Hythe is a quaint little place that seems half stuck in another, gentler age. The narrow High Street may be pedestrianised these days but the shops with their bow fronted windows look much as they must have when Jane Austin visited back in 1807. Red white and blue bunting was strung across the street and no one seemed to be in much of a hurry, unlike the busy city centre we’d left behind us. Despite its slightly old fashioned air, I knew there were some modern amenities and, once we’d left the pier, we both decided our first port of call should be one of them. Anticipating the journey CJ hadn’t had any breakfast, for fear of seeing it again on the boat, so we headed down the High Street to Costas for croissants and coffee. Continue reading Postcards from Hythe
After the snow came the rain. It seemed as if the sky was constantly dropping something on us. Everything was wet. Everything was muddy. Walking was a chore, to be got over with as soon as possible with the least amount of getting wet. Easter was fast approaching but nothing felt very springlike. Miles were travelled as I went about my daily business but my phone stayed firmly in my pocket and my camera stayed at home. Then I read about something I couldn’t bear to miss, rain or no rain.
“I’m not walking up Woodmill Lane,” CJ said, once I’d presented him with all the options.
He had a point, even without snow it’s a steep and seemingly unending climb to the Castle at Midanbury and an even steeper descent on the other side. Despite the cold, he didn’t want to turn back yet either though so we crossed the road and kept going along the river. Continue reading Frozen bridges, frozen feet
In the battle between parks and walls the walls won. The snow seemed to be getting harder so staying close to nice warm shops and cafes seemed the sensible thing to do. The precinct was almost deserted. All the really sensible people were probably in WestQuay enjoying the warm and dry. We walked past and headed straight for Bargate. There was less snow than I’d hoped but the medieval gateway stood on an island of white with flurries of fat flakes fluttering all around it. Continue reading A snowy walk of the walls
For many years the medieval walls from Bargate to Polymond Tower have been neglected and largely forgotten. They are so well hidden behind the shops on Hanover Buildings and the old Bargate Shopping Centre many people don’t even know they are there. Those that do venture along York Walk are often met with a dark, dingy, rubbish strewn journey. With the demolition of the Bargate Centre, this is about to change. There are ambitious plans to open up York Walk and make a feature out of the walls and towers there. Demolition work began a few weeks ago and today, as I was in town on business, I thought I’d see how it was going. Continue reading The metamorphosis of the forgotten walls
Shortly after half past twelve we’d watched our intrepid runners and cyclists leave Southampton General Hospital. We had an hour before their next stop, outside Eastleigh College but we had things to do before then. This was Rob’s fiftieth birthday and Kim wanted to get some balloons to decorate the View Bar at the Sports Centre where the run would finish. This meant a trip to the Swan Centre and a chance to grab another coffee while the grabbing was good. Continue reading Five run fifty at fifty – the hard miles
We passed the runners with loud cheers and honking of the horn as they made their way through Netley Village. Their next stop would be the Common just after eleven o’clock. We had two hours so we headed to the nearest Starbucks, on London Road. Sitting in the warm drinking coffee felt like heaven after all the standing around in the cold, even if there was a touch of guilt thinking about our runners still pounding the chilly pavements. Continue reading Five run fifty at fifty – heading for half way
Five thirty on a Friday morning and I’m trying to peel my gritty eyes open. The last couple of days have been a manic haze of preparation, mostly revolving around food and maps. This is the morning Commando and his friends, Rob, Rob, Ian and Luis run fifty miles to celebrate Rob’s fiftieth birthday. To say I can think of better ways to celebrate turning fifty would be an understatement. There is also a frisson of worry about Commando running such a long distance given the events of the past year. Continue reading Five run fifty at fifty – the first ten
We’d reached Six Dials and the end of our walk along the busy main road. Feeling pleased to be away from the traffic, we headed down into the underpass and emerged on Kingsway. At this stage there was no real plan, other than to get a coffee before we went back home. We stood looking over the railway bridge trying to decide which was the quickest way to our favourite Costas. Usually our walks to town would take us along Old Northam Road and through St Mary’s, so there was a certain amount of dithering and mentally recalculating of routes. Continue reading Sunshine after the rain and confetti in the catacombs
All through the summer the Spitfires have been working their way through the club championship races. They’ve battled for parkrun PB’s and tried to better their times at races over distances from a mile to a marathon. There have been triumphs and disasters, along with a lot of early Sunday morning starts. In some cases injury or health issues have meant some Spitfires, like Commando, have lost all hope of winning in their age category. Most have battled on anyway, happy in the knowledge they’ll get a finishers medal at the end, while others have had to drop out altogether. Today was the last early start and the last chance to pick up points. Continue reading The last championship race