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.