The A127 :: Road to Everywhere

A127 : Taken June 27th, 2019
Welcome to Southend

At the end, we start with a beginning. It’s the road I use every day of my life, connects here with there, is indivisible from the life of this town. Sure you can get into Southend in lots of other ways, but this is the main way, the big road, withe the speed cameras and the tourists not understanding how you merge from three lanes to two. It’s a challenge and huge fun and woe betide if there’s a problem at The Bell.

It’s also had more poetry written about it in this household than anywhere else in the borough. I need to get out more…

The A127 :: Road to Everywhere

This is the road:
bisects borough
checking speed
Progress left
way Fair right
three lanes
become a pain
reducing to
Mini diorama;
footbridge drama.

This is car’s code:
London’s hauling
speed adherence
camera’s flashing
Tesco’s extra
lane avoidance
airport’s runway
roundabout drama
don’t slow down;
front wing’s gone.

This is the load:
fresh recycling
hay bales wobbling
green foil racer
ambulance hastens
make a space
could be you one day
urban clearway
exhausted pace
their daily race.

This is my life:
there and back
eaten, tracked
Google mapped
school, supermarket
fast mood, slow
packed instants
recalled, other’s
lives observed,

This line; constant… park.

Cuckoo Corner :: King’s Rest

The Prittlewell royal Anglo-Saxon burial or Prittlewell princely burial is a high-status Anglo-Saxon burial mound which was excavated at Prittlewell, north of Southend-on-Sea. It is located between the A1159 road and the Shenfield–Southend railway line, close to an Aldi supermarket and The Saxon King pub.

Artefacts found by archaeologists in the burial chamber are of a quality that initially suggested that Prittlewell was a tomb of one of the Anglo-Saxon Kings of Essex, and the discovery of golden foil crosses indicate that the inhabitant was an early Anglo-Saxon Christian. The burial is now dated to about 580 AD, and is thought that it contained the remains of Sæxa, brother of Sæberht of Essex.

From Wikipedia

Cuckoo Corner :: taken June 26th 2019
Significant site.

Every day during term time I drive my daughter to school past the sight of a Saxon burial. It’s become habit to wish Sæxa good morning, because it must get quite lonely being out there next to the traffic. The irony of course is that nobody would ever have known about him, but because they wanted to widen this road to accommodate traffic to Shoebury Garrison, excavations took place.

It’s fabulous knowing such a well preserved part of local history was saved from tarmac and wheels: I never sit and complain either, when stationary on this piece of road, which happens quite a bit. The cost of enlightenment is often inconvenience, and if it all gets too much I can always nip across the road, park up and go walk through Priory Park instead. Some mornings, I think my daughter wishes we could do that instead of school.

Failing that, there’s always the Aldi.

Kings, Rest

Rail passes Prince
recently revealed Essex boy
buried in wealth yet
lost chronicles regret:
our Pyramids
Talk of the South
best preserved bet
quietest mouth,
forgotten ancestry.

Road almost ruined
enlightenment, celebrity:
let’s build a pub
next door, so Prince
if tired from weekly
Aldi shop could pop
in for a lager top;
buy wheely bin for him
to store treasures within.

The corner’s square
there’s nothing there
life moved beneath
Museum’s glare,
yet every day
I wave hello:
the Prince’s hump
burial lump
remembered history.


Priory Park :: Finish Line

Priory Park : Taken 26th June, 2019
In or Out?

This is the park that you can enter and then immediately forget that Southend even exists outside. It’s a massive space, dominated by the Priory which, for hundreds of years, was an incredibly important part of the local Community. I am embarrassed to admit this is the first time in my life I’d ever visited the site. There’s a lot to take in, and I’ll be back to do just that over the Summer.

It’s amazing how little you can know about places that are literally just outside your front door, or which you drive by each day. Being oblivious to history is fine, but eventually, as you will become a part of it, there’s some sense in making time to understand how everything fits together. It isn’t just dog walking and the bandstand, after all…

This is also where the London to Southend bike ride traditionally ends, and our poem was built.

Finish Line

Race space: everybody’s finish line, laces
unwind: exhausted, invigorated chestnut’s
ashen faced;
is where I rest.

Borough’s pride
Tudor boughs

Victorian promenade
a thousand years

centre of
my town.

Band stands, applauds
zip rope action without parallel
history and PE, overlap

whilst terriers
going south: throw,
ball chase

centre of
your town.

Park your bike love,
you’ve won.

Warners Bridge :: Hockey, Sticks

Warners Bridge : taken June 26th, 2019
Nice Sign.

I didn’t time my photography skills well, and when the Hockey season starts again I’ll make sure to return to Warners Bridge for some colour and proper action for this page. For now, you have the quieter and more reflective side of a club that my husband’s payed and umpired for over several decades. He went on tour this year too: Gibraltar looked very sunny from a distance.

I’ve spent a lot of time with hockey at arm’s length: there were reasons for this, as there are for so many things. Mostly, only now am I beginning to be comfortable with my physical ability. It’s taken a while, but that’s something that can be admitted in public, as other things have been over the years. My husband’s a hero, and I take the opportunity to remind him of this fact whenever possible.

Hockey, Sticks

I tried once, sport’s your
choice to play, I’ll watch
Saturday’s warm window breath
better results in pitch, and yet

drinking games were
your names.

I stayed at home,
other worlds until
November day, his
end began
worst path

to this

Now you teach them rules,
observe, not
referee of orange tee
umpire bites back
but never rude,

this warm, wood shed
piled pre-cooked
match tea of the gods.

Belonging, understand
tribes made by
other’s hands devolve
life’s memories

dad’s histories
calligraphy; slow
hand carved

Club’s trophies, chronicle exposed.

Southend United FC :: The Blues

Roots Hall : taken June 26th, 2019
Pizza and Footy

Our football team’s history is, of course, extremely well documented on its own website amongst others. Pre-season will begin as this website goes live: the team will be seen putting in the hours in my Gym too, as they do seem to enjoy doing a fair bit. It is good to know they worked hard last season to avoid relegation, and honestly that last minute winner was very well deserved.

Whether the new ground is built sooner or later, of course, is a subject of almost continuous debate: the plan however to build housing on the site has already begun in earnest. One assumes that they’ll eventually say yes (it was supposed to happen in 2018 and we’re still waiting) and the new development at Fossetts Farm will eventually become a reality.

Until then, it’s Roots Hall all the way.

The Blues

Support your local lads, history
inextricably lived: formed in
the pub, unsurprisingly
Blue Boars evolve to Shrimpers.
Bob Jack’s fixtures sold
to help the War, moving south
then north and back again
eventually through austerity,
adversity; returning to their
Roots in fifty-six.

That New Years Day I watched
Newcastle get destroyed 4-0;
second tier supremacy,
brief moment in the sun:
since then, their steady need
to move away, expand as
ground contracts, housing
rising, dwarfing floodlights
terraced adverts promising
break new Ground in the east.

Perpetual momentum holds
interest front and centre,
one day we might be awesome
but now this is enough,
blue beating heart of coastal
town, refusing death at
every turn, reminder fighting
to the end will always
turn out well: the East Stands
tall, sings hard, still understands.

David Lloyd :: Blazing Squad

Blaze Instructors Class : taken May 15th, 2019
Live It

This poem’s different from all the others. I didn’t write it for me, but for all the other people mentioned in verse three: they inspire me to work hard, and be the best I can. They helped me find the confidence to be here and do this collection of poems in the first place. Without them, I would not be who I am now. In many ways, they have become as important as my counselling.

Each one of them will be presented with an A4 framed copy of this poem to remind them of this fact. They made me a better person, and the camaraderie they have shown is beyond humbling. I’m grateful for the chance to be with them every week, and long may it continue.

Sometimes you find epiphanies in the most unexpected of places.

Blazing Squad

Not smoking weed,
looking to speed
for two decades
this mighty need
become more than
I was alone;
so twice a week
this room’s my own.
From combat bag
to treadmill zone
join Blaze’s Tribe;
let truth be shown.

Allowing me
confused, afraid
to find belief
foundations laid
become much more
than simply fit;
three magic words
‘Embrace the HIIT.’
Fierce dance soundtracks
anxiousness blown
within the Tribe
our second home.

Family Atters
sweet Gen X
Joseph and Matt
Jo never rests
lovely Karen
Lynda B
all twenty three
plus yours truly…
Cheers Caroline
Rachel, you rule
these Tribes of Blaze
defining cool.

So here I am
evolving fast
assurance raised
true strength to last
beyond the confines
of their Gym:
see you next week;
let’s play to win.
Sum of our parts
great, worthy goal
thanks David Lloyd:
new life’s now whole.

Chalkwell Park :: Regeneration

Ah, Chalkwell, where as an extremely impressionable 17 year old I went in the hope of catching the eye of a local boy who I’m pretty certain wasn’t even aware of my existence. I learnt the rules of Cricket for him, and they’ve lasted far longer in my head than his name. I think he was a Steve, but recall has never been my strong point with such things.

No matter: the park remains, testament to time and countless innings. It’s also home of the local arts collective to whom I owe a vast debt of gratitude: this idea was meant as my way to try and grab an in-house residency. As it happens, it’s opened the doors to other places that have not been explored for many decades, and for that alone the whole project’s been well worth time and effort.

Metal Detector


Passed thousand times
wholes dug, refilled
dog walking paradise
10am eternal. Here
she listened, smiled
haiku verse, aware
one day, all this
will be yours. Sit
silly points, drink
teenage angst,
double dipped, rules
learnt, mad about
boy who won’t. Art
bought and paid,
rhyme made, that
tree, Village Green
(don’t know which)
one chance, all in
out for the lads. A
bite swells, massive
failure, blistered
brain regains belief
start again, regenerate
at Chalkwell gates.

