The ground is like iron and the sky is like ice, out here on the Thames Delta.
I first came across that term, “Thames Delta,” last year, in the magazine MANAGED RETREAT. Or, at least, it was the first time that term hit me in the face and made me sit down. I live on Southend-on-Sea, which, for my whole life, I’ve described as being at the northern mouth of the Thames estuary. “Estuary” is the word. “Estuary English” describes a particular speech pattern and accent. I discovered, the other day, that Southend has its own tiny independent internet radio station, marvellously named SHIP FULL OF BOMBS (because we have one of those wrecked in the estuary, the SS Montgomery). And they, too, on their website, describe themselves as “Thames Delta independent music.”
I like that. I’ve never felt anchored here, particularly. To Britain, yes, sure, probably. To Southend? No. Perhaps the place itself encourages the absence of chains and weights: a littoral life for a littoral place, nothing but chilly tides and shivering sands.
That said, I’ve recently found a food place I like, around the corner from a pub I like, and some new independent businesses I like, and I’m starting to feel, for the first time in a long time, like I want to stand on these shores. I have no peers or colleagues or fellow travellers here, nobody here knows me, but I’m finding spaces I can rest at in peace.
The Thames Delta sounds like a place I would like to live on.
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