Walking from Pitsea in Essex to The Sekforde Arms in Clerkenwell

Work has all but dried up and I have writers block – it must be Christmas. An engagement in the evening was all I had on so I did something I have always wanted to do from my parents house in Pitsea, Essex; that is walk to London – The Sekforde Arms in Clerkenwell to be precise.

The only trouble was I hadn’t given myself too much time; it was seven minutes past two when I left and I wanted to be sat down in a warm pub having a drink and talking politics by about eight. The conditions were terrible for such a venture; freezing cold weather, iced footpaths and smatterings of rain and snow. It probably would’ve been easier to chase the Southend Arterial Road, or the A127,

Basildon Council offices

all the way along to Havering, but I gave myself the other challenge of walking the back roads; just to make things a little more exciting. I tailed along Wickford Avenue to the Southmayne road at which point I took the Broadmayne road all the way down to Upper Mayne, where I walked through a frozen Gloucester Park towards Laindon.


Instead of going up the entire A176 leading to Pipps Hill and the Arterial Road, I turned left on the B148 up St Nicholas Lane, which has the oddly placed financial district of Laindon, near to where James Hornsby High School is. I carried on down this road until Southfields Business Park, which features a beautiful clock in the middle of one of the roundabouts (pictured). I followed the road round Westmayne near the Toomey Saab car joint, past Fords, after the exit for Dunton Village and eventually turned for a brief walk on the Arterial Road before you get to Dunton Wayletts, adjacent to lower Dunton Road.Underpass opposite Gloucester Park Swimming Pool

After walking briefly down the Arterial Road adjacent to East Horndon I exited at Tilbury Road (where I probably could’ve got to had I turned down the road which led to Dunton Village). Tilbury Road was the second worst road to walk on for me (the first coming later) being without path, narrow and sludgy. Quite why it has a bus stop placed near the roundabout exit is beyond me. It was starting to get dark at this point. I followed station lane which led me to a very residential West Horndon. Past here I took a bridge over the rail line and continued down St Mary’s Lane – the worst road to walk down of the journey. The road was narrow, without any footpath, and at this point pitch black. I kept having to walk from one side of the road to the other in order not to bit by over-zealous cars. The road is a very long one which passes through Thurrock and eventually leads to the London Borough of Havering – a triumph in itself. It is home to some very pleasant houses, two kennels and a carp centre called Koi Logic (which is situated just at the end of the B186 at Warley Street).

Laindon financial centreIt was really raining at this point, going as I did under the M25 or the autoroute britannique. Along the B187 by Lichfield Terrace and before the Masons Arms pub I stopped in a small shop for a lucazade and a dime bar. Further up past Cranham I stopped in the local Waitrose adjacent to Tudor Gardens, where I really turned the walk into a derive, buying as I did a bottle of Pinot Grigio, a bigger bottle of Lucozade to drink and contain the wine (so as to hide the actual contents) and a large bar of Dark Chocolate with sea salt inside. I first attempted to crawl up Front Lane – where the Cranham sign is situated (pictured) but though better of it, carrying on up St Mary’s Lane (which leads up to Upminster Bridge tube station near Hornchurch stadium).

I took a right at station lane up to Upminster national rail and succumbed to getting the train (it was half past six at this stage). It’d taken me about four hours and twenty minutes to walk from Pitsea to Upminster. I travelled by train to Fenchurch street, hopping off and walking on the North sideLaindon Shopping Centre of the bank until London Bridge where I crossed to the Southbank walking up towards Blackfriars bridge. Crossing at the bridge I seemed to zig zag the bridges for no apparent reason; I walked New Bridge Street to join Farringdon Street which traces part of the River Fleet Walk. Past the road with Farringdon tube station, and immediately past the Clerkenwell Road intersection between the A201 and the A5201I turned down Bowling Green Lane, taking the road all the way down to Sekforde Street, turning right at that road and reaching my destination. I necked the last drabs of my wine and joined the conversation – in fact one of the very first things I mentioned to an acquaintance was the walk I had just embarked upon.

