Life in Southend on sea – similarities and differences
Living in two countries is interesting and I often find myself comparing the two de Worth. Our pier of course is quite different in so far as it is depending on what is going on at the time. The first similarity is the pier, the one thing that was compared when we first became a sister city to Lake Worth longest pleasure pier in the world at 1 ¼ miles long. It has been around for many, many years and has had its share of catastrophes in the past from fires to boats crashing into it and destroying it.
Each disaster has brought a new design and at the moment it is looking quite good although there is much debate about selling it to a private investor to spend real money on the renovation and regeneration. As all areas, Southend has problems with cash flow and whilst we generate a good income from tourism, there is never enough to quite go round,that could with doubt, be another similarity between here and Lake Worth! And the debate about the pier continues and will do I am sure, for years to come, it really is a glorious structure and deserves to be looked after!
We are also very arty in our town and as well as several art galleries, we have projects that are ongoing and are housed in a variety of interesting buildings. One TAP (Temporary Art Projects) is housed in the old waterworks building and provides great projects and exhibitions for the artists of the town, Every Saturday there are drawing classes where we sit and draw and chat and hone our techniques. I like TAP because it is constantly changing and is very much open to new ideas. Artists often leave their own mark around the town as in this sculpture outside our main station, you often find as in this photo that an addition has been made, here in the form of a skateboard, very interesting as the area here is ideal for skate boarding youngsters! At Christmas she held a gift…..I always look to see what is coming next!
METAL has 3 bases throughout England, one being here in Southend. In each area they work from building of historic significance that they transform from empty or derelict spaces into vibrant cultural community hubs.
They work from these bases to provide the catalyst that can transform the potential of people and places through great art and inspiring ideas.Here in Southend Metal renovated the previously unused and somewhat derelict Chalkwell Hall. It is gorgeous, 4 storey, Grade 11 listed Georgian building set within the grounds of Chalkwell Park, the house was built in 1830 and sits at the brow of a hill which commands fabulous views across the Thames. Metal generally houses at least 20 international and UK artists in residence each year. I love taking courses there.
Of course we have the water, nothing as spectacular as Lake Worth but I love it. This time of year the beach is always full of families, young people, clubs….all having fun in the sun! The
water sports available are amazing and I love the sight of the sails from the kite surfers and the paragliders, the boats……superb!
The cottages here are picturesque, just like the front of a chocolate box and just like the cottages in Lake Worth, each one is different and absolutely gorgeous! There are many with the old thatched roofs, a wonder to watch them being rethatched. The little villages that existed with rows and rows of cottages still exist but are few and far between these days with the need for more and more housing.
And lastly, people are similar, there are many times when I go to call out to someone and remember that it could not possible be them because they live in Lake Worth!
And now here in Shoeburyness, there is going to be the first Free Little Library which will be in my front garden. My good friend John made it for me and it is gorgeous, all I have to do now is to paint it, that will have to wait as I am off to France tomorrow to meet up with my friends from Lake Worth, I am so excited about that, I can hardly wait!
So France will be the next destination for the blog, I intend to find similarities there also!