A Grand Day Out. In Basildon.

So last weekend the best girlfriend ever dragged me away from my computer (just when it looked like I was finally levelling up to a level 3 mage on Baldur’s Gate. Sigh) to attend the Basildon Beer and Folk Festival. While neither me nor her are particular fan of middle aged men playing solo acoustic guitar and singing about flowers I tagged along and had a look around.

Hidden behind Basildon Council’s recycling station is ‘Wat Tyler Country Park‘, a regeneration project in the marshes of South East Essex on the site of a disused explosives factory that promises a natural paradise where a landfill used to be.

The first thing you will notice on the way to the Wat Tyler park is this:


Art in public spaces. Whether it works often depends on the choice of site. Or the art. I am not 100% sure whether the basketball player in front of the Motorboat Museum works, though.


The Motorboat Musuem. Yes, there is a Motorboat Museum.  After having a look around Google for about ten minutes I couldn’t find another one, so it seems to be rather unique on this planet. What is it like? Well, it’s a hall crammed full of motor boats in all shapes and sizes.


And there is a pond in which you can steer your own little model motorboat after the insertion of 40p.  I personally can’t see the appeal and would have preferred a motherboard museum, but you can’t have everything in life.


I am sure there is a thriving vintage motorboat community out there that considers this spot in the Essex marshlands as their holy grail.

The folk and beer festival? There was a chap with a guitar singing about hang overs. There were no cask ales left. We left quickly to enjoy the relative quiet of the RSPB’s twitcher huts and were rewarded with the sight of a Eurasian Coot with her chicks.


I did level up very soon after that.