Today was my first of what I hope will be many visits to Mersea. It's a place that holds a special meaning for my course-mate Anna and I'd like to get know why. It was a quick but wonderful visit. We started off in East Mersea at the church that Sabine Baring-Gould was supposedly vicar of. There were some great gravestones out in the church yard. One was made out to Wankie. It's a small church, fitting for a small island. It has beautiful windows with some really intricate scenes made on smaller pieces of glass fit into them. The ceiling over the front of a church is a dark arched wood. There's a funny staircase in the side of the wall that leads to a hole in the upper wall. I wonder what it was used for. A cantor? For preaching? There were cushions that were hand knit and showed different aspects of Mersea, from the types of birds you might see there to scenes. There was information about the history of the church on a poster at the back but it's all gone through my sieve-like brain. I remember something about it's use during the civil war--something to do with roundheads maybe? Next we went on to a nature reserve type place. It was mostly a dog park and a kite flyin site from what I could tell, but it was right on the water. A beautiful green grassy path with a view of the Colne estuary and the North Sea. Oh, and a wind farm! On the beach were old sea defenses which look like old fence posts. The sun shone off the water trapped in pools. The tide was out. White birds flocked low over the shore, just at the edge of the water.
From there we went over to West Mersea and a fantastic cafe with excellent scones, good looking cakes and sandwiches. We had our coffees and then went off to meet Stuart who owns a sport fishing fleet. He took us out on his boat to its mooring (not sure if I'm using the terminology right) and we sat on board and talked. Anna interviewed him about his relationship to Mersea, his business, fishing. He was such a lovely man. His friend, a genuine Mersea-an, made us some tea while we talked. It was a real treat to hear his story, his love for the island, and his love of fishing. He invited us to go out on a fishing expedition sometime. I hope we will. We finished with visit to The Coast Inn, a really warm feeling pub with a fire place, fire burning, and a delicious looking Christmas menu.
Anna says a walk around the island takes 6 hours. I'd really like to do it some day. And I hope we get to interview more people. (By we, I mean I hope she sets up more interviews and invites me along.) It's wonderful getting to know places that mean something special to someone else. With Anna, it's particularly exciting for me because I think that while I'm being introduced to it fresh, she's investigating what makes it special and in some ways is discovering it for herself.