Last Thursday (4th August), Millman Street Community Centre members enjoyed a day out in Southend, the Essex town famed for its pier and spectacular views across the Thames Estuary to the Isle of Sheppey, its opposite number in Kent. Despite a high wind, the weather was quite reasonable by the standards of a British seaside town in August. On the day, members were spared the noise of the gun battery at nearby Shoeburyness, and partook in a variety of activities along the seafront.
“It was good,” said David, who spent much of the day with his mate, Brian. “We had a game of golf. We went to the slot machines and won a few prizes, won some money. We all had fish ‘n’chips!”
He also drove like a lunatic on the bumper cars, went on the chair-o-planes and sundry other fairground rides. “I had a go on the duck shoot,” he said, “And won three prizes [of sweets].” There was also a basketball game to win prize tickets.
Fred and Olive didn’t go on the rides. “We found a nice cafe and had vegetarian food,” Fred said. “There was beautiful sunshine, a bit too hot at times. It was a nice coach journey down there,” he added, although some members groused about a lack of toilet breaks on the way to the coast.
“It was nice,” said Olive. Fred said, “The fresh air was good, to get breath into the lungs again.” He also commented on a host of new buildings since he’d last visited Southend. “The train down the pier wasn’t working,” he said, and it was “too hot to walk” down the mile-and-a-quarter pier, but members did spend some time on it nearer the seafront. “There were thousands of people there,” Fred said. “More than ever.”
“It was lovely,” Helena said. “I loved it! Very, very nice. We had fish ‘n’ chips, a nice meal. Pottered around doing all sorts of things. It made a nice change, a nice bit of fresh air.”
Helena also said there were a lot of changes since her last visit. “”It’s really nice down there. Nice and clean. I haven’t been there for a long, long time. We were trotting around, doing all sorts of things, really nice. I enjoyed it!”
“It was nice,” Anne agreed. “We had ice cream. I enjoyed Southend!”
Mulegetta also went on the excursion. “It was the usual,” he said, drily. “Seafront and so on. I like the outings,” he suddenly enthused, admitting: “It was very nice!”
Photos by Steve; report by Notes Smudger