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yen_powell

It's not the end of the world.....But you can see it from there!

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Well, it's an unseasonably warm January, proof that all those years of spraying deodorant and buying fridges has done the trick, you can thank me later. My last day of freedom before going back to work tomorrow so I thought I'd head out to a place on the coast not too far from me.

I was a doddering pensioner at a very young age. In the 1980s when I was still in my early 20s I owned a caravan nearby at a place called St Lawrence. It was originally bought with my then girlfriend as a place for some alone time as we both lived at home with our parents at the time. It later turned into a place that needed the grass cutting a lot and I sold it to a work colleague for a profit after a few years. So I had been to most places around there and thought I'd revisit. My caravan has been replaced by a small housing estate facing the estuary, I didn't bother taking a picture of that.

I headed there on the smaller back roads, I like to ride at my own pace, not holding up others or being held up myself. It was a strange overcast day, the roads were full of puddles and generally quite cacky, but I wasn't scared because my bike is still covered in all the shit from my Christmas journeys in the poxy rain and fog. These first two pictures are to show you the empty sploshiness of the roads I took.

 

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The roads started to get drier the further I got from home. Along the way I suddenly found a lane full of parked cars, the reason became apparent when I came round a corner to find it was some sort of canal lock with a small cafe. Then I found a road sign with an unusual name.

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I went past my old caravan site (Lucky Heather any one?) and stopped briefly at the adjacent slipway into the Blackwater. One of my caravan neighbours used to keep an old WW2 pink painted jeep (with no bonnet) at his place and would use it to tow his boat to the slipway when he was down. He came back without it in a panic one day and I and other neighbours helped him to smash up an abandoned wooden shed to make duck boards and then we helped him recover the old vehicle from the mud it had got stuck in on the foreshore.

I stopped and took a picture of the approach tarmac road to the church, that's a Roman road that is. The one connecting the old fort to Chelmsford. I parked as close as you're allowed to the church and walked the last few hundred metres. I think the real Roman road over this last section is in the field to the right. It doesn't show in the pictures, but there is a definite bow in the grass like a road camber which follows the alignment to the church which used to be the gateway in to the fort.

Note the adder warning signs. I tucked my trousers into my boots, like a docker who's scared of rats in a ship's hold.

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I usually have this place to myself, but there were people everywhere today, maybe they are getting out before they go back to work or the weather becomes more wintery. There were a few people sitting in silence in the church, so I joined them for a little while. I didn't like to take a picture whilst in there as I didn't want to disturb them, so I took one from the doorway after first turning off the flash.

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I had a short stroll to the marshy shore. There were two WW2 concrete pill boxes in the fields. I was taught that there are usually a minimum of three, all placed so that anyone trying to lob a grenade in through a window slit are under fire from the other two. I couldn't find the 3rd, maybe it was demolished by the farmer. They all got money at the end of the war for that purpose, but most just ploughed around the boxes and kept the cash instead. What a place to sit and wait for German tourists to turn up on your door step.

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I knew there was a memorial to the abandoned air force base nearby so I rode about till I found it. It's on the road leading to the old nuclear power station. I took a picture of the bike in front of it, then remembered the top box opinions on here so took that off for a second to compare shots without it. Not much in it if you ask me.

The plane looks like a Mosquito, the plane built as a bomber by furniture makers due to its wooden construction, but so fast many were used as fighters.

The base seems to have been used by quite a few nationalities, so I took pictures of the names on the memorial in case anyone recognises a surname, you never know do you. There are Poles, Czechs Kiwis and Canadians shown as well as RAF and  RAF Auxiliary. The remnants of some of the perimeter roads are still about. Driving schools use some for emergency stops and 3 point turn practice. My girlfriend of the caravan days gave me driving lessons when we were were down that way.

 

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I had taken a flask of coffee with me and guzzled most of it near the church. On the way home I stopped to take a discreet waz behind a convenient hedge. This thing was hanging in the branches right in front of my face. I'm assuming some sort of firework, perhaps someone here can identify it.

 

Edit, now I look at the picture properly I can see the bird scarer label.

 

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49 minutes ago, boboneleg said:

Superb @yen_powell , nice to see the opposite side of the country to me.  It all lokks very low lying around there, a bit like the Somserset levels.

It's called the Dengie Peninsula and this bit is the Dengie Marsh. According to the plan of the Roman Fort, the church is at the location of the main gate and the walls were half on the current dry land area and half in the marsh area behind the church. Some land must have been lost and the marsh is slowly putting it back again. Looking at the side and rear wall of the church you can see an old arch and possibly the mark of the wall, I wonder if they literally remodelled the gateway and tower to build the church.

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