sandiquiz's WunderBlog

Travel-blog - sea and sky :)

By: sandiquiz, 2:35 PM GMT on August 23, 2014

It is over three years since I last visited the coast of this small island. The first 30 plus years of my life I lived in Yorkshire, which has almost 50 miles of stunning coastline, from rugged high cliffs to stretches of flat, golden sand. A trip to the coast for sea air, refreshing breezes, and a fish and chip supper, was something we could do on a regular basis.

For the last 25 years I have lived in the centre of England. It is almost equidistant to the west, the east and the south coast, involving a journey, by car, of 2, 3 or 4 hours, depending on the traffic.

Last week I decided it was time for me to visit the sea again.

So come with me, and enjoy the first blog of four, called "Sea and sky."

It was only just after 10 o'clock in the morning when I finally arrived at the coast. I'd headed east and arrived at a small seaside location called "Walton on Naze".

The name Walton is an ancient name meaning 'farmstead or village of the Britons.'

The Naze is an area north of the town and is important for migrating birds. There is also a small nature reserve.

On the cliff top at the Naze is an Hanoverian tower, 112 feet high, more commonly known as the 'Naze Tower', which was built as a sea-mark to assist ships on this otherwise fairly flat and featureless coast.

It was built in 1720-21 to guide ships along the coast and into the port of Harwich. Originally it had a beacon on top, which made it an early form of lighthouse.

Over the years it has had a variety of uses. In the 18th century it was a teahouse, run by a famous actress, Martha Raey. It was used as a lookout during the Napoleonic wars and again during the First World War, 1914 1918. During the Second World War it was used as a radar station. It has been in private ownership since 1986.

The rapidly eroding east coast of Great Britain is threatening the tower and the wildlife reserve.

Over the last 15 years they have put in place a seawall, groynes and millions of tons of sand has been added to the beach to replenish it to try to stop the sandy cliffs from eroding.
However, nature is winning, and the sea is encroaching on the land by about 2 yards a year. Within 50 years the Naze Tower, which has stood for 300 years, will have tumbled into the sea.

one of the many groynes that have been built along the flat coast.

Situated off the coast is the world's largest offshore wind farm. 217 turbines have been positioned 12 miles off the coast, producing enough electricity for three quarters of a million homes.

In the middle of the 19th century, when trains became far more popular,Eastern Union Railway built a track right down to the sea at Harwich. From there, ferries would transport the passengers across to continental Europe.

My thanks to the super-zoom camera for this and the next image. Harwich was five miles further north and the ship a speck on the horizon!

Today the port is used as a docking for cruise ships, and bulk cargoes which arrive from all over the world!

As I stood on the cliff tops looking out across the North Sea towards Europe, I watched several of the Thames sailing barges go past. They are distinctive with their red ochre sails. They were common in the 19th century when they went up and down the Thames. They have a flat bottomed hull, which was perfectly designed for the shallow waters of The Thames.

At the beginning of the 20th century over 2000 of these barges were on the London registry. Today a small number of sailing barges have been converted into pleasurecraft and take tourists on a cruise around the Essex coast.

On my second day I went back to the coast and spent a very pleasurable hour halfway down the cliff at the Naze, watching the starlings.

Right along the coast, hardy shrubs have been planted to help protect the sand cliffs behind. There are hundreds of bramble shrubs, which as I watched, became resting places for the European starlings.

They would arrive from inland and settle on the shrubs looking out to sea. Then slowly, one by one, small flocks would lift up and set out across the North Sea to Europe, where they will overwinter. Their British cousins will stay behind and winter in England. Although they are the same species, the starling population in the UK triples every summer, when huge flocks arrive from the continent.


Over the next few weeks I will post more photos (but they do take time to edit and post to WU), so I am splitting it into four blogs.

Blog 2 will be will be "John Constable", (oh, I loved this part!), blog 3 "Beth Chatto" gardens, and finally blog 4 will be the left overs, which i am calling "Quaint Britian" :)


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Updated: 4:58 PM GMT on August 24, 2014


The interlude blog

By: sandiquiz, 3:39 PM GMT on August 07, 2014

As promised, I only left the 100 year Anniversary of WW1 blog on display for a few days,
And until I get around to writing the next blog....on "something completely different" is a return to the Coffee Blog:-)

Café au lait (French for 'coffee with milk') is a French coffee drink. The meaning of the term differs between Europe and the United States; in both cases it means some kind of coffee with hot milk added, in contrast to white coffee, which is coffee with cold milk in the UK, but may be cold milk or more usually a whitener added in the USA.

So.... stop by, leave a post, or not, enjoy the company, and the coffee (or tea), and just "chill out"!

If you wish to read the previous blog, this link will take you too it.


Locations of Site Visitors

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Updated: 3:47 PM GMT on August 07, 2014


One hundred years ago....

By: sandiquiz, 9:12 AM GMT on August 04, 2014

Today, AUGUST the 4th, marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.

There is no one alive who actually served in the First World War so why should we remember?

Keith Simpson, military historian on why we should mark the centenary, by remembering.

"The First World War is within our living memory. For those of us of a certain age we can remember talking and listening to our grandparents' generation, while the last survivors only died recently. We have vast quantities of physical evidence still to be seen in the scars of the battlefields, the cemeteries and memorials.

Apart from official documents and histories, we have the diaries and letters of tens of thousands of men and women, a literate generation. We can reach out to them through photographs and film so that although their hair styles, uniforms and clothes might look old fashioned they still look like us.

And that is without taking into account the sheer enormity of the casualties and the political instability after the war which contributed to what we were to call the Second World War."

By the 11th November 1918, in all the countries that took part, millions were affected.
The war touched almost everyone’s life in some way or other.

"Children grew up in the shadow of battle, their fathers absent or lost. Women became directly involved, picking up the pieces of industry and agriculture as the men went off to fight. By early 1918, they too could join the army and serve their country. Sometimes I don't think about it for months on end, then I dream about it and it all comes back. How really extraordinary it was. I can't quite get it out of my system."

Stephen Williamson looking back at the First World War in 1985

Millions of men were sent to fight in places that many had never heard of before.
It was a global struggle. Life changed forever. Nothing was ever the same again.

The power unleashed by rapidly invented modern war resulted in previously unimagined losses.

Over 9 million soldiers died directly as a result of fighting; more than 6 million civilians died from disease or starvation caused by gas attacks and food shortages. In all, the estimate of dead resulting from the war stands at over 16 million.

On top of the dead, more than 21 million were injured. Some recovered, others were never the same again, either in body or in mind.

Millions of people across the world still feel some connection with the "Great War". They knew the people whose lives were changed by it. They remain moved by the enduring words and works of art that were created as a response to it.

The Flanders Poppy was first described as the "Flower of Remembrance" by Colonel John McCrae who, before the First World War, was a well-known Professor of Medicine at McGill University in Montreal.

He had previously served as a gunner in the South African War, and at the outbreak of the First World War he became in A Medical Officer in France, with the first Canadian Army contingent.

At the second battle of Ypres in 1915 when in charge of a small first-aid post, during a lull in the action he wrote the following verses -

In Flanders' fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders' fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high,
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders' Fields.

Major John McCrae. 1915

"Gassed" by John Singer Sargent, 1919

Two verses from "For the fallen" by Robert Lawrence Binyan

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.


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About sandiquiz

I have been a WU member since September 2005. Now a retired teacher, enjoying my garden, writing, sketching, taking photos, and having great fun!

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