Hindu God Dunked
Times are changing for Southend-on-Sea. When the Victorians built a railway line from London to Southend-on-Sea, they opened up the possibility for east-end Cockneys to take a day trip to the seaside, and Southend-on-Sea became the poor man's Blackpool. Even in my boyhood - not quite Victorian - a car ride to see the Southend illuminations remained a treat. Yesterday, a crowd of 4,000 UK Hindus went there to dunk Lord Ganesha, their elephant-headed god, in the sea. Apparently this was one of the largest immersion ceremonies for Lord Ganesha outside India. Such a jolly good time was had by all that the organisers hope to make it an annual event. Just make sure you check the tide tables, lads. When the tide goes out at Southend-on-Sea, it exposes about a mile of mud and slime. That's a hell of a long way to slither to dunk an elephant.