Posted by: Paul | May 15, 2010

Cudmore Grove

Just to be clear, I have not posted this picture upside down. I was lying on my back on a picnic rug, basking like an upturned turtle in the warm early summer sun. I opened my eyes and tilted my head back in order to shield them from the searing light, and caught sight of the upside down clifftop behind and above me, and thought it made for an interesting image, with the azure sky on the bottom rather than in its usual place.

We continued our occasional quest to find the closest piece of sand to where we live today, and I think we’ve found it – Cudmore Grove on East Mersea. Mersea Island hunkers down like a hippo in the thick mud of the Colne Estuary close to Colchester, separated from the land by a thin causeway called The Strood. At times of very bad weather and high tides the Strood is covered by water, and there was a famous image in the press at the beginning of the year of a woman stuck in a silver BMW right in the centre. Mersea must inspire that sort of stupid behaviour, since the Monster Raving Loony Party have for years had it on their manifesto that they want to declare Mersea an independent state with its own currency. There are those living on the Island who wholeheartedly agree with this view.

Despite the fact that Adam has spent the entire day so far in an absolutely foul mood – resulting in an aborted attempt to walk to the shops, never has five minutes felt so much like an hour – we decided to ignore the tantrums and go out anyway. Anywhere with sea and a little patch of sand usually lifts his mood, and so it proved – he was soon happily building sandcastles and though it’s not the sort of beach where you can swim (mud, seaweed and dangerous tides), he still braved the icy waters for a paddle and to throw some stones.

Cudmore Grove sits across the water from pretty Brightlingsea, and in high season a ferry takes foot passengers backwards and forwards, so you can make a good day out between enjoying the open space and beach on the Island and pottering around the little shops on the opposite shore. Today though it was just a spot of lunch and looking out on the sparkling water while a two year old went noisily mad nearby.

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