Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Trapped Happily by DPD

Trapped all day I have been although I was not too despondent about this.  For one, I was waiting on a parcel being delivered and for another the weather was too hot for my weary bulk.  
I got an e-mail informing me my latest expensive buy (£2 each) was on it's way and that by just downloading the 'app' I could follow the van drivers progress.  This interested me as I recall the days sitting in the van driving around London (before today's van driver was born) using the high tech available at the time, namely one sheet of grubby paper with deliveries written thereon and a pen, unless that had been nicked by a comrade.  Today, they said, the 'app' allows you to trace the van as it reaches each delivery (I was 29 in the list and he would arrive between 12:06 and 13:06) and I considered this a marvellous idea remembering just how many times we arrived at closed doors.  Our best advice was the driver working out his route and scribbling whether we would be 'a.m.' or 'p.m.'  If traffic occurred, as it did do in London, then we could be late.  
There is a problem here however, I attempted to download said 'app' and discovered that 'DPD' doing their best omitted to generate an 'app' that worked on laptops.  Being a mere grumbling pensioner I canny afford a mobile phone costing £300, especially as I have no friends to call, and lose out on such things.  However I e-mailed back to DPD and within a short time the display arrived on my screen.  I strongly suspect that this was clear enough on their website but daftie here could not see it.  So I relaxed as I made my lentil soup, with far too much cayenne pepper, did some (for some read 'little') work on one of my projects and generally lazed around in the heat.
In the cool of the day the temperature is still in the 80's, that is around 27 to those of you out of kilter with the real world.  It was much higher when I opened the door to the van driver at precisely 12:06 would you believe.   I am much impressed with this system I must say, well done DPD.  
Global warming is no myth, in spite of what the naysayers naysay it is real, the temperature and the weather in general is shifting whatever the reason.   I sat here exposing my beer belly to the windows, er no I mean sat here working near the windows to get what air there was as it circled around.  It was too hot for me, much as I like this, but once the parcel had been opened and satisfied my desire for shiny things I remained happy to sleep rather than walk the streets.

i did spend some time on a thing called 'USwitch' trying to find cheaper energy.  I also looked at the cheaper smaller energy companies and was not impressed much.  To save a few pounds here you lose a few there.  Unless you catch a special offer I could not see much advantage in changing from one company to another, not for me at any rate.  How they rip us off!  
However the council has a place in a nationwide scheme where they say energy companies will make us an offer, possibly cheaper than that we now have.  The only thing is to register and await their offer which arrives sometime in October!  Ah well, my name is down I now await.
I also had a look at the ISP broadband and fibre packages and am interested in one or two of those.  Just what the catch is I am unsure but I am now paying £45 for this and even with BT Sport this is too much.  All BTS wish to do is watch Rangers and Celtic, I want Scottish football on my laptop not the bigot brothers.  I can watch the games on those chancer streams instead.  I don't want to do this but BT force me to.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Soldiers Mascots

The Edinburgh Festival, and the accompanying 'Fringe,' bring many illustrious individuals into a city which can boast a great many already.  One major event at this time is the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in which bands and others from all over the world participate to rapturous applause, often in the rain!  This year once again one of Scotland's favourite nations, one in which ties were made stronger during the second world war, had soldiers representing their country at the tattoo.
Edinburgh Zoo is one of the most famous in the world, or at least in Edinburgh.  There are a host of animals confined here, some along with controversy it must be said, and there are also a host of Penguins, some of the zoo's favourite characters.  Each day since the early 50's a gate is opened and the Penguins, if they feel so inclined, wander out along a chosen path before being returned to their pen.  usually this occurs without incident and the Penguins feel happy enough it appears with the adventure.
One Penguin however has been Knighted!
Sir Nils Olav, a King Penguin, became the mascot and Colonel in Chief of the Norwegian Kings Guard in 1972 when the King's Guard were attending the Tattoo.  Originally given the rank of 'Lance Corporal' (Visekorporal) the Penguin was promoted each time the Guard attended the Tattoo.  Sir Nils passed away in 1987 and his successor , Nils Olav II, inherited his rank.  Sadly he too passed away in 2008 but Olav III also accepted with no hesitation the rank and position awarded his predecessors.  During the visit in 2008 Nils was awarded a Knighthood the honour approved by King Harald V.   On the 22nd of this month some 50 members of the King's Guard attended the Zoo and a crowd gathered to watch Sir Nils receive his next promotion this one making him a Brigadier!     
Such activities are not unknown, regiments often have goats or dogs as mascots, the Polish Division during the second world war inherited a brown bear cub called 'Wojtek' which not only continued with them through the was in Italy and France but was seen carrying ammunition during the Battle of Monte Cassino!  So helpful was he to morale and in carrying ammunition that he was enlisted as a soldier, reaching the rank of Corporal and having his own paybook.  With many Poles settling in Scotland after the war Wojtek entered Edinburgh Zoo where he happily ate cigarettes thrown to him by ex-Soldiers.  He ate them as there was no-one to light them for him!  He died in 1963 and I can remember seeing a Brown Bear in the zoo but I was not told this story.  A statue of bear and soldier  keeper now stands in Princess Street Gardens.
The UK, where important things happen!


