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.