Training, manager escalations and a wedding anniversary

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29 April to 1 May 2015

The working week started off gloomy. It seemed our hoping for cooler weather for the marathon had proved the old adage to be careful what you wish for. The Wednesday walk to work was drizzly and grim, brightened only by the sight of the black swans as I approached the boardwalk. After the beautiful warm, sunny weather of the week before it felt as if winter had returned.  Continue reading Training, manager escalations and a wedding anniversary

The dash for the finish line

Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge

26 April 2015

By quarter to twelve, when I finally made it to Tower Bridge, almost three hours after I’d set out, I’d walked eleven or more miles, rather than the seven I’d planned. The noise of the crowds told me I was there before I even saw it and, once I was on the bridge, they got thicker and thicker until I had to literally push my way through. Once or twice I may have mentioned how much I hate crowds. Being short, I can’t see anything and they make me feel panicked and claustrophobic. By the time I got to the other side I was close to tears and disoriented. Continue reading The dash for the finish line

The Thames Trail, a catalogue of errors

HMS Belfast
HMS Belfast

26 April 2015

Once I’d left Cutty Sark and crossed Deptford Creek, it was a relief to be away from the crowds and walking along the empty embankment. The creek, I found out later, was the site of the Battle of Deptford Bridge, the last battle of the Cornish Rebellion, on 17 June 1497. Created as a Royal Dockyard by Henry VIII, in the sixteenth century, Deptford Dockyard gave employment to many shipbuilders until its closure three hundred years later. In fact, in 1580, Queen Elizabeth I knighted Francis Drake there on board the Golden Hind. The ship remained moored in the creek until it broke up. It seems it a pity it couldn’t have been saved and restored because I would like to have seen it. Continue reading The Thames Trail, a catalogue of errors

London, marathon day has arrived

The end is in sight
The end is in sight

26 April 2015

Training for a marathon is a long, slow process. It takes fortitude, courage and a dogged determination to get out and run, no matter what the weather, when your mind and muscles are screaming at you to stop and stay in bed. Running twenty plus miles is never easy, even if you’ve done it before many times. Anyone who thinks it is should go and and try. Sometimes doubts creep in. Why am I doing this to myself, maybe I should just turn for home now moments. Only the determined succeed. On our way back from Portchester, CJ and I bumped into Commando on one of his last ever training runs. The end was in sight. Continue reading London, marathon day has arrived

Monumental cock up on the London Marathon front

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25 April 2015

A few years ago I made a cock up of monumental proportions on the Twilight Race For Life. Basically I turned up on the wrong night, one day after the race, dressed in bright pink, with my race number pinned to me and covered in glo sticks. As mistakes go it was a big one and embarrassing but, to put matters right, I walked more than the distance involved, dressed in my stupid pink costume, all alone, at night and feeling like a total idiot. On Saturday we discovered someone else had made an error that made mine look like a tiny faux pas. Let me start at the beginning…. Continue reading Monumental cock up on the London Marathon front

Portchester Castle, a tough climb, amazing views, a ghost and a bit more graffiti

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22 April 2015

In the end we decided to give it a go. What was the worst that could happen? Having bigger feet, CJ found the wedge shaped steps quite difficult and even I had to watch my footing as they were quite slippery in places. At least there were small windows at intervals so it wasn’t dark. As we climbed, a strong memory of climbing these very stairs once before came back to me. When my boys were little, possibly before CJ was even born, we’d visited the castle. The one thing I remember about the visit was the climb up this spiral staircase and a slight feeling of panic that one of the boys would slip. Continue reading Portchester Castle, a tough climb, amazing views, a ghost and a bit more graffiti

Portchester Castle, stinky moats, prison cells and scary stairs

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22 April 2015

When I said I thought I might go to Portchester Castle on Wednesday Commando Junior’s ears pricked up. He got that look, like a puppy that wants you to take it for a walk, and I knew it would be cruel not to take him with me. Bearing in mind the Tuesday debacle when I ended up dashing home in a panic I checked out the train times carefully and told him, if he didn’t get up in time, I’d go without him. It did the trick and we set off bright and early for the train station.  Continue reading Portchester Castle, stinky moats, prison cells and scary stairs

Weirs, alpacas, goats impersonating cows and stinging nettles

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21 April 2015

Even before I crossed the road I could see the green sign was still there and my heart sank a little. Even so, I crossed and peered uncertainly up the towpath. It loooked dry and firm but still I dithered. Last year there was a bad breach where the path looked to be in danger of being washed away altogether. If I went ahead I could come seriously unstuck and have to turn back. The cracked wall was testement to just how bad the flooding had been. The wier was flowing fast, but it wasn’t as high as I’ve seen it. In the end I decided to give it a try. Continue reading Weirs, alpacas, goats impersonating cows and stinging nettles

More bridges, seats, a little garden envy and warning signs

Stoke Lock
Stoke Lock

21 April 2015

The first time I walked the stretch of the Itchen Navigation between Bishopstoke and Allbrook it ended in disappointment. A bridge had been stolen, or vandalised and I had to turn back. It would be a long time before I could walk the whole way but it was well worth the wait. Where the Southampton Eastleigh section is unkempt and overgrown this is well maintained and, as a bonus there are some lovely houses to look at. All in all it was far too tempting to bypass for the sake of a coffee so I crossed the road and set off beside the river. Continue reading More bridges, seats, a little garden envy and warning signs

Monks Brook Meadows a really exciting find.

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19 April 2015

Our little group left Monks Brook through the gate and crossed the road at the roundabout. This is where I usually carry on along Wide Lane to Eastleigh but Bob turned to the right and began to walk towards the railway arch. There was a milestone beside a fence that I’d never noticed before, much like the one on the Main Road that I keep meaning to take a picture of and never quite get round to. Close by there was another gate between the modern housing complex called The Grange and the Fleming Arms Pub. Bob went through it and we followed. Continue reading Monks Brook Meadows a really exciting find.