I spent 10 minutes attempting a witty title and gave up. When the book about Covid is written it’ll say the biggest casualty was the quality of pub blog titles.
Perhaps Si will name Leigh with pee and Peterboat with scroat and we’ll be redeemed.
Yes, I was following in the steps of the great man out to the Essex coast.
As Simon is discovering, this is West Ham supporting Essex, and the stylish Billy Bonds still runs a barbers in Leigh.
I love “cutter of hair“; Matt should change his business card to that.
It’s worth the walk up into modern Leigh from the station for
your last haircut till December the descent and view across the marshes. The Essex marshes are some of the treasures of England.
Oooh, I can see my target, looking all eerie and Dickensian.
I’m sure I’ve got relatives here; I certainly brought a grandmother to Leigh Salvation Army once (no NBSS scores).
The Old Town gets a fair few tourists from The Smoke, the same way Londoners left the plague-filled streets to dine on oysters at Greenwich in Pepys time.
But at 2pm on an overcast midweek October day, it’d be empty, surely ?
It was packed. The waitress (what else can you call them ?) looked nervous.
“I’ll be quick, only want a pint“. It had worked for BRAPA.
She sneaked me inside, almost conspiratorially, and let me linger at the bar.
I went for the house beer, something called Hilda by George, which sounds like a clothing range at Morrisons.
Spookily, Hilda was also the name of the grandmother I brought down here in 1990. It all makes sense now.
EVERYONE else was dining, but I never felt judged for sinking a lush pint (NBSS 3.5) in ten minutes.
OK, the banter wasn’t very Southend.
“I just want a bit of variety“
“What you having, Andrew ?”
“I’ll have the haddock and chips“
But what they do, the Peterboat do very well.
I admired Leigh Sands, and dreamed about a boat taking me across the Thames to an inevitable Kentish micro on the Isle of Grain in 2024.
Rather like Hastings, ALL the pubs suddenly looked great.
And, despite having stopped for McDonalds in town (South Essex is sponsored by Ronald McDonald), I had to brave the growing squall and queue as Osborne’s Seafood hut for some baby octopus (£4).
Grief, they were gorgeous in vinegar.