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

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

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

Rock gardens, piers and the muddy beach run 2015

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22 February 2015

As I was leaving work on Saturday afternoon the sky darkened. Something very strange began falling from the brooding clouds, a cross between snow and hail, fat fluffy balls that went splat as they hit the ground or me. Thankfully Commando was waiting for me in the car because pretty soon the roads were white with these odd balls of snow and ice and they were gathering under the windscreen wipers. Apparently this was graupel, snowflakes that become rounded pellets when they mix with supercooled water droplets which freeze to them in a process called accretion. When I looked out of the window on Sunday morning they were still there, frozen to the decking and the deck rails under an arc of icy pink clouds. Continue reading Rock gardens, piers and the muddy beach run 2015

meet me at Borough Market – first published 17 November 2012

Commando Junior's river photo
Commando Junior’s river photo

17 November 2012

Yesterday I was housebound, waiting for the oven delivery. It was grey and foggy outside, as shown by a photo Commando Junior took from the Big Bridge, so being stuck inside was no great hardship. The oven finally arrived at half past eleven. The  delivery men probably thought I was a nutcase, I was so happy to see them. So I have a new oven. Granted it’s sitting in my gym right now but at least it’s in the house. The rest of the day was a mammoth cooking fest, leaving me free to have some fun in London today with the WLR girls. Continue reading meet me at Borough Market – first published 17 November 2012

Back to reality

Paul Day's The Meeting Place on St Pancreas Station
Paul Day’s The Meeting Place on St Pancras Station

25 November – 3 December 2014

Our Paris adventure was over. Dusk was falling as we left the train and pulled our bags past Paul Day’s huge bronze sculpture, The Meeting Place at St Pancras. We made it to Waterloo with prefect timing, the Southampton train was just about to leave. Outside the dirty train window the English countryside sped past as the sun went down. At one point I spotted a sliver of the Itchen Navigation as we passed through Allbrook. We were home. Continue reading Back to reality

From ossuary to graveyard in one afternoon

L'avenue du Général-Leclerc
L’avenue du Général-Leclerc

22 November 2014

Leaving the catacombs behind we wandered, slightly dazed, onto L’avenue du Général-Leclerc, quite some distance from the place we’d entered l’empire de la Mort. Our first priority was finding somewhere to eat. We found a little place called Indiana Café where we thought we might get a snack and a coffee and went inside. The snack turned out to be a huge meal, a beautiful hand made burger that surprised us by coming with salad and fries. Of course I had coffee too. Continue reading From ossuary to graveyard in one afternoon

L’Empire de la Mort

Fontaine de l'Observatoire
Fontaine de l’Observatoire

22 November 2014

The walk to objective number two took us through two more small parks one after another, Jardin des Grands Explorateurs and Jardin Marco Polo. We passed the Fontaine de l’Observatoire, designed by Gabriel Davioud and opened in 1874. The four female sculptures by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux represent Europe, Asia, Africa and America and the horses bursting out of the fountain were the work of Emmanuel Frémiet, but the thing that really drew my attention were the turtles sitting in the water. These gentle images full of movement and life were in stark contrast to the dank tunnels filled with old bones that lay ahead. Follow if you dare! Continue reading L’Empire de la Mort

Under the sea to gay Paree

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21 November 2014

Friday morning began with a latte in Costa Coffee and a long wait on the cold platform of Southampton Central Station. We’d arrived way too early. The lesser of two evils, it was that or leave later, get stuck in rush hour traffic and possibly miss the train. In my time I’ve spent many hours on platform one of this station. As a teenager I worked in the offices above and caught the train to and from work every week day for five years. On Staurdays in the summer I helped out on the platform, guiding people to their connecting trains. Some of the announcements are imprinted on my brain. Continue reading Under the sea to gay Paree

leaving on a jet plane – first published 5 August 2012

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As we have just booked a little holiday for later in the month (more about that later) I thought this would be a good time to tell you about a rather special holiday we had in August 2012. The Mad House was behind me and an exciting new job ahead. Between the two we were off to Morocco to celebrate Commando’s big-five-o. One last burst of sun before the end of summer and a bit of relaxation after some hard months. Is there any better place to enjoy sun and relaxation than the beach at Agadir? Of course we had to get there first and there were a few moments when I didn’t think we’d make it. Continue reading leaving on a jet plane – first published 5 August 2012