Jaywick – Leaving this old town – 2



In this instalment, we head into the surrounding marshland and salt flats to the west of Jaywick.

Eating somewhere old. Exploring somewhere new. A journey begins. The Heart of Marshness.



The Seafisher’s Hand is an old seaside restaurant west of Jaywick, furnished with the type of tables and chairs you’d find in a school assembly hall. The tables have laminate cloths over them; once colourful, now faded, having been swapped around the same tables for a decade or more and sprayed down everyday with cleaning chemicals, slowly melting and burning away at the film covers. At least, that was the feeling. Not just of the tables, but of the whole place. This isn’t a criticism either; it isn’t dirty, it’s just old school and unabashedly working class.

Dotted around are shelves that display cheap plastic beach toys and sweet dispensers, all of them bright primary colours. The walls are busy with images, murals of an ocean fairing theme; pirate ships, anchors, sails… sailors. It’s a lot kitsch. Amongst them, you can find strange poems and customer notices painted.



“Naughty” would you be?


ASBOs start

at three!

My transcription maintains the structure of the original text. As well as replicating its unique grammar and syntax, somewhat reminiscent of Yoda.

You hear accents from London and Essex, and frying, kitchen clatter, mugs sliding across tables, the radio playing the most cheesy, puff pop music; so sweet it could give aural diabetes. One thing that stands out, besides the awful pop music, is that it was sitting in that café that I heard for the first time that Nelson Mandela had been rushed to hospital.

After we’d grabbed our breakfast, we picked a direction and started walking. The only sensible choice seemed to be to go further along the un-travelled route, so we carried on past the Seafisher’s Hand, with some water, a little munch and at least a couple of joints stashed.

The further you go, the less appealing the beach gets; at least in the quaint British seaside village sense. First it turns to stone and shingle, the sea is grey and sandy brown, then to mud, to rubbish and rank smelling ditches which criss-cross the beach. In the ditches are shin high pools with faint chemical rainbows floating inside, flowing towards the sea.


We walked so far we left the sea wall behind and our path changed from concrete to grass. We were miles from anyone. To our left, the ocean, to our right, a drainage ditch, then farmland. I stopped when there were neither people nor houses in sight. I opened my arms out, I felt the wind blanketing my face and whipping my fringe into my eyes and I yelled, at the top of my voice, ‘Hello!’

Ben joined me. After, he turned to me and said, ‘Feels good to let it out sometimes, don’t it?’

It does.


This far along you couldn’t see the beach. All you could see were flood plains and marshland, dotted with long, brittle tufts of grass, cracked mud, tiny sluice-like ravines, a couple inches of dirty water draining around the bottom. There is rubbish, rusted metal. Further back, where the beach is still a beach, you find driftwood and whole ancient tree trunks, turned porous and white by sea water.


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About Luke Smith

I travel around and write about it. When I'm not travelling around, I write about whatever seems meaningful to me at the time; these are usually meditations on current events, finding ways to survive the crushing existential grind of modern civilisation or vaguely philosophical musings.
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12 Responses to Jaywick – Leaving this old town – 2

  1. Love this route you’re taking bud. Fascinating posts that really grab the attention of the reader. These Jaywick post are first class mate! Brilliant work, I’m impressed. Can’t wait to see whats next. Thanks!😎

    Liked by 2 people

  2. isabelle says:

    It’s quite an alternative travel post, original, genuine and honest, not dominated by colourful and fabulous pictures. I lived in England when I was a student, great to know a bit more about the history of the country. Enjoyed the post very much! Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Jaywick – Leaving this old town – 2 — Journeys Through Pre-World War 3 Britain | Jaywickman

  4. Pingback: Jaywick – The long walk back – 4 | Journeys Through Pre-World War 3 Britain

  5. Ivor Burit says:

    although rather late, it seems your seaside myth is all that really is, as as you walked ?? “south” the water must have drowned you, but walking east from you photos would bring you back to My Jaywick, but hey, boy scout and compass I will never be…. I did drive to LEE over SANDS where your pillbox and nature reserve lookout posts are though..
    Question here, you did know My Jaywick stops at our famous Napoleonic Tower that you past maybe a mile ago, (open to visitors during the tourist season for far better views than you mud sunk pill box) as to your Immediate North runs that raised escapement up to Cocket Wick, but that runway from sea invasion divides My Jaywick from the hell of TINTOWN holiday Encampments that grows like Twizzles nose did once..
    Please don’t confuse your camera or yourself as to where you tippy tip toe along our forgotten coastlines eh……next named seaside from My Jaywick is the once “pay per drive on” beach of Sailor Boy” or HUTLEYS Holiday Park no longer My Jaywicks..
    Real Jaywickians are fiercely proud of living in My Jaywick, don’t ya know..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha. Yeah, guess my direction was way off on this. You seemed to figure out where I ended up though. When I re-edited to post here from the initial piece I wrote in my diary years ago I didn’t bother to check my compass, quite foolish all things considered.

