Friday, 31 May 2013

Give Tilbury a Fort

Spent a great day out with my family at Tilbury Fort last weekend. It's an unexpected treasure positioned between the power station and piles of containers. There's three pages on the Fort in The Joy of Essex. Manager Kevin Diver gave me an after hours tour and wasn't able to unlock everything while I was writing the book, but I should now add that the officers' rooms are really atmospheric with their old fireplaces and floorboards, the museum has some great letters and artefacts and that it's great to step inside the tunnels and rooms inside the magazines (told you we had magazines somewhere in Essex!). These rooms were cells at one period, housing Jacobite prisoners as well as gunpowder and shells. Tlbury also has lots of slopes for kids to roll down and great sweeping views across the Thames to Gravesend and is built in a distinctive star shape known as a bastion fort. The shop does a fine line in Dad's Army fridge magnets, marmalade and ice cream too. All this and a nice pint of Abbott in the World's End pub afterwards.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Done up like a Ukipper in Essex

Is there anyone left in politics not fixated with Essex Man? Friday's Evening Standard ran the headline, "Labour makes gains but has failed to win over Essex Man". While on the editorial pages Andrew Neather wrote that, "in grittier parts of Essex — Brentwood, Harlow, Epping — it was mainly Ukip not Labour that took votes off the Tories". In today's Guardian, John Harris writes that, 'Last week I spent time with Ukip in Essex… in such towns as Wickford, Bilerciacy and Rayleigh, the disaffection runs deep." Was there anyone in Essex last week who wasn't a journalist?

Thursday, 2 May 2013

The Apprentice docks in Tilbury

The Apprentice is continuing its love affair with Essex. The new series starts next Tuesday on BBC and the first episode sees the  teams selling the contents of shipping containers in Tilbury. These include high-visibility jackets, cat litters and novelty waving "lucky cats". All this after last season's foray into jam-making at Wilkin & Son in Tiptree and selling fake tan in Romford. Seems like Lord Sugar thinks that if you can sell in Essex you can sell anywhere. Will the candidate who describes themselves as "like Napoleon" meet their Waterloo outside Tilbury Fort?

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Essex 1 Plymouth 0

America's Founding Fathers were Essex Boys, claims an article in the Daily Telegraph. (Click on the link to read.) New research from the Harwich Mayflower Project suggests that the Mayflower sailed from Harwich and only stopped at Plymouth for an hour to take on supplies. Yet it is Plymouth that has grabbed the glory for being the home of the Founding Fathers and hijacked the Mayflower. Hopefully Essex is not going to be mugged off any longer. Not only was Colchester once the capital of England, now we discover that Essex created the United States of America. No wonder President Obama supports West Ham.