Monday, 22 August 2016

Busy Day

Having wandered around the corner to Tesco's this morning I then spent the entire day catching up on those things left undone that need to be done but can wait until today when they could wait no longer and I undid them, or something.
Indeed I amazed myself with the vast amount of work that has been done today.  I even worked out my money now that I am officially old and understand just how poor I am.  Still in the past I have been on pauper level and now I am merely in poverty, that is a big step forward.  
The electric people, 'EON,'  a right bunch of crooks are demanding I pay an arm and a leg to satisfy their chairman's desire to become a billionaire.  I am now looking for alternative suppliers.  They say there are cheap folks somewhere around but I have yet to find them, maybe I can do so this week.
The next Gas bill will find me dumping 'British Gas' and their grasping directors!  Pity we canny change the water suppliers they are just as greedy.

I almost, but not quite, managed to do some museum work.  Some of those items have been lying around so long the things I wrote have become historical in themselves.  They must be dumped and restarted, all for the better I reckon.  Several years ago I intended, having responded to the 'suggestion,' that one page fact sheets could be produced on a variety of subjects.  I began this and got sidetracked by helping at other exhibitions and sloth.  No need to suggest the main reason.  So I hope to return to this in a few weeks when I cut down the hours spent at the museum.  I will end the Thursday morning and sit at home doing stuff instead.  One day a week at that is enough.  However I note there is a plan in the offing for me and him to work on the website photos, even though we don't know what we are doing!  So I see Thursday not working out even yet.
I need a break from this, I think I will take a break in Afghanistan, it seems to be quieter there these days...


Friday, 19 August 2016

The Day Dawns, Followed by Rain...

The day dawned with the sun climbing above the trees bringing a promise of warmth and light.  I looked forward to a day of ease, sun coming in the window as I burnt my breakfast, a foto of birdies squabbling for bread in the park maybe, green grass and blue skies ahead.
My plan was to wander to the museum to obtain three books I need for a gift, I wish I had remembered them yesterday, then wrap and post then wander aimlessly through the day at my leisure.

It is not to be wondered at that withing two hours as I left Sainsburys carrying a heavy bag of reduced price products the sky began to fall on my head.  Gray clouds covered the land, pigeons headed for better roosts and umbrellas began to be poked into passing pedestrians eyes as I trundled down the road passing glaring early morning eyes.
I noted the pigeon wondering why he lived in this country when the weather was better elsewhere and soon he flew off to sit astride a television aerial atop a house over the way.  Surely thought I this exposes him to more rain?  He ignored my thoughts.
In the shop I was attended to by the unsmiling checkout woman, one who often acts as supervisor.
The unwillingness to smile has been her main feature these past twenty years.  On occasions I have considered telling her a joke but feared she may have a stoke or something, so I desist.  Today as I went home I wondered if it would be possible to create birthday cards and the like with 'Grumpy Checkout Girl' on them?  Surely it would be possible to find appropriate reasons for her not to smile at the people around her, which to be honest would not be difficult when the store was busy.
The rain screwed everything but in between showers I obtained the books from the museum and brought them home to pack.  Naturally there are no suitable envelopes in this house, some fool threw the ragged versions out when painting recently, and now I canny get more till tomorrow!  Bah! 

