I have the afternoon to fill a gap so I take the train to Shoeburyness, knowing that I will not be able to follow the coast due to military restrictions. One of three passengers on this grey day, I leave the train and walk northwards into town in the direction of the Wakerings. With the fortified fence of the army base on my right, I walk past surreal rows of pink rubbish bags waiting to be collected – there is no-one around.
Winding back to the main road I cross fields and down alleyways at the backs of houses until I reach Great Wakering church where I stop to say hello to the ducks in the village pond. The church is locked so I continue past the silent house fronts and onto a bridleway that will take me past a fishing lake and the beautiful Little Wakering Hall. Arriving opposite the Castle Inn I find I am twenty minutes early for the bus to Southend so I go across the road to the churchyard to eat my lunch. The church boasts a spire funded by the Bishop of Norwich as a thank you for his safe return from the Battle of Agincourt – the plaque also mentions a whipping post!