Sweetbriar Dreams

So where shall we go on our journey today?

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

A Day at Southend on Sea, Essex

Southend on Sea, an old favourite haunt of mine from toddler to teenager and then a few trips with my little ones.  Oh the memories - my Nan and Grandpa claiming their deckchairs no matter if the rain was falling sideways, the small glass containers of cockles soaked in vinegar, the little cafe that served hot AND buttered toast with extremely sweet tea, the suspicious objects floating in the water, the little spider monkeys on the  corners of the promenade to have a picture taken on your shoulder.  Oh happy days!  All long gone now I'm afraid (only the occasional suspicious object in the water!!).  This was to be mine and Mumsy's first 'coach trip' this year (more trips are in my side bar).  So, for those not near a beach as you read this post, grab yourself a bucket or bowl of ice water to dip your toes in, an ice cream, and a knotted hankie on your head, and here we go... Southend on Sea (or as I pronounce it - Saff End on Sea)

The last time I was here was twelve years ago!  My two teens were little toddlers enjoying the flying pink elephants and the crooked house.   The pink elephants and crooked house were still there but the Pirate Ship was demolished last year to make way for a soft play area that is yet to be opened.  Such a shame as that ship was as though you were walking on board and was a little different to the loud and scary rides.  Miss Teen and her friend Miss B are now thrill seekers so with a blue wrist band purchased, they were off to enjoy as many rides as possible!

How sick I felt as I saw my amazing daughter and her friend appear at the top of the Rage Ride and then plummet towards the ground, twisting, turning at enormous speed.  Me and Mumsy kept our feet firmly on the ground!

Southend on Sea has changed so much in twelve years.  I can remember this area just buzzing with entertainment and tourist traps no matter what the weather or season, but for a sunny Saturday it was incredibly quiet apart from the pubs full of football fans... maybe that was why.  

Apart from Adventure Island for the girls, we wanted to get on the Southend Pier.  Another trip down memory lane for us, especially with walking the mile and a half of wooden boards down the longest pier in the world.

We didn't have to walk of course, we could have got the train but we wanted to walk along and think of the hundreds of times we have done this before with members of the family and friends that have now gone.

You know when you go back to a place and think, "It all seems so small".  Well, this happened a little here.  I was sure that the walk up to the end of the Pier was wider and that there were far more of these shelters along the way.  I think there were three today.  My Nan used to sit at these with our lunch handed out and the wind howling around our ears.  Them were the days!

There have been changes over the years, especially in the 1980's after a series of fires and boats crashing into the Pier, I mean, after all, it's not big enough to see is it?!!  

There were quite a few of these new benches giving lovely views of the area and Canvey Island.  The sun making its appearance and sparkling off the Thames Estuary and through the benches - beautiful!

The cloud's shadows were reflected on the water, showing off the shining sun off the waves.  I could have watched this for hours.

The train tracks follow our walk, showing their age with the gorgeous rust that envelopes the steel.

Markers show you how long you have walked and the distant shore starts to look like a toy village.

The water was lapping against the structure, its green colour so familiar!

The colour of the rust against the green water was just adorable.  Some would turn their noses up but I really love seeing decay like this and colour that makes me smile.

Towards the end of the Pier are the fisherman, all enjoying their weekend and having a little dance with me and my camera as they walked along with the rods over the side.

And now the beach huts!  Towards the end of the Pier these stand bright and proud.  You can have a little rest in these - and a wee!  Yes they are toilets!!

This is the end of the line for the train and our feet were still in health, so we walked on a little more.

We stopped to get an ice cream from this lovely little building towards the end, not realising that this is the little cafe that is used in the Jamie and Jimmys Food Fight programme.  The cafe was all closed up and the furniture waiting for the cameras to be switched on again.  Being a big fan of Jamie Oliver I was a bit put out that I wasn't going to get a delicious dinner after this walk!

At the end of the Pier and looking back at the coastline it seems like we are miles away!

The Lifeboat Station is at the end, but no lifeboat to be seen, just the vivid flag against the blue and white sky.

Then, right at the very end, this bell.  The old wood and rusty metal being happily captured by me.  I've no idea what it is for and I have tried to find something about it but... nothing!  Looks lovely though.

 The girls wanted to get back to the rides so the long walk back had to be done quickly.  They loved this place.

 Thanks Southend for so, so many happy memories as I grew up and started to become independant.  It's been a while and you have changed as much as me and it is time to say goodbye. 

 Thank you once again for your incredibly kind and sincere comments both on my blog and via email after I lost Coco.  I will be printing them to add them to a personal book on her and her life.  Thank you also to those who signed the petition, the signatures are growing and the petition has had coverage on Radio Four.  You can hear Charlotte speaking about the petition and the disease here (she is about 24 minutes into this and was brilliant).  In case you want to sign the petition, the link is in my side bar.

