'Thar she blows!' La Fregate cafe to be turned the other way up
Iconic St Helier eatery La Fregate planning on turning up the heat by turning on itself
To launch the Jersey café into the culinary high-seas, Oswald and Judith Galbraith, who have owned and run La Fregate since its construction in 1997, submitted last week a buccaneering proposal to flip the whole building upside down.
‘Some people have acted with disbelief.’ Oswald explained ‘But it’s actually pretty straightforward. All we need to do is turn the boat over, then stabilise everything with struts, and then fit a roof. Once we have then built in a new floor, it’ll just a question of getting all our plates and stuff back in again and just jiggling around with the fixtures a bit. We won’t be able to have as many tables unfortunately, and the insurance will go up a fair bit, but! - think what we will be gaining! We will be the only land-bound operational schooner selling Genuine Jersey products in the whole of the British Isles. Not a bad USP, eh!’
In a chilling warning to the couple, ‘Tacker’ Nankerviss, a veteran Cornish crabber familiar with Jersey waters, spoke out loudly against the plans at a meeting at St Helier parish hall on Friday.
‘If those struts be breaking’ he said ‘that pair’ll be in a hell they’ve never know anything the likes of.' 'You get one ugly-sou-wester steam up through the Biscay on a spring tide and you’ll have a bloody catastrophe on your hands…. Christ! Even the Puddleducks won’t be able to save ‘em’
Also at the meeting was Mr Keith Rump from Jersey Health and Safety Executive. Mr Rump produced an architect’s drawing of the proposition and addressed some of the key points.
‘Firstly’ Mr Rump explained, ‘to comply with the relevant Health and Safety regulations, the boat must be ‘‘fully operational’’, and able to ‘‘put to sea in the event of immersion’’.
''The proprietors'' mr Rump went on ''will be required to provide enough lifejackets and lifeboats for full occupancy - plus staff, plus fifteen percent extra, allowing for delivery drivers, walk-in enquires, toilet users and the likes. They will need to provide disabled access. They will need to allow for full disabled access at full disabled occupancy. So, let’s say, two hundred and five people with motor neurone disease, all in for lunch, then all making for the fire exits. They must keep one working defibrillator for every five crew. Furthermore, as the current hull is modelled on an 18th century French naval schooner, the owners will have to ensure the newly opened cafe meets all the historic requirements of the original. The staff will have to be qualified in not only first aid, but also in map reading, navigation and knot tying. All should be immunised for yellow fever, botulism and leprosy. They must provide enough baby changing facilities to ‘‘reasonably begin’’ a new colony on another hemisphere. In stock at any time they must have at least 500kg of tea and 10 barrels of salted beef. They have to have enough oranges on board to protect everyone against scurvy. They must keep on board enough muskets and ammunition for everyone to arm themselves in the event of piracy, but these arms must be kept within a strong-room that no one but the Bailiff is able to access.
‘The proprietors’ Mr Rump continued ‘will therefore be required to apply for a firearms licence’ ‘And they will not be permitted to open on the Sabbath.’