One of the bonuses of having an ex who was perpetually skint even though he earned £2,000 a month (make your own assumptions) is that I know loads of inexpensive things to do around Essex.
People do think of Essex and think of Sugar Slut and TOWIE, but we do have a bit of nature and a few fields with cows in. Being Mum’s 50th today and it being sunny, we thought we would go for a coffee somewhere with a better view than Basildon Costa, where the view is mostly composed of women wearing tracksuits with chavvy messages emblazoned on the arse in diamantes.
Today we went to ‘Café on the Water’ at Hanningfield reservoir, which is about a mile down from the actual visitors centre. Usually, if you go somewhere with a nice view, you get shit food and coffee. It’s the rules of life.Café on the Water though, do a lovely Panini an the coffee was alright too. People in Essex would say it was ‘a bit pricey’ but people in Essex are used to getting two sausage rolls for £1.10 in Pitsea Greggs.
One thing I loved was that it come out in less than 5 minutes. I HATE waiting for food. You will only ever see me stroppy when I’m waiting for food. The worst is in Nando’s where you are sitting PHYSICALLY looking at your chicken not being bought over to you. If I had a pound for every metal chicken or sauce I’ve stolen to get them back for walking past my food, I would have a room full of money instead of metal chickens and XXX sauce.
So well done to café on the water, and I must say as soon as we got up to put our coat on the girl walked straight over to the till to give us our bill. Much better than the time I did a runner in Frankie and Benny’s because despite being empty, they took 25 minutes to bring our bill. Good service I will tip for, but if the service is terrible I just point blank won’t pay. Beware food holes of Essex. It’s really nice to see places in the UK actually practising good customer service as I had started to think it was extinct.
Never one to be satisfied with a nice day out, I had to ruin it with ‘shall we go to Wickford and mooch round the shops’.
Now the first indicator that Wickford is a shithole was the fact I saw a whole family wearing matching tracksuits in the car park.
The second was that the car park is free. How else are they going to entice people to shop there?
It is a shame, because I remember Wickford being great when I was little, but now the market looks like Basra and they are the only town on the planet to still have a Peacocks. It does make me laugh when you see Wickford snobs in their nice cars thinking they are AWESOME because their Dad owns a ‘building’ company. I just want to shout at them ‘EXCUSE ME, HAVE YOU SEEN YOUR TOWN CENTRE?’.
Even the Savers there sells alcohol, and the bakery opposite has a slightly ‘I might catch cholera from this iced bun’ feel to it.
I shouldn’t moan though, we went in Sue Ryder where I heard my absolute favourite quote of 2014 so far. A lady going up to the sales assistant and saying ‘excuse me, these saucepan’s have a lid missing’.
Yes love. That is because, you are in, a charity shop.
So if you want my advice for something nice to do in the Essex area in the sun. Go for the coffee and Panini, leave the shopping in Shitford.