Saturday, 12 May 2018

Mersea Island - East Mersea

A Thames Barge mooches up the estuary
Again we are out on the Essex Coast. Here I always sense we are at the very end of the known world. Essex a charming county and also, it is like a teenager’s bedroom, always untidy. It coast is no different.

Mersea is separated from the low flat land south of Colchester by a causeway that, with a good tide, confers upon it island status.

The day was dull with dumpy clouds; these oppressive grey skies only occasionally shared their showers of rain.

Mersea is a game of two halves; East and West.

East Mersea Miscellany
East Mersea is farmland, one pub and desultory barns. We spot two shipping containers are at rest on the edge of a field.

Typical Essex: A curious water tower
A footpath allows us to the waters edge. Trevor has the drone up and flying high us. The pictures it brings back shows this tidal marshland like a human lung, an intricate system of arteries and veins. A Thames Barge mooches up the estuary, past us and out towards the sea.  

Sheep graze, dog walkers exchange notes, skylarks sing and confetti of blackthorn bloom dusts every footpath back to the car.

Still east we discover a plantation of caravans and holiday homes. This is Coopers Beach Holiday Park. This plantation of homes boasts 
“Heated pools and children’s splash pool”.
And also offers the chance to get fit on the multi-sports court
“Enjoy scenic walks and estuary views,”pronounces the website
“Savour the island’s famed natural produce”.

Meanwhile Trevor and I appreciate a coffee in the cavernous restaurant and bar looking out on a less than scenic sea. We overhear the manager and his wife talk longingly about being be back in the 1980’s, no doubt encouraged by the songs (The Policeand UB40spiced with Frankie goes to Hollywood)on the sound system. 

St Edmunds Church East Mersea
Next to the holiday park is St Edmund’s Church. Inside this gem all is bright and clean, as if just washed by a high tide. This holy place scrubbed, polished and loved. A statue of St Edmond is to the right of the Lady Chapel and Our Lady is to the left, both stand sentinel-like.

Little is known about St Edmund. He was king of East Anglia from 855 until killed by the Vikings in 869. Thirty years after his death they acclaimed him. 

Now he rests in Bury St Edmonds, fifty miles further up the coast, having swelled the coffers of that part of Suffolk since the 1200’s. The veneration of saints, and pilgrimages to the places where a saint’s relics were interred was widespread. A church in possession of the relics of a popular saint enjoyed source of income as the faithful made donations in the hope that they might receive spiritual aid.

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Thank you very much for your comments - Tim