Thursday, 19 April 2018

"We Apologise for the Delay..."

The sun is shining, it's everywhere, don't have no worries, don't have no care so I trooped off to the bus stop for what the internet told me was the 10:29 bus.  Naturally the Bus station indicator read 10:33.  I waited, he waited, then she also waited but nothing happened.  We stared at the bus station entrance but that did not work until I got fed up of warming myself amongst this lot and headed down to the railway station where I changed my tentative plans and reached for my old man 30% off card.  Colchester it was then and he comes my train as I changed at Witham running on time to take me to my destination.
My knees were not too keen however.

This was not my real intention today as I had t come here many times a few years ago and did not find much enthusiasm for the place.  I had less enthusiasm for the adolescents from the collage wandering about like 16 year old's.

The Mill here on the Colne River has been in use at least since the 1100's and possibly from before that.  Most of the time it dealt with 'corn,' that is wheat to you and me, but occasionally had other uses.  Colchester of course goes back to the Romans and before them possibly the site was used early after the last ice age 8000 years BC.

You can see from this how effective the hillside offered a defensive perimeter.  After the Romans rather stupidly did not organise such defences Boudica destroyed the place and Mr Emperor ensured such a mistake did not happen again.  Much altered since it shows just how difficult an attack from ground level would have been.  

Being one not renowned for intellectual stimulus I continued to walk very slowly in heat reaching some say 29%.  The walk around the castle park is indeed long and while my body ached I found I just had to see what was around the corner.  I knew a pill box stood nearby having found it 20 years ago and here it remains.  Blocked off now and impossible to enter it was part of the UK's defences against that nice Mr Hitler who did not bother to visit. 
Situated here on a bend of the Colne it offered the defenders a good view of the river, and I suspect most of the trees had been removed then to give a clear sight to them, it also offered a very good chance of death if attacked as not other pill box stands nearby to cover, unless it stood on the other bank among the new housing estates.

If indeed the trees were scrubbed in 1940 they have returned well in the years since.  All around the trees tower overhead and these men in particular impressed me with their height.  That may have had something to do with the blue sky and burning sun behind them of course.

Now remember I just wanted a dawdle in the sun not a twenty mile hike and here I was, at two miles an hour, hurpling along further and further from the railway station and knowing full well that I had miles to go back to get home.  It was however the old desire to see what was round the corner once again that made me limp on.  How stupid can an individual be?  I was aware of many things forgotten since the last sunshine many moons ago.  I ought to have worn the sunglasses glasses not these ones, I ought to have a hankie to wipe away the perspiration that flowed so easily, and I ought to have ensured I had bought a lighter jacket from a charity shop for the summer.
The only bright spot was buying a 59p bottle of fizzy water to carry in my pocket, usually I forget that.

This huge building was working when I last passed this way 20 years ago.  The water, with a tidal reach of about 20 feet from what I could guess, was full of suitable working boats.  It is of course now flats!

Next door the building, called 'The Mill' was an interesting sight, also flats and possibly some other noisy use.  I did not venture round to look.

Camulodunum was built on the hill and here at the bottom near the quay stood a variety of aged houses.  The river has been in use for thousands of years and the Romans made good use of it at this point to bring in goods from Gaul and troops from wherever.  This house appears to have been quite substantial in itself and had another 'front' added on to the side facing the road at a point later in time. 

This is more typical Essex substantial house, one that began with a 'hall' and added things as they prospered over time.  I suspect it goes back to the 16th century at least.  

It looks like some rich man has benefited the poor by providing 'almshouses' here.

In the days before Thatcher, sorry the benefits system people often stuck their hands in their pockets to aid the poor, a system that does not exist today because the media through constant propaganda have convinced the nation at large that those on benefits are all scroungers, even if their legs have been blown off and an arrow sticks out of their head, they are fit to work!  Much more of that after Brexit!

The main building supplied all their needs although i suspect this is now accommodation of some sort and the whole place may no longer be for the poor but for the very rich!   It is important when wandering about to look up as above the road there are always signs from the distant past to see.

By now I was aware of how far I still had to travel and my muscles were informing me of my stupidity in a manner worthy of a medical student.  I ached and ahead of me lay 'East Hill' and like most hills this one went upwards.  Not the names, nothing fancy here, 'East Hill,' 'North Hill,' I suspect that is the military influence, still strong as until recently a huge army complex, now housing, lay in the middle of town.  I think I am right in saying the Para's still have places here though this time I saw no army vehicles whatever.

This building intrigued me, a small 'church' looking style of housing with unreadable words above the window.  However my bleary eyes made out the word 'Orphanage' in time, yet another example of church people doing the work the state now does, possibly better!  It was also used as a girls school and was paid for by a Mr A. Diss and cost him £700 to erect!

No charitable person appeared offering to carry me up this hill past the run down aged housing come shops that have stood there for hundreds of years.  They were not built to withstand such traffic rumbling past though the ones on the other side of the road were better built and mostly of a Georgian or Victorian time.

