Wednesday, 27 May 2009


Hello. Still haven't cracked this life/work/blog balance thing this year, I'm afraid. I have approx 40 blog posts half-written or sitting unwritten in my head: just haven't been able to get into the swing of actually finishing them off and launching them into cyberspace. Meanwhile, here's what happened above tbte earlier, following the wholly unspectacular disappearance of the sun from the sky, and a few minutes' gentle greyness:

Thursday, 14 May 2009


12.5.09 . . .

Sea salt. From ancient times, the estuaries and marshes of Essex have been at the centre of the salt making industry.

Some 'Fascinating Facts' about Mersea Island . . .

. . . and a favourite song for a favourite person (sorry about the visuals - not to my taste, but tis the only clip on youtube):


Tollesbury, 9.5.09

Trinity Lightship, the base of the Fellowship Afloat Charitable Trust , and home of the Tollesbury webcam, from which, if you are so inclined, you can gaze across to the Muddy Island.

Is there an apt number plate of the year award?

. . . . walk this way for a wild goose chase . . .

Wednesday, 13 May 2009


8.5.09 (more catching up with the backlog ...)

You may have noticed in a previous TBTE this striking newcomer to the Besom Fleet (pronounced 'Buzzen' locally) - the Strontium Dog, a trimaran recently relaunched after a lengthy rebuild: you can find out more about her here and here (hit the appropriate news button on the right-hand side of the page).

She couldn't be more different from her 'traditionally built' neighbours, but I think she's very beautiful indeed: I speak aesthetically, not nautically, being rather sadly lacking on the boaty knowledge (or indeed boaty anything) front.

The Sunday Service

A bit more catching up: on Sunday 3rd May, I took my girls to The Sunday Service - no, nothing to do with going to church, I'm afraid, but one of a series of musical afternoons hosted by the Love Bistro at the Minories in Colchester.

In the blossom-filled Minories gardens, and against the picturesque backdrop of the eighteenth-century folly, six local musicians entertained a relaxed, 200-strong audience for three hours.

There was a lovely inclusive atmosphere, with an excellent barbecue, a bar and plenty of tea and cakes - something for everyone, from dancing toddlers to persons of maturer years (ie even more mature than mine!) reclining on tartan blankets.

Ev and Mary, aka 'Dog Friendly' - a guitar and flute/sax duo - set a wonderfully upbeat tone to the afternoon.
Tony Gibson - trombonist with Colchester Ska/Reggae Band the New Town Kings , but playing here in his singer-songwriter guise, was accompanied by Andrew Poonian on tabla and joined for a couple of songs by singer Adrian Johnson.

Young Colchester singer-songwriter Laura Younger rounded off the day's music making.

It's so wonderful to see the garden and folly being put to such good use. Altogether a jolly good way to spend a Sunday afternoon, albeit a disappointingly chilly one (but that's May bank holiday weekends - at least it wasn't tipping down with rain).

The next Sunday Service at the Minories - and let's hope it's bathed in summer sunshine - is on Sunday 31st May at 3 pm and will feature Ragged String Band, Dionysus (Rob, Chris and Tony from the New Town Kings playing dub), Animal Noise and Tony Gibson. Andrew Poonian will be providing an African drum workshop, too. Tickets are £5 on the door. See you there!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

TBTM, TBTE and today's sea glass

A pointless crime

If you've visited Musings before, you will probably be familiar with our splendid Mersea beach huts, subject of many a point-click session of mine (eg here, here and here) as well as providing endless inspiration for island artists.

Last week some 30 of the West Mersea huts were broken into and four of them burned completely to the ground in the early hours of the morning.

It seems that this wasn't the usual 'mindless vandalism' which, sadly, we have to endure as much any other neighbourhood, but part of a planned operation by a gang targeting beach huts all along the east coast.

But . . . WHY? in heaven's name? What on earth does anyone expect to find in a beach hut other than ageing deckchairs, plastic spades, mismatched picnicware and a Spotters' Guide to the Sea Shore? Even at the height of the holiday season, it's most unlikely that anyone would leave anything of very much value inside, but many of these huts would still have been virtually empty since last autumn.

It's not only infuriating and worrying for islanders and desperately sad for the owners, but also completely baffling.

There's a pic of the scene the morning after, with fire crew still in attendance, on James & Maggie's blog.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Playing for Change - Stand by Me

Specially for anyone whom this particular worldwide virus hasn't yet infected - here's one of the most life-affirming versions of a favourite song. Play it loudly and then play it again . . . and again . . .

There’s an article about its inspiration and execution here and more info about Playing for Change here .