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Sunday, June 21, 2009

A day out in Essex

Today is Father's day.

When my dad was a lad he was taken on Holidays to his Aunt Ethel in Pitsea. Although he hasn't been there since the mid sixties he has clear memories. He new the address so we drove over, the place has changed out of all recognition but we actually found the bungalow.

So mission accompolished and it was quarter to ten! So we went to Southend or if you're a native of the county of Essex Sowfend (or variant there of).

Southend's best days were probably over by the end of the 1950's. It had a very down at heel reputation in the 70's but it has been tarted up since then.

Bistro culture Essex style.

In the days when cars were a luxury of the middle class the working class would book a week at places like Southend, they'd stay in guest houses (where the food was awful and the service was appalling). As there were no cars they stayed in the "resort" if it was nice they frequented the deckchair watched the sea and read a newspaper.

If the weather was less clement they'd go somewhere like here.

And they'd stroll in the gardens.

They would stroll along the pier...

The world (ok Essex) famous Westcliff Pavillion

Southend has changed but its essential character is still the same, there are cafe's selling Fish & Chips, seaside shops selling candyfloss and kiss me quick hats and amusment arcades.

Now if I sound condescending here then I am not. I spent a number of happy days here when I was a kid (I never holidayed here and by the time I came along Mum and Dad had a car). There were chips and an excellent comic shop (wonder if that's still here?). Dad and I reminisced.

I've been here once in about 20 years, Dave and I went to see Rossi the ringeed bill gull here a few years ago which winters between Rossi Ice-cream parlour and the Westcliff Casino.

No Rossi today but I had forgotten that Southend is a good place to see Mediteranean Gulls.

We headed off after a pleasant stroll and ended up at Ingatestone Hall. A nice tudor house with a pretty small garden.

I was well chuffed to see a Spotted Flycatcher at Ingatestone Hall, quite unusual in Essex and there were Yellowhammers on the wire as we left.


Tricia said...

Great to have a nostalgic trip like that on Father's day!

Now Southend - oh what memories that brought back. Don't recognise any of it from your pics now and wouldn't, I'm sure, in reality.

My grandmother and aunt used to live in Wescliff and I spent school holidays with them.

Does "Sarfend" (a variant!) Kersal still exist? (Got a right ticking off when I went there with a friend - when I'd been told not to go - I was quite young at the time though!)

Great pics of the water lilies at Ingatestone - espech the first one. And I like the wild boar(?) sculpture in the grass!

Pete said...

its a bowling alley now apparently

called the kursaal.

we never walked that far down

oldcrow61 said...

That must have been a great visit for your father. What lovely flowers you've photographed. Those two creatures in the can throw those in the box as well, lol.

Pete said...

OC - I saw the metal hogs/pigs and thought "OC!!"

avalon said...

That brought back a few memories, of walking along the front to west cliff and having fresh prawns and ice creams with my aunty doreen!!
Never got to see ingatestone hall even though we only lived 5 miles away, the grounds and house look wonderful, loved the flowers! Hope dad liked his trip down memory lane.

KAZ said...

Sowfend sounds a lot like the Southern equivalent of our Blackpool.
I still love a day out there - but like to be 'home in time for tea'.
Spotted flycatcher - yeah!!

holdingmoments said...

Saarfend; that took me back Pete.
Spent many happy hours there in my youth. Makes me want to return.

Lovely shots of the flowers at Ingatestone Hall. Like that first water lily; great colour.

ShySongbird said...

I don't know that area at all but it sounds like your Dad had a nice trip down memory lane, when you were painting your descriptive piece on the deckchairs you forgot the obligatory knotted hanky Pete ;)

Lovely photos from Ingatestone Hall, the Canada Geese looked like they were lined up for an aerobics class or some sort of inspection! Beautiful flower pics especially the Water Lily.