Essex – a wonderful county

I’ve probably mentioned before that I live in Essex. What’s more, I was born and raised here. If you meet me (and you’re not local), you’ll probably not be able to place my accent, because although I sound like I’m definitely from the South East, I don’t have the stereotypical Essex accent.

I should explain to those of you who are not familiar. There are at least three distinguishable Essex accents. Mid-Essex (that’s me); Northern, Rural Essex, which has a country twang and blurrs the edges of Essex and Suffolk in its sound; and lastly the Southern Essex ‘London Overspill’ accent, which is a slightly softer and more lazy version of East London. Think about the way they speak in Eastenders, but a bit softer.

Southern Essex is the accent of the Essex Girl and Essex Boy. It has too many vowel sounds in it, and not enough consonants. Say “Leeeeve id Ahhhhhyyttt” (leave it out), and you’ll get my drift.  Visit Romford, Grays, South Ockendon, Corringham, Basildon and Southend, and this is how people will sound. They will probably also be wearing a variety of ill-fitting sportswear, too much jewelery and if female, too much pink.

Since I’ve lived here all my life, you’d think it wouldn’t come as a shock to me – but its still a surprise when I spot a couple or an entire family of true, sterotypical Essex people while out shopping. Its all I can do not to stand and stare. ….

Today I went to Lakeside, so I have only myself to blame.

I was surrounded by them. 14 year-old girls with more eye-make-up on than your average drag-queen at a seaside gig, lads in jogging-bottoms with shoulders so rounded, I was concerned about their bone-structure as they sloped and shuffled round the place. Women with double-buggies in pink body-warmers with fur hoods, their babies and toddlers dressed in matching furry pink outfits with expensive Nike kiddy-trainers. They were bad enough to look at, but when they spoke, I was transfixed.

One lady (must have been about 21 ish) was sprawled over the Catalogues in Argos, with her hoody-top wearing boyfriend who looked about 17 (he was probably older).

“Eeer, whassit called that fing ya want, then?” Says she

“Look.” says the lad, jabbing a page in the book with his finger “Thassaone. Wiv the dymons onnit.”

“Kendo!” screams the woman, her eyes looking about the floor. I assume she’s calling some male child of hers, rather than the martial art.  “Kendo – go and find err!”

Again, I think she must be asking small male child to find smaller female child, though I can see neither at this point. Woman and lad preoccupy themselves with the catalogue once again. From their conversation she is going to buy him some item of hideous jewellery – something they both seemed really excited about.

Then, small pink child (must be the female one) starts grizzling to mummy. She doesn’t make any articulate sounds. The woman says to the lad as she’s filling in the catalogue number on the little slip “Gaaah raaahhnd the corner, Chris, an’ take errr to the toilet. You can just wait for ahhh, ahhhyt-side, while I get this.”

The lad says nothing and carries on looking at the catalogue while the woman wanders off leaving three kids wandering about the store. The small boy (I’m guessing this is Kendo) is running and skidding along the polished floor on his knees, while the smallest girl who appears to be known as ‘Errr’ is trying to climb up the shelves while still grizzling. The third child, an older girl of about seven, suddenly launches herself up at the catalogue station, so she can hook her arms up and look at the pages next to Chris.

This seems to wake Chris from his diamante-admiring trance. “Right, come on Tanyaaaah, we’re gahhhn-ah take Lills to the toilet.” He turns and ushers the two girls out of the shop with the younger one screaming.

Unbelieveable. You just couldn’t make it up.

I refuse to be tarred with the same brush as these people.    


4 Responses to “Essex – a wonderful county”

  1. 1 Booger 19 December 2006 at 10:07 am

    Kendo?! That’s so bad it’s almost genius.
    I believe the accent you refer to is lumped into the generic slosh that is ‘Estury English.’ A catch all category that I’ve often been lumped into, it also definitely applies to people who try to sound like a Cockney who has recently suffered a mild stroke. There’s a fair few of them in Staines as well…

  2. 2 Moobs 20 December 2006 at 1:47 pm

    God’s own country Essex. At my school we had the Estuary English Speakers, posh people from Frinton with senior civil servants for parents and boys who said “compooter”.

    I wonder if the kid was named after Kendo Nagasaki the wrestler. He was a star back when wrestling consisted of darts players in speedos jumping at each other whilst being beaten with handbags by irate northern pensioners.

  3. 3 drunkenspaniel 20 December 2006 at 7:31 pm

    Booger – I hadn’t realised they stretched all the way to Staines!!

    Moobs, I very much doubt Mr Nagasaki had anything to do with it.

  4. 4 Booger 21 December 2006 at 9:24 am

    I believe it stretches over most of the South East, Spaniel. I blame Johnny Vaughn…

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