Treasure at Southend-on-Sea, Essex

Reg’s Dlog (Well, what else would you call a dog’s blog?)

What do Monty Python’s Spamalot and the band, Mike and the Mechanics, have in common?

Give up? Well, I have to admit, on the face of it nothing much – except they’ve both been on stage in the Cliffs Pavilion, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. And I’ve seen them both.

Last week, the Old ‘Uns took me to Southend-on-Sea, Essex for the afternoon and in the evening, we saw Spamalot. This week, the Old Un’s went to Leigh-on-Sea for lunch and then later, we saw the brilliant Mike Rutherford (from Genesis) and his Mechanics. I suspect they’re not real mechanics but it certainly didn’t spoil the show.

Reg in front of Southchurch Hall
Selfie of Reg in front of Southchurch Hall, Southend-on-Sea’s treasure

For those of you who are familiar with Southend-on-Sea, you may associate it with kiss-me-quick hats, amusement arcades and sticks of rock but there are still some bits of historical treasure hidden away (and on show) which might surprise you. The Old Girl wanted to take us to a place she’d once visited years ago when she worked in a junior school and accompanied the school children on a trip. I must admit, I thought she’d had a memory lapse when she directed us to a suburban, residential street but she was right – hidden away amongst all the ordinary houses was a moated Medieval manor house, called Southchurch Hall. It dates from between 1321 and 1364 and you can find a pdf of a floor plan here on the Southend Museums’ website.

150428Southend5Sadly, the house was closed but we walked round the garden and the moat. There were plenty of ducks as you might expect and lots of turtles which you might not. They certainly took me by surprise.

Southend-on-Sea seafront bench
Southend-on-Sea seafront bench

We walked from Southend to Westcliff and there were two things I liked. Firstly, check out the bench. How elaborate is that? I can’t believe that someone designed such a structure round a simple seaside bench. It offers the ultimate in privacy, without actually having a front door.  I tried to find out some more information about the benches but failed miserably. So, if you know anything, please let me know.

Southend-on-Sea cliff lift
Southend-on-Sea cliff lift
Southend-on-Sea cliff lift
Southend-on-Sea cliff lift

And secondly, there’s the historic Cliff Lift. The Old Girl looked it up on the Internet and it had this to say on the Southend Museums’ website which you can see here “We will have some exciting news about our running of the Cliff Lift very soon. In the meantime we are looking for volunteers to help us run the lift. So if you fancy becoming one of our drivers, no experience required, just email us and we will be in touch.”

I can’t tell you how excited I was to learn they want volunteers to drive their lift and I wanted to apply immediately but the Old Girl said they probably wouldn’t want a dog – however keen. I don’t know why not. I know the difference between up and down. Admittedly, I’m not too good on left and right but I can’t see that being an obstacle. A lift hasn’t got a steering wheel.

Helter Skelter at Southend-on-Sea
Helter Skelter at Southend-on-Sea

Anyway, yesterday, the Old Un’s thought it would make a change to visit Leigh-on-Sea before we went to the theatre but I’ll probably save that for another post.

Just a reminder that there are still copies of the ebook ‘Daffodil and the Thin Place’ available but make sure you get yours now before they run out. The Old Girl says that of course there are copies available – you don’t run out of ebooks. But just in case she’s wrong, you wouldn’t want to find yourself without a copy, would you? So, go immediately here and buy your ‘Daffodil and the Thin Place’ now. Or buy two.

Don’t forget to let me know if you know anything about fancy sea-front benches.