puzzles, surprises and plans – first published 5 June 2014

Walking to work along a rainy Boardwalk in early June 2014, the poppy mystery was solved. When I first noticed a lone poppy amongst the grass and wild flowers beside the railway track I thought it was an oriental poppy escaped from a garden somewhere. Along the shore at Stokes Bay I saw the yellow horned poppies blooming and revised my identification, at least until I saw flowers. Now the first bud had opened and it turned out my second thought was right. The flower was yellow and, speckled with raindrops, it made my morning. As it was 5 June, almost the anniversary of D-Day, a red poppy for remembrance might have been slightly more fitting though.  Continue reading puzzles, surprises and plans – first published 5 June 2014

Thinking about sheds – first published 30 May 2014

Summer 2014 was fast approaching and our garden shed was almost dead. The roof never really got over the gales and the wood was beginning to rot despite an annual coat of paint. To be honest it was more Commando’s shed than mine, filled with lawn mowers and other manly things and, as it was hidden away at the end of the garden behind the honeysuckle arch, I didn’t think about it too much. When I did, I resented the veg growing space it took up and wished it could be somewhere else. Continue reading Thinking about sheds – first published 30 May 2014

You see some funny things along the river – first published 25 May 2014

After my visit to the newly reopened White Swan pub in late May 2014 I was in a nostalgic mood thinking of all good times we had there and the water that’s passed under the bridge since then. Back then I had my whole life in front of me and now…well let’s just say I was feeling old. Nothing like revisiting your youth to remind you just how long ago it was. Continue reading You see some funny things along the river – first published 25 May 2014

White Swans – first published 25 May 2014

In December 2013 the White Swan pub at Mansbridge flooded. Floods are not a new thing for the Swan, it happens with monotonous regularity and I suppose it’s the price you pay for sitting on the edge of the river. Usually the flooding is limited to once a year at most. Mostly it gets cleaned up and reopens in a week or so. The winter of 2013/2014 was different, the water rose, receded a little, then rose some more, all through December, January and February. It rose higher than I’ve ever known it, closing the whole road at times. In Late May 2014, it finally reopened and, of course, I had to go along to have a look. Continue reading White Swans – first published 25 May 2014

Back to the sea, sort of – first published 18 May 2014

After the 10k race at Victoria Country park in May 2014 and my wander around the military cemetery, it was tempting to walk back to the car with Commando and go straight home. It was warm and the sun was beating down on my head. That hadn’t been the plan though so he walked one way and I walked the other. He was headed for the car park while I was on my way to the sea, or what passes for sea around here. Continue reading Back to the sea, sort of – first published 18 May 2014

A run in Victoria Country Park – first published 18 May 2014

Mid May 2014 and Commando had a race to go to. As ever, I tagged along for the walk. Even at nine thirty it was sunny enough that I had to track down the sun screen before we left the house and, for once, I didn’t even take a coat with me. The venue was Victoria Country Park, somewhere I’ve walked many times and, as it was only a 10k and would take Commando less than an hour, I wasn’t going to get a chance for much of a walk in but, still, a walk is a walk and I had a plan… Continue reading A run in Victoria Country Park – first published 18 May 2014

A week of surprises – first published 17 May 2014

Some weeks pass in unremarkable mediocrity, others seem to be one surprise after another. The second week of May 2014 was full of surprises. For once, it wasn’t only the weather, I found a new path in a familiar place, there were scary things afoot in Bitterne Park and there was a little brush with Google Maps fame.  Continue reading A week of surprises – first published 17 May 2014

Hurst Spit, struggling back – first published 12 May 2014

My May 2014 Milton on Sea Adventure wasn’t quite over. There was still the getting back to the other end of the spit to get through. As soon as I left the shelter of the castle I knew it was going to be an ordeal. The shingle stretched ahead of me seeming twice as long as it had on the walk out. The wind was so strong in my face every single step was an effort with very little reward in terms of distance covered. As I struggled forward Commando, waiting back at the car park for me, was on my mind. Continue reading Hurst Spit, struggling back – first published 12 May 2014

A windy walk around Hurst Castle – First published 11 May 2014

May 2014 and, after a nightmare of mud and water on the Itchen Navigation I was hoping for a more sedate walk. Typically, the stroll along the shore I’d expected had turned into a battle against seemingly never ending shingle and strong wind. Hurst Castle was ahead but I was so exhausted I’d given up on reaching it and turned around to head back.  Continue reading A windy walk around Hurst Castle – First published 11 May 2014

Hurst Spit, shingle wind and a long slog – first published 11 May 2014

May 2014 and my first visit to Milford on Sea. The sun had been going in and out of the clouds all morning and, as I stood looking at the steep shingle bank ahead of me it came out briefly, making the quartz in the huge black rocks sparkle. This seemed like a sign to keep going so I did. In hindsight this may not have been one of my better decisions. Continue reading Hurst Spit, shingle wind and a long slog – first published 11 May 2014