Planes and boats and trains – first published 19 February 2014

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February 2014 and the first day with no rain for what seemed like forever found me trying to walk to Lakeside. There were a few worries that it might be flooded when I got there. I made it as far as the airport without rain or flood stopping me, although there were a few damp patches where the river and the stream didn’t seem to know their place. Despite the grey skies there was a definite feel of spring in the air. Continue reading Planes and boats and trains – first published 19 February 2014

Aiming for Hamble and trying to beat the wind, rain and tide – first published 31 January 2014

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The last few of days of January 2014 were a whirl of activity, most of it centred around trying to find a job. There was a meeting at Office Angels which turned out to be far shorter than I’d expected. The person I was supposed to see hadn’t turned up, never a good start, and the one I did see wanted me to completely change my CV. Frantically working away to make the changes, I got so involved I almost made myself late for my afternoon dentist appointment and had to march it out for the three miles or so to get there. Thankfully the old choppers were fine. Pete, my dentist told me, “you really need to eat more toffees and brush your teeth less often to give me something to do.”  Continue reading Aiming for Hamble and trying to beat the wind, rain and tide – first published 31 January 2014

Weight loss and the giant boat in the garden – first published 28 January 2014

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January 2014 was all about walking off the unemployment blues as much as the weather would let me. My penultimate January walk. took me to some of my childhood haunts. Some surprised me by being very different to how I remembered them, others surprised me by being much the same, if a little older. One in particular had me thinking about how weight goes on without us noticing and, more importantly, how it stays there. Continue reading Weight loss and the giant boat in the garden – first published 28 January 2014

Red tape and good news – first published 24 January 2014

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Hard as I might try,  the routine wasn’t really happening. Every morning I started with good intentions of getting this or that done but the days seemed to be running away with me. Some days I spent so long searching for a job I could do and hadn’t already applied for the whole morning was gone leating no time for a walk. It was all very well the job centre saying people have to apply for x number of jobs a week but what wawere you supposed to do when the jobs were just not there? It seemed fairly pointless to be applying for jobs as a brain surgeon or nuclear physicist but that appeared to be what they wanted. Continue reading Red tape and good news – first published 24 January 2014

Distractions before the job centre – first published 21 January 2014

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Towards the end of  January 2014 Commando Senior gave me a draft of the first of his memoirs to look over. When I was meant to be job hunting and filling in Job Centre forms I found myself lost in his memories of his childhood in Southampton. From reading about his life in the early thirties and the war years to Googling for old maps and photographs, most of which eluded me, I wasted more of the morning than I should.  Continue reading Distractions before the job centre – first published 21 January 2014

A Sunday Surprise – first published 19 January 2014

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Sometimes Commando likes to take me on magical mystery drives and surprise me. In January 2014, after his ten mile marathon training run and my very short walk around Hum Hole, he had a plan to make sure I got my full quota of walking in for the day. He took me to a familiar place for some very different views.  Continue reading A Sunday Surprise – first published 19 January 2014

A woodland walk, fungi, lichen and a surprise flower bud – first published 19 January 2014

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January 2014 and Commando was training for the Manchester marathon. While he went out for a ten mile run, I decided to spend the morning wandering in Hum Hole. This is a tiny fragment of the ancient woodland that, as recently as the nineteenth century, covered the area around my village stretching all the way down to the Itchen and the river walk. Why it’s called Hum Hole I don’t know but it is a deep dip with a stream running through. When I was young it was much larger but changes to the Main Road and a new bypass ate into it a fair bit. Continue reading A woodland walk, fungi, lichen and a surprise flower bud – first published 19 January 2014

Walking, talking and a seagull melee – first published 16 January 2014

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The beginning of 2014 was all about job hunting for me. In between scouring the job sites for likely work, sending off applications and fretting about the ones I’d already applied for, I walked. Sometimes there were great plans and long walks, other times just wanderings, meandering from place to place thinking and trying to find little things to make me smile. Continue reading Walking, talking and a seagull melee – first published 16 January 2014

Fallen trees and fallen gravestones – first published 14 January 2014

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My visit to the Common in mid January 2014 was mainly to take a look at the fallen trees Commando had told me about. After walking for more than four miles, the only fallen trees I’d seen were old and rotten. Still, it was a lovely day and I’d seen swans on the lake so I wasn’t complaining. Back then my real aim was finding things to make me smile. Continue reading Fallen trees and fallen gravestones – first published 14 January 2014

An icy walk on the Common – first published 14 January 2014

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January 2014 and I was trying to find little things to make me smile each day. It wasn’t easy. Most of the time I felt as if I was teetering on the brink of a black pit of depression after losing my job. Walking featured large in the things to make me smile stakes. Some days there were more things to make me smile than others. Continue reading An icy walk on the Common – first published 14 January 2014