The last couple of weeks have been truly awful and I am yet to catch up with you all.  It has been so hard to even write this post.  This has been made harder after collecting Coco's ashes and then hearing the incredibly sad news that Mumsy had to say goodbye to her dog Charlie the following day.  Charlie had post op complications and the hardest decision had to be made.  The devastation for our family is unbelievable so to just walk along this Pier helped us a little, but coming home to the emptiness in both households is so very hard.

Thank you for being there.

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  1. Many years since I hopped on the train at Stratford to spend the day at Southend. Such a shame to see it's no longer so busy as it was but at least it still has its pier; so many have been lost.

  2. That is a hard decision at least you were spared that,

    I only ever went to Southend once and that was over 40 years ago. The only thing that I remember about it was s iogn at the end of the pier that read 'Don't throw people below'

  3. Chel that walk looks fabulous, especially in such great weather. Fresh sea air really can help us heal x

  4. So sorry to hear about your mothers dog, a hard decision for her to make.
    I really enjoyed the walk along the pier at Saff End, there is so much to see.


  5. Well, that blew the cobwebs away! Thank you Chel, lovely photos as always. Sorry to hear about Charlie, so sad when our beloved companions leave us. Thinking of all of you. x

  6. What a delightfully interesting post with all those evocetive pictures, thank you so much for sharing** i remember visiting the place when I was around 12 and I guess I would never remember after over fifty years, what I would see had changed.. great to visit and grab the fresh sea breezes.. marvellous...

  7. Thank you for the beautifully narrated trip! So sorry for your loss (and Mumsy's).

  8. What a beautiful beach to visit! I really enjoyed your lovely photos! So sorry to hear about your mom & dads dog passing! Take care and be well and enjoy the memories of both dogs!

  9. It takes a real gift to see the beauty amoungst the ruin. You have that gift. Thank you for sharing it with us. It brightened my day too.
    Greatest sympathies on your Mom loosing her companion too. How sad. I pray that time will heal the pain and that perhaps a new companion can again fill that empty space. You both have a lot of love to give. There's another dog waiting for you "out there" that wants to love you too and needs a fur-ever home.
    Prayers for you all. ~:)

  10. Oh Chel first of all let me say how sorry I am to hear of your little Coco passing. We recently lost our granddog so I know the pain of losing our furry babies. Hugs to you on this loss. Loved going on the trip to Southend Pier. Hope all the memories of Coco will bring you peace in the coming days.

  11. What a wonderful holiday! I enjoyed your photos and narrative.

  12. A lovely trip to Southend, thank you for taking us along! I love seaside towns and days out like this and always have. So glad you and your mother had a nice time, and enjoyed the sea air.....so sorry you have both been going through the loss of your dear dogs at the same time. Sending love.
    Helen xox

  13. So sad your mom lost her companion Charlie too...... This story about the pier of Southend is amazing, I never knew they had the longest pier of the world, and so nice to walk to the end of the pier with that pretty bench with sailing ships on it. When we visited England I always look with melancholy to the old piers which show a faded glory,

  14. When I saw Southend on Sea in my sidebar for your post today I clicked right on it to once again see this place that we visited in 1992. We four plus our friends, also a family of four, went to England for a month long vacation in July of that year and had a fantastic time visiting England and Scotland. Our friend, Keith, was born and raised in Southend on Sea so we stayed there for several days with a cousin of his. I have photos taken on the pier but don't remember it being that far out, even though we walked to the end, nor that narrow. Funny how time erases memories but some things are very clear. We had gorgeous sunny and hot weather while there so really enjoyed the seaside and beaches. Thank you for sharing your day there. I'm very sorry about your loss of your sweet Coco and also your mother's loss of her dog. Your tribute post was very heartening to read. Blessings and hugs. Pamela

  15. Beautiful, beautiful place! Love those benches and beach huts! WOW!


  16. Thanks for taking us with you to Southend, Chel. It was fab!

    So sorry to hear about Charlie. :o(

  17. I'm so glad you had a good time, you definitely needed and deserved some time out. Sorry to hear about Charlie, your Mum must be as heartbroken as you have been. Hugs to your Mum too, and still to you of course. xx

  18. I'm very sorry too and went back and read the previous post. It sure makes you sad. I'm glad you got out in the sunshine and I love your photos. The bench with the sailboats cut out is beautiful. Love the cheerful colors and beautiful blue water. Sweet hugs, Diane

  19. What a perfect way to keep your mind off of your recent sadnesses - for you , your girl and your mum! I am glad the sun shone brightly on you and lit your long walk down the pier. When you said it was long I had no idea how far it really went. Wow! That is quite a distance from the shore. Maybe next time Jamie will cook you up so grub. I hear he can be friendly that way!

  20. We too, have a coastal place we went to every year. I haven't been in ages - it is hard to go now that my mom is gone. She loved it and it is painful for me not to have her there anymore.
    I loved your pictures and memories. I like the rust too. So pretty!
    I hope time eases the pain of losing your sweet Coco and also wishing comfort for your mum. Take care.

