Deepest Darkest Essex

While driving with my parents to a restaurant/café for lunch I noticed this strange thing by the road. It seemed pertinent to stop and tell my children of the punishment methods of the past. People I give you the Great Canfield Stocks and Whipping Post.

Green Street Stocks and Whipping Post
Green Street Stocks and Whipping Post

The sign explains that the stocks were replaced to commemorate the start of the third millennium. I’m quite curious to know what was in this position before these and the history of them. The sign explains the stocks were last used in 1860 for a case of drunkenness and also that this site was where Elizabeth Abbott was burnt as a witch in 1693. The sheer terror I feel with how we used to treat people is only masked by the general terror I feel for how we treat people these days. I’m not sure we’ve moved on that far.

This is comms#2023 and I’m still trying to work out what to replace my “events each year” thing. Give me some time and when I get a chance I will figure this out. Things have been a little busy recently with work and also my car being off the road because some cunts stole the catalytic converter. I’m currently waiting for it to be towed to be repaired along with getting a courtesy car.

Not Close Enough To Touch

I actually managed to get out of the house just in time to return to work. However, I did get a short trip to the beach, well, when I say beach it was next to the sea, when I say sea it was an estuary, and by beach I mean a stone beach. There are some sandy beaches in Kent, they are just a little further to get to and sand is over rated.

Thames Estuary
Thames Estuary

This image has all the colour and style that was available that day. It was nicely calming to be here. The sea / estuary was pretty quiet and there wasn’t any wind. On the horizon line you can see a little but of Southend in Essex and I think there might be two ships in the frame too. One of the ships seemed to be anchored while the other was definitely underway.

The Homeland
The Homeland

Here’s a close up of Southend. Part of me thinks I should head over there and look back at Kent. I can see Southend from a couple of places down this side of the estuary and it’s been an absolute age since I was in Southend itself. I can vaguely remember being on the pier. But that’s it. I can’t remember much else.

My website UI is telling me there are four links within these communications that do not work and so I’ll have to spend some time going through them and trying to find new links. Just another thing to do in terms of website admin – does it never end? Just joking, it’s actually pretty simple to keep this site going, I mean, any old fool can do it.

This is communication number 2006 and just below there are some things that happened in that year. I really now need to start thinking what I’m going to do when I get beyond communication number 2022. I was going to just make up outrageous things that I think could happen in those years. Or, perhaps I should just stop. I’m not sure. I quite enjoy having a particular format to these notes. I’ll think about it.

  • New Horizons is launched towards Pluto.
  • Google buys YouTube.
  • Nintendo Wii is released.
  • Lordi win the Eurovision song contest.

Finally Somewhere Else

I actually drove out of the county of Kent for the first time since last August recently. I didn’t go far, only across the Thames to Essex but it felt like a whole new place. I think I’ve been separated from Essex for long enough now that I don’t really have any urges of “home” when I go there. I do look around the village and think it’s very pretty but all around it’s changed so much with building and “improvements” that it’s not the Essex of my childhood anymore and I don’t feel that romanticism. I did go for a walk with the family and we went to some lovely local reservoir lake things. It was pretty and the sun was shining.

My Homeland
My Homeland

As much as I’ve labelled that picture as my homeland curiously I didn’t even know these lakes existed for all the time I lived in the village. I had never explored them as a child. Doesn’t really matter. It just adds to the alienness of wandering around somewhere so familiar and yet so different.

As a slight contrast I did find this work of art on a walk around the lake area near me in Kent. I have to say it is stunning. I’m not entirely sure about any of it though. I’m a republican and couldn’t care less about what happens with the royal family. It does appear that this picture has likened Kate to the virgin mother of Jesus and quite literally sanctified her in image. It’s such a strange sight and one of conflicting impressions.

I'm Just Not Really Sure What
I’m Just Not Really Sure What

Does this image mean it was paid for by arch royalists? If so then I’m not sure why the person in the image isn’t part of that bloodline – I guess the child is [?] assuming it’s actually one of Kate and William’s children. I honestly don’t know. I also feel that the people who did this are particularly on the right of politics as that is what I mostly associate that particular colouring of cloth in the background. This image has me conflicted in many many ways.

Heading just a few miles from the graffiti we see other iconography in the local friars. Now, it turns out that the monastery near where I live isn’t a monastery it’s actually a friary. It also turns out there’s a difference. Let’s make this clear here. Monks are selfish twats who give their lives over to serving and praying to god. Friars are less selfish twats who give their lives over to serving god while at the same time being allowed out to do things in the community. So, friars are the better of the two wastes of time. I guess anything which has use to the community is better than a thing which does not.

Iconic Stuff
Iconic Stuff

This image has another mother and child in a system which allowed rape, slavery and murder of the right people. Is Mary crying in this image? Perhaps she’s upset at the lack of consent for her pregnancy – which makes god a rapist. If you look at the bottom images on the front of the alter it looks like there is a snake climbing a crucifix which I suppose I understand and then there is also a badly drawn T-Rex with a halo! I know it’s a sheep but it’s much more fun to think of it as a terrible lizard. Damn, I wish I had looked more closely at this when I was there. Perhaps I’ll pop back for another look soon.

