Saturday, August 27, 2022

London, Finally: Part 8

 Burham. Oh, dear Burnham.

No visit to England can happen anymore without a visit to Burnham-on-Crouch, that tiny hamlet in Essex, so near the North Sea that the Crouch is mostly saltwater. 

Last time I visited, I hardly had time to walk around town, so this time, I made sure I had plenty of sleep the night before, an early start, and a few hours to walk around before meeting Kathy and Derek for lunch.

I took the Tube to Liverpool Street Station. When I stepped out, it was like I'd never left. I knew exactly where to go.

The train ride, too, was so familiar. 

I arrived in Burnham with plenty of time to just wander.  

Burnham Rail Station

I set off down the High Street, which hasn't changed too much since 2005 or 2016. 

To the right is the co-op where I did my grocery shopping.

Savages has not changed ONE BIT and this makes me so happy.

Burnham, too, was all decked out for Jubilee.

The cinema is still running! 

The Polash!!

Sgt. Peppers! 

This has always been an antique store. 

The Cabin Dairy Tea Rooms lives on.

I think this is new.

I wandered along the quay (that's "key") and breathed in the fresh air. The houseboats remain--some still occupied, others left to rust and flounder. 

Happy, happy, happy lady.

I took a picture of this very sign, in this
very window, in 2004. I am ridiculously
pleased that it is still there. 

The White Harte, where I would later
meet up with Kathy and Derek.

I swear to God, nothing has changed too much since the time I lived there. 

I stopped for a refreshment at the Cabin Dairy. I had a drink that was a blend of club soda and lemon sorbet. So yummy, and just what I needed to combat the humidity. 

This charity shop has been run by many
different charities, but it is still there.

I fell in love with this print, but alas, the
shop was closed on Wednesdays! Happily,
I found the artist on Etsy and bought one
when I got home. 

I left the main part of town to walk to St. Mary's, a medieval church. Back in my time at St. Peter's High School, I did a reading at the Christmas programme from the pulpit there.

This was the first time I've gone inside since December 2004.

I read from there.

Across the street from St. Mary's is Ormiston Rivers Academy, which was, once upon a time, St. Peter's High School. I could see the church from my classroom windows. 

It was time to be heading back towards the White Harte. Along the way, I passed this most gorgeous cottage, decorated for Jubilee. I later found out it is for sale. I have absolutely no job prospects in Burnham, alas.

As I approached the White Harte, I could see a couple outside. From a distance, I could have been wrong...but as I drew closer, I knew. They saw me, too. Kathy and Derek greeted me with warm hugs and big smiles. We ate a lovely lunch, then returned to their home for a couple more hours of chat and tea. I took no pictures (Derek did get one of Kathy and me, and I'll have to ask him for it), just enjoyed every minute of catching up with these dear people. 

Twenty-six-year-old Meg was so young. My time at St. Peter's was stressful, and being so far from home like that was sometimes hard. But the one constant in my year in Burnham was my friendship with Kathy and Derek. They are truly like family to me. 

Before long, it was time to head back towards London. Derek drove me to the station after Kathy gave me the biggest Mom Hug and we both teared up a bit. 

I returned to London, heart full and happy.

Once back, I stepped outside Liverpool Street to take some pictures. The City part of London was destroyed in World War II. In all the years I've known London, I've watched it grow and change, with bigger, modern buildings. Seeing them against the old structures is both beautiful and jarring. 

Once back to my hotel neighborhood, I stopped by a shawarma place I'd been eying for days. It was absolutely packed with people, so I got a chicken shawarma wrap to go and ate it in the rec room of my hotel.

It looks simple, but let me tell you, it was amazing. Crowds in a restaurant don't lie.

Once I'd eaten, I began the task of getting back to my room. 

I mentioned in the first post that the hotel had no lifts. And I was on the second floor...which in American English is the third floor. I had a lovely view of the park in front of the hotel, but damn, those stairs killed my post-COVID, jet-lagged ass every single time.

So this evening, I counted. I think it was 40-something. At each half-landing, there was a bathroom, presumably for my fellow travelers to throw up.


Again, the second floor is the third floor.
I will forever love the British and laugh at
their absurdities. Fondly.

My room was serviceable. The bathroom was teeny-tiny (to my immediate right in this pic), but the room itself had enough room to turn around in. 

I had one more full day in London, and some ideas of how I wanted to spend it. It would require a lot of walking, and I had walked a ton in Burnham. So it was off to the shower, then to bed. 

Why does my time in England always fly by too fast?!