A visit to Sarfend.

Sunday 14 September 2014 – Southend-on-Sea.

While El and I were away on the Isle of Wight last weekend we started discussing the possibility of buying a small holiday home somewhere. This conversation carried on during the week and we talked about what we would want from a holiday place. It seems that in a perfect world we would be able to buy somewhere near St Ives in Cornwall, but that is just way to far away to be practical right now, but is definitely a future consideration.

Much as I am very happy living with El in her house I had become fairly used to living alone and occasionally feel the need to escape to my own pad, with my own things and just chill out. When I moved in after I returned from NZ in July it was intended that once I was working I would look for my own flat and move out. Living together has not raised any alerts and we have pretty much agreed that it would be silly for me to spend 1500-1700 pounds a month renting a flat I would only stay in half the time. This basically means I have some money to invest. So a buying a cheap flat or house somewhere on the coast but near enough to London so we could easily and cheaply visit at the weekends, or I could commute to and from on occasion, seems like a sensible thing to do.

We just need to find somewhere we like. Southend-on-Sea is not going to be one of those places, but it is close by and well worth checking out as it will give us some idea of what is out there, and what seaside towns near to London can be like.

After Steve and I did our Leigh-on-Sea to Southend photo walk back in April I had  been thinking about doing the final leg of the walk from Southend to Shoeburyness, so, as it was a nice day, El and decided to make the trip in reverse.  We caught a train into Liverpool St, walked over to Fenchurch St Station and caught the train out to Shoeburyness. Shoeburyness was interesting, the tide was out, seemingly almost as far as France, and we could see kite surfers way out on the horizon, they were so far out that at first I wondered what they were – and you cannot even see them in this photo taken on my phone. It was a nice enough place, there were some very nice apartments near the sea, but that tide is just too much for me.

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There was a short section of coast with the ubiquitous beach huts on it before we hit a  long section of much nicer beach that was closed to the public as it was/is an MOD testing site, there were numerous signs warning of unexploded shells and other ordinance possibly lying around. Sadly this section of coast was quite long…

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I did love this sign – ‘deep water’ !!! – You can barely see the water.

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It took us about thirty minutes to walk to the outskirts of Southend, and as soon as the MOD area was over, the beach huts appeared. Quite a number of them had people gathered inside and out and there was a bit of a part time sea side community going on. Not my thing, but nice to see people getting out and about, even though the view of the estuary to the power station was not the most attractive.

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I liked this end of Southend, there are some quite nice houses, and as there is no entertainment at this end of the beach it was all very quiet. You can see Southend Pier in the background, the longest in the world apparently – mainly because the sea goes out so far !

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After about an hour and a half of walking we arrived in Southend central, and like before I knew it was just not my place, far too busy for me. We walked through town, heading for the Westcliff area that I wanted to have a look at. We stopped at the famous Rossi’s ice cream shop, a long standing feature of Southend, and one my mum asked me about after she read my blog post from back in April. She used to visit here when she was young and was interested to see if it was still here. The ice cream was very nice too, as I believe it was  in my mum’s day.

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After Rossi’s it was time to go so wandered up through Westcliff to the station and headed back home.

Did I learn anything about buying property on the coast, not really. But I did learn that buying somewhere near the sea, means I want to hear the waves. So that rules out this section of coast!

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Wannabe writer and photographer. Interested in travel and place. From Auckland, New Zealand.