19 August 2011

right out on the marsh

You must know Tollesbury, Chief.  Everybody knows Tollesbury... A wonderful place.  You must know Tollesbury.  

Yachts, oysters, fishing boats...

Right out on the marsh, yet only forty odd miles from London. 

 It's littered with little sea going boats, all of them out in the river well away from the village, and the dinghies lie around on the mud with no one to mind them (Margery Allingham, The Tiger in the Smoke, Chapter 18).

I'd picked up a copy of "The Tiger in the Smoke" in a charity shop, in the mood for a bit of post-war murder and fog "like a saffron blanket soaked in ice-water", so when we were up in Margery Allingham's  old stamping ground around Tolleshunt D'Arcy we decided to take a detour to Tollesbury.  I didn't even know that Tollesbury was mentioned in the book until I found it on an information sign on the river front.

Somehow the link between the fog of Allingham's London and the fusc of the marshes seemed just right.  And it was good to find that there were still boats in the mud of the river.  Lots of boats.  And wood, and old iron and bricks, all littering the place, a lovely muddle of works in progress and paint splashes.  Even a salt water pool with a sign saying you must not enter if there are already a thousand people in it.

We stopped and talked to the owner of "Reminder".  He's restoring the boat, an old fishing boat previously owned by the Osbornes of Leigh on Sea (the place where I bought my cockle tea).  It had gone out to Dunkirk, one of those that had made the journey safely.  It felt like the boat was in safe hands again.

I've no idea what Tollesbury is like when its busy, if indeed it ever it is.  We were there just before dusk which may well be the perfect time to go, as the rabbits are coming out in the fields, the goldfinches bombarding the thistles around the sea wall and mist is rising off the marshes,


Rattling On said...

When I lived in Moscow I would go looking for the places mentioned in novels. The place where Anna Karenina skated was near our apartment, and I went to sit on the bench by the pond written about in Master and Margarita.
Love the pictures of the boats.

Joanna said...

That's a lovely link between writing and place and your pictures go just perfectly - really full of atmosphere. Thank you.

Liz said...

Your photographs are fab. You must be well pleased with the new camera. Good to hear of the restoration of one of the Dunkirk "little ships". As for the book, I know of it (one of the Campion novels?) but have never read it so I'm off to order a copy.

Anonymous said...

Gosh that looks beautiful. We're off to a youth hostel at Shoreham (Sussex) before the month is out and very much looking forward to it - there is an art deco airport there used in various Poirot episodes.

Thought of you the other night when watching the great British Bake Off. 'She's in the WI' said Marcella, in tones of wonder, of one contestant. And why was that so amazing, I asked. 'Because that means she's a spy'. Seems there was some confusion in her ten year old brain between the WI and MI5! Brings to mind all sorts of images.

Hope you're well,


Annie said...

Gorgeous post ... I could almost smell the river mud. These almost derelict looking marsh landscapes are so full of life aren't they.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

So my list of places I must go to next time I'm in London begins already !
Lovely photos ....

Val said...

Lovely post..Thank you:0)

Gerry Snape said...

Colleen...my dad used to sing..."Enjoy yourself ..it's later than you think...etc" as he shaved in the morning!
In the art gallery on the high street in Southwold in the right hand room on the ground floor over the fireplace it says..."Doe ye next thynge" I know this because Alan exhibits there and I always go to see it and be inspired by it!
Lovely post!