Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Southend

Nearly 6 years ago, for my 18th birthday, my Mum hired a coach and a large group of family and friends went down to Southend for the day to celebrate.

Last weekend, it was my brothers turn for his 21st.

Me and Liz had traveled down by bus the night before, arriving a bit later than originally planned due to less frequent busses then we had hoped. I had an eye test earlier so we weren't going to be able to go straight from work, but it was still a few hours after my test (I have perfect vision apparently, which is good to know). As I'd not been in Mums house for a while, I spend some time once arriving wandering around looking at the new things, namely the kitchen. I also spoke to Chris as we had bumped into him on the way there from town.

Chris left to go drinking for his birthday, so me and Liz watched some TV before going to bed (which we had to put sheets on for first; Liz was not too happy about being woken from the sofa to help).

The next morning, we woke up and got ready for the day. I had hoped it was going to be sunny as it was on the friday, but was told it was probably going to be a bit chilly, so slightly regretted only bringing my jacket.

We got on the coach, and headed off to Southend. On the way, Mum passed around a selection of sweets, so I took some chewits for the journey.

We arrived after a fairly short trip, a bit over an hour I think and walked to the amusement park they have there, where we got some wristbands to go on the rides there.

Most of the group then went off to get some drinks, but me and Liz had a wander around the park to go on some rides. We went on a flat track ride with spinning carriages, and then wandered over to the other end of the park and went on the haunted house ride. For a ride mainly aimed at kids, I was fairly impressed, it was dark most of the time which wasn't great, but then we got to the end and I was thinking 'I could see the exit from the stairs while we were waiting, it seems backwards and I don't remember the gates being there...' when a load of plastic skeletons jumped out, which I thought was well done as you were expecting the ride to be over. I think it would only really work the once, but it was decent nonetheless.

We then had a look in the pirate gift shop, I got a bandana, and bottle opener ring for Chris (to supplement the beer glass I had given him the day before).

Afterwards, we went on the skateboard ride, which was like the banana boat ride at other parks, except this one also spins around while oscillating, then onto the Pharohs Fury; small carriadges attached to an arm that spins, which is attached to a base that also spins. Last time I was there it was one of my favourite rides, also used to go on my own so unexpectedly got crushed going on with Liz due to the momentum involved.

After the rides we went for some food at a nearby cafe/chip shop. Liz had fish and chips while I had ham and chips. We then went upwards away from the seafront to have a quick wander around town for some shopping. While getting a card, I spotted a funny looking hat, then noticed it was a birthday hat so brought it for Chris to go with the bottle opener ring.

Back at the seafront, we asked about the pier (its really long and has a train to get the the end), and found out that we would be able to get one train, but would have to come straight back as there wouldn't be enough time to get back to the coach. We had a wander, back to the pirate gift shop where I got a hat, then a brisk walk along the sea front (quite windy). After that, we thought we may as well kill some time and get on the train anyway, as it would be a nice trip.

On the train, we discussed whether we were in the sea or the Thames, so I had a look on the map on my phone which said I was in the middle of a body of water (I guess a pier isn't part of a usual map), and were slightly nearer to the label that said 'north sea' than the one that said 'thames'.

Once we got to the end of the pier, we waited for the train to leave again when we saw my Mum, her Mum, and Martain walking past the carridge we were in, so we knocked on the window for them to join us. Turns out they had walked to the end of the pier and were getting the train back. Apparently the walk was very cold and bracing, so I was somewhat glad that me and Liz didn't have time to do it ourselves. We talked about our days and took some photos on the way back to the land. Once off the train, my Nan was looking through her bags for her camera case before realising she hadn't put it in her bag but her pocket instead. Liz had a chuckle at one of the keyrings in the gift shop as it described the origin of my name. We then left to find the others...

...in a pub. We didn't really have enough time for some drinks, but I gave Chris his two extra presents I had gotten for his which he seemed pleased about, but  had been drinking a bit; it was his 21st after all...

We got back to the coach on time and the trip took about as long again, although with a quick stop at a service station.

Arriving back in Watford, we went back to my Mums house where she was prepared with some pizzas and hotdogs to cook. Nan had also made two chocolate cakes for Chris, so we did some candles and singing for him. As the evening went on, the number of people diminished gradually, eventually leaving just me and Liz.

All in all, it was a fun day, some good memories were made, and some relived. I also got a fun new hat :D