This afternoon it was nice and sunny, and I thought it would be a shame to spend it sat in front of my computer again, so after much deliberation I decided to be spontaneous and go for a drive. This is a pastime I loved when I lived in Devon – those wonderful country lanes, beautiful countryside (I once went for a drive and found myself on the outskirts of Dartmoor, and couldn’t remember how I got there!) – so I figured it would be worth giving it a try here as well. I ended up taking some friends along too, as I was passing by, and the four of us wound up on Mersea Island, breathing in the sea air, enjoying the sunshine and the cool breeze.
The drive out to Mersea was indeed quite pleasant – the roads were not too busy, reasonably winding, and plenty of countryside to enjoy along the way. Of course, it was flat, but this is Essex so we couldn’t expect too much in the way of landscaping! West Mersea was fairly quiet, which was nice, and we found ourselves parked up by the beach, where we went for a little paddle and built a small sand castle. Of course I had to be different and built a square tower rather than a round one, so it kind of stood out from the others! We built a tower each and joined them together with walls, creating a small fort in which we placed various pretty shells we found lying around.
Walking on the beach is always good fun, but is made even better with the introduction of ice cream. Finding no ice cream vending shop on the beach we went for a short drive up the road and found some ice creams at the local petrol station, and after purchasing one each we drove back to the beach! After consuming we set about demolishing our castle by aerial assault, armed with small stones. Thankfully the fort didn’t fight back. Eventually, after an embarrassing tally of misses, we decided the best option was to attack with sheer manpower – we ran over and jumped on it.
So a good afternoon out was had by all. However, as good as it was to get out in the sunshine and as worthwhile it was to take a trip out to Mersea Island, I still feel Devon would have been better, at least on the ‘going for a drive’ point of view. My original intention was just to go for a drive, going wherever the wheels pointed, discovering new roads, getting lost and not worrying about it. Sadly that just didn’t happen – I knew where I was at every turn, which kind of took the fun out of it. There was no risk of being stranded in the middle of nowhere, and so there were no worries to intentionally leave behind. There was no chance of running out of petrol with no hope of finding a filling station, and as such there was no opportunity to throw caution to the wind. I miss my Devonshire countryside. I miss those uncharted country lanes, the unmarked crossroads, the perilously steep hills, the quaint thatched-roof pubs nestled in the middle of nowhere, the overhanging trees painting mottled shadows on the road… ok, I’m gonna stop now before I get too emotionally involved!
Nevertheless, if you have the opportunity to just go for a drive, take that opportunity – intentionally getting lost is a very liberating feeling!