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Wednesday, 15 May 2013

A weekend in Southend with the Saps at Sea (The Sons of the Desert)

Thursday the 2nd of May saw me join some other Laurel and Hardy aficionadi (not that I'm one) on the inaugural  Easy Jet flight from Edinburgh to Southend.
As we were taking off, the pilot announced it to be "Exciting". We hoped he knew the way.
Our hosts for the 2013 U.K Convention were the Saps-at-Sea Oasis 207

The venue for the occasion was the Skylark Hotel Southend

It's right on the edge of the airport, but at the opposite end to the terminal.

Being a day early we enjoyed a good night out at Leigh on Sea
The only pictures I took at Leigh on Sea were of local 'Son' Trevor and his celebrity shih-tzu Oscar.
Trevor has been campaigning against Southend council's ban on dogs on the pier.

Next morning (Friday) I was first down to Southend's town centre (thanks for the lift Janet)  
It's high street is much like any other town with only the occasional shop out of the ordinary.

There was however this very pretty window dresser in one shop window

The seafront is a different matter.
Southend Pier is the longest pleasure pier in the world at 1.34 miles (2.16 km)

This is the Park Inn Palace Hotel , we'll visit it on Sunday

Chinnerys looks a good venue for a variety of musical acts. I wonder whether Chris Cundy and Cold Specks have ever appeared here ?

The mum and little boy (inset) were having a lovely time

A archetypal British seaside town and very nice too

I'm sure I would have seen these ladies if I watched 'The Only Way is Essex'

I'm led to believe the fish and chips here are tasty

I caught up with my fellow Scottish 'Sons' on the pier
I talked to the ex owner of one of these fishing boats in the pub in Leigh on Sea last night.
There's still a mile of pier to walk, time for a sit down and enjoy the scenery

We'll get the train back. The pier and train back is value for money at £2 concession

There's a cafe and lifeboat station at the end of the pier

Turnstones wander the pier looking for scraps

A group of Blockheads , more 'Sons' from Scotland

'Sons' on Southend Pier

Going Bye-Bye !

A sojourn on another train took us to Rochford
Who's that sneaking in to the Red Lion ?

Light refreshments and some fun at the Marlborough Head in Rochford

This wee fella on the table was only about three or four  millimetres long. 
Glischrochilus is a four spotted sap beetle otherwise known as a picnic beetle or beer bug. 
It's a long way from home though, they're from North America.

A taxi back to the Skylark sees the classic car display under way
Some lovely motors here..............

..............................and a few British bikes
I'm of an age that I can remember when we made quality so sad !

Talking of quality...............................

Stan and Ollie aka Alan and Stuart
The entertainment laid on for Friday night was really excellent. Guests included the comedy actor Jeffrey Holland and his actress wife, Judy Buxton  and Charlie Cairoli Junior. There were scenes from a new musical 'The Nine Wives of Laurel and Hardy', and the highlight of the night was Steve Hewlett a fabulous comic ventriloquist who had the whole room in stitches with his wonderful puppet friends.

Saturday we're onto buses into Kent
We're taking the train (RH and DR) all the way to Dungeness

This was when we had the only bit of bad weather the whole weekend.

A civic reception at New Romney for the recreation of the 1947 opening by the boys of the line to Dungeness

However the 'Parade of Tents' comes first........

Here's an old news clip


Here again the boys meet the Mayor........

.................and open the line

The Model Railway Exhibition above the Heywood Buffet was quite brilliant also

Some wonderful dancing and music was on offer from Tacky Annie's swing dance club

With the boys is Danny Martin, General Manager of  RH and DR and the silver tea set is one his wife Alison Chapman  provided from Dickinson's Real Deal.
I believe it's being photographed for a charitable occasion.  

Last leg to the buses in First Class (lucky us)

Saturday night's entertainment was by the brilliant Zoltans 1940's Jumpin' Jive Band

Sunday morning saw the 'Games'. 
I briefly held second place in both the Paper Darts flight and the Golf Pitching

Later in the day it's down to the Palace where Stan and Ollie stayed in 1952.

Before and after the show, Sons took to the same balcony that the boys had been photographed on.

Bank Holiday Sunday with the sun shining brought the crowds out.

On the last night 'Sons' entertain their fellow convention attendees. A brilliant rendition of the Two Ronnies :Swedish Made Simple, F.U.N.E.X was performed by Oasis 115 and one other.

I also took a few short clips of video over the weekend

Monday morning and the convention's over. New contacts and friends made.

A quick flight back to Edinburgh in good company and a quiet drive home.
What a great weekend. 
As usual I overdid the food and drink, I'll have to walk it off.


  1. What a wonderful weekend away Jim! I had to look through 3 times to absorb it all. That pier is amazing.
    You'd better get walking.
    That was fun, I really enjoyed it!

  2. wow this looks like an amazing trip---i bet that neptune place had great food---this really seemed ideal!

  3. Looks like a fantastic time!!! I love your series of photos!

  4. Jim, you sure get around, your starting to make my life look really boring! Anywho, great photos, I hope you had an awesome time. : )

  5. Looks like you had a fantastic time down there. Didn't know Southend pier had its own train running along it.
    Wonder if the beetle was blown off course by the weird weather this Spring?

  6. Great clip of Laurel and Hardy - looks like they pretty much stay in character when they appear places.

  7. Thanks for all your comments to this post good people. Sorry about the late acknowledgement, it's an age and memory thing (well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it)


Thanks for all your comments. I may not get to reply to them all, but you may be sure they'll be appreciated.

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