The Coronavirus diaries, 30th July 2020

Gosh I was thirsty by the time I reached home. I had finished my bottle of water thirty minutes into an hour long train ride, then there was another half an hour before I walked through the front door. The bus fortunately came quickly or it could have been longer. I drank a litre of water, glass after glass. I am back on the water now, though I did have some grapefruit juice too. The train was very warm (it’s a warm day and although the train this morning was air conditioned, this evening’s was older rolling stock and the breeze through the window didn’t seem to do a lot. Wearing a mask didn’t help. I really don’t understand how women wear hijabs and niqabs and still manage to look cool, comfortable and even elegant. Don’t get me started on how hot a burkah must be.

I spent a happy couple of hours in Colchester. There are two stations at either end of the town. One called Colchester, which is fairly self explanatory, the other Colchester Town. That one used to be called St Botolph’s as a church dedicated to the Lincolnshire saint stands close by.

St Botolph’s tower

Last time I arrived at the latter station. This time the former. The first couple of hundred yards of my walk into town did not impress. Then I noticed plaques in the pavement giving snippets of information and history. I found the first one just after gazing across the road at this building.

The Railway Mission

Information plaque: Railway Mission

So I trailed happily up the hill reading plaques and dodging other pedestrians. I soon began to recognise sights I had seen before, and to appreciate again what a hotbed of history Colchester is. It’s main claim to fame is that it was the first Roman capital of Britain. But it also has fine Saxon buildings, including Holy Trinity church, a Norman castle, Georgian arcades, and a a whole array of structures to please the most exacting eye.

Holy Trinity tower

But I admit today I was more focused on the shopping. If I were to move to Wivenhoe Colchester would be the nearest large town. Did it have places I could buy the jars of tahini, the olives, the fresh tofu that I’d want. In short, yes. So thumbs up. It also has a large Marks and Spencer, every chain store of note and a host of eating places and open spaces.

Waiting at Colchester town station to get the train to Wivenhoe, a seven minute journey, I was entertained by two very fond pigeons.

Together on the wall

The look of love

A peck on the cheek

Mutual affection

At Wivenhoe station I remembered to photograph the clock which must be the smallest station clock in the world. Waterloo it ain’t. It is very elegant though.

Wivenhoe station clock

By this time I was hungry, so I made for the churchyard where I knew they were benches and got my lunch out of my bag. I was just tucking in when I man came along. He was called Peter. I don’t have a picture of him, but I do have a picture of his dog Milly.

Milly

Originally from Yorkshire, Peter spent most of his life in Scotland, but when he reached retirement age twenty years ago decided to move south to be closer to his daughter in London. He looked at properties all over East Anglia but didn’t find what he wanted. Then he was sent details of a property in Wivenhoe, came to visit and although he didn’t buy that property, he bought another. I am beginning to realise Wivenhoe residents, like Walworth residents, are talkers. Peter was glowing in his praise of the town, wished me luck in my quest and hoped we’d meet again. I had a similarly friendly encounter in the deli, but they laughed when I said I’d like to live in Alma Street. Apparently it’s the most sought after in the town. Ah well. I gave them the recipe for chickpea scramble which I happened to have on my ‘phone, and they sang the praises of Suma, a company run as a cooperative where everyone whatever their job gets the same pay. They said while big firms had not delivered during the worst of the pandemic, Suma had completed every order. Amazing. They sell meat in the deli, but are vegan, and told me of a big Asian supermarket in Colchester where I should shop.

I walked around the town a lot, recognising some of the streets I had been along before, finding alley ways and connections I had missed. I met Steve who I did not photograph and his dog Charlie Horatio who I did. Charlie does not like being photographed, so this picture is a bit of a coup.

Charlie Horatio

Steve is from Wivenhoe, runs the Italian restaurant, and assures me he can give me a good vegan meal if I visit. I’d say it’s a given.He was scathing about some of the new builds, and had stories about how some of the most desirable properties at the waterfront used to be rat infested slums. I promised if the photo of Charlie came out well I’d send it to him.

I had an appointment to see two properties. I met the estate agent in the street outside the first one and we I masked up, removed our shoes, and went inside the first one. I liked it. Whether I liked it enough I don’t know. It was cat friendly and had a friendly cat who demonstrated how she makes the house a home.

Smudge the cat

The agent drove to the second property via the office where he refilled my water bottle. Naturally there was no car sharing. There was no pet at the second property. I liked it better than the first but it was small. Too small I fear, but it had a lovely feel to it. It was close to the railway station, which would be great but the garden was tiny and had visions of MasterB going across the road, which by Wivenhoe standards was busy and certainly busier than the street I live on now, going through the railings to explore where I could not follow.

Maybe more pictures tomorrow. But I am tired now, and happy to have notched up another experience in the time of Covid, house viewing in a face mask.

Stay safe. Keep well. Be kind.

2 thoughts on “The Coronavirus diaries, 30th July 2020

  1. Smudge looks just a wee bit like s/he’s worried you might take her house while the dogs are clearly saying “move here now”. All I can say is should we ever be allowed to visit again, we want to see the sights and eat at the restaurant.

    • Smudge is female. I think they called her Smudge. She seemed more concerned I might visit the house without acknowledging her presence. Of course you must come, even if I don’t move there I think you’d like it and there’s lots to see in Colchester.

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