Monday, 8 February 2010


The Times publish from time to time articles about walks in different parts of the country. The walk at Bradwell-on-Sea can be found on their website. So, on Sunday, Zero and I set off to investigate what turns out to be a place in the middle of nowhere. Well, not in the middle of nowhere - it is at the far end of nowhere, and then a bit beyond.

We started off by driving to Burnham-on-Crouch to catch 11.15 am Mass. Approaching Danbury, Zero recalled hearing during the week the quite shocking news that some 63% of men have never bought flowers for their wives. Apart from the fact that I don't meet the latter qualifying condition, I breathed a sigh of relief ... I have done the buying flowers bit. Phew!

The photograph shows St Cuthbert's Catholic Church, Burnham-on-Crouch, where we went to Mass. The parish priest serves this parish and that at Malden - with the whole of the Dengie peninsula (I hadn't heard of it either, until yesterday) as his parish. I think he is what you would call a "country parson", with a flock scattered across a wide area of Essex villages.

After Mass and a tea break, we drove on to Bradwell. Now, Southminster probably marks the edge of civilisation. Trains do get there - out from London Liverpool Street. But Southminster is where they stop. After that you really are in the lanes, white wooden road signs and country churches that could be the early 19th century rather than the 21st century.

Six miles, at three miles an hour, over flat land, starting off at 2.15 pm, safely back to the car at 4.15, perhaps 4.30 pm at a push. Still in daylight, even at this time of year. Not a bit of it. We arrived back at the car at 5.45 pm having walked the last half mile or so in the descending gloom of darkness. The weather was cold and damp, but the rain held off while we actually walked. This was so far towards the edge of nowhere that it really was quiet - you could hear the gentle waves of the sea and the sound of the birds.

Highlight 1: Bradwell nuclear power station.

Bradwell's nuclear power station, in the process of being de-commissioned. The upper picture shows the sign at the entrance to the power station site and the concrete runway left over from the wartime airfield that used to exist there. I didn't realise there was an airfield, with a memorial, there until I got back home. The Times should have perhaps included it in their walking route, though we walked for a short time along one of the roadways of the airfield. The lower picture shows more the view that we had of the power station, from the beach as we walked past it. Monstrosity was Zero's "word of the day" to describe it.

Highlight 2: St Peter at the Wall

This Church is as much in the middle of nowhere on the coast, overlooking a marsh and looking out to the North Sea as the pictures suggest. My photo from inside looking out through the door faces inland across the farm land that surrounds the chapel. The chapel does have its own official website, so you can go there to find out more about its history.

After getting petrol on the way home, Zero asked me what I thought of the Eagles. I didn't get away with "before my time", as Zero pitched to me the observation that they still played the O2 arena and the like. Desperate not to place myself back among the 63%, I duly checked whether or not this was a "buying flowers for wives" moment ... "It's much nicer to go with someone", was the reply. Now, what have I let myself in for?

.... for dinner on the way home!


Anonymous said...

zero says
"It was a grand day out". Apparently, St Cedd sailed down from Lindisfarne to spread the Gospel and found the locals to be "particularly resistent". As I sat in the chapel with very little light and very cold I tried to imagine how the locals would have felt hearing the word for the first time and could imagine they were resistent. St Cedd must have really had the "X farctor" to get the message across.
There was a fine dinner at the end of the day...

Anonymous said...

zero also says
A little research about The Eagles suggests thst there are only 2 of the original band members in the group which made me think the rest might still be stranded at the "Hotel California"! ( In the words of the song "Welcome to the hotel California , you can check out any time you like but you can never leave...")