Foolishly I watched as a bus stopped at the bus stop and the driver remained there in an attempt to fit into his timetable.  Foolishly I ought to have whipped out the bus pass and got myself up the hill.  I didn't!  He drove on.
However on the other side sat a large once glorious building now refurbished and possibly an office complex featuring this fine bird high above the road making it obvious what the original company stood for, well not to me!   
In fact the area here is the 'Eagle Gate' one part of the towns defences.  The building was built by the 'Colchester Brewing Company' in 1888 indicating a flow of cash had arrived since 1828. 

Beer was beginning to lodge itself into my temperance mind as I ploughed on uphill.  The I noticed this Georgian (?) building squashed alongside two more showy offerings.

Above the door we see yet another image of Jesus tending his sheep.  The image of the shepherd not really working too well in this concrete jungle in which many live but the fact remains true.  This also must have been an offering towards improving or teaching people, probably young folks.  Do similar works exist today?

Almost at the top of the hill I found St James the Great standing ready to welcome me with open arms, which it didn't last time I passed as it was closed.  This church like so many others would open daily but folks do tend to wander in and pinch things so it was open this time for a small service in the side chapel.  A very nice chap at the entrance encouraged me to enter even though the service was almost finished and so I did and thankfully sat in a pew at the back and discovered my body preferred sitting to walking uphill.

As you might expect this cavernous church has stood here from around the 1200's and most likely a wooden Saxon building stood here before that.   I sat and listened at a distance unwilling to wander about as the wee service continued in the corner.

I was hesitant about photos also in this high church anglo-catholic church but I managed one or two.
These long poles carried by the verger during parades in such churches are often delicate artistic items.  However reading about the local church in the 1600's we see the verger/beadles often using their staffs to ensure unruly youths ((forced into church by law and uninterested in what was taking place) paid attention and kept the noise down.  Such churches often have graffiti on pillars as the crowd stood through the service and often found ways to keep themselves occupied.

 I left the friendly Beadle and made my way into the edge of town for lunch which comprised one £3:90 worth of Colchester No1 in the rather trendy 'Three Wise Monkeys' 'Tap House.'   Here I was served by an attractive friendly young woman who along with her friend helped lift me out of the soft clinging chairs used to trap folks into staying all night.  At that price right enough I could have bought food!

Staring out the pub window I cogitated on my return to the railway station.  Either through the crowded hot town (always a 'town' here not a 'city' as they wish to keep the dubious accolade of 'England's Oldest Town.'  I decided again my aches crying out to get the bus to wander through the castle grounds, a mistake by the way as it was downhill and I could hardly walk properly as I went down the slope.  Fool that I am!  

After a slog through the uninteresting boring hot streets full of decent houses I took what I considered a short cut and got to the station as quick as if I had gone the other way.  Here announcements informed me as I drank my £2:50 Americana coffee provided by the busy yet friendly lass in the 'Pumpkin' cafe on the platform, that the train was late, very late as it happens, because of signalling problems.  Surely I thought others would also be late until I realised this one came from a different starting point.  'Slow' is a word many of my teachers often used, one or two used other words.  However my carriage arrived as we see here and happily the crowd climbed aboard and I found myself sitting in a suitable seat to get the full benefit of the sun shining through my window, jolly!

I have to change trains as on the outward journey and was greatly cheered to find I had arrived seven minutes after my hourly train had departed!  Once again I sat in the sun watching the girls trains go by, once again near to the arrival of my train the repeated announcement that the '15:29 for Colchester Town is running late de to technical difficulties.'  This was running also in front of mine which meant my 15:35 was going to be late as indeed it was becoming the '15: sometime or other' when it arrived.  
I entertained myself by taking pictures of the rabbit in the distance chewing away at the abundance of vegetation on the remains of the one time Maldon line.  No trains here since Beeching and few before that.

The train speedily made it to home arriving at the time he ought to be departing.  I was home by 16:12 aching, hot and bothered, and desperate for food, rest and a massage from an attractive young woman.  One of these has not arrived.
I ache, I was daft in walking so far in the sun, my head is like a beetroot and as hot as an oven, and I am not planning going anywhere tomorrow, bar Tesco that is.  However the change in plans was enjoyable, I love the train!  I met good people, saw interesting things and got out of myself for a while, much needed at that.  So I am pleased but the pictures are snapshots as I was too weary to compose properly and just snapped things I liked.  I missed a great deal.  However it was a good day in the sun.


the fly in the web said...

I am sorry that you are suffering...but what a super trip that was...and such photographs!

Thinking of beadles and their staffs, did you watch Clochemerle on the box years ago and the scene in the church where the beadle lets himself go on the hecklers? Csn't quite see these scenes in St. James the Great, though...

Adullamite said...

Fly, I suspect one or two vicars would be delighted with such Beadles today...

the fly in the web said...

The beadle appears about 5 minutes into the clip

Adullamite said...

Fly, That looks like a normal PCC meeting...

Jenny Woolf said...

It looks so interesting and attractive there, at least it does in the sun. Looking at your pictures I got the idea I might have visited there at some stage, also in the sun, while on the bike. A long time ago. It would be worth revisiting perhaps. I am always sad to see old mills (or almost anything interesting) turned into flats. I suppose there is a limit to how many bags of hand ground flour mills can sell, but one or two do manage to make a living on becoming tourist attractions.

Adullamite said...

Jenny, Woodbridge has such a mill, or had some years ago. Ours only opens occasionally.