Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Thurrock: what a load of rubbish

ITV's Countrywise featured Thurrock Thameside Nature Park this week. For 50 years barges dumped London's rubbish there. There's 28 metres of rubbish still rotting away beneath the surface, but now the land has been reclaimed and is covered in grasses and wildlife, such as birds, newts, insects and spiders. Capping the landfill involved putting a layer of sail or chalk, then a rubber membrane to prevent the methane escaping, and more chalk and soil. Looking at it now, you'd never know that part of Thurrock is literally a load of rubbish. Situated between East Tilbury and Stanford-le-Hope the park now has a visitor centre and is great for bird and ship watching and views over the superbly-named Mucking Flats SSSI.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

I'm A Celebrity Get Me Back to Essex

Reality TV is still being dominated by characters from God's own county. Pixie Lott has done well on Strictly while Mark Wright is proving quite a charmer on the dance floor, and like many ex-footballers, is proving quite good at dancing. While Towie's  Gemma Collins has got more press headlines than the rest of the celebs put together after walking out on I'm A Celebrity. Viewers have been entertained by her terror of helicopters ("I've cracked at the first hurdle but it's like the turtle and the slug or the horse and rabbit or whatever it is, the slug has won in the end") colourful descriptions of her bowel movements, her self-diagnosis of malaria, and the admission that her ideal man is the "old school" Ray Winstone type (now there's a perfect Essex match). She also announced that she's never returning to Australia and prefers the forests of Essex where there are no wild animals. She's apologised for causing any "agg" and is now looking forward to surviving the jungle of Brentwood High Street and glamping in Epping Forest.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

California comes to Hornchurch

Good piece in the Guardian on Saturday about the fact the Rom skatepark in Hornchurch has become Europe's first listed skatepark. Iain Borden makes a convincing case for Essex's very own Moonscape. He first skated on it in 1978 and writes: "All around were the Fords, repair shops and semi-detached houses of Hornchurch. But I didn’t see them. For this wonderful moment, in my head, I was in California." And it can't be often California and Hornchurch are linked in the same sentence…