Underpass near to Southfields Business ParkI may have cheated somewhat, but why should it be taken away from me; my walk from Pitsea in Essex to The Sekforde Arms in Clerkenwell.








Clock in the roundabout near Southfields Business ParkClock in the middle of a roundabout near Southfields Business Park

Southend Arterial RoadOn the slip road towards the A127

Adjacent to Dunton Villiage

West Horndon, near Station Way

The first place in London I arrived at

A snowman in a house in Havering

The rainy B186 – overlooking the M25, coming away from Ockendon

The “big car park”

Cranham sign on Front Lane

On the warm tube from Upminster to Fenchurch Street, where I transferred the wine to the now empty Lucozade bottle – a girl two rows in front must have thought I was doing a wee

Tower of London, after getting out at Fenchurch Street Station National Rail

London Bridge Tower – the “Shard of Glass”

Entrance to the London Bridge

Entrance to the river underneath London Bridge

View of St. Paul’s from Blackfriars Bridge

Stonecutter Street, where accounting and consulting firm Deloitte is situated, on the River Fleet track

I knew at this stage that Clerkenwell would be close

On the tube back to Fenchurch Street at the end of the night, this chap was smoking – broken Britain!


Why student organisation could change this country for the better

Today, student activists occupying the Jeremy Bentham Room in UCL heard news that their court hearing, determining the future of their direct action, has been moved to Tuesday – a result that has been held as a victory for the movement, and an opportunity for extra planning and campaigning. Time will no doubt be spent devising action before next Thursday, when Parliament has the opportunity to vote on raising tuition fees.

Already the Liberal Democrats are being massively embarrassed by their dithering on the vote, Vince Cable receiving the most concerted kicking for his limp decision to abstain from voting, so as not to split the government – a point which which highlights their waning power feeding out of the LibDem portion of the coalition.

Phone calls made to Liberal Democrat MPs by the media group of UCL Occupation found that many are “undecided” or even “out of the country” on the day of the vote. Instead of becoming complacent at the attitude taken by many of these MPs, anger is rising at how these politicians, one time champions of free higher education, are going to be one of the main reasons why the vote could fail us.

As visits from other universities, trade unions and organisations have made clear, student uprising is not a single issue matter, it is a microcosm of the way people as whole feel in this country. When very rich investors like Warren Buffett remind us how tax cuts for the rich are unfair during times of austerity, we know things have taken a turn for the worst, and though it cannot be condoned, tension, anger and even violence will rise. What must be encouraged is that nobody takes the ideological cuts lightly, one thing visitors have reminded the occupiers is that they have been a massive influence on activism as a whole, and serve to remind all people that we don`t simply have to sit and watch while attacks on our economy are made.

It is worth pointing out that the scare notion of capital flight is the thing that generally provides justification for easing up on tax avoidance, gifts for the rich and very rich, as well as dilly dallying on transaction taxes or the bank levy. Yet cuts to the public sector are seen as comparatively easier to operate for right wing governments, because lesser off people tend to put all their income back into the national economy, as opposed to the privilege wealthier people have in spending, or even registering for tax purposes, internationally. However, what the mass mobilisation of the students are representing is that this comfort will now be short lived – already the Lib Dems are running scared, pulling out, as they have, from holding a conference in London.

Another consequence of student organisation is that the National Union of Students, and Aaron Porter in particular, is increasingly becoming seen as an irrelevence, or at worse, a hindrance. Students, who are directly affected by draconian cuts, are operating fantastically, but on a national level they need leadership. Soon there will be enough who agree that Porter is no longer fit to be that person, that realisation could be sooner than he thinks. If he doesn`t step up his game, and define his principles in a more coherent and consistent way, he will either have to quit or make the decision himself to take to the shadows.