What I’d planned to do for my second weekend walk of June 2014 was check out the Hamble Rail Trail I stumbled upon last November but didn’t have time to explore. When I say planned, I mean thought about briefly without getting any concrete information or working out distances. In truth it was a vague whim rather than a real plan and it all fell apart as soon as I began trying to find out more. This may have been because I left it until breakfast time on the morning of the walk. For a start I couldn’t find a decent map of it and, as I found the start of it by accident, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to again. Then I worked out it would mean a lot more miles than I thought. The torrential rain of the previous couple of days didn’t exactly fill me with confidence either. Continue reading Chaos in Southampton City Centre – first published 9 June 2014
The change from the relative simplicity of Infant School to the far more structured environment of Junior School was a shock to my system. For one, the building itself was far larger. The long, L shaped corridors, filled with more children that I’d ever imagined existed in the whole world, were daunting for a small girl of seven or eight. Something about the rows of doors made me feel like Alice in Wonderland and I half expected to come upon a white rabbit with a pocket watch or a glass table with a key. Unlike the little Infant School, this had two floors and three sets of stairs, one at each end and a giant staircase at the apex of the L, going up, then dividing into two directions. The classrooms were almost all upstairs, mine at the far end, nearest the back gates of the school. Continue reading Memories of the late 1960s – not fitting in
I’m not usually a fearful or an angry person. Sometimes though there are things that make me cross or scared and in early June 2014 there were a few. People deal with both feelings in different ways and my way, especially with anger, usually involves seeing it as a problem to be solved. It may not be the right way but it’s the way my mind works and it works for me. Doing something, even if I know it won’t really make a difference, makes me feel better, more in control. As Mother would have said, ‘don’t get mad, get even.’ Continue reading Fear, anger and a DVLA scam – first published 7 June 2014
Despite three days of resting my poor injured foot there was no way I was staying home tonight. Commando read an article in the Echo about a sound and light show at the new Watermark Development and CJ and I were eager to see it, even though we had no real idea what to expect. In normal circumstances we’d have walked over the Big Bridge into town but this evening, to avoid too much walking, we caught the bus. Continue reading Son et lumière
Walking to work on the morning of the 70th anniversary of D-Day I saw poppies blooming on the demolished TV studio site. They must have opened in the previous day or so and it seemed quite fitting to see their bright heads swaying in the breeze. Poppies for remembrance. It was 6 June 2014. D Day, more properly called Operation Overlord or the Normandy landings, took place on 6 June 1944. The largest seaborne invasion in history is well documented but, for me, all the talk of Normandy beaches had me hankering to go back to one of my favourite places, L’Anse Du Brick just outside Cherbourg. Continue reading D- Day and memories of Normandy – first published 6 June 2014
And so we limped away from the duckpond towards the place I’d really been heading for all along. Well, I limped anyway. The huge, spiny tree trunk in my boot gave me a sharp pain whenever I put my foot down and I was convinced there’d be a puddle of blood when I finally took the boot off. CJ still had no real idea what we were about to see but I did and the memory of the tranquil little church went a long way towards making up for the pain in my foot. Continue reading An ancient chapel, a blister and a long hard walk
When CJ spotted the sign for Manor Farm Country Park he was surprised and delighted in equal measures.
“I can’t believe we walked so far,” he said.
“Only five miles,” I said, with a quick look at my Garmin, “less if it hadn’t been for the getting lost, and quicker if it hadn’t been for the mud.”
“I haven’t been here since I was really little. I think it was with school and I was about six.”
He had a big grin on his face as we set off along the muddy Farm track. Continue reading Limping through Manor Farm Country Park
According to the weatherman today was supposed to be the best day of the week, not that I entirely trust the weatherman of course. After days of rain, blue skies were a very welcome sight though and I decided to make hay while the sun was shining, or at least go out for a walk. Back in November, CJ and I went to Botley. Rain and a lack of time scuppered our plans and most of the route I’d plotted out went unwalked. Later I plotted a better one to the same destination and today was the day to walk it. Continue reading The trails of Hedge End, gloopy mud and a bramble disaster
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
Parkrun was brought to us this week by damp, mud, steaming runners and a photo bombing coot or two. It was also freezing cold but I’m getting used to that now. The talk of the day was breaking records. The parkruns at Lymington, Winchester and Eastleigh were cancelled and, from the outset, it was clear there were a lot more people on Southampton Common than normal. It looked as if the record attendance of nine hundred and forty two might well be broken. Continue reading Mud, swans, photo bombing coots and funnel duckers