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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Essex revisited - Part 1

For the first twenty four years of my life my home was in Essex. As it is many years since I have visited the area I thought it was high time to make a small pilgrimage to Essex. My earliest memories are of a bungalow in Clacton-on-Sea where I lived until the age of four.
34 St Mary's Road, Clacton. My first real memories are here
We then moved to the village of Lexden, just to the west of Colchester where my father was the postmaster of a village post office and general stores. These were said to be old cottages built originally by Dutch Hugenots when they came to England. This was my home until I left university and started working in Leicester.
The former Lexden Post Office (the pink cottage) though we lived in the pink and cream cottages.

Lexden Park - the view from my bedroom at the back, the perfect playground for young children.

Lexden Primary School looks just the same
In those days Lexden was a "country" village with woods, meadows and the River Colne in easy reach. I was free to roam and explore this area, and it was here that the foundations of my passion for natural history were laid down.

I have visited the area a couple of times in the intervening years, and I knew there have been many changes. Many of the fields are developed into housing estates, or a golf course. Some country lanes are now dual carriageways. Fields that us kids would explore are now fenced with conspicuous "Private - Keep Out" signs; country cottages that were formerly the homes of farm labourers have been converted and extended into affluent commuter properties.

Nevertheless, there are still secret places that can be found that bring the memories flooding back. There is a section of a lane leading to the river where I used to spend so much time fishing, and I was pleased to see that the water is clean and clear with shoals of roach and dace still present.

Lexden Bridge (always known to us as "Red Bridge") is still unchanged, though the adjacent fields are now out of bounds

The River Colne still runs quiet and clean in this unspoiled spot

A final glance up Lexden Hill. My home (the post office) was opposite the pub


Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Glad you didn't show the bits that have changed. Goodness, memories flood back. The old house looks really quite upmarket now, although I did notice there still isn't anywhere to park a car.
You might have looked over the fields but my bedroom faced the gents bog outside the pub!

12:05 pm  
Blogger Penless Thoughts said...

I enjoyed the pictures of your youthful setting. It looks like a very lovely area.

1:14 pm  
Blogger Tina said...

How wonderful to see and hear about where you grew up. Love the pictures as usual.

1:19 pm  
Blogger TCA said...

...and not a white Ford Capri in sight!


3:52 pm  
Blogger Tortoiseshell said...

"River Colne still runs quiet and clean in this unspoiled spot..."

...looks a good place to hide a geocache to me!!!

Seriously - lovely blog about a place that I've only heard obout in snippets but never seen.

Seems quite similar to my own blog about Leicester a few months back?

4:51 pm  
Blogger simon said...

looks fantastic mate really!

12:04 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice photos. I have very dim memories of that area. Nanny moved to Swansea when I was five, and after that there was no reason to visit there.
I was expecting the photos to be somewhat grainier and sepia tinted for some reason!


5:17 am  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Jack!!! These are photos taken with Maalie's posh camera, not some old piccies he found at a bottom of a suitcase!
I keep coming back to look at the photos again and again so please don't think I'm stalking you!

8:20 am  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Congratulations about knowing all about ostriches! I know today's word so I'll have to try to think up an alternative meaning.

9:45 am  

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