Travel Journal

Chatham and Essex weekend

(Monday 20 September 2010) by Brennan-adventures
Hi Folks,
Though you could all get an update with what’s been happening with the Brennans…
House like a bombsite and shippers coming to give us quotes… Yipees???!!!! Luckily they only need 2 weeks notice for the move.;-)

The visas applications are still in Brasil, they have not contacted us yet, not sure if that’s a good or bad sign. :-\

Mike has cleared his office, looks sad there now. My garage however looks like a University library, with all his books and papers!!!
I have had to stop buying things to take with me as the quantity we have now will fit nicely into a 20ft container any more and it would cost us MEGGA BUCKS… Mikee would not be a happy bunny!!!8-O:-\

Last weekend we visited Essex, its one county we had never visited.
The parent’s of Tim… (Our daughter Ems partner) live in Essex and they had kindly asked us through for a visit. We decided to have a couple of nights away, well it cannot be all work (or should I say lack of it) can it????
Leaving on Friday night we stopped overnight about 40mins from Chatham, The worst part of the journey was the motorway, everyone was on the move and wanting to get home for the weekend…. Traffic Ugh. Still once at the hotel we could unwind, after dinner we had an early night as there was lots to pack in on Saturday.
On Saturday a visit to Chatham dockyard was our goal, Mike had never visited it during his naval career. He had been told there was a few things to see and was worth a visit.

WELL the town was being dug up for re-laying of gas pipes. Traffic snails pace, but got there eventually. It was a strange place, I had expected a river mouth area, infact it seemed more like ½ way up and inlet, you didn’t see much water at all… a weird place for a dockyard!! :-?

Once at the dockyard entrance we saw loads and I mean upwards of 30 people dressed up with various styles of costumes from the 1040’s. These were ordinary Joe public, including families. This was a special day to remember D-Day.

Once inside it looked like a movie set which had Lorries, guns, planes, prams, books, Naffi wagons, bikes, motorbikes and tents.
We could not believe the amount of people dressed up and REALLY acting the parts, upwards of 200 - 300 people ….. A spiv wanting to sell me silk stockings out of his suitcase!! A Housewife wanting me to buy some cakes or jumble to help with the village fund towards buying a new plane…. Seemingly each village was asked to do this………These people really believed they were in the 1940’s !!!!

There were lots of people just walking around, some with small suitcases and gas mask boxes, adding authenticity to the costumes. I wondered if they carried around their clothes in case they were bombed out????
We also saw some children as small as 3 yrs old, walking around with their families who were also in costume. The kids had luggage labels around their necks ready for evacuation out of the cities to keep them safe from the bombing.
Soldiers with horrible bloody wounds waiting to be evacuated on D-day, added to the scene.

The Peoples costumes included Army- all sorts of divisions, Air-force, Navy, Home Guard, Nurses, then people with normal clothes, women and men from factories in overalls…
The one thing about the Women’s uniforms/clothes including the overalls were, they fitted well and cut in a very feminine shape. Lots of attention to detail, we wondered if they belonged to clubs and dressed up regularly??
Some of them spent a fortune on props to add authenticity, and these were people of all ages. It was fascinating.
Without all this going on the dockyard tour would have been BORING. Not enough things for women and kids to see…. It was all engineering, and empty ships/ submarines. I think Portsmouth dockyard is much better experience.

We visited one ship and poor Mike felt ancient, He could remember one of the ships he served on being fitted out with the same stuff, infact having a similar locker, bunk and toaster.
There were lots of female singers entertaining the troops from the lorries… some better voices than others, still I suppose anything sounded good in those days so far away from home.

We left there and decided we had time to pop to Southend.
It was a stony beach with lots of people around, the tide was out, the height from the seaweed on the stony beach to the mud was around 4 metres… It would have been interesting to see how fast the tide came in to fill the river so high.
Seeming Southend has the longest pier in England 1.25 miles, nothing at the end of it though!!
After a quick coffee onward to nearer Tim’s parents; Em and Tim were staying there for a night, while we stayed nearby in a B&B. We only met up with Em and Tim for a meal that night as Lyn and Pete were otherwise engaged on a barge trip.

Next morning along to visit Lyn and Pete, well we were killed with kindness. What a lovely house and HUGE garden, 10 times the size of my wee postage stamp. Lots of different fruit an vegetables being grown, also a gi-normous pond with humungous fish !! It was a lovely restful place.
Lyn is a fabby cook, I do not understand how her and Pete are not huge and overweight with the lovely food we had to eat !!!
We had a nice afternoon, even a quick trip to the nearest town. It was also on the tidal river, this is where Lyn and Pete had caught the barge for their trip the day before.
The barges used to carry coal, hay or corn to London. Now they take passengers out for a day around parts of the river complex.
Even after eating a huge lunch, we all manage to eat some cake before leaving to travel home. The journey back again had loads of traffic, but we were not held up too long.

Now we are back, Mike flies away to India for a week. Me ?? well I am going to try and start making itemised lists for the shipping to Brasil….
Love to you all
Laur xx

  • Good Pics by Miriam
  • this was a surprise by Babs
  • Authenticity by nicky
  • Thanks by Paul Douglas

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