Tag Archives: Southend

Back to the Post Code tour

I seem to have drifted off the random tour of the UK I was doing by bouncing from code to code.

Time, I think, to start again.

The format is simple. I generate a list of postcodes by using the ones from orders in the shop and find out something interesting about them.

It’s a simple idea for a series of posts, and doubly attractive because there’s nothing to go wrong. There’s no politics, no religion and no potential for causing offence…

Sorry, I had to pause for a moment and laugh there. Why is it that every time I make a statement like that a massive list of possibilities spring to mind? I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this. As soon as I make a statement like that the synapses start fizzing like firecrackers and parts of my brain which have been  not seen use since Lambley Jack was a lad have started creaking into motion.

What is it about not wanting to say things that brings them up to the front of your mind?

Anyway – today’s postcodes are SS17, CV3 and DY11. If memory serves me right that’s Southend, Coventry and Dudley, so we’re in for a treat.

SS17 is indeed a Southend -on-Sea postcode. In fact it is the final postcode in the Southend series. We went to Southend last year to visit the pier. (Sorry about the small Southend content in those links, I obviously tried to blank it out). In an ideal world we won’t need to go back. It’s infested with speed cameras and the doughnuts are expensive.

SS17 is actually Stanford-le-Hope, which, Wiki tells me, includes Mucking and Fobbing. These seem more like rural pastimes than villages. AS for Mucking Flats, which sounds like a Spoonerism but is actually a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the mind boggles. Joseph Conrad lived and wrote in Stanford. I’ve only read one of his books – Nostromo. We had to do it at school. I thought it was dreadful and despite his reputation as a great writer I’ve never gone back to him. I’ve just been reading reviews on a book site and I’m not the only one to think this, though I am in a minority.

CV3 includes a lot of reasonably prosperous Coventry suburbs. I’ve driven through the area many times on the way to various places including Broadstreet Rugby Club. Number One Son played there once when his team made it through to the final stages of the National Colts Competition and I have to say that it had far better facilities than Nottingham RFC. Nottingham, however, despite failing on the facilities and social side, plays in the Championship, which is three levels higher than Broadstreet. It’s one of those perennial questions – if you have kids who want to play rugby are you better with  ateam linked to a professional club or one with a great social set-up and facilities? Or, after multiple visits to Accident and Emergency, are you better playing a less brutal sport?

DY11 is Dudley postcode area – though it is mainly Kidderminster rather than Dudley. Kidderminster is chiefly noted for making carpets. It has a carpet museum. I don’t think I’ve ever been to Kidderminster but now I know it has a carpet museum I’m finding it hard not to plan a visit.

Just a short tour today, but plenty more to come…

Things I found on the beach (or nearby)

The top picture shows the Scallop sculpture on the beach at Aldeburgh. It can, it seems, look like a seabird, two men in a boat or one man in a boat, as you walk along the beach towards it. Or, if you use the nearest car park and sit on the bench, it looks like a scallop shell.


Yes, it definitely looks like a scallop


Martello Tower – unique shape and end of the line

The Martello Tower is the last building left in Slaughden, once a prosperous village which, after many years of losses to the sea, was finally washed away in the floods of 1953. I didn’t know this, I just thought they’d built a Martello Tower a couple of hundred yards down the beach from Aldeburgh.


These are some photos from Dunwich, probably the most famous of the lost villages of the East Coast. Once it was a notable town, with 3,000 inhabitants and 3 churches at the time of the Domesday survey. There were, at that time, just 18 towns of over 2,000 people.  Before we started visiting piers I had thought about visiting all the 18 towns, but the idea of fish and chips swung the balance towards the seaside.

Considering its history with the sea the sign warning of floods might be seen as too little, too late.

The block of concrete looks like a tank trap. They were cast on site by teams of Royal Engineers, which must have been a major effort, particularly if you were doing it on the East Coast in winter. I seem to remember that there were two sizes – this looks like one of the smaller ones. It seems to have worked as there is no record of Germans invading Dunwich.

Finally, a couple of shots of Southend. The doughnuts may have been expensive but there were still some good subjects for photos.

Southend or Saxmundham?

After a breakfast of porridge and croissants in our room (the porridge was the sort where you pour boiling water into a plastic pot) we didn’t feel the need for food for most of the day.

We did indulge in a snack when we arrrived in Southend-on-Sea but the four miserly doughnuts and two cups of tea merely showed us how good we’d had it on Monday. They certainly didn’t fill much of a gap. The cost of today’s snack was £7.40, with the miserable skinny doughnuts being £1 each. The tea wasn’t even full!

According to Wikipedia Southend is the 11th most expensive place to live in Britain. With doughnuts at £1 each you can see why.

What a contrast to Saxmundham when we visited later that day.

Before that we had failed to get fish & chips in Aldeburgh (having been told several times how good they were). The queue was just too long and there were only two people serving. We tried several times but the queue never seemed to get shorter.

A disaster was averted when Saxmundham came to mind. It had seemed a decent place when we stayed near there at Christmas so why not try there, I reasoned. If there were no chips there were two supermarkets so we could at least buy something. (Julia was ravenous by this time and she’s not at her most cheery when unfed).

We had cod and sausage and chips and ate them in the car. That’s not some fiendish combination of flavours – Julia had the fish and I had the sausage (and some fish as there was a lot of it). We didn’t bother with peas as they can be tricky, even with the liitle wooden fork traditionally supplied by chip shops.

They came from “The Trawler’s Catch”, which we selected simply by driving past and finding it had car parking nearby.

The shop was chaotic as one man tried to cope with walk-in trade and telephone orders. Julia ordered a large haddock and a large battered sausage, both with chips. We ended up with two medium cod a small battered sausage, a small plain sausage and a discount.

You have to admire a man who can put together a deal like that.

So, the service was great, and distinctive.

The chips were very good.

The sausages were good.

And the fish was the best I’ve had in years with big, fresh, tasty flakes. I think I’ll polish up the word “superb” for this review – I don’t often use it but it seems appropriate today.

So remember – The Trawler’s Catch, Saxmundham for superb cod and chips.