Sunday, 16 June 2013


Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside! I do like to be beside the sea!

Rather unexpectedly, I found myself in Southend-On-Sea.  It was something to do with a local families trip that a friend was helping to organize.  Regardless, £10 and a small 90 minute coach trip for sticks of rock, arcades, a theme park and a pier? Yes please!

I find there is something incredibly calming about the sea.  Well, at least a calm sea, stretching out to the horizon (or, at least in the case of Southend - nearly to the horizon).  A mass of water, rippling away.  Sea and sky meeting in an arched line of blue.

The pier there is a monster.  Over a mile long, it has its own train going up and down it to take those sightseeing, fishing, lobster-potting or lifeboating from one end to another.  In order to fundraise, there is an adopt-a-plank scheme.  For a regular donation, you can have your name on a plaque on the wall, and I assume, your plank will write to you quaterly to tell you of what it's been up to.  Most likely it'll be complaining about the weather, like a good British plank.  I assume your informational letters will come with photos similar to that on the left, to let you know how your plank is getting on.

Back on slightly dryer land, and away from things made of wood, there is a fair amount to do in Southend.  There's a theme park, Adventure Island, which can swallow an unlimited amount of money in a very short space of time if you're not careful.  Soft-toy side stalls intermixed with rides are a great amount of fun.  I did go on the big rollercoaster, Rage (the big yellow thing, right) - which was a hilarious 90 second shot of pure adrenaline.  Adventure mini-golf was also good fun, if not very tactical by the end of 18 holes of interestingly decorated (but otherwise fairly vanilla) putting.

I did snap a few shots from my phone while going round Southend.  On the pier I took a few.  Once I'd got them into Google Plus' photo collection, I discovered that some deep magic on a Google server had stitched three of the photos together automatically without my intervention.  It's not perfect, but I was quite impressed by the effect of the result!

 I didn't even ask for this picture, Google's Picasa Web Albums auto-magic stitch just made it appear!

I tried to take a shot going the other way, from land out over the pier.  However the M&S coffee shop window  I  took it out of caused a huge amount of reflection in the picture, and it looked pretty gloomy (the clouds had started to set in by that point).  So in a recent effort to be more arty, I had a got at it with my graphics tablet - the end result, I think, isn't too bad. 

My bleak photo of the view back taken through the window of an M&S coffees hop didn't work out so well.
Lucky I've been playing with a tablet, so I photo-edited it a bit to make it more cheeful.