persons are unwitting tourists who don’t quite appreciate what an 11.6m tide actually means.
Newcomers to the island or locals who are waiting for a massive takeaway at the Dicq Shack attract equal mock sympathy / sympathetic mocking.
Sometimes, in an effort to be charitable and provide a bit of sport, islanders might post a final warning on Facebook as the incoming tide begins to lap against the rear tyres.
But, as everyone knows, the owner is out walking their dog or having another pint at the Seymour so won’t be checking their timeline. Their vehicle now belongs to Poseidon and his merry mermaids. Unlucky!
A campaigner for the Retention of Car Swamp Smugness explained his group’s position, in the face of efforts to ban parking on slipways.
He said: “Of course, we all know that it’s utterly ridiculous to allow any parking on any slipway, unless it’s a boat trailer and tractor.
“Slipways provide access to the beach; they’re not an extension of the car park or a convenient way to keep warm while the kids swim or the dog does his business."
He added: “It’s easy to forget that the Policing of Beaches Regulations became law in 1959, when the island’s population was just 60,000, a fraction of that number had a car, and if you did have one, it was a fraction of the size of today's chunky SUVs and VW vans, and you used it mainly to get home to St. Ouen after 12 pints at Les Arches.
“Now, everyone and their dog has a boat, paddleboard, kayak or jet ski so it’s essential that the emergency services have clear access to the beach.
“But that’s not the point: banning cars would be ending Car Swamp Smugness, which is as Jersey a tradition as Jerriàis, black butter and falling out with your family.
“We cannot let common sense get in the way of primordial entertainment!”
Lead photo credit: Kay Patrick.
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