Maurice Speaks #3

Quis est iste qui venturus est:

It is of course Maurice and he welcomes you once again to all things Purfleetish and Rainhamesque.

A week or so ago I did retrace my steps back to the cyclopean Purfleet Heritage Centre. But this sojourn was no mere whimsical fancy by a carefree medieval obsessed traveller. No. I was here to savour the sights sounds and tastes of our local Thurrock Nepalese Ghurkha community for their annual Ghurkha Day celebrations.

Imagine if you will the stroll along the river from our Hi Tec 21st century RSPB visitor centre along the 300 yard path to the more distant time of muskets and muslin of the 18th century Purfleet Heritage Centre. The morning sun sparkled like heavenly diamonds upon the shallow waters of Erith Sands and your humble servant and Chloe his modern day Hebe overflowing with everlasting charm made the not very hazardous journey along the bracing river wall. We set up our membership stall all garnished with local herbs and flowers gathered by my own fair hand from the front of our own visitor centre and Chloe mesmerised the early seekers of 50p tea with tales of wonder and enchantment that could be theirs if only they would join the RSPB at Rainham Marshes.


As we chatted and perambulated we were introduced to many ex Ghurkhas and their families and felt there was a real sense of community, respect and friendship present in the grounds of this unique heritage site. Mid morning and the assembled spectators were treated to some traditional Nepalese dancing in national costume. This dancing was delicate and beautiful and brought to the Thames a real sense of the nobility and majesty of these amazing people- we really were privileged to be able to share in this very special annual event. Alan, the Major Domo at the PHC has been inviting the Ghurkha regiments to Purfleet for 20 years and makes sure the event is always a great spectacle. We were joined by local MP Jackie Doyle-Price who paid tribute to the Nepalese community of Thurrock and we chatted about the importance of drawing communities together through the shared culture and nature of the local area.


Then the cooking pots arrived and we did marvel at them. For a donation one could get “stuck in” to this most heavenly Nepalese cuisine cooked at home especially for the day’s celebrations by Nepalese families. Everyone was invited to share in this transcendental repast; and it was truly food for the gods. Spiced meats and delicately fragrant vegetable dishes did vie with plump rice and a very fiery chili sauce to create wholesome viands for the Purfleet populace. We consumed with relish.

Afterwards more mingling and forging of links between our two bastions of Nature and Culture establishing a legend, a myth for this and future generations of a Tale of Two Visitor Centres firmly embraced and supported by a diverse and inspirational local community.


Maurice shall speak on such matters again, but perhaps next time he will be sojourning afar to the land filled with the cries of the Aquila chrysaetos soaring high over the heathery glens of the fair city of Perth where incidentally one may encounter the best pies in the world.

Until then;

Be seeing you!