The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Essex girls

The view from Jalopy's parking spaceThe drive to Essex is a 45 minute journey and includes a 20 minute white knuckle adventure. Once we turn off Newport’s High Street onto the Debden road, the fun begins with a slim-car-width humpback bridge. We have twice met an oncoming monster. There is no question of backing down. Jalopy’s battle scars have a driver reversing in seconds.

Now Jalopy toots her horn before gathering momentum to seemingly leap this obstacle. Then it’s up the hill for the first hairpin bend and several miles of tyre clenching tension.

Possibly the inspiration for the Cresta Run, this road is a perfect place to practice your high speed tobogganing skills. Despite her Swedish heritage, Jalopy tends to operate best at slower speeds these days. Often we are leading a chain of enraged tailgaters, who overtake alarmingly close on the straighter stretches. Unruffled, Jalopy keeps her eyes firmly on the road ahead.

Once past Debden, we are swooping along easier roads and then turn into the quietest of country lanes, strung with pretty cottages sitting comfortably behind picket fences. Chickens scratching in the sun look up momentarily as we glide by.

The final leg of the journey is a half mile farm track, rutted with unavoidable massive craters. In January, an A frame was fitted to Jalopy’s undercarriage to give her a bit of support. The automotive answer to the zimmer frame. As we lumber and twist along this trail I can only marvel at the strength of the A frame and the foresight of the mechanic who suggested this lifesaving option.

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  1. Danny Carey

    “Unruffled, Jalopy keeps her eyes firmly on the road ahead.”
    I often say that line out loud im our house.
    Love it!

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Jon

    Essex is great! Full of wonderful villages, big open spaces and gorgeous Saffron Walden.

    But the road from Newport to Debden is a bit hairaising for an old car and driver who is’nt used to the bends!

  3. You make Essex sound like somewhere from the the Wild West, or the Swiss Alps. It is not that bad, surely?

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