Six And A Half Hours Later Than Planned

Today’s plan was reasonably simple. Head to Costco for lunch and a bit of shopping then head home and watch some TV. I expected to be back for about 16:00 [BST]. It initially went well. The lunch was bought and the stuff purchased, the car was filled and I went to leave the car park. Except I couldn’t because the road was busy. So I drove to the other exit thinking I’d go out by Ikea and head to the A13 and join the M25 there. But that way was blocked with traffic too. That was when I decided to look at my phone and see what Google maps was saying about the traffic.

It was fucked.

The maps app was reporting that the QE II bridge was closed. North and southbound. Bugger. I needed to use that to get back home. Alternatives exist but they are a pain and involve London.

Classic Dartford
Classic Dartford

Apparently two trucks had collided on the north side of the bridge. This meant both tunnel and bridge were closed. This meant the entire area because a car park. I decided to stop in the official car park I hadn’t left and leave the car and try and waste some time so I would start again when at least the traffic was moving a little.

I walked to Ikea, wandered around, found a few things to buy and then also went to the restaurant and ate some food. Periodically I would check twitter and maps to see if there was any movement. There was not.

I then thought it might be worth joining a queue again and maybe we would move a car’s length every minute or so, at least make some progress. So I drove to the Costco exit and joined a queue. The only times I moved forward was when a car not far ahead pulled a U-ey and we all move one car length. After an hour I turned around and parked in Costco again. To be honest I had made it about 50 m from the car park exit in that time so it wasn’t really like I had left!

A cuppa and toilet break in Costco and time to spend a little longer wasting time hoping that something would move soon. It wouldn’t.

Eventual Route
Eventual Route

While still trying to get out of Ikea and head directly north to the A13 it struck me it that heading south [the blue lines] and then heading east might work. The traffic seemed to be moving in those directions. Maybe I could then head north to the A127, rejoin the M25 or head into London.

Final Route - ish
Final Route – ish

The roads seemed reasonably clear. I got on the M25 anti-clockwise and I just kept following Google Maps. I headed down the M11, around the Olympic stadium in Stratford and then there were slight delays on the approach to the Blackwall Tunnel. After that there were no more delays. I think they had started to open the Dartford Tunnels at some point because the traffic seemed to be moving north at that point. The M25 was delayed and stopped from Dartford to about Stapelford Tawney, the delays were immense.

My overall thoughts are that I am glad no one was badly injured. Yes, it caused huge delays and would have cost a lot of money because of those delays, but hopefully everyone got home OK.

I got home around 22:30 [BST]. A little later than planned. I’m not annoyed. I almost enjoyed the adventure of it all. I had looked at cinema times but there were no suitable films, I had looked at booking into the Travelodge over the road but it was full, I had considered driving to my parents’ house but the issue was getting out of the car park!

The trucks had spilled fuel over the road and this meant it needed to be resurfaced. They also managed to crash just before the slip way for southbound traffic to enter the tunnel. Therefore there was no alternative to shutting the entire crossing.

Next time, for there will be another time, I will do my best to look at the roads heading in the opposite direction. Had I thought of that earlier I think I could have been home around 19:00 [BST]. Oh well.

You’re Welcome

So, while travelling to Maldon, of salt fame, in Essex, yesterday I passed two things that amused me. First we should have a picture of Maldon.

Maldon, Essex
Maldon, Essex

More importantly we should have the things that amused me. Here we have Tom Tit Lane:

Now, Tom Tit is also Cockney Rhyming Slang for shit.

The next geographical amusing thing is Butts Green Garden Centre, again in Essex, although over to the east of the county, which is the weird part of the county.

So, as I named this communication, you’re welcome.

Essex Fog

This communication is much unlike Ronseal products. This IS Essex fog but Ronseal products don’t do what they say on the tin [great marketing though!].


Lakes Or Ponds

I had a lovely run in my home area of Essex. I was born in the centre of the Essex plateau and raised near the borders with Hertfordshire. I actually went to school in Hertfordshire and my best mate had the Essex / Hertfordshire border at the bottom of his garden.

Here’s the run.
[I did have an iframe linking to the MapMyRun website but it doesn’t seem to be working so here’s a snipped version.]

Run Route

I took a couple of photos of the lakes/ponds from near the southern most part of the route. I also saw some sloe berries so I might be making some sloe gin soon.

Here’re the lakes.

Eastern Lake
Eastern Lake

And the other:

Western Lake
Western Lake

Here’s a snapshot from my phone giving you an idea of the OS map.

The Lakes

These bodies of water got me thinking about ponds and lakes. What’s the difference? These things could be ponds but they seemed too large for that and yet they are most definitely smaller than any of the Great Lakes in North America [although I suspect that they are really seas]. Thank goodness for Wikipedia.

I spoke too soon. Wikipedia doesn’t help. There is no internationally agreed definition of the difference between pond and lake. Large things are definitely lakes and small things are definitely ponds but where the line is, no-one agrees. It’s probably somewhere between 2 and 5 hectares. I think my favourite definition is:

bodies of water where light penetrates to the bottom of the waterbody

There’re plenty of ways of setting a distinction. Some depend on surface area and some on depth, others on plant growth. This is a pretty cool thing to look into. As for the Great Lakes, they are lakes. It turns out that lakes have to be surrounded by land. The Great Lakes are named correctly. The Caspian Sea is not. I love learning.

[I should point out that while writing this I was discussing it with my family and my mother pointed out the definition of a lake before I had even looked it up. Well done mum!]