I'm going to stop being sarcastic about Essex
Maldon Travel Blog› entry 53 of 87 › view all entries
I am still stranded in Essex. I genuinely want to be with the folks right now, but golly, I do wish they lived somewhere where there was something to do that doesn't involve shopping! A couple of days ago I went to Lakeside, on Saturday I'll end up in Chelmsford, I'll be in Braintree on Monday, Basildon on Sunday - and there isn't a single one of those places has an art gallery or museum that isn't dedicated to the Essex regiment. Yes, I have seen the Eagle that the Essex captured from Napolean. No, I don't know if the officer was really called Sharpe.
But today it was sunny, and whatever else, Maldon is pretty.
The guy with the sword is Britnorth, I think - the world's silliest Saxon leader. The story goes like this. In 991AD, the Vikings invaded Maldon. But they were trapped on a little island - you can see from the pics (once I find a phone cable) that it is pretty marshy, and it was even boggier in 991. Now Britnorth, or whatever his name was, was an Honourable Man. Anyone else would have let the Vikings stay on their little island and drown. But that is not Honourable, so he let them come ashore.
I am not making that up, either - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Maldon
Maldon's other claim to fame is the Thames Barges - pics to follow. These are nice sailing cargo ships, that used to go up and down the Thames (natch!), and have detachable topmasts so that they could sail under bridges, avoiding the need to hang around waiting for them to be raised, but then could be hoisted up to catch the wind above the wharves and warehouses. These days, you can hire them for team building and stag dos and stuff. They are very pretty, and there are even wooden shipbuilders in Maldon who can repair them.
Sorry, builders of wooden ships, not shipbuilders that are wooden.
That about covers Maldon. There are now two nice places on the high street to have coffee, Thomas Plume's Library (in an old church) which apparently was one of the first public libraries, but who knows, and a thing called the Maldon Tapestry which is a great bif embroidery made by some very dedicated ladies of Maldon to celebrate the thousandth anniversary of the Battle. The fact that Maldon boasts that this is a tourist attraction... I promised I was going to stop doing that, didn't I? It's quite skippable though, lets face it!
In summary, Maldon is nicer than people make out. If you were, say, going to a conference in Ipswich from London, and got to about Chelmsford and thought, you know, I need a coffee, maybe I will stop in this soul destroying fuel station, I would definately recommend you make the 20 minute detour to Maldon for a nice coffee in a nice coffee shop, and maybe a walk in Promenade Park.