Postcards from Victoria Country Park

13 September 2018

We left the beautiful new benches and set off across the park, our heads filled with the lost and wounded soldiers of so many wars. Neither of us said much as we walked across the grass of the cricket pitches towards the distant chapel. We were too busy thinking of all those past sacrifices made so we could live in freedom. War is neither good nor glorious but, when the alternative is to sit back and let evil and injustice prevail, it becomes an unpleasant necessity. Today we would be remembering those who gave so much.  Continue reading Postcards from Victoria Country Park

Gravehunting, a photographer’s story

8 September 2018

Several months ago I saw a photograph of Francis Godolphin Osbourne Stuart’s grave on a Facebook local history page and discovered it was hidden somewhere in the Old Cemetery. This little bit of knowledge set off a search that would take up my Saturday mornings for the whole of the summer. The Old Cemetery is huge and maze like. This summer it was also very overgrown. With no idea of where the grave was it was never going to be easy but a walk in the Old Cemetery is never a hardship.  Continue reading Gravehunting, a photographer’s story

Titanic tales from Bitterne Village

4 September 2018

When RMS Titanic sank hardly any area of Southampton was untouched by the tragedy. Earlier CJ and I explored the streets of Bitterne where some of the crew of the ship once lived. Now, we were at the top of the hill in Bitterne Village, looking for three more houses. A lot has changed since 1912. Many houses were lost in the 1980’s when  Bitterne bypass was built, others were demolished to build the Bitterne Leisure Centre, the Bitterne Library a Health Centre and a large doctor’s practice. Whether we would find any of the houses we were looking for intact remained to be seen.  Continue reading Titanic tales from Bitterne Village

Titanic tales from the Bitterne crew

4 September 2018

When the world’s most luxurious liner began recruiting crew on 6 April 1912, it seemed like a dream come true for the people of Southampton. After the national coal strike, unemployment in the city was high and families were living hand to mouth on charity handouts. The dream turned to a nightmare on 15 April when, five days into its maiden voyage, Titanic, the unsinkable ship, sank. Over five hundred households in the town lost at least one family member. Today, armed with details from a crew list published in the Daily Echo, CJ and I decided to explore some of their stories. Continue reading Titanic tales from the Bitterne crew

The changing fortunes of Southsea Castle

2 September 2018

Like most of Henry VIII’s castles, Southsea is a short squat affair. Even as I got closer, it didn’t look any more like my idea of a castle but, of course, today was by no means my first visit. Probably, with a little more warning of today’s walk, I’d have done some research and found something different to look at in Southsea. F.G.O. Stuart took several photographs of the place I could have recreated if I’d had copies on my phone. Still, the castle was there and I had time on my hands. Besides, even familiar places can hide surprises.

Continue reading The changing fortunes of Southsea Castle

A brief history of Southsea, a church and an awful lot of monuments

2 September 2018

The fast boys decided to go for a run in Southsea this morning and, as it was a beautiful sunny day, I thought I’d go along too. We parked up near the Pyramids, fed the parking machine and met up with Rob, Mark and Gil. Then the fast boys ran off and I was all alone to wander, just how I like it.  Continue reading A brief history of Southsea, a church and an awful lot of monuments

Parkrun tourism, a return to Cams Mill

11 August 2018

There are hundreds of parkrun venues all over the world and, in Hampshire alone, there are nineteen different parkruns to choose from. Usually we go to the Southampton parkrun because it’s easy for us to get to and we know almost everyone there. For ages though, we have been talking about doing more parkrun tourism. This weekend Rob decided he wanted to see what Fareham parkrun was like. We had actually been before, back in June last year, but we both liked the venue so we said we’d go along too.  Continue reading Parkrun tourism, a return to Cams Mill

Killing time in Winchester

5 August 2018

When I left Winnal Moors it was well after ten o’clock. Commando was due back from his run at around eleven. This didn’t really give me time to explore much further although I didn’t want to just go back to the car park and wait around. Basically I had time to kill and, in Winchester, this is never a bad thing. Dawdling, I walked along Durngate Terrace, stopping to admire the painted bollards at the end of the street, then I headed along Eastgate Street towards the centre of the city.  Continue reading Killing time in Winchester

The magic of Winnal Moors

5 August 2018

Of course I couldn’t stand in the park gasping at the wonderful views across Winchester forever. Eventually I dragged myself away, walked back down Blue Ball Hill, which was certainly the easiest direction to tackle it from, and headed somewhere far more familiar. It was now around twenty past nine and Commando wouldn’t be back at the car park until just before eleven, so I had more than enough time for a stroll around Winnal Moors. Continue reading The magic of Winnal Moors

The Soke and the oldest church in Winchester

5 August 2018

A quick look at the map made up my mind. The top part of Blue Ball Hill looked to be devoid of houses and I could see the square tower of a church a little way along St John’s Street. Old churches are almost impossible to resist and I could always walk back up and explore further afterwards. With this in mind I began to walk along St John’s Street. There were so many interesting looking houses, it was slow going and, as I walked, I realised I was gradually going downhill, slowly losing all the altitude I’d gained with so much effort earlier. Continue reading The Soke and the oldest church in Winchester