(13 September 2023)
I went to Southend with some old pals. I’d never been there before. It was a hot busy Saturday and the seafront was packed. Families bbq-ing on the beach. Families strolling along the promenade. Families arguing at the snacks counter. Loud and hectic.
Maybe that’s why the pier is a mile long - you can spread a lot of people along a mile-long pier. When you’re striding along it, both land-end and end-end just distant squints in each direction, you feel like you’re a long way from pretty much everything. You’re not, though: there’s ice cream at the end-end.
Sensibly, someone built a rail line along the whole thing in the 1980s, so you can ride back to civilisation once you’ve finished your ice cream.
I had a lucky break in the amusement arcade. I’ve not been in an amusement arcade for many years, and this time didn’t even have to spend a penny of my own money to win - someone had left some pennies in the winnings slot of a penny-pusher, so I picked them up and rolled them back in. Boom! More pennies, and loads of tickets. Enough for two packets of disgusting sweets from the ticket-shop. (That’s not what it’s called, is it? It’s not a ticket-shop. You know what I mean though.)
So yes, there you, that’s Southend. I didn’t stay long enough to unfold on the beach; really ought to do that one day.
giles (at) gilest.org