This is the one place which we were determined to get to during our recent road trip to the south of England. We moved from the west of Scotland to Braintree over 33 years ago when Jack got a job as a research chemist. This is the first house that we ever bought but it was really too far away from his work in Hertford but house prices there had doubled the year before and were unaffordable. It was brand new when we moved in and Braintree was deep in snow, we had never seen anything like it in Scotland!
The amount of commuting involved to get to work was just ridiculous and what with that and my dad being terminally ill we ended up going back to Scotland after a couple of years so that I could help my mum to look after dad. But we had always wondered what the place was like after all these years, it hasn’t really changed very much but we were really surprised to discover that the rough ground in front of the house hadn’t been built on. In fact it has been turfed and there are nice trees there now and benches looking over to this view.
Of course the River Blackwater has always been there but the trees were much smaller then, you would never know that the village of Bocking is at the other side of them. It’s quite scenic really and we were lucky to be living right on the edge of the estate but we didn’t realise that at the time as we had always lived on the edge of the town and had a view of hills where we lived before. I wish we had that now!
Anyway, they always say – never go back – but we enjoyed our trip down memory lane and we’re hoping to go back to visit Essex again in the future.
Well I did have every intention of blogging while we were away but we packed so much into every day that we were too exhausted to do anything in the evenings except turn the TV on and vegetate whilst wondering who would be the next MP to do something crazy, we didn’t have long to wait did we! Over five days we visited:
Moffat (on the way down)
Lincoln (very nice but it chucked it down with rain)
Grantham (the only place we didn’t like much)
Stamford (very pretty with quirky houses and grand buildings)
Cambridge (lovely but smaller than I had imagined)
Newmarket (also worth visiting)
Grantchester (made famous by Rupert Brooke, lots of thatched cottages)
Madingley (very beautiful but sad American war cemetery)
Ely (lovely cathedral and ancient town)
Braintree (where we used to live, all very different in a good way)
Witham (where I used to work)
Silver End (to see art deco buildings)
Coggeshall (a re-visit for us, very chocolate boxy)
Great Dunmow (more ancient quirky buildings )
Thaxted (stopped briefly to snap – amongst other things – Gustav Holst’s house)
Saffron Walden (I really loved this place, very old fashioned)
So you can see why we were exhausted! Very naughtily I bought 15 books from second-hand bookshops, details later. So I hope you enjoy photos of old towns and villages as I’ll be blogging about our travels soon. It’s just as well that Jack still has another week of holiday time left, recovery time!
We’re going to be going on another road trip sometime during the up and coming school holidays. We’re visiting places that we’ve never been to before because there’s so much of Britain that we haven’t seen.
So the list of places we’re definitely visiting this time consists of:
Stamford (where they filmed Cranford)
Then as we’ll be so far south by then we decided to re-visit Braintree in Essex to see how much it has changed in the 33 years since we bought our first house there. We only lived there for a couple of years and ended up going back to live in Scotland for quite a lot of reasons. My dad was very seriously ill so I had to help with caring for him but apart from that we were very homesick anyway, me in particular and it was very annoying that whenever we opened our mouths people commented on our accents. It’s true that there weren’t many Scottish accents around in deepest darkest Essex in those days but it was a bit like being a circus act as people asked us to say something!
Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see the place again. If anybody who knows the above towns and areas could give us information on ‘not to be missed’ places to visit there, please leave a comment!
I’m hoping that I’ll be able to blog whilst on the trip but you never know really so I’ll probably schedule some posts, just in case.