Do you get backache? I do I not mean the twinges after a spate of gardening or those niggles after pushing the vacuum-cleaner back and forth across the carpet. I mean the dull ache across the lumbar spine that renders picking things up off the floor impossible. Sitting down/ standing up becomes a real effort and life suddenly takes on very gloomy, grey prospect. So what happened? I have no idea. I was away on holiday, lying on the sofa reading and when I stood up my back had developed an ache. At that stage the ache eased off as I moved around but yesterday I rather overdid things. I went to Chatham with a Southend Council group to visit the town to see how this town coped with the “inner-town” problems and the similarities with the town we live in and what we can learn. Of course we were on our feet, walking or standing for most of the time. By the time I arrived home my back was really troubling me. Thank goodness for my hot-water-bottle: the heat provided welcome relief. I have tried gentle stretches – wondering whether this is nature’s revenge for my taking a break from Pilates. I have kept up my Tai Chi over the summer. I did take a peek at “Google” then decided against it. TMI – too much information. My imagination does not need any suggestions, it makes up enough scenarios of its own in the middle of the night! Right now I am sitting on my “back-friend”, (see here), which is helping and trying to reduce my day to absolute essentials. And trying my hardest to I stay positive . . .
Meanwhile: Chatham. The High Street could have been this one here: ‘pound’ shops and discount stores, boarded-up shops, lack of greenery and a general air of shabbiness. However, walking down from the Station we went along a neatly paved pedestrianised street where workmen were working on removing old diseased trees to replace them with better specimens. We marvelled at the pub with glorious hanging -baskets dangling just above head height. No, in this town we hang our baskets well out of reach! And like Southend High Street, you needed to look up to enjoy the varied architecture – especially the oldest facades. The demise of the High Street is the complaint of most English towns. It was very interesting to survey what another Council is trying to do about it. It was even interesting to listen to the underlying problems. No, Southend cannot just plant trees down the middle of the pedestrianised High Street. That is where the utility pipes and cables run. No, the area at the top of the High Street known as ”Victors Circus” cannot be planted with a grove of trees despite the vast space. The area was built atop the old roundabout AND is immediately over the “Deeping Subway”. So there is less than one metre of soil. I had this image of tree roots penetrating the subway and waving about in the air. Anyway, after wandering down Chatham High Street we continued down to the waterfront to catch a glimpse of the sea. Next visit I shall “do” the Historic Docks.