Blog Archives

Lines on the Front

Rather like how my eyes feel after a day in front of the computer.


Hollyhocks (I think)


I saw them growing outside a garage,  like weeds.   All blowsy and ignorant of the scene they were creating.

Work in progress

My own quick and dirty sketch of the world.

I don’t know what I’m doing, but there’s a rare freedom in that.

The Crowstone & Thames Estuary

Strange that


Caning the chalk
Save tonight and fight the break of dawn
Sings the streets a serenade

Artistic endeavour
Blue dust blowing in the wind
Adverts Kill

To a little girl called Delilah
By the crush barrier

Don’t know what it’s called, but I like it

The sharp-eyed finkywink, a regular blog visitor and owner, spotted one of these graffiti arts peeling off behind the mound of rubble in a photograph I posted earlier this week. I have therefore entertained her curiosity with another photograph of a different one, on the same building.

The building is a rather nice Arts & Crafts single storey effort which I think is owned by the council and has been boarded for the nigh-on-five years I’ve been living here. Some while ago the artist pasted up a series of these posters, made from cuts in paper. I liked them then and now they are becoming quite distressed, I like them even more.

If there is a technical term for this type of thing perhaps someone will drop by and let us know. If not, it matters not. You either like something or you don’t; what it is called is sometimes not at all important.

Pub for sale

I have lived over the road from this pub, The Nelson, for 4 and a half years and I have been inside only twice.

I love a proper boozer with a pool table, but this place has been plain wrong for a long while. It is a real shame because the building is unusual; a proper Arts & Crafts type gaff.

If anyone has £300K to spare…


Sometimes, in extremis, I take Rudi for a quick whizz around an old cemetery. My heart is always in my mouth as it is filled with trip hazards and holes for him to put a paw down. Now I run the risk of being fined if I let him off the lead, thanks to a load of byelaws being passed earlier this year.

I’m not saying I do let him off, mind.

Anyway, I have taken this particular headstone before because it is striking and sad, having five children’s faces carved into the marble. Some are in better condition than others. The last time I took this subject it would be fair to say that the angle of the girl’s head and the eyes tilted downwards put me in mind of something from The Exorcist. Yesterday she had ice in her eyes and it somehow brought them to life.

Rush hour in Westcliff-on-Sea

I noticed this on the way home from walking the kids to school this morning. Home is a little further on down the road.

The Moon is 238,857 miles away.

Decisions, decisions…

Is it me, or are Minis getting Maxi?

This is as good a time as any to point out that this windswept corner is the perfect place for a Western-style gunfight. There’s a pub on the right that cowboys drink in you see. For authenticity we’d just need to get rid of the cars and the street furniture.

Where We Walk (done turf, now surf)

The first time I came to Southend it was for a walk about thirteen years ago with my dogs and my friend Brenda.  Brenda is reponsible for  nearly all of how my whole life turned out from 28 onwards.  She and I rode together on the Isle of Dogs, she introduced me to the coke fiend and then, not to be deterred by that abject matchmaking failure, to Mick with whom I have two children.  Brenda also brokered (through her sister) the rescue of my current dog, Rudi, and she took in my beloved dog, Billy, who took great and enduring exception to my having children.  Naturally, to return the favour I re-homed her old car which I bought to save her from tyre-kickers.  She even took delivery of a horse called Blue last year – spooky. 

Despite appearances to the contrary it is I who was in charge of my own destiny, because I placed the advert in LOOT for a new flatmate, which she answered and that was how we met.  That day we didn’t like Southend, so we walked along the beach to Westcliff and then caught the train back to London, pretty much not planning to return EVER.

I hardly expected to move here, but I did and managed it under my own steam.  I masterminded the whole thing with only a few tick boxes.  Period housing at affordable prices (unlike Harlow which is cheap and god-forsaken architecturally), good schools and, crucially, not on a flood plain.  We moved.  Brenda went somewhere more posh earlier (but also in Essex) and I walk the Irish dog here, and she walks my old one, plus a poodle and two labs (but that’s another story) about 20 miles away. 

So, out of season, Rudi and I visit the same beach although usually further along, away from the road, at Chalkwell.  Southend might not seem much of a beach aesthetically, but I really love the way it always looks different.  I used to prefer the tide in, but now I prefer the everchanging light on the mud and the patterns that the water has made on its retreat.  We might have a load of heavy industry to look over at on the Kent side, or at Corytown towards London, but they have their own strange appeal.  On some still, misty days you cannot see them at all.

I am no expert with a camera.  I am on the 3rd model in as many years because of ill-treatment.  I merely point, press and try to keep the camera straight.  Sometimes I can’t even manage that.

I took this picture for a few reasons.  The boat (that you can hardly see) is a cause of fascination locally, it is some kind of houseboat, is not permanently occupied and was vandalised recently.  The duplicate signage makes me smile – I need to check if the words are identical, they look it.  The seaweed on the boards is ridiculously green and very slippery – neither of which facets the photo captures fully.  One of the first times Rudi saw it he tried charging down it at full gallop and came a green and slimy cropper. 

When I looked at the shot at home on the computer it put me in mind of the roads I fear driving down in the dark.

The road to nowhere...