Silenced by moving

Hi all,

another 3 weeks of silence, but this time it wasn’t my fault, honestly! The best girlfriend and I have finally moved out of the post-apocalyptic and post-industrial land of the NEET to lusher pastures, to be correct to an (almost) coastal village in Mid-Essex. While the move itself was only over a distance of 50km, the usual catastrophes had to happen (the van not being ready on time, snow, a sulking workforce, misassembled furniture). But things have now settled, both the best girlfriend ever and me are starting to get used to the extra time it takes to commute to London and we have started to enjoy the trappings of living in the English countryside: world class rural pub within staggering distance, nocturnal silence, nice neighbours, no rioting in the streets and people smiling when you greet them. This alone makes the half an hour less sleep in the morning worth it. National Express East Anglia has so far performed admirably, apart from that night when (likely caused by snow) our train was replaced by a bus replacement service with a driver who had no idea where he was going and we were all saved by an enterprising chap who showed the driver the way (and helped him manoevre when he had to reverse) through the snowy night on treacherous country roads.

Gripped by Fear


There is only one small problem with our rural idyll: Broadband sucks. With the next exchange 5km away, I have to survive on downloads so slow that watching a movie on Apple TV needs a day’s planning. Our TV – aerial isn’t quite working either, so BBC’s iPlayer is the medium of choice. But hey: there’s always books. And the silence to enjoy. And no direct means that the Klipsch speakers can finally be turned up a bit…


Walking around Basildon?

If you – like me – live in the postindustrial wastelands that is modern day South – East Essex, you will be delighted if you get out of the concrete desert from time to time and get some fresh air and get away from the NEETs.  Surprisingly, this is actually not that, hard, as the County and District Councils run a surprisingly large and diverse collection of country parks. To find the best ones, may I recommend the following little tome:

‘Secret Basildon’ by Sue Ranford is a little gem of a book with 15 medium and short range walks around some of the nicest nature reserves you would hope to find. Sue makes the walks easy to find and to navigate, adds helpful little maps and gives you even a little hint or two on what to look out for.

Today we walked around the lovely Northlands Wood Country Reserve which is literally 5 minutes by car from Basildon proper and (apart from the constant din from the A13) lets you forget that you live in one of the most unappealing places in England. Quite a feat.

Just around the corner from Basildon. Really?