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Sunshine in Essex

My morning featured a totally unanticipated trip to Harlow. Thus, in effect, I spent the morning touring the Essex countryside (with a bit of Hertfordshire thrown in), first by taxi and then by bus. The fields of rapeseed were vibrant yellow, in full bloom under blue skies, contrasting with the rich green of the gently wandering hills. The roads were scenicly winding as they skirted fields and villages, and nearly traffic-free. The banks of the road were heaped up with Queen Anne's Lace and the perfume, mostly of spring blossoms, wafted in through the open windows. Harlow itself seemed all weary concrete and new housing developments, interleaved with really great bicycle paths.

I saw the mounds of earth for the White Water Canoe Centre being built for the Olympics. It's right next to a charming glimpse of the Lee Valley canel. I saw small villages, new and old, all the way down to brief hamlets, such as Jack's Hatch. Best of all, I photographed the lovely Norman church of Waltham Abbey in passing, where Harold II is buried and through which the Prime Meridian runs. (Now I know how easy it is to get there, so can go back to see it properly.)

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( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
gillo
May. 21st, 2010 02:49 pm (UTC)
Harlow, like most of the New Towns of the fifties and sixties, has struggled to develop a soul, though it is getting there slowly. The hedgerows are very good around now aren't they?
chickenfeet2003
May. 21st, 2010 02:55 pm (UTC)
When I lived a few miles away Harlow most definitely had a soul. Shame it was damned.
owlfish
May. 21st, 2010 03:20 pm (UTC)
Soulless probably is a good way of describing it. There were plenty of people. Plenty of open shops. But the shops were in worn-out '60s concrete malls, or they were strip malls or large standalone grocery stores with large car parks. It's as if everyone still going about life as usual, but in the ruins of the city. (I didn't follow the signs to Old Harlow. Perhaps it's more soulful. It was somewhere beyond the Sainsbury car park.)

Edited at 2010-05-21 03:22 pm (UTC)
gillo
May. 21st, 2010 05:00 pm (UTC)
That's the problem - it's like Coventry city centre - all built at once in excitement and delight in new concrete technology and exciting state-of-the-art architecture, so now all subsiding into decay simultaneously.
chickenfeet2003
May. 21st, 2010 06:56 pm (UTC)
My view of Harlow is based in large part on playing rugby and cricket against Harlow teams. Never a pleasant experience.
gillo
May. 21st, 2010 04:58 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Compared to Warrington/Runcorn or Bracknell it's no worse than Purgatory I'd say. Milton Keynes needs some superlatives to be reserved for itself!
owlfish
May. 21st, 2010 03:21 pm (UTC)
Beautiful hedgerows! It was a delight to be out-and-about in the countryside today, especially such good countryside. It's remarkably rural given how close to greater London it all is.
printperson
May. 21st, 2010 03:25 pm (UTC)
Your description of driving through the countryside with the fields abloom with brillliant yellow rapeseed is delightful. I remember the May holiday we took a family trip to the Isle of Wight and we drove through those glorious yellow fields in south England.
lil_shepherd
May. 21st, 2010 03:52 pm (UTC)
I love Jack's Hatch - and all the villages around Epping Green. The Ada Cole centre is around there, and lovely to visit if you like horses.

Waltham Abbey is great too.
wishus
May. 22nd, 2010 10:16 am (UTC)
Hey - Iron cupcake is back at the Fishmarket on Monday with a Sci-fi theme - is your pal doing it this time?
owlfish
May. 22nd, 2010 10:30 am (UTC)
Given her FB comments on glittery stars, I strongly suspect so!
owlfish
May. 22nd, 2010 10:33 am (UTC)
Does that mean you're thinking of going? I can put you two in touch with each other.
owlfish
May. 25th, 2010 01:13 pm (UTC)
She came third place!
wishus
May. 25th, 2010 01:34 pm (UTC)
Hi - I was there - going to do a write up. There was a joint 3rd place, so which one was she?

D x
owlfish
May. 25th, 2010 01:52 pm (UTC)
The (black) Forest of Endor - chocolate-cherry truffle filled with cherry custard. Unless you meant name?

(Corrected: the spaceship was her other entry.)

Edited at 2010-05-25 01:53 pm (UTC)
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )