Monday, 30 May 2016

Thames Barge - Malden and the River Blackwater

The weather forecast was not good and heavy rain and a 40 knots wind speed was predicted. We set sail at 06:00 hours under dark skies with an enthusiastic crew who certainly looked after us well.  We seem to be fed two-hourly starting with breakfast and the galley staff worked hard cooking all day, so lovely culinary aromas filled the air.   I knew we were getting something with chocolate at some time! Despite the forecast the wind did get up to 20 plus knots in the afternoon and it was very cold.
We set sail and headed round Northy Island, now owned by the National Trust and an important habitat for wild life.    It was nine miles to the estuary mouth where we turned round to return to the Quayside getting back at the  planned 18:00 hours. We passed Mersea Island known for its oysters and Roman history, and Blackwell which has a Roman shore for and early Christian chapel, St. Peter's.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Great Dunmow, Essex

Great Dunmow "Meadow on the Hill"  is a historic market town and originally a Roman settlement site. Many buildings from the Middle Ages have survived notable the 16C town hall. The Doctors Pond was a family attraction for feeding the ducks. The town is well know for its four-yearly ritual of the "Fitch Trials"' in which couples must convince a jury of six local bachelors and six local aides that for a year and a day, they have never wished themselves unwed. The successful couple is then paraded along the high Street and are presented with a fitch of bacon. The last trial was in 2013  and the next is schedules this year, 2016!