Clacton-on-Sea to Walton-on-the-Naze

Another Part One

With still three weeks left before work for me, for you, just one, we decided to walk along the coast from Clacton to Walton, passing by Frinton. For us both there was something from the past that attracted us to this strip of coastline. For me some photographs I took when visiting with both my mum and dad over ten years ago. For you a story from your Grandma about how, as a young girl, she had walked from her school in Frinton to the train station at Clacton to return home to London. This would have been nearly eighty years ago.

And then there’s the sun. Sun too strong for March, it encouraged us away from home. By eight o’clock that evening your forehead would be red, our lips dry and cracked.

From Liverpool Street, the train to Clacton takes just under an hour an a half. Once out of London we passed through some small towns and imagined, each time, what it might be like to live there. I was rude about the houses on the edges of one town – all the same, yellow bricks, small white-framed windows, stacked up and down the Essex slopes. Comments made in passing, so distanced from the I love yous, I hate yous, the Come ins, the Get outs.

From the station at Clacton it seemed we walked a single straight line directly to the end of the town’s pier. The pier was preparing for the Easter holidays with acrylic animals squashed into clear plastic sacks waiting to be hung as tantalising prizes. The wind turbines far out to sea turned slowly and turning south we saw a little way down the coast two Martello towers. We changed our plans and headed first to these squat towers surrounded by beachside redbrick and magnolia walls.  So, it was from there that the walk would begin.

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