Friday, 28 June 2013

Barking in Essex: may contain nutters

Proof that Essex is more on trend than ever. Lee Evans, Keeley Hawes and Sheila Hancock star in the forthcoming play Barking in Essex at Wyndham's Theatre in the West End in September. It involves bankrobbers, miniskirts and medallions, so may contain more than few Essex cultural cliches, but the cast looks promising. Click on the link for details.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Essex Boys have the cutting edge

Found this barber shop in the cutting edge quarter of Chelmsford. Would the name work for any other county? Kent Boys? Northamptonshire Boys? Gloucestershire Boys? Exactly. Proof that as brands go Essex is top of the barbershop quartet charts. And you come out looking a right geezer, so I believe.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Birds of a Feather returns

Article in yesterday's Guardian on the return of Birds of a Feather and how Sharon and Tracey might cope in Towie's Essex. I expect Darryl is running a club by now and Sharon's moved into tanning salons... Wonder if they'll film in Sheesh and other Chigwell hotspots? Click on the link to read.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Who in Essex

Just found the first mention of Essex in Doctor Who, In the 1964 story The Keys of Marinus Ian Chesterton looks at the Tardis scanner showing the sandy planet of Marinus and declares "Well, it doesn't look like Southend!" Colchester also gets a mention in the Matt Smith era when Amy and Rory move there and the cybermen turn up, while Donna Noble also reveals to David Tennant's Doctor that she learned to whistle up West Ham.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Doctoring an Essex shed

Essex, sheds and Doctor Who all in one story... perfect. Tardis shed created by David Lifton from Chelmsford (whose lucky son is a Whovian) and a finalist in the Shed of the Year 2013 competition...

Friday, 7 June 2013

Stour house: The joy of Manningtree

Spent a great day in Manningtree last weekend. Constable country was looking glorious and thanks to my wife Nicola's relatives Diana and Eugenie for sustenance and entertainment. It's got a bit of everything, great views across the Stour estuary, some fine converted maltings, two Robert Adam towers from the old church, swans, a hut that was swept there in the 1953 floods and a great pub in the Red Lion, where you're allowed to bring in kids, dogs and takeaways. Good beer and chilli and honey roasted peanuts too.

And you can see the pond where infamous former Manningtree resident and witchfinder general Matthew Hopkins had his ducking stool. Hopkins was the ultimate Essex conman, paid per result, he inevitably produced more witches than he could shake a broomstick at. He was active during the English Civil War. Within a year Parliament was questioning his methods and thankfully he died young, at 27, in 1647 and is buried at Mistley.

On a lighter note, there's some fine footpaths behind the town through the   woods and fields, all oaks, cow parsley and buttercups. All this and it's only an hour from Liverpool Street on the train. We plan to return via train soon and walk to Dedham and Flatford Mill and, of course, sample more of Manningtree's delis and pubs…

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Duckpond FC… by far the greatest team that Harwich has ever seen

Nice example of Essex humour from Duckpond FC, the Sunday League side from Harwich that spent £1000 hiring an open-top bus tour to celebrate winning the Colchester and District Sunday League. The Harwich locals turned out in their tens…