"Dry with a hint of arrogance", read the restaurateur’s description of a Frascati on offer in a fine and witty Italian one street back from the shore of St Peter’s Port, Guernsey. How could we resist?

Guernsey is an unapologetically odd place; it’s possible that at night they pray to the Queen to defend them from Satan and imported milk. It has a mighty archaeology and history, and like a good antiquary I bought and read a pile of books and pamphlets in lieu of actually getting my feet too dirty. Guernsey Songs and Dances. Yes please. A Short History of Guernsey. I’ll have some of that. Les Fouillages and the Megalithic Monuments of Guernsey. Bring it on.

I am on sabbatical, as you may detect. Well, on ‘half’ sabbatical, as I am still teaching six hours of tutorials a week. (This may confirm to the arithmetically minded how crushingly light the average don’s contractual burden is, and don’t take any cobblers from neurotic underachievers about ‘well, I also sit on committees’; try that one on a junior doctor.) So here I am, gargling oysters and Frascati and carving my way through a terrific saltimbocca.

It’s not all work, however, as I am determined to have fun learning something about the traditional tunes of the island, as well as what kind of megaliths they have.

Next time I visit I need to see in person the carved statue menhir at the Castel church. I’ve now read several accounts of this and related ancient monuments. The Castel menhir, possibly about 2000BC, is clearly a pagan statue, of a woman with breasts and a crown. It was discovered beneath the floor of the church there in the late nineteenth century, and happily re-erected outside in the graveyard. Early churches were often built on old pagan sites, and this statue menhir presumably stood there formerly, before an intolerant religion knocked it down, and then, having grown gentler, set it up again. One breast has been knocked off.

Then there is La Longue Rocque at St-Peter-in-the-Wood, a huge menhir at three-and-a-half metres high, undisturbed, a defiant memorial of some early people, and their gods, and their heroes. It looks similar to an Avebury megalith.

Finally there is La Gran’mère du Chimquière in St Martin, like the one at Castel, but with both breasts intact. Sometime perhaps in the Roman period, the upper half, astonishingly, was recarved to make the statue look more like a recognisable, modern figure. At a yet later point the whole statue was smashed in two, but was subsequently fixed, presumably by people no longer sharing the beliefs of either its creators, or its recarvers, or its iconoclasts.

I do admire these standing things. The pagans who put them up were possibly a potty bunch, but no more potty in their beliefs than the Christians who knocked them down. Doubtless it is a comfort to think that we are above such things in Oxford today, and that future antiquaries, bearing in their three modified arms their Megalithic Monuments of Oxford, will after all have something to look at when on sabbatical from the United Universities of the Channel Islands.