IT’S a really sad sight of a very sad site – the part-built block of flats along Western Esplanade, Westcliff, at the junction of The Leas.

A reader phoned to ask if I might know anything about this skeletal monument, dominating and overshadowing near-neighbouring buildings.

I didn’t. No more than the countless passersby who must have wondered about the riddle as the weeks and months have passed since last there was any obvious sign of work progressing.

Probably, also like many others, I had often wondered how so huge and overpowering a development ever first won planning consent. And then I was puzzled that it has been so deserted for so long.

Alas, I confess to failure in finding out much else about this presumed victim of the recession.

The one number advertised for potential buyers of any of the 45 apartments – varying in price to above a million – has a recorded message. It is full and can take no more calls, it says.

Someone at a scaffolding company told me they knew nothing other than that no instruction had as yet been received to remove its equipment from the building.

And my approaches to the Rawreth offices of developers ACL – Allied Construction Ltd, formed in 1997 – were answered by a pleasant woman who took my details. At my fourth call in three days she said a director would call me back. But silence has followed.

The towering apartments block is named Nirvana – a description of “absolute spiritual enlightenment and bliss” in Buddism and Hinduism.

I remain unenlightened as to the riddle surrounding this massive investment in a massive building. And for those involved in this sad tale of so major a development, there surely can be little that is blissful at this time.

The ACL impressive website tells of “45 of the finest apartments and penthouses ever built in Essex” and explains that “With Nirvana we wanted to create a landmark development with unprecedented levels of quality, luxury and privilege never before seen in this area.”

It is a dream turned awful nightmare.

HUGE equipment has arrived behind the now fenced-off, once lovely and tranquil Warrior Square Gardens in Southend town centre. These gardens once upon a caring time were surrounded by gracious, sought-after homes, many now rundown, badly neglected, weed-fronted, tacky-curtained affronts to anyone who actually cares any more.

My own passing depression over the state of these homes – and annoyance that a nice piece of parkland couldn’t have been cared for and properly policed to keep out the druggies, drinkers and dossers, without some highly expensive new, futuristic vision – was lifted by the wandering whistler.

So I found myself whistling a happy tune. Like paper boys and some posties and bus conductors and telegram delivery boys on bikes did in the long ago. Like builders on sites did, when pretty girls walked by, and men on bicycles did when the pace of traffic was slow.

There was a Whistle While You Work tune in a Disney cartoon film, way back when whistling was catchy and catching. There were songs by that old crooner Bing Crosby that often ended with him whistling. And then there was, long ago, a variety circuit and wireless entertainer name Ronnie Ronalde who could really, truly, properly, wonderfully whistle.

As a boy I tried often to mimic Ronnie’s renditions of If I Were a Blackbird, In a Monastery Garden or the Trisch Trasch Polka. I didn’t do very well. But I never gave up. I did a lot of whistling while listening to music or walking or cycling or, later, driving the car with music in the background.

I still whistle, but now I am ancient, the puff is weak and the output far from note perfect.

If more people spent more time whistling, they’d have less time for uttering loud or foul or aggressive or angry words. So come on, folks, whistle up a tune, please. It could spread again. Like the plague.