One bright thing the post brought this morning was a CD.  'Ae Spark o Nature's Fire.'  This is an album of Robbie Burns songs in which Jillian Bain Christie, a soprano sings 14 of his best while my favourite, best looking and brainiest niece accompanies her on the piano.  They have just completed a wee tour of the highlands, stopping off at the 'Edinburgh Fringe' to give two concerts, including one in St Giles Kirk, to rapturous applause (at least from the members of the family who went along!).
While there my sister managed to purchase (nothing free with this lot!) two albums and sent one to me!   I await the bill that follows!  Naturally as this is my favourite, best looking and wisest niece this will be a success and a world beater!  However if Clapton releases another album he might sell more...
(I'll have to stop referring to soprano's as 'those screeching wimmen' from today.  The pianist is great however!)      

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Friday, a Day of Rest

My working week is over and I am glad.  
I appear to be tired all the time and unable to get rid off this latest bug.  It has been hanging around for weeks and still loves me, which is more than anyone else nearby does.   My mind is confused and I made several daft mistakes at work and was glad to get home.  
The day was good otherwise, the kids at the 'Superhero' activity loved it today.  They made a survival kit and this allowed them to use their imagination, which they did, and the mums and kids were delighted with the results of their labours.  The lass and her helpers running it were completely shattered by the end!   I keep out of the way of the actual work at such times.  It is good to see the kids, many are regulars, and we will miss them when they have gone, but as there is yet another week or so until they return to school we and the mums will still be hankering for the quiet times ahead.  
Then we can clear the mess that appears to litter the floor on a daily basis, it's not there when we open!  Being tired and weary today I just ran for home and left others to deal with that for a change. 

I wonder if I will have the energy to watch this weekends football....?


Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Monday, 15 August 2016

The Basin

Since running around like a daft one trying to fix the lock, fixed now thanks for asking and by me yet it actually works, so there is something, I have been trying to sleep it off.  My slight migraine appears when I am overtired so instead of joining the museum staff for a get together I lie here asleep writing this. 

Luckily it means I can reveal the last few shots, what's that?...oh!
Anyway I noticed these two barges had foreign names, 'Volharding' and 'Dieu la Voulu.'  The latter means, as you will know, 'God Wanted,' so that tells us something about them.  'Volharding' is a Dutch sailing barge no longer trading as she once did but instead instructs the 'disadvantaged' re the coast, the waterways and life on such vessels.  Two decent craft put to good use for differing reasons but not allowed to rot away as rusting hulks.  'Dieu la Voulu' is set up for living on board and that sounds a decent way of life to me.  Sailing barges are turned into homes, many still equipped with motors to allow them to cross the channel if required or move along the coats to a more favourable berth.

This however might suit you and I better!
A line of such craft are stabled in the Basin, however I get the impression some of them do not move far from here at any time.  At one time I fancied being rich and having such an escape from the world.  Spending your time messing about in a gentle movement of water, sun above, a decent view around, an escape from the world.  Of course when they are lined up like this there is not much escape as either folks live here full time or they also are escaping the world and will annoy you just as they did back home!  Bah!  Still, once I am rich...

Sadly there are no more pics from this tiring day out.  Stop that giggling at the back!  No more to annoy you people of little taste.  However, I could get on the bus and go back again on Wednesday...

What's that....?


Sunday, 14 August 2016

To Battle!

Around the 10th or 11th of August 991 the Vikings landed on Northey Island, a small isle attached to the mainland by a causeway, one that the tides cover twice a day.  The local Saxons under Earl Byrhtnoth assembled on foot, they were told to 'send steeds away,' to face the foe.  The local Thegns such as Aetheric from Braintree collected their men and rode or walked to join the battle.  Their thoughts at that time, of fear, wondering and adventure, would differ in no way from men who in more recent times went off to fight the foe in the defence of their land.

