Geoffrey’s Leap

Driving along a coastal road, I saw something at the last moment.

“Stop the car! There was a sign back there.”

Cliff slammed on the brakes. “A sign for what?”

“I dunno, but it looked interesting.”

He gave me a nasty look but backed the car up and found a wide bit of road to pull over on. We hiked back to look at the sign, a chunky bit of stone with “National Trust for Jersey – Le Saut Geffroy” written on it.

“What’s it mean?”

Cliff shrugged. “I don’t speak patois. Something to do with Geoffrey. Jump, maybe.”

Jump seemed viable, it was a ledge looking over rocky outcrops in the sea. I thought it quite a nice spot to sit and watch the birds until I heard the story behind it.

It seems poor Geoffrey had been sentenced to death, and specifically to be pushed off this ledge. A crowd had gathered to watch his demise but to everyone’s surprise he landed in the water and swum to shore, safe and sound. He climbed back up to the ledge where an argument had broken out as to what should happen next: should he be pushed off again or should he walk free, having already “received” his punishment. He laughed at the crowd and jumped off the ledge with a smile – this time missing the water and dashing his brains out on the rocks. The dilemma was solved, and the ledge named after his fateful move (generally translated as Geoffrey’s Leap).

Luckily, I knew none of this as I sat watching the oystercatchers on the rocks below me.

Category: Miscellaneous,

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