As explained yesterday, today’s job was to deliver a USB memory stick to a client in Southend. There was no particular deadline other than to arrive during office hours today. Accordingly, we aimed to take the train at the leisurely time of 10:15 am.
We arrived in plenty of time but by now the morning rush had died away and we could think about breakfast: baguettes on the train or a cooked cafe breakfast?
There was hardly any doubt as to which we would choose and so we plumped for Ashby’s in Artillery Row. This filled in the time agreeably and when we returned to the station, we had just 5 minutes to find and board our train.
We knew we would take a taxi to the client’s address and I was a little worried about getting into and out of the car with my bad back. But I was lucky: when we reached the cab rank the car at the head of the queue was a recycled London black cab! That made things easier.
The client’s premises were in Temple Farm Business Park and, having delivered the memory stick (and collected it back again), we set out to take the bus back into town. We found the area rather badly served by buses but eventually caught the 61 which runs at an interval of 30 minutes.
We took a leisurely stroll down the pedestrianized High Street towards the sea. I wish more cities – including dear old London – would close more streets to traffic. It makes life pleasanter for shoppers and probably cuts down on traffic movements, which can only be a good thing.
I don’t know the history of the High Street but I did notice a number of rather beautiful old buildings, of which the Whitegate Building on the right is but one example. These days, the original fabric is visible only from the first floor up as the ground floors have been spoilt and rendered tacky by modern shop fronts. It’s a pity that this kind of corporate vandalism is allowed because once the original ground floor has been ripped out, it can never be recovered.
We stopped off a Tomassi’s again for lunch and then continued on down to the front for a misty view of the sea.
However, we were not going to spend the afternoon in Southend but venture further afield. We felt it was time for anothert visit to Leigh-on-Sea. We took a bus there (of course!) and where we arrived, were rewarded with splendid views over the countryside and the estuary.
Unfortunately, the hazy conditions masked the scene somewhat and I hope to go back another time when the weather is clearer.
Perhaps the picture on the right will give you some idea of what the scene could be in better conditions.
We walked down a long hill right to the water’s edge. The little port provides facilities for pleasure sailing but is also a working fishing port.
All along the shore there are “sheds” where the catch is brought ashore and shops where you can buy an impressive range of freshly-caught fish and sea food, a fish-eater’s paradise, no doubt.
Even so, it is clear that times have changed and the heyday has passed. For example, this was once a railway station (the line still runs alongside it) but is now a yacht club.
We stopped for refreshment at the Crooked Billet pub and explored a little further before deciding that it was time to make tracks for home. I couldn’t help noticing the contrast between the old fishing port and the modern urban clutter just up the hill.
We caught the bus back to Southend and the train back to London, a job done and a day out enjoyed.