The Saxon King at this time was Aethelred the Unready, a rather unfortunate name for a man threatened by invaders.  However the word 'Unready' is a mistranslation of a word implying rather 'ill advised,' this is even more unfortunate as his name meant 'noble counseled!'   
The counsel of the time regarding Vikings, or as they had now become known 'Danes' was divided between those like Byrhtnoth who believed in fighting them off or those who preferred to buy them off with Gold.  Olaf the Viking leader did not ask which way the wind was blowing he just demanded vast sums of cash to leave the island and Byrhtnoth also hesitated not in offering instead sword and spear tips.  

Having come prepared for battle and with a belief that each man would die at a predestined time the Danes attempted to leave the island by the causeway.  Three men Wulfstan, Aelfhere and Maccus opposed any attempt to cross the narrow bridge.  After a while Olaf asked Byrhtnoth to allow his men to cross to the land for a formal battle and Byrhtnoth agreed.  There is some dispute as to whether this was arrogance on the Saxon leaders part or whether he realised that if he did not do so the Danes would sale elsewhere and cause terror among undefended people.  It must also be remembered that a similar attack in 912 had been beaten off and Byrhtnoth, now in his 68th year, may well have had that battle drummed into his head from childhood.  
Whatever the reason the outnumbered Saxons confronted around 2000 - 4000 Vikings and battle was joined.  While there was some degree of 'honour' in battle it remained a time when aggressive thuggery ruled and swords, spears and battle axes would rain down on various heads and the 'Earl of Queensbury rules' would not be accepted.
In the end the battle was lost, Byrhtnoth lay dead, his head missing but his gold hilted sword still with his body and no doubt many others lay there also.  The result of this battle led later that year to the Saxons paying the vikings in silver, some 3300 kilos of the stuff, the first 'Danegeld' to be paid.  This payment was to continue for many years after this.

There is every chance that our man Aetheric was hurt and hurt badly during this conflict.  That year he willed his lands to two separate Bishops.  He gave most of Braintree to the Bishop of London and Bocking to the Archbishop of Canterbury.  Wisely he ensured they would not receive these lands, which were mostly rural at the time, until his wife had passed away thus ensuring her future.  He died that year, we guess from his wounds.  The Bishops in those days were powerful men, occasionally some of them were actually believers but not usually, and in 1199 the then Bishop obtained a charter for a market in the town thus making the towns fortune.  He also obtained one for Chelmsford which he also ruled, and that to flourished this way.  Obtaining a charter must have been a simple job.  King John was known to be desperate for money after his military failings so the tax he would gain made him eager to allow such developments.  What Aetheric would have said I know not.


Saturday, 13 August 2016

Still on the Bus Run

Yesterday, dressed for the usual summer weather, I entered the zimmer clattering bus along with the throng from the 'Derby and Joan' club and headed for pleasure.  The weather was not the usual summer weather, it was hot and I went on to lose a couple of pounds of fat, my temper and my keys.  
One way to see the country is by bus.  This will take you through the urban backstreets, local villages and obscure turnings before reaching its destination, places often ignored when following normal routes.  I changed buses at the Superstore knowing I had to wait ten minutes for the bus.  Somewhat surprised at its arriving ten minutes early I got on nonetheless.  I was soon wondering if he was the wrong bus as he went back they way I had come and as I planned an embarrassing escape he then went round the local backstreets picking up a variety of shopping trolleys and zimmer frames to deposit them back at the superstore bus stop where I had got on!  Now he was on time!  While I wondered why he had not just gone round the houses first we continued on the way to the sun.  Again we went through backstreets and villages, sometimes interesting, often boring, the houses from the past being of distinct ages, the newer homes all looking remarkably similar to those seen everywhere else.  Developers clearly have standard plans which are dumped in what they call appropriate spots.  Few such dwellings will be admired in centuries to come.  Slowly but surely we reached our objective, a journey of around 45 minutes which a rich man in a car would have done in 25.

Naturally I headed for the church first as it dominates the crowded High Street, a street far too narrow and busy for my liking.  This church appears to be the only one with a triangular tower, why this should be nobody knows but it is quite interesting to note this.  During the 14th century or thereabouts someone added wall arcades featuring faces, possibly of important locals, saints or kings, into the south aisle of All Saints Church.  Whether this was merely decoration or a memorial of some kind I know not and paying £5 for the guidebook made me look for the door so I have not discovered why.

