Today was the day that Scott went to explore his roots. His family is from England and we were near the place that the family went to visit Grandpa at the caravan park. He used to go here for his summer holidays and Scott has a few faded photographs of them in a boat on the beach.
Here he is, back at the beach.
And here he is, having crunched his way over the pebbles.
This beach doesn’t have sand. It has pebbles. Just imagine…
Scott took away two pebbles, one for him and one for his Mum. I’d like it if, down the track, the boys would do something like that for me one day.
Even though the caravan park had gone, it was a successful trip down memory lane.
On the way back to the car I saw these two signs. They amused me.
We were getting a little peckish after our walk on the beach, so we headed to our next destination… the decommissioned nuclear power plant.
Nothing says ‘picnic’ more than the smell of polonium!
The plant looked very different when it was working. It turns out that our B and B hostess, Kim, used to work there back in the day. She said that once it was all built and operational, it only required 4 workers to keep the whole plant humming along. I thought that was amazing.
Once they decided to shut it all down, they took away all the external parts and encased the nuclear reactors in concrete. That’s what were looking at.
A man in hi-viz was looking at us suspiciously as we loitered in the car park, so we drove a little way away, parked the car and ate our lunch. What a picturesque sight to whet our appetites!
In 2083 these buildings will be demolished.
I guess the hi-viz guy has job security up until that point.
Once our salad rolls had been consumed, we were off again. Scott had heard of an ancient church that was called the most isolated church in England. We went off to find it.
It was quite the drive. The satnav sent us along all of the back roads. It turned into a pilgrimage of sorts by the time we actually found it.
St Cedd sailed down from a town a few hundred miles further up and founded the church, introducing Christianity to the area. This was in 654.
The church is still standing.
But they make you walk a long way from the car park to see it.
We walked. And walked. The wind stepped up and the windmills to the right of us were spinning merrily.
I began to wonder if the church was moving further away, rather than getting closer.
After what seemed like an age, the church appeared.
Finally, we were there. The hutch is just a short walk from the beach, and there’s a secretive Christian commune a little way away who offer bed and breakfast.
But otherwise it’s all alone in the fields.
Scott opened the door, we went in and I fell in love.
Sadly, the pictures can’t convey the sense of peace and serenity that was here in this old stone building. I stood and gazed, breathing it all in.
They’ve left it all so simple. A few wooden benches, a crucifix on the wall, and a pulpit. That’s pretty much it.
It was utterly beautiful.
Someone before us had left a candle burning, even though a sign at the door tells people not to do this. Scott blew it out before we left, but I was secretly glad that it was there when we walked in.
The tiny flickering light was lovely.
I could see where walls had been altered and repaired over the 1500 years that this place has been here.
This was true for the outside as well.
Look under the window. Roman tiles!
I absolutely loved this place. I think it was the whole package; the long walk to get there, the utter purity and simplicity of the place and the isolation. If I was a believer, this would be the perfect place to pray.
We left, but a little way down the track I turned around. If any place needed me to buy a postcard to put on my fright, this one did.
Scott gave me some pence (all I had in cash were euros) and I walked back.
Scott took this photo of me walking back.
I was walking back alone when I looked across at the windmills. If people from St Cedd’s time could have a window into the future, what would they make of these?
I suppose they’d recognise them as windmills, but the scale of them would probably be terrifying.
Enlarge the next photo.
Pheasant on the road!
I’ve never heard of these before…
More thatch! See how thick it is?
Scott decided that he needed a tea room.
Honestly, never get in between this man and a tea room! He loves them.
We drove from town to town, with no tea room in sight. From a country that seemed to be littered with tea rooms, suddenly this place was like a desert.
We got lucky in a little place called Burnham on Crouch.
After Scott had his coffee and cake, we walked along the sea front. It took 10 photos before I could get one with the flag fully out.
It also had a little clock tower with a tunnel through it.
After we got back to the B and B, I could hear lots of bird noises outside my room. A flock of birds had decided to take a rest on the rigging of the barges.
On our last night in Maldon, we decided to go to the restaurant with the cheesiest name.
It turned out to be a very good meal.
At the end, we had fortune cookies.
I was incredibly happy with mine!
Scott was less so with his. Though it does give permission to have naps if he wants them…