A shed, a shed, my kingdom for a shed – first published 17 June 2014

In June 2014 I was waxing lyrical about a new shed. It was all very exciting. Commando, after a lot of window shopping, ordered a shed online from Wickes. They said it would be delivered in one to two weeks. Three and a half weeks later and we are still shedless. This wouldn’t have been quite so bad if Wickes hadn’t already taken our money. Eventually, Commando, getting a little impatient and having heard nothing at all about the possibility of an imminent delivery, called Wickes customer services. This is where things took a decided turn for the worst. Continue reading A shed, a shed, my kingdom for a shed – first published 17 June 2014

Postcards from Southampton

The first picture postcard

22 February 2017

The very first picture postcard was posted in Fulham, London to the writer Theodore Hooke in 1840. It’s thought he hand painted the picture of postal workers and posted it to himself as a practical joke on the postal service. In 2002 the card sold for £31,750, making it a very expensive post card indeed. The first commercially printed postcards were lithograph prints produced in France by Léon Besnardeau in 1870. Over the next ten years sending postcards with pictures of holiday destinations became popular and so began the golden age of the picture postcard. Of course those days are long gone and Facebook posts have largely taken the place of sending postcards.  Continue reading Postcards from Southampton

Interviews and exciting news – first published 16 June 2014

In June 2014  excitement came in the form of an email. A journalist wanted to interview me for a rather prestigious magazine. It would be a feature on people who have dragged themselves off the couch and taken up walking. Obviously I fit the bill but I wasn’t sure if it would be as lovely and surprising as East Park on the June Walk, or as disappointing as the Enchanted Park. I’d been down that road before twice. The first time the journalist used my words rather than her own but chopped and cut so much the meaning was lost and I ended up feeling cheated. The second time promises were made but came to nothing. Maybe this woildbe third time lucky? Continue reading Interviews and exciting news – first published 16 June 2014

Denny Wood, the penultimate CC6

19 February 2017

Today brought the penultimate CC6 at Denny Wood in the New Forest. For once it was an area I knew fairly well as I’ve walked through it many times as part of the Care For A Walk fifteen mile fundraiser. Usually it is muddy and I had the feeling today was going to be no exception. On a different day I might have gone for a wander across White Moor to Lyndhurst and Bolton’s Bench a coulple of miles down Beaulieu Road, or crossed the road and done my usual trick of getting lost in Matley Wood. Today though I was being gentle on my poor old foot with its healing blister. Besides, there wouldn’t be too much time as Commando was running a CC6.  Continue reading Denny Wood, the penultimate CC6

Easy as a walk in the park – first published 9 June 2014

June 2014, I’d seen the roadworks on the Itchen Bridge and along Platform Road, walked along the old walls and looked at the place the castle had once stood. Fortified by coffee I strolled along Portland Terrace in the sun with my latte in my hand feeling rather excited. The next part of my hastily cobbled plan was a walk through the parks. How I’d missed my lunchtime park walks and the chance to see the seasons change, especially in the Enchanted Park. Continue reading Easy as a walk in the park – first published 9 June 2014

The tale of the disappearing castle – first published 9 June 2014

An engraving of Southampton Castle

Back when I was walking towards Hurst Castle on that never ending shingle bank I said I was a little disappointed it wasn’t a real castle. Yes, I know it was technically a castle, or at least a fort but, for me, a castle is a tall thing with crenellations, towers and battlements. Maybe this is a byproduct of living in Southampton all my life where things like that are commonplace. The thing is, Southampton doesn’t actually have a castle any more but it did once. In early June 2014 I went to look at the spot it once stood.  Continue reading The tale of the disappearing castle – first published 9 June 2014

Hidden surprises in the medieval walls – first published 9 June 2014

Early June 2014 and I’d crossed the Itchen Bridge and walked along the seafront to God’s House Tower. There had been some vague notion of walking up towards West Quay when I started out but nothing you could actually call a plan. I stood, looking at the tower, partly marvelling at the way it had stood the test of time and changes, partly wondering where to go next. What I didn’t realise as I stood there, was that these old walls I’ve lived with all my life and grown to love could surprise me with things I’d never noticed before. Continue reading Hidden surprises in the medieval walls – first published 9 June 2014

Chaos in Southampton City Centre – first published 9 June 2014

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

Memories of the late 1960s – not fitting in

1968

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

Fear, anger and a DVLA scam – first published 7 June 2014

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