It's a fancy piece of work whatever the reason for it but today while it stands out it doesn't appear to fit any more in the manner which was intended at the beginning.  A difficult church to modernise and keep all the past glories on show I think but at least it is open for all.

The hostelry next door looks somewhat Georgian to my limited knowledge and has clearly been much used by travellers in times past.  As it has been either sold or updated there is little info regarding the place but I suspect the best people stayed here, I didn't. 

Above the door of the hotel on the left we note this which looks remarkably Papal in design.  I understand All Saints is a bit High Church, that is 'Anglo Catholic' and maybe this is the bar used by the vicar and his mates.  It does not look original to the building.

This part of Essex is all estuary and long trailing rivers.  Not far downstream, just around a bend or two, we begin to find the many yachts that have been parked here for generations.  These are pleasure craft, though what pleasure one gets from fighting through the waves, buffeted left right and centre, to cross the oceans when a boat with an engine would do it just as well and with less bruises I know not.  Still all around this area hundreds of craft lie awaiting these part time sailors.
One or two older ones may even belong to the many that sailed to Dunkirk during the war,a great many left from here that day, to rescue the British Army from France.

Thames barges may be graceful at sea but just a glance at the machinery on board, the mass of ropes, the complicated sails indicates how hard life was for those who once worked these things across the local world.  I suspect however once men got hooked on this way of life it would be difficult to change to any other way.  Plus many journeys would not take the sailor so far from home that he would not be away long.  In summer it would be a good life, very hard in the winter months I reckon.

Several large buildings stand near, this one is either repairing a boat or building one, I didn't bother to ask as I understand too well locals thoughts re tourists and daft questions.  Lots of men could be seen at work on the various craft, whether from upgrading or required repairs was not clear but they all appeared to be the type of man that needs to be building something. 

The back of the yard was full of this sort of stuff and as I wandered around I kept thinking of the rich city types who spend their millions on fancy big yachts.  Sir Philip Green, he who made £500 million before closing down the BHS store is one such.  He has three huge fancy yachts but I could not help thinking this place has more character than any of his boats.  Here real people worked on their barge or ship either for pleasure or employment and these appear to me to be real people in the real world, unlike Green and his kind.  The dirty, mud caked barges, the craft just lying around apparently uncared for, the confused but organised store yards felt like home to me while a yacht like Greens would be a false world, a false world of his that may collapse any time soon.  Sail the Aegean with the likes of Green?  I would rather be in Maldon. 

Sadly my little mind would rather have a preserved Tug like 'Brent' here than a fancy yacht.  This has a character they do not possess.  It is not gleaming and smelling of money as they do, but I reckon the upkeep of this costs a bit, however there is something real about this ex-working London Tug.
The 'Brent' was built, mostly by women, during the war for the Admiralty but arrived to late for the war effort.  As such she was sold to the Port of London Authority and pulled/pushed ships into place, brought lighters to shore and pulled barges around for many years.  She retired in 1970 as the docks were dying and containers were taking over and was bought by a family and used as their 'Tug yacht,' just like I would dream of doing!  The costs however meant eventually she was given to a trust which now hopes to restore her to full working order, gives young and old groups instruction on marine workings, and hopefully attends the 2019 '75th' anniversary of D-Day landings.  Had I not been keen on pushing on I would have tried to get a look aboard.

These boys were happy the tide was out as feeding was good today.  A large Cormorant flew by and settled on the water.  Each time I managed to get him in focus the brute dived under to search for fish and rose ten to fifteen yards from where he went under, I never caught him.  Using the 'auto' on the camera does make things easier normally but the autofocus is not very good.  It pics on things and will not let go and usually it picks on the wrong things which leaves good pictures somewhat blurred.  Practice makes perfect so they say.

Travelling home was made easier by the realisation that I could take almost any bus heading north or west therefore the first bus to arrive took me to Colchester via more backstreets, villages (all with a 'Bull' or 'White Hart' prominent) and past many fields where harvest had been gathered or was in the process of being taken in.  There is a refreshment for the mind in looking at green, or gold coloured, fields and I think that townsfolks need to improve their lives by wandering among such places more often.  The Victorians understood this and began planting parks in all towns as green areas rest the mind.  It is rather sad some have been allowed to fade away and others no longer exist.  In spite of avoiding the bee buzzing around my head that thought I was the way out of the bus I enjoyed the trips even though by the time I was heading home I longed for dinner.

