Fog horns, fairy cobwebs and an identity crisis? – first published 30 April 2014

A dash up the Big Hill last thing before the shops shut at the end of April 2014 got me wondering what exactly I was.  The light was wonderfully golden, the sky was grey and brooding and everything looked bright and washed clean after the rain. Somehow I couldn’t quite enjoy it because I’d left my phone at home and I couldn’t take a photo. My mind seemed to be programmed to think of everything in terms of a photo and I couldn’t work out how it happened? I thought I was a writer not a photographer. As I walked home I puzzled over it.  Continue reading Fog horns, fairy cobwebs and an identity crisis? – first published 30 April 2014

The Houghton Trail Run, a test of resolve – first published 27 April 2014

The last Sunday in April 2014 started a little earlier than usual but, being the first day of my weekend, it felt like Saturday to me so I didn’t mind too much. The reason for rising early, even thought there wasn’t much shining going on, was the Houghton Trail Run. Houghton is a little village perched on the banks of the River Test close to Stockbridge and every year they hold a trail event for runners and cyclists. The entry fee goes to the village church and I was going in the capacity of blister technician, cheer leader and chief pinner on of race numbers. Continue reading The Houghton Trail Run, a test of resolve – first published 27 April 2014

Chance encounters – first published 24 April 2014

Almost every job I’ve ever had has involved a walk to work and, from time to time, I find myself on old work routes. They invariably conjure memories of the jobs that were once at the end of them and, occasionally, the characters I met along the way. In April 2014 I had a new route to work and was beginning to meet new characters, some of them stranger than others. Continue reading Chance encounters – first published 24 April 2014

The enchanted park – first published 21 April 2014

The primary reason I started doing long walks was to lose weight and I did lose a lot, more than four and a half stone. Unfortunately being at home for three months in 2014 along with Christmas meant I’d put on mumble, mumble, mumble despite masses of walking when I was unemployed. This just went to show walking alone is not the magic cure for weight loss. It is a great big tool in the weight loss bag of tricks though and I was on the case of getting those extra pounds back off again.  Continue reading The enchanted park – first published 21 April 2014

A walk in the park – first published 21 April 2014

Late April 2014, and, after a windy rainy day the weather brightened up leaving the pavements everywhere littered with fallen blossom. I laid the blame for the bad weather firmly at Commando’s door for getting the sun loungers out from under the decking. Now the sun was out but there was precious little time for lounging. First we had to go up the Big Hill to Sainsbury’s for supplies. Strangely we thought we saw Hetty from NCIS Los Angeles wandering round with a basket on her arm and I swear she was following us. Maybe an NCIS Southampton is on the cards at some point? Continue reading A walk in the park – first published 21 April 2014

Not taking the easy way home – first published 18 April 2014

img_4495

My 2014 stint as the Easter Bunny has been less than successful but there was at least wall to wall sun and blue skies, a perfect walking day and it was a pleasure to put the miles in. Once I’d semi-successfully carried out my Easter Bunny duties I set off back towards Lakeside. Continue reading Not taking the easy way home – first published 18 April 2014

The Lakeside steam railway – first published 18 April 2014

img_4480

Playing the Easter Bunny on Good Friday 2014 I’d made it to the airport and taken a photo of trains waiting at Southampton Parkway Station whilst worrying about the chocolate, probably melting, in my rucksack. Next I was on my way to see yet more trains. These were just up the road at Lakeside Steam Railway. To be honest I’d chosen that route more to see the lakes than the trains and because there is a footpath through the other side close to Philo and Sirona’s house I wanted to try but still… Continue reading The Lakeside steam railway – first published 18 April 2014

Easter Bunny delivery – first published 18 April 2014

img_4452

Good Friday 2014 and, for my walk, I was in the guise of the Easter Bunny  delivering said treats to my granddaughters. It began with a little trip up the Big Hill. For one, there was meat to be bought at the butchers, but also I to buy the Easter treats before I could deliver them. From there it was back down the the river. Continue reading Easter Bunny delivery – first published 18 April 2014

What a difference a week makes – first published 14 April 2014

img_4391

The Sunday after the Manchester Marathon and it was time to get off my bum and get walking. With one eye on the hundred miles a month I’d pledged to walk in 2014 I knew it had to be a reasonable length walk too, not just a half arsed stroll along Riverside to the Swan and back. Setting myself such a challenge certainly motivated me to get some miles under my belt. There’d been some thinking on the subject and a half baked plan to get a bus to Totton and have a look at the Ealing Tide Mill but, when I got up on Sunday morning, it was a beautiful sunny day and I decided I’d check out the Navigation instead. It seemed fitting to be swapping the Manchester canals of the previous Sunday for Mansbridge and the Navigation. Continue reading What a difference a week makes – first published 14 April 2014

Homeward bound – first published 6 April 2014

image102

Commando had finished the Manchester Marathon before the forecast rain started to fall. Of course, once the rain began it didn’t stop, not that we’d have gone out anywhere anyway. Commando was tired and I was pretty exhausted from all that worrying to be honest. We went back to our hotel room and hardly emerged until we had to check out and head for Manchester Piccadilly station for our journey home. It turned out to be rather more eventful than I’d have liked. Continue reading Homeward bound – first published 6 April 2014