      The question re-tower. Earlier that day we visited the martello tower, I just didn’t write about it and really I preferred both the journey to and view from the mud sunk pill box we found.

      I wasn’t confused about where I was though. I have been deliberately vague about exact locations. I figured a local could figure it out if they decided to but that isn’t really the point of this. I’m not really creating reviews or travel guides. My main reason for obscuring exact location and place names is that I want to write honestly about things and I don’t want to make anyone less likely to get business based on a description of a place or restaurant or wherever that I visit. This may seem an odd explanation given that I didn’t really say anything overly negative (some people may react badly to my general portrayal of town, I think its pretty sympathetic) but I imagine earlier drafts may have been more explicit about things or people and so I was vague and renamed things.


      • Ivor Burit says:

        LOL.. now worries bud… I get very defensive about “My Jaywick” as I used to be a community spokesperson that got very involved with our District Council for 6 long years, so, wrote many things one way or another.. Me? lived here, no, retired here 14 years ago now, moved into a tiny bungalow after selling a big semi in the outskirts of Romford, and on moving in day i pulled up outside thinking WTF have I done, but then casual walkers by might think the same.. You have to put away the thinking of Work, eat sleep in towns, big houses then have caravans on the coast,, then down size that thinking into eat, sleep, live on the coast, as just 30 metres from where I write is our beach.. Work is/ was 60 miles away on a good non traffic day – can you see my point…. Any fool can have a BIG house like I once had, along with the BIG paying, up to 14 hours a night, then some 12 night weeks in Hi tec aerospace parts production, nice pay packets but no life apart from work and the odd weekend in the tincan on wheels……..That grey WTF moment was my turning point in life, but since I bought more than just one plot, plus had planning permission my WTF grey place has grown just like twizles nose did, now got a bigger non grey place, hi tec heating & hot water, better home Insulation than most new builds, got 2 postal addresses as I own the plot behind me now used as rear access & big car port (plus second letter box) so more off road areas than most new builds.. love it when a plan comes together eh…. During me and wifes journey in our lives we have been approached for our story of why we moved here, as the script writers from the Mercury Theatre put on a play named – “A boy with a bomb in his crisps” for which we may have had some input into the story line, we got free tickets on opening night anyway, and so we got more photos of us in our local rag bless them.. was always in the paper me during my 6 years stint, but, looking in the gazettes Jackson Road office window is me/us/the clacton scooter club.. another long story..lol.. do love a motor scooter me, currently got 2, a traditional Vespa “Cosa” model and a more modern piaggio X9 evolution model big cruiser….. Sadly my dear wife had, fought, but lost her life to terminal brain cancer (glioblastoma grade 4- the worst) and passed away peacefully in a nice care home in Colchester just a few days before Christmas, but, bless her, she like me had 14 years of early starting retirement here in My Jaywick, so, she did well also.. Ex nurse, who worked just too damn hard before we just said ENOUGH….
        So, always got a story myself, despite my odd hours of sleeping..
        thanks, Ian.
        Ivor is my “poetic license”…lol

        Liked by 1 person

      • Understandable. To many of the people outside Jaywick it is viewed as an eyesore and inconvenience, as such it’s important than the locals stay defensive. I believe the place would have been washed away by Clacton council decisions years ago if it wasn’t for a powerful community spirit. It is a unique town and should be maintained, ugliness and beauty, for a lot of reasons although its uniqueness is reason enough alone.

        As you say, the attitude is very different in this town. Another reason why it should be preserved.

        Very cool that you were approached for consultation with a theatre. If

        I’m very sorry to hear about your wife, although, as you say, she and you had 14 years living in Jaywick, which is a beautiful thing. I’m glad you got to share that time together and the time before. Thank you for commenting here and leaving some of your story for myself and readers. Much appreciated.


      • Ivor Burit says:

        on my “journey” through life I was a mini cab driver both full time for 2 years then part time when Engineering went through a bad patch, but in doing that job i met so many different people if only briefly from point A to point B….
        I have both funny and strange stories to tell, something like your detailed journeys too I guess, but, in every ones lifetime there is always a story to tell…
        Maybe i should write a book….but then that would be too much to read so would be edited down I guess…lol


      • Everyone has stories, for sure. You must have met countless people with stories themselves, so in a sense you have not just your own story to tell but snapshots of a hundred others. Maybe you should write it and worry about editing down later. My experience, in the end a third of what is written is fairly superfluous and unnecessary.

        Incidentally, I appreciate your sharing my work but must say that I don’t think I did misidentify Lee over Sands as Jaywick. All the content about the salt flats and Lee over Sands is in chapters of the Jaywick series called ‘Leaving this old town’ and ‘into the salt flats’, hopefully showing a separation. Besides that, it notes that these locations are west of Jaywick and describes it as ‘the land between two towns.’

        I understand your not wanting me to misrepresent the town and while my initial compass direction was off (and fixed thanks to your input) I don’t believe anything else is inaccurate, besides some business name changes.

        Thanks for your interest and input. I hope you decide to share some of your stories sometime.


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