I stopped at the museum to check on a lass who had not turned up earlier in the week to discover it was another non event.  While we thought something very serious was occurring she was playing Petanque for her village team!   Bah!  Communication breakdown causes many problems, too many people making decisions and not passing them on.
Then I slogged my way home to seek food, shelter from the sun and a long soak in a lukewarm bath, the water never heats up correctly when it gets too hot during the day.
I couldn't get in, I had dropped my key somewhere, probably two hours away in Maldon!
Nobody has a copy.  One flat is unoccupied, the tenant in the other was working, not other way in.  Ooer missus!  
I contemplated the bus back to Maldon and searching the shop where I may have dropped it.  But did I not take something out the pocket on a bus, and if so which bus?  
I asked another neighbour on the end flat to phone the landlord forgetting her money goes into the wine and spirit section not her payphone so she could not help.  I knocked on the door of the man round the back but he did not answer being out having a life.  
So nothing for it but to wandered up to the Landlords unhelpful agent.  
I have always dealt with the landlords estate manager directly rather than the agent but the lass who has been there 15 years left and in the few months since then three new people doing her job have passed through.  The third one has been there a week I discovered but I suspect she may not last a month, the landlord is not easy to work for.  
The agent deals with the letting of the property and I always thought the keys were held there.  Up I go, the weariness of the day upon me, and explain the problem.  The agent could not have been less interested, his unhelpfulness shone in his eyes as in his eyes he sells houses and lets flats, takes commission and cares not if you live or die, the word 'service' is a stranger to him.  
He votes Conservative.
The woman who I growled at when showing the nancy boys the flat during the week was there and somewhat more pleasant than I the other day explained she only had flat 5s key.  I left, there was no choice. 
I returned to the museum and got the helpful young lass to search for the landlords number for me, us poor folks don't carry iphones like you, and from there I called the landlord even though I knew the office would be closed as they finish at two.  
A voice answered immediately to my surprise and threw me somewhat, this has never happened before at this time.  I explained the problem and two voices at the other end hummed and hawed and wished I would go away.  In the end I was sent back to the agent to make use of the front door key from flat 5.  I asked the voice to call the agent and warn them I was returning, this the genlte soothing female voice promised to do.
I entered the agent to glaring eyes (another uncaring gent had joined the growling to ensure I was made to feel unwelcome, I wonder if they act as 'bouncers' at local night spots in the evening?) to discover no call had been received.  In fact it turned out a call had been taken by the junior (who will not be junior for long) but she did not understand it and could not explain what it was all about.  The other lass, after some fiddling on her computer, called the landlord and got the authority and plenty of gossip to give me the key.  I then discovered the gay boys were not coming, glaring works it appears, we don't want young folks in this building thanks very much, old divorcees, grumpy old men and quiet folks yes, young folks no!  I also discovered this was the landlords third woman manager and that there may be a viewer for next door this week.  It had better be a suitable one.
I grasped the key tightly in my hand, raced to the nearby keycutter and got a copy, actually I did not know which of the two keys were the main door so got both cut, that might be useful later hee hee, and allowed myself back indoors.  
I returned the originals with a smile which was returned by the woman but not by the two hard working money grabbing men behind her, 'go forth and die' said their eyes, 'you have no money for us.'  I had intended to inform them that the building they use was thought to have been the town's Guildhall in times past and has had various uses in the past hundred years.  However it appeared to me these were not 'history lovers,' I slunk away.
When I first sought accommodation in London there was a chap in Notting Hill who worked from a one roomed office offering common sense advice to people like me and not charging the earth for his service.  Any other agent I dealt with was a chancer!  Money for old rope in many cases and no care if you live or die as long as you pay.  In the 70's this was so bad that even the Tory government of the day at one point amended the law to stop the abuse.  The heart has not changed however.  This small town has eight estate agents!

