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On a Clear Day to Kent

kent palm trees

I thought that I had hardly ever seen the old Thames estuary look as blue and green as it did this afternoon.

Sometimes I go down to the front here at Southend-on-Sea and you’d not even know we aren’t on the edge of the earth, so it’s quite nice when the Garden of England across the water puts in an appearance.

Apologies for the double negative but I kinda liked writing it.




The thorn tree throws sticks

For an imaginary dog

One woman does tai chi

Wearing sand-soled feet

Whilst the sky slopes off

Into the sea’s arms

And the sun bleeds out.



Bait Digger on the Thames Estuary

bait digger

Tide Out, Reflection In

What I like about this, apart from the partial reflections, is that where everything seems at first glance to be still, there is a  lot going on, off out there where you can’t quite see.

As I get older, my vision seems to be changing.  It’s much worse at distances, and not brilliant close-up either, but my peripheral vision seems more perceptive.  I glimpse things in the corner of my eye.  Sometimes I think it’s ghosts, but no.

For this reason I often don’t feel connected to where I am.  The camera is a way of embedding myself in the landscape momentarily, rather than drifting through in a self-absorbed, myopic haze.


Blue Beach Mud

If you look closely you might spot a few wading bird prints. When I was out on the foreshore taking this photograph I could occasionally hear the bubbling call of the curlew. It’s evocative. Of what, I can’t quite think.


Through the round window

Behold, Southend Pier:

This is not any old pier either, this is the longest pier in the world.

I like round windows and portholes. I am sure Freud would have something to say about that, but I don’t care.

Signs of Brain Frazzle

When you drink or eat something really cold you can get an attack of Brain Freeze *shudders*. Brain Frazzle is something else I get from time to time and I’ve got it right about now. I like to think of it as the opposite of the freeze because your brain just overheats and short circuits out. In me it’s like the pre-frontal cortex, the executive functioning part of the brain that takes decisions, forward plans and applies rational thought to situations and problems, has gone on holiday – without notice.

It means I am left to navigate my way through life based on my more ancient brain, the brain part that in humans resembles that of all animals down to lizards. It means my responses are based on the survival imperative. I am more emotional (I swear more), I am more tired (I want to sleep more), I eat indiscriminately (too many chunky Kit Kat fingers) and the passage of time has gone all abstract on me (time and days of the week are becoming elusive).

It also means I can’t write very well, if at all. It’s not that the words won’t come if I tap, tap, tap – usually something does arise, but it means it comes from a place that I don’t have cognitive access to. I can’t plan what I’m going to say, and when it comes out, I have only a limited ability to fix it up into something resembling a readable state. Usually, writing makes me feel more like myself, at the moment, it makes me feel further from myself.

Perhaps I need an extended rest. The problem with stopping, in my experience though, is that it can make it nigh on impossible to get started again.

Clouded Thinking

Fishing Nets in Leigh-on-Sea


Foreshore Photos II

This is the dog on the foreshore doing his thing.

20 miles per hour from Kent to Essex

If the tide is out I walk towards Kent where the cockle-pickers can sometimes be found working. There was only one out there the other day. Someone else came and stood on the beach and bawled at him, or her, in a different language. Maybe it was something about the tide, or tea time.

In the background of the shot (same time, different colours from Photo I yesterday) you can just make out the industry on the Isle of Grain in Kent and if you look hard enough there is also a ship. I like walking on the shore, with its mix of sand, mud and stones, but it makes me think of the Chinese cocklers who died in Morecambe Bay some years back. The Thames Estuary is not nearly as treacherous, Morecambe Bay has quicksand, but the tide still comes in quick enough to make me cautious and there are reports of people being rescued from the mud in the local paper every year.

One year an Orthodox Jewish woman had to be rescued from her deckchair by the Fire Brigade as the tide came in quicker than expected. She was up near the prom with full view of the incoming water, further out on this strange flatness it would be easy to get caught out.

Rudi causing ripples