Mind :: The Waiting Room

Taken May 15th, 2019
The View from Here.

That’s a lovely sea view, and where I go on Tuesdays before I visit someone very important. What I’ve not told you so far, in the midst of this poetic flight of fancy, is that I’ve been undergoing psychiatric counselling the entire time: it was for depression and anxiety initially, but there’s a larger view going forward.

I’m pursuing an autism diagnosis, and after this period of one to one interaction is done, I’ll be off on a different path. Here’s where I’ve been spending Tuesday Lunchtimes since March.

It seemed only right and proper I wrote about it: poem’s the least satisfactory of the whole bunch for me but, as it happens, the most accurate in relation to actual brain contents right now. Needless to say, if you care about this stuff, I talk about it on my personal blog in some detail.

The Waiting Room

I woke up far earlier than needed to this morning
because this is my first day of counselling Blues:
don’t call it therapy ‘cause they can’t cure me
it’s just means to help brain cope with sudden freezes, mental panic
often resulting from being in new and challenging situations ooooh

be grateful you woke up this morning or else
there’d be no-one to present unfortunate affliction to.

Went to the Centre an hour before appointment
because sitting at home stressing doesn’t help yoooou
done that more than adequately for decades:
let’s mix it up, daring panic with approach that’s new
reception chairs are comfy, nobody ever talks toooo

like being at home, only larger, onus subtly alters
allowing expanded opinion from occluded sea view.

Typed the wrong registration number on
town centre parking ticket machine Blues
left hasty note for warden, hope they understand I’m a fooool
that five should have been six, fault of shaking hands
sometimes wish brain wasn’t my most hated fan.

make the most of your command, am what I am
awakening realisation, difference is a part of a plan.

No, I woke up this morning, hoping for Progress with the Blues
maybe local team could spare a striker
kicking issues long way out of view
gentle blond hero makes me be strong
removing debilitating ineptituuuuuude

when all that matters is someone to listen
broken scarred fables, lifetime of wrong
twelve weeks of revelations is
reason to stop singing this song.

Shoebury Garrison :: Oh, What a Lovely Development…

There’s still a Ministry of Defence presence in Shoebury, despite the fact the majority of the Victorian buildings were sold to a property development company. If someone unearths an unexploded World War 2 bomb in the Estuary (which might happen more often than you realise) it will undoubtedly be dragged to the testing range to be control detonated.

For the rest of the area, life is now considerably less regimented. It’s very beautiful, the mix of ancient and modern, with a number of black stray cats that patrol the domain, clearly the true owners of these vast spaces. My personal favourite thing to do is to practice marching on the old parade ground. Just make sure the locals aren’t watching…

Shoebury Garrison : taken May 29th, 2017
All ashore…

Oh What a Lovely Development…

History’s lessons, brick etched course
black cat of war’s slow slouch
towards apotheosis, rising prices
feature walls date marked reminder:
regiment woz ‘ere; developing
primed landscape, rows of cars,
unexploded arguments, genteel
admonishment forgets their point.
Quick marched, hard baked boots
step reserved each part exchanged
for barbecues, but no ball games
better beaches than up west,
no fear here, history’s demise.
They will not be forgotten, unlike
keys, appointments, jumpers
rubbish blowing out of cannons
still might kill us all:
aesthetic lifestyle passes out
finger to its past self:
up yours Thorpe Bay,
we’re the cool kids now.
Their better part of value
moving east
barracking way’s

Southend Victoria/Southend Central :: The Next Station is…

A lot of the borough is built around stations: it’s a reasonable rarity that you get two (different) main lines running through the same town, but that’s how special we are. There’s a reason: one’s always been overground and the other, amazingly, was an Underground line. Now they both run into the centre of town, covering locations both north and south of the town’s main roads.

Basically, we’re a transportation smorgasbord. Whichever way you come from London, you’ll end up falling onto the High Street eventually. Watch out for the buskers under the bridges, and don’t feed the seagulls. Seriously, you’re just asking for trouble…

Southend Victoria :: taken June 18th 2019

The Next Station is…

Next station, end of the line.

Button, bias backed, done up a treat
both ways to get here; worlds away
from London Town, their great escape.
Next station’s holiday, lie low
Sweeney chasing bad ‘uns here
Eastenders noshing, Jamie’s shack.
Beware, our seagulls do attack.

Grey shift, house shrink, blurred way
transport lives that could be yours:
stay well within their lines, escape.
White fed morsels freed on rails,
weekend tails, dancing to own songs
in time with poles: Karl, he knows.
Rhythm of travel, unopposed.

Two ways to meet an end, aligned
step towards lads’ weekend, planned
ice-creamed doughnut slots, escape.
Destination’s golden, miles
accountable no longer, smile: don’t care
now Friday’s here, direction’s clear.
Southend’s mine; another beer.

Next station, start fresh; good time.