Today I must get a new Yale Lock for my inner door, spend all day fixing it so that it does not work properly and then, around midnight, go to bed.  Later I will dutifully send the landlord the copy key, and the spare flat 5 one, and next week deposit my spare keys in the locker at the museum!

Now what else can possibly go wrong today?

Friday, 12 August 2016

The Zimmer Express

In spite of feeling rough earlier in the week I needed to get my head out of town so in spite of humming and hawing as to whether I should go or leave it till another day I went wondering if I should stay.  I also debated my jacket.  This is useful for carrying the camera and avoiding me being mistaken for a tourist, which is what I would be.  However they said the sun might shine so I took it thinking it a daft idea, it was!  The sun shone very hot!!!  
I wished to see the estuary, to look out across water, hear and see the chattering birds, feel the wind in my face and breathe the briny.  It was full of kids, about two million of them!  I had hoped they would go elsewhere being Friday and so i didn't wish to be here on a Saturday, the sunshine brought them and mum out.  Bah!  

The briney was out!  It was out and still going out when I was there, no chance of a sail on 'Saucy Sue', not much aroma of sea either.  Even the birds were quiet although that was more to do with the kids screaming behind me.  It was however good to be out and about away from the usual, that is a holiday for the mind in itself.

Most likely Saxons began Maldon and it is attested in 913 in the 'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.'  This was a main port and various artisans resided here and a mint was also in production even into Norman times.  Certainly Vikings attempted to raid in that century and in 991 the last great Saxon v Viking battle took place near here.  'The Domesday Book' recorded 54 dwellings here, around 180 men in 1086.   Still a relatively small town its importance lay in having a member or two in Parliament.  Even up to the second world war my little town came under 'Maldon' when the votes were counted.  

There are three churches going back a thousand years or more, one they became 'Christian' of one sort or another the Saxons were keen on building churches and the Normans turned them all into stone.  This one, All Saints, is now the main parish church as in 1244 this church was united with St Peter's close by.  This was useful in 1704 as the main part of St Peter's fell down!   One Archdeacon Thomas Plume of Rochester had for some time been collecting a library of some 8000 works and took over the ruined building and rebuilt it for his library.  On the bottom floor he created a school with the library above, this building still stands today.  Collecting a lot of books is one thing but 8000 in the 17th century when printing was taking off is quite something.   

Maldon is still a busy quay although I am not sure what half these boats do.  Some of the barges are hired out for various parties, others just appear to sit there!  In times past these graceful sailing vessels wound their way across the waves taking goods to market at home and abroad.  One reason Braintree demanded a railway as soon as the line came near was to transport their goods, both manufactured and agricultural, to Maldon Quay for transport onwards, the station building remains nearby though the line has long gone but I could not get a decent picture because of the present workings nearby.  

Further along  a variety of craft lay in the mud, some obviously working vessels and one or two looking like homes for those who can afford them.  Possibly cheaper than a house and with the option of travel thrown in, especially if you are thrown out.  Quite sure I don't know how they would pay for that mind.  

A lot of money lies tied up over the mud but I am not sure what exactly these boys do.  Just up the way lies Heybridge Basin which also contains similar craft which I will show, but that can wait.  This picture was taken through a boat yard, not surprisingly lots of those and appropriate workings can be found here.

The boatyard guard was finding the heat somewhat oppressive and wearily made his way into a more shaded area.  His eyes are still alert and ready to pounce mind.

Why is it that at every watering hole everywhere in the country you always find vessels rotting away slowly somewhere in the region?  These were two more, just like those seen earlier, once much used in transporting goods and expensive to buy for the owner they now lie slowly dying and no-one seems to care.  No doubt these have paid their way but they now just lie abandoned.  Incidentally once a year (is it new years day?) there is a race across these mud flats.  One of those British events where a hundred or more, often dressed in various costume, attempt to run across the mud.  Have you ever tried this?  It has become a staple and while there is always a youngish male who finishes first there are many male and female who struggle along for some time.  One or two may still be down there!   

Not just the big boys boats that are left rotting either!  Several lie here and a gew look like this one.

You know you are getting more of this tomorrow once I wake up, although the way I feel tonight I may not wake till near bedtime.  I will tell you the story of the key then also.