On a normal Saturday morning I can usually be found hanging around on the Common while Commando runs parkrun. Sometimes I volunteer, sometimes I just go for a quiet wander. For three weeks in a row though I’ve been conspicuous in my absence and it’s all down to Commando’s friend Rob and a harebrained scheme to run fifty miles and raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK. Continue reading Fifty miles
St Denys is a small place, easily overlooked. Like many people, I regularly pass through, usually on the way somewhere else, without really giving it much thought. This does it a disservice though because St Denys has hidden secrets and today was the day I sought them out. Continue reading The lost priory of St Denys
When I said I’d go up to the Common with Commando on Sunday morning for a photo shoot I didn’t expect rain and cold. We were amomgst the first there and we stood around shivering and chatting as other people slowly began to arrive. The photo shoot was for the runners who’d volunteered as pacers for the Southampton Half Marathon, including an Itchen Spitfire team. There’d be a practice run around part of the course at the end of it. Continue reading Common photos, gallows, a well and some extraordinary people
When I left St Mary’s Church I still had time for a leisurely stroll along St Mary Street before my next appointment. Although it’s down at heel in places, the rich history and the vibrant mixture of old buildings and interesting shops make this a good street for mooching about. A lot has changed since the Saxon town of Hamwic or Hamtun sprang up. The grid of streets with wooden buildings, are long gone, along with the blacksmiths, carpenters, thatchers, leather workers and potters who once plied their trade there. Continue reading St Mary Street a very old new town
There was a time when I passed St Mary’s Church in Southampton every day at least once but I’d never seen it with the doors open before so I’d never been inside. Today I had a couple of appointments in town and the plan was to have a wander along St Mary’s Street and take photos for a post about this interesting area of the city in between. When I saw the open door though, I couldn’t pass up the chance to have a look inside the mother church of Southampton. Continue reading St Mary’s church Southampton, survival against the odds
When we were shopping at the weekend Commando veered off into a shop I’ve never visited before, Pampured Pets in the village. Since the demise of our ancient and slightly peculiar cat, Pippin, and the sad and far too early loss of the cheeky Fluffy, we’ve had no need of pet shops. For a moment I wondered what he was up to. All was explained when he made for the rows of little hoppers filled with bird food. Last week I’d mentioned I really should get some proper swan food if I was going to keep feeding the swans. This was my chance. Continue reading A swan experiment and the changing face of Townhill Park
On Monday I had boundary stones on my mind so, for once, there was a real plan for my morning walk. This was no half arsed wandering in the general direction of somewhere or other and seeing what I’d find. There was a proper purpose and some real pre walk research. On Sunday morning I’d thought about walking to the Common and having another poke around for the boundary stone that’s supposed to be there somewhere. When I got up though, it was pouring with rain and Commando had left early for his fourteen mile Sunday run despite it. Not being sure whether he’d taken his door key or not seemed like a good excuse to stay at home and clean the kitchen. It also meant I had time to find out more about this boundary stone. Continue reading Common conundrums, beating the bounds
It wasn’t the best of starts to be honest, almost constant rain, mud everywhere. On the upside it was incredibly warm and all sorts of spring flowers had been fooled into blooming. All I managed in week one was 27.62 miles. Obviously this was never going to cut it if I wanted to walk two thousand miles in the year. Fifty two weeks like that and I’d be looking at six hundred miles or so adrift. Continue reading The two thousand mile coastal challenge, January miles
Commando grew up in Woolston, or at least in Itchen on its outskirts, so, after my little wander last week, we were discussing all the things I’d seen and the changes since he was a boy.
“It’s a shame they knocked down Woolston School,” I said, “I’d have liked to see the building.”
“It’s closed but they haven’t knocked it down,” he told me.
“Are you sure? I thought they had.”
“I drove past the other day and it was still there, just boarded up. Unless they bulldozed it last week I’m pretty sure it’s still standing.”
“Maybe I should go and have a look while I still can then.” Continue reading A brief Woolston reprise
With our little bag of granary loaf crusts we walked towards the jetty. The black swans and their five little cygnets were nowhere in sight but we thought we might tempt them out if we were lucky. A handful of gulls floated on the river and a few more were in the air but it was quiet in the cold sun. We were both full of cold and feeling less than our best and when we came to the bench just before the jetty CJ said he wanted to sit down. At first I thought he was feeling tired from the short walk but it turned out he had a plan. Continue reading Feed the birds, tuppence a bag