`Curious' is perhaps not the first word you would use to label Essex. But `curiouser and curiouser' it becomes when you dig below the surface. Forget the popular image of Essex boy and girl. Come and meet larger-than-life characters, including the one-time fattest man in England, whose waist was wider than the height of an average man. And talking of big, discover the origin of children's favourite Humpty Dumpty.
Did you know that explorer David Livingstone, who trekked across Africa, got lost in Essex; that Essex villain Dick Turpin was only identified because a relative refused to pay the cost of a `stamp', or that St George saw off his dragon here?
Shocking, creepy and bizarre tales abound if you dig a little deeper. And if you literally look below the surface in Essex - 100ft underground to be precise - you'll discover one of the most incredible Government `secrets' of all time.
Paul Wreyford has been a journalist for more than twenty years. One of his jobs was editor of "Middle East Health," a magazine based in Dubai. Because of his career, writing and editing are second nature to him. Paul had three local history books published and a fourth is due to be published by The History Press. He lives in Chelmsford.