Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sausmarez Manor Markets

On Saturday mornings, which are ballet and piano lesson free, we bundle into the car and head down to the south of the Island to the 'upper parishes', so called as they are further above sea level than the 'lower parishes' in the north of the Island(?). Here nestled in the grounds of the beautiful Sausmarez Manor are one of my favourite things; markets.

For almost one thousand years the Manor has been the ancestral home of the seigneurs of Sausmarez. Sausmarez Manor is still lived in today by the Sausmarez family but is open to the public daily from 10.00am to 5.00pm. They hold 'ghost tours' a couple of night's a week. We still haven't been in to have a look around the museum but I understand it is wonderful. The antique furnishings, tapestries and magnificent paintings were saved from the Nazis during the occupation by the fact that Sir Havilland de Suasmarez refused to 'modernise' the building. The Nazis were going to use it as a hospital but apparently changed their minds when they realised the house lacked electricity!

My sister gave me a wonderful book for my birthday last year, '1001 Gardens You Must See Before you Die', and there on page 908 is Sausmarez Manor. At this time of year the camellias are spectacular, however there is always something of interest to look at no matter what time of year you visit.

The gardens house a sculptural exhibition which is updated with new works frequently. In the photograph of the house (the first photo of this post) you can see the fabulous rutting stags sculptures which are a fairly recent addition (you can click to enlarge the photo).

This wonderful sculpture is called 'The Sleeper'.

Edible Crabs or Chancres (pronounced Shanka) are a crab commonly caught in Guernsey waters. They remind me of the Mud Crabs you see in Queensland (Australia). I've tried them once since we moved here and they are very tasty. Now looking at this photo I think we might have to go the the fish mongers next weekend.

These are local Guernsey lobsters; I'm not sure what makes them 'Guernsey' other than that they were caught in Guernsey waters. I think they are probably European lobsters, but don't quote me on that. I have not tried these yet. I have not really eaten lobster that many times in my life as they are always frightfully expensive in Australia. I think I will have to arrange a babysitter during the Seafood Festival (on during July and August) this year and try the local lobster.

In 1877, a 5.4 kg (12 lb) Lobster was captured in Saints Bay, Guernsey, Channel Islands. I found this information here. Along with other interesting lobster facts - I'm so sad!

Plants are always good value from the markets. Last year we bought a Cape Gooseberry from a couple who have a weekly stall. It produced fruit for months and months; not that I actually got to eat many as my children would go into the glasshouse and eat them all and then come and tell me that there were 'heaps' ripe today Mum and they were really tasty - Thanks for that.

The markets have only recently moved back to the Manor as during the winter months they are held indoors at the St Martins Community Centre (thank goodness, as I don't know if I could go months and months without a trip to some type of markets).

There were about fifteen stalls there this weekend. During the height of summer this increases to about twenty. It works out very well as twenty stalls equals about one hour of poking around stalls, deciding what to buy and feeding the starving masses before we pile back into the car and head off to either the Town Markets or the markets at the Des Lisles Church Hall in Castel. The Castel Farmer's Markets are usually only held every two weeks.

I think perhaps we need to get my son's eyes checked. As we were getting ready to leave my husband said 'Let's go and have a look at that chicken!' My son replied 'What chicken?' It was about one meter from him at this point. My husband's reply was 'There that chicken. What did you think it was a feathered, two legged dog!' I think he is going to follow in his Father's footsteps at being unable to find his socks when they are right in front of him balled together in a pair in the sock drawer. Strange place to keep socks I know, but hey, I like to live on the wild side.

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