Out for a much-needed walk at lunchtime, my way was blocked by the high tide. I like it like this, the river showing us our place. Before the flood barrier was built across the River Colne and the flood plain was claimed by property developers, there were sand bags galore and you could take a boat to the pub door. The flood barrier has now, perhaps ironically, contributed to the riverbed silting up. I fantasise about winning the lottery so that I can buy a dredger. In the meantime, I get a text saying ‘Hello from the Environment Agency’ to warn me that my address is at risk of flooding. They reassure me that they’ll call with any flood warnings. For now, I keep my eye on the tide mark in the old shipyard dock outside with a wry smile on my face.
A beautiful December day. The last walk of the old year. Moving on, to the new.
Now the clocks have fallen back for winter, I count every moment of daylight. The work day dawns as I head to the train station, but has long since given way to night by the time I arrive home.
I was fortunate enough to have two staycations this summer. While I missed travelling (and seeing friends) overseas, I was able to visit parts of England I have not seen before. One such was Clevedon in Somerset. Staying nearby, in Portishead (itself a revelation), one evening I went to catch the sunset facing west from Clevedon Beach, looking over to Wales. The pier, opened in 1869 and described by Sir John Betjeman as ‘the most beautiful pier in England’ was the perfect vantage point.
This week the Thames Sailing Barge Reminder moored up in Wivenhoe. In the nineteenth century there were over 2000 of these cargo boats, now Reminder is one of only a few. Built in 1929 in Mistley as a racing barge, she was repurposed as a leisure vessel in 1975. A present glimpse of times past.
Down to the River Colne by Whitehouse Beach, heading home.
Views from a long summer’s Sunday afternoon walk.