One of the bloodiest battles in human history began on 1 July 1916. It raged, in mud and trenches on the banks of the River Somme, for one hundred and forty one days. To most people this is ancient history, too far in the past to connect with. The image of all those young soldiers resonates with me though. Pappy was one of them. It seemed fitting that my walk today should take me to a First World War memorial and I knew just the place to go. In fact I’d been meaning to visit Hollybrook Cemetery for some time and the eve of the hundredth anniversary of Battle of the Somme seemed like a good day. Of course CJ wanted to come along. Continue reading Remembering the Somme at Hollybrook
This morning we were up bright and early for the Lordshill 10k. The morning was overcast and muggy, not really running weather, but beggars can’t be choosers. For once we didn’t get lost. If we had it would have been the ultimate irony as the venue was the Ordnance Survey building at Adanac Business Park, one of the world’s largest producers of maps. Continue reading All about maps and the Lordshill 10k
Most of yesterday was spent staying at home while the boiler was fixed. The boiler packing up right in the middle of the storm turned out to be no coincidence. The plumber who came to look at it found it full of water. It had probably been blown in through the flue and it wasn’t the only flooded boiler he’d seen that day either. He spent some time drying it out with my hairdryer and then more time fitting a new something or other that had died because of the water. At least it’s now fixed and we have hot water again. This was probably a good thing because there was a very special parkrun this morning and I had an idea it would be muddy.
The Storm finally broke late last night. The rain hammered down, lashing against the windows, thunder clapped, lightening flashed. At one point the flash and the bang arrived at the same time, the storm was directly overhead. Sleep was hard to come by with the weather gods at battle outside. When I woke this morning Commando was getting into bed grumbling about floods, a ten mile detour to get home from work and the boiler not working. It wasn’t the best start to the day but at least the rain had stopped. Continue reading Storms, floods and a muggy walk
Today began with a text message from Vodafone to say the new phone I ordered a month ago had finally been delivered to the shop. So the first job of the day was to make sure all the photos on my current phone were downloaded onto my iPad. The second was a three mile walk into town with no photo stops because, once I got the new phone, they’d all be erased. Well, that was what I thought anyway.
For a while now I’ve been meaning to take a wander to South Stoneham Cemetery to look for R J Mitchell’s grave and today seemed like a good day for it. The weather forecast was for rain and the brooding sky backed it up so it seemed best to stick fairly close to home. It also seemed a good idea to bring the iPhone out of retirement. It’s one thing getting myself and my phone in its protective case soaked but I didn’t want to risk the new, and very expensive, camera. Continue reading A grave hunt in South Stoneham Cemetery
This afternoon I had my second outing with the fancy pants camera.
“I’m going to the Itchen Bridge to do Kenyan Hills,” Commando said, not long after he got up. “Why don’t you bring the new camera and get some practice using sport mode before the RR10 on Wednesday?”
“What are Kenyan Hills?” I asked.
“Basically you run up and down hills one after another to improve your stamina. The running club usually do them on Monday training sessions, six times across the Itchen Bridge, but I always miss them because I have to work.”
Frankly it sounded very much like torture that should probably be banned under the Geneva Convention, especially on humid days but Commando did have a point about practicing with the camera so I went along. Continue reading Sport mode and Kenyan Hills
Yesterday morning I slept in and didn’t go to parkrun. Commando rang me at about ten o’clock to say he was going straight into town because he felt like some retail therapy.
“I’ll walk over to meet you if you like,” I suggested, thinking there might be a coffee in it for me.
As it happened there was no coffee involved whatsoever. When I rang him to say I was walking through the parks Commando said he was in Ed’s Diner on the top floor of WestQuay having a milkshake.
“They are amazing,” he said, “like heaven in a glass. If you hurry I’ll get you one.” Continue reading A steep learning curve and a big change
Part of my birthday present from Commando was a spa day at the Devere Hotel, probably the swankiest hotel in the city. Tuesday was the day and the only walking I squeezed in was getting there. It was a march rather than a stroll but I couldn’t resist a stop in the enchanted park, where the hydrangeas are just beginning to flower. Even though the weather was dismal, they brightened up the place no end. The rhododendron that’s hung with artwork for the Roam Art Trail has started to drop petals and the ground below was pink with them. If it hadn’t been such a miserable day with a hint of drizzle in the air I might have wished I could linger there. Continue reading Spas, swans, coots and lily pads
Our first port of call on The Common was Cemetery Lake. The last time I tried to visit it was back in December and the ground was so boggy I hadn’t been able to get across the grass to the observation area and the path around the perimeter was thick with mud. In the end I’d had to content myself with a Christmas card Robin sitting on the fence. Today the grass was wet from the recent shower but walkable. CJ and I headed for the gate. Continue reading Southampton Common cycles, cygnets and a Skyride finale