The Real Essex


My adopted county seems to receive a lot of bad press; the media shows us images of drunken clubbers, white stilettos and ridiculous clothes. In other words, it has an even worse media image than my hometown of Cheltenham. So, when I accepted D’s invitation to stay with him for a while until I’d recovered from a bad experience in Birmingham, it was with some trepidation.

Imagine my surprise when I found myself on a little rural housing estate, with fields nearby and friendly neighbours. When we became a couple I quickly set about encouraging wildlife to our garden, and we now have birds in abundance, with the occasional friendly hedgehog (and sometimes a neighbour’s very stupid cat, named Monty, who is so stupid that we rarely pay him any mind and just give him fuzzles if he won’t leave the garden). He’s a fluffy apricot coloured Persian fuzzball with beautiful golden eyes. I know I have a photo somewhere!

Over the years I have come to love my adopted city almost as much as I love my husband. Not only is it beautiful, but there is an awful lot of history. I would like to share some of this history, some of the beautiful buildings and some garden pictures from this morning with you.

We live less than two miles from Henry VIII’s old stomping/hunting ground.

henryviiiKing Henry is, of course, famous for his greed, arrogance and impatience with both women and the church. During his reign, our area of Chelmsford was mostly farmland (we’ve discovered all kinds of interesting cattle bones in our garden!) but rabbits and deer were also plentiful – and perfect for filling his “cock-pheasant” paunch. He bought Beaulieu Palace from Thomas Boleyn, for his wife Anne. It is now a private school and was once a convent:

New HallThis stunning piece of architecture is now Newhall.

Chelmsford is also the birthplace of the radio. The Titanic sent the first ever wireless SOS. Unfortunately the Titanic sent the distress signal out in CQD, so it went unrecognised. All the same, Marconi’s radio went on to save many lives over the years via wireless telegraph.

Quite tragically the Marconi Building has been allowed to fall into deriliction over the years – and has now been bought up to be converted into offices and luxury apartments. The facade is listed, however, and so it has to be kept intact. Here is how it looked before the Olympics:

Marconi BuildingAnother historical figure worth a mention is Judge Tindal – who introduced the insanity plea. His statue resides on Tindal Square, which is where you land if you take a short cut through the cathedral grounds:

Judge TindalAt certain times of year the Judge sports a cheerful traffic cone on his head!

Speaking of the cathedral, we have the second smallest cathedral in the country. It is stunningly beautiful though!

Chelmsford CathedralI have yet to go inside for a look, but I do love to walk in amongst all of that green.

Two rivers flow through the town centre: The River Chelmer and The River Can. Here’s the Can:

River CanWhen I’m well enough to be in town I have to cross that bridge to find the sewing shop!

Some more views of the city centre:

Chelmsford Camelot

High StreetI love living here! (You can actually see my opticians in this photo, haha)

Now some news from our very own garden (with pictures).

D is always awake before dawn. This morning he awoke to snow. He captured this nice shot with the help of the street light.

Unfortunately this weather prevented us from reaching D's Nan's funeral, but it was still pretty

Unfortunately this weather prevented us from reaching D’s Nan’s funeral, but it was still pretty

I eventually woke up and… hey, what’s this?

Hiding in the bush

I know those markings!I know those markings!

Winter PlumageGood morning, Mrs Sparrowhawk!

We don’t need to go out searching for nature; nature comes to us.

Okay, so I’ve been a bit rambly today, I know, but after the seriousness of yesterday’s blog I wanted something lighthearted to cheer people up!

About The Hairy Housewife

Media volunteer for Epilepsy Action (UK) and advocate for both epilepsy and autism awareness. Seamstress, cross-stitcher, sci-fi lover, ukulele player and Chelmsford's own Pickling Pagan who wants to inherit a TARDIS when she grows up. In the process of writing an as yet unnamed book, with anecdotes and information about being epileptic and autistic - and seeing the funny side! Also an entertainment journalist for What Culture, where I write about Doctor Who.
This entry was posted in Birds, History, Home, Judge Tindal, Marconi, My City, Nature, Titanic. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to The Real Essex

  1. paulaacton says:

    I watched Come Dine with Me last week from Huddersfield where i live and looking at the people on there you would never come visit the area based on them lol if you don’t believe me just take a peek at the first 5 minutes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxthqNfXQjo I promise i am nothing like any of them lol

    • Missus Tribble says:

      OMG! We watched that and it was a right trainwreck!

      There was also a Cheltenham episode last year and I was watching and telling D: “I went to school with him, he was a right little prick and obviously hasn’t changed!” lol :)

  2. renxkyoko says:

    Nice post ! ! ! Like, I want to live there, too.

  3. littlesundog says:

    I like this “rambly” post! Nice photos… what a dreamy place to visit!

  4. argylesock says:

    Loving Ms Sparrowhawk! I hope she’ll be all right through this cold weather.

    • Missus Tribble says:

      We’ve seen her on at least one other occasion this year and believe her to be the same one that visited last year. Gorgeous specimen, isn’t she? :)

  5. utesmile says:

    What a lovely city, it is not that far from me, but I have never been there. My borough used to be Essex but is part of London now, so I am ok, but then I wasn’t born here. I think Essex is rather nice. Beautiful pictures, nice bird!

  6. Wonderful blog I am so glad I found you! Please post photos of your visit to that church!

  7. No wonder you like living there! Just think, you could be standing in one of the very spots that Henry VIII pulled down Anne Boleyn’s top and squeezed her, what did they call them in those days? Whatever, anyway – very romantic!

  8. 2nd smallest cathedral? Cool! I have a feeling the smallest cathedral might be Derby (which is also very pretty). It’s possible they won’t let you take photos inside – some cathedrals are a bit fussy about that – which is a bit sucky if you ask me!

    • Missus Tribble says:

      I’m not sure… if I tell them I’m a blogger and can give them a business card I think they’ll let me take pictures. There’s plenty of them online in any case :)

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