  21. I missed this one! Having a break from my own blog means I am also having a break from my computer! However, I just had to come in and have a look here as I always enjoy visiting places with you! This is just a lovely blog entry and I have enjoyed all your expressive and colourful photos!

  22. Great photos as ever, and thanks for showing me the bits I missed when I was lucky enough to visit (albeit briefly) for the first time a few weeks ago. Sorry to hear about Charlie - I like to imagine that the two of them are now running around in doggie heaven, pain free and having lots of fun together!

  23. I really enjoyed walking on the pier with you. I'm so sorry Coco's absence is still so difficult for you. Tell you mom we also think of her.

  24. Hi,
    I enjoyed going along today. I would be just like you and feel a little funny watching my kids lunge down :-))
    I will be praying for you and your mom. Maybe I already shared, but my dog Molly is getting confused. She is my first dog. I have had so many great adventures with her.
    Sending prayers!

  25. Thank you for sharing such a fantastic seaside trip :) I have never been to Southend on Sea, so really enjoyed walking around the seafront with you - I could almost hear the gulls! Hope things will start to become easier for you all as time passes.
    Cathy x

  26. I am glad that you had a good time in Southend and had some precious memories. Beautiful photos.

  27. This looks fantastic Chel!
    I've been to several seaside towns in the UK but not Southend!
    Wonderful photos and your commentary - I feel like I've been there myself now!!
    Did you all have a swim or is the water not warm enough yet?
    We will be in Ireland in early June - on a tour so maybe we won't have time for swimming.
    Then we're off to France to see our daughter and our three beautiful granddaughters - I can't wait!!!
    Shane x

  28. I really enjoyed the pictures of the seaside town. I too live in a seaside town. We have a wharf and amusements park right on the beach. I enjoyed coming here as a child and decided to make this our home 41 years ago. So sorry to hear about mum's furry friends passing. So hard to have our wonderful pets leave our lives. Thinking of you and your sorrow. Time eases our pain. Hugs to you and mum.

  29. Hello, Dear Chel, so glad to hear that you are at least getting out and about to take your mind off things....the coming home is the hardest, I know. I just love your little Seaside town - the pretty little cottages and buildings along the shore, the fun little carnival for the kiddos, and the long, long boardwalk. The seaside is so restorative and to have so many lovely memories must have been wonderful. I grew up near Plymouth, in Massachusetts (New England), and I know how dear these little seaside towns can be. We had a similar little beach near us and went every summer - with the carnival rides and cotton candy and handmade saltwater taffy. These are precious memories and you have taken us along with your wonderful story. Now you can make new memories :) So sorry about your Mum's dog. So good that you have each other. Hugs xo Karen

  30. You take beautiful photos Chell. What a lovely visit to Southend On Sea, thank you. Sorry to hear about your mums dog...you poor things.

  31. I love going therefrom time to time to escape the pollution and bustle of London. You chose a lovely day.

  32. I've never liked the big rides. Like both my feet firmly on the ground. But other than that - fun!

  33. Chel, how sad that you have to go through another loss, your poor Mom. But I am heartened to hear that the petition is garnering attention. It's a worthy cause, and I hope that it helps.


  34. Hi Chel! What beautiful photos and taking us down your memory lane. I'm so not for those kind of big rides anymore. I'll be happy to stay firmly on the ground. Cheers! Pingxoxo

  35. Hi Chel,
    Such a beautiful getaway .., the d train station, and the blue skies, water and the pier!
    My heart goes out to you, as you write about Coco.., the empty feeling at home and a heavy heart ... A warm hug to you, my friend,
    Nina xxx

  36. I only went to Southend once when I was a kid - I have a picture of me in a royal blue elasticated swimsuit somewhere. Your pictures show a typical seaside resort with all the essentials for a great holiday. Glad you enjoyed your day.

  37. Oh Chel...what a lovely day and such a feast for the eyes! I'm sure this was good for the soul. I know for myself there is something about the water that brings peace and calm to my soul. I enjoyed strolling along the pier with you and your Mum! I do pray that you and your Mum are healing from the loss of your furry family members. Have a lovely week!

    Hugs, Vicky

  38. What beautiful photos! Looks like you had a great time. And those toilets..... you don't see pretty toilets like that everyday :)

  39. Oh I feel like I've had a day out at the seaside now! I've never been to Southend on Sea, that pier is amazing.

    I'm so sorry to hear about your mum's dog too, it's dreadful to have to make that decision even when you know that is the right thing to do for them. xx

  40. Hello Chel,
    Very wonderful shots. Nice to travel by this Railway. Wonderful the colors of the houses.
    Shot 9 is great with the sea and an amazing sky. Wonderful!!

    Many greetings,

  41. Oh Chel sorry to hear you had double sad news happening! I hope your trip to the Pier helped, they are special places aren't they, over all that water. I've never heard of a train on a pier before! i can't have been there. I remember seeing the pier from the air though on the Jamie Oliver programme, it is huge! all the best with everything. X

  42. Only ever been there once, to go to the Railway pub for the music, it was a really cool place x


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