St Bartholomews, beauty in simplicity

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16 August 2015

After several minutes of dithering, looking at Google Maps on my phone and wondering if there was something I was missing, I decided the only thing to do was to carry on along Brook Lane. Maybe I’d find a path that I couldn’t see from the map and, if not, I’d just have to walk back to Botley Village. Just the thought of it was disappointing, especially as I’d worked out a route home based on finding the church and I’d have to walk back the way I came if I couldn’t. So I turned the corner and carried on, looking to my left hopefully, thinking I might spot the church or a gate or something. There was nothing but trees. Continue reading St Bartholomews, beauty in simplicity

Twenty hellish miles with goats in trees – first published 15 March 2013

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With less than two months to go until the Moonwalk I had hit the long miles with a vengeance. Even the short walk weeks were ten miles plus and, in mid March, I had a twenty mile walk ahead of me. The last thing I needed was bad weather… Continue reading Twenty hellish miles with goats in trees – first published 15 March 2013

sixteen miles, woods, chapels and fallen soldiers – first published 8 February 2013

Weston Shore
Weston Shore

Training for the Moonwalk is a challenge. Sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation or the time to go out on long walks especially in the mud and cold. It has to be done though, if you want to live through twenty six point two miles on the night. Every week the walks get longer and the motivation more illusive, particularly when you come to the long miles. In February 2013, three months before Moonwalk night, I reached the first of those long miles. Continue reading sixteen miles, woods, chapels and fallen soldiers – first published 8 February 2013

The calm after the storm – first published 30 January 2013

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At the end of January 2013 the weather wasn’t playing nicely. Gales, rain and abandoned umbrellas filled my walks to and from work. At work the RNLI saga continued, much to my exasperation. Some weeks seem to be nothing but a series of irritations and this was one of them. Continue reading The calm after the storm – first published 30 January 2013

footprints on the roof and a mystery solved – first published 20 January 2013

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Snow isn’t something we’re used to here in southern England and it was scuppering my plans for a seven mile Moonwalk training walk big time back in January 2013. Obviously I couldn’t walk so far in a blizzard and the forecast continued to say there’d be more snow so another day passed with no walking. On day three, despite light snow, I decided to get out, even if just for a short walk. It would turn out to be a winter wonderland walk that solved a mystery. Continue reading footprints on the roof and a mystery solved – first published 20 January 2013

An invitation I couldn’t refuse

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19 April 2015

Some time ago I had a comment on my blog, followed up by an email, about an organised walk. It was from a man I’d never met, a local councillor, occasional contributer to the Southampton Heritage Page and, it turns out, reader of my blog. As you know, I mostly walk alone and I’m not a great fan of organised walks. This one was in an area I knew very well, or thought I did, but the words history and nature jumped off the page. It sounded like an invitation I couldn’t refuse and when I spotted a poster for the very same walk on my way back from Lakeside last week it seemed like an omen. Continue reading An invitation I couldn’t refuse

sales, sails and a spooky tale – first published 27 December 2012

Notice I let Commando go first
Notice I let Commando go first

Sometimes you walk past a place again and again without ever realising the secrets it’s hiding. The day after Boxing Day Commando and I walked down to see Commando Senior and he showed me one of his boyhood haunts. That was when I found out the little church on Peartree Green hid a grizzly secret. Continue reading sales, sails and a spooky tale – first published 27 December 2012

Botley, at last and a church to explore

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18 Jauary 2015

Botley began life as a Saxon village and the name means Botta’s leah, or a clearing in a forest belonging to a man named Botta. When the Romans built a road between Chichester and Clausentum, where my village now is, it passed Botley and a settlement grew up around the small Saxon one. Although I’ve visited it once or twice, mostly I’ve just driven through on the way to somewhere else and I’ve never really explored it properly. This turns out to be a terrible omission on my part because it has a lot to offer. Continue reading Botley, at last and a church to explore

Lyndhurst, an adventure in Wonderland

Illustration by Gwynedd M Hudson
Illustration by Gwynedd M Hudson

18 November 2014

One of my favourite childhood books was Alice in Wonderland. My copy was a thing of beauty that once belonged to Pappy and had colourful illustrations by artist Gwynedd M Hudson. I read it countless times and it captured my imagination. Alice Liddell, the inspiration for the story, lived most of her life in Lyndhurst in the New Forest and is buried in the churchyard there. As the Tuesday weather forecast hardly mentioned rain at all I thought I’d pay it a visit. Continue reading Lyndhurst, an adventure in Wonderland