Pier Hunting-Clacton on Sea
The pier at Clacton, No 1 The North Sea, is one of Britain’s most successful. It is basically a fun fair on stilts. Its 730 metres long and 6.5 acres in size and houses every conceivable ride, dodgem and thrill and of course miles and miles of amusement arcades. Its big dipper and helter skelter dominate the sky line.Thrills which are duplicated by similar fun palaces on land. Monthly fire work displays are part of the action. Only my black heart stops me responding to the slogan “Fun for All the Family”.
On the windswept day I went I shared the Jolly Roger cafe at the end of the pier with one other couple. But at weekends the one train an hour is full,the beach packed and the pier jumping. Different coasts for different folks. This is not Southwold or Lyme Regis. Those are resorts where you can buy croissants and fish and chips. Croissants in Clacton? You having a laugh?
The pier is sandwiched between Barry and Phil’s Tattoo parlour and the 40 wind turbines(see link) which make up one of the UK’s biggest off shore alternative energy sources. Enough electricity is generated to fuel this down market Essex town, where a three bedroomed bungalow cost £270k.The day I went, Clacton was not living up to being part of the Essex Sunshine Coast. Here, at least until the election ,UKIP has its only MP. That is, the town is dominated by the old and the unskilled,those that globalisation left behind. The prosperity of our major seaside resorts has long since been eroded by cheap travel to warmer climates.
The Tattoo Parlour is picky. No alcohol or push chairs are allowed and the minimum spend is £20. Now in my few hours in the town I noticed many large ladies with their push chairs full of sullen brats, often they were accompanied by pasty faced lads clutching cans of extra strong brew. So no tattoos for them. Check they already have them
But a nice sandy beach, a great sea food stand and an excellent salt beef sandwich. Most I chatted to originally came from the old Cockney heartlands-Stepney, Dartford , Walthamstow, Mile End or the Isle of Dogs. The lady serving me whelks asked where I was from, Putney. Where’s that?…. Where’s that? Home of the Boat Race, surely you’ve heard of that. Boat Race-is that something to do with sailing, do you want more vinegar?
Different coasts for different folks.