Lost in France

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23 November 2014

Everyone knows I have a talent for getting lost. It’s something I do with monotonous regularity and, usually, it doesn’t bother me. In fact I’ve found some pretty interesting things that way and I always know it’s only a matter of time before I find my way back to somewhere familiar. Ok, so there has been the odd time, in the middle of the woods, when my stomach has tightened momentarily and I’ve had visions of being found as a skeleton under a tree.  GPS has often been my saviour but, on Sunday, it was a different story altogether. I was lost, frightened and in a state of panic. Continue reading Lost in France

L’Empire de la Mort

Fontaine de l'Observatoire
Fontaine de l’Observatoire

22 November 2014

The walk to objective number two took us through two more small parks one after another, Jardin des Grands Explorateurs and Jardin Marco Polo. We passed the Fontaine de l’Observatoire, designed by Gabriel Davioud and opened in 1874. The four female sculptures by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux represent Europe, Asia, Africa and America and the horses bursting out of the fountain were the work of Emmanuel Frémiet, but the thing that really drew my attention were the turtles sitting in the water. These gentle images full of movement and life were in stark contrast to the dank tunnels filled with old bones that lay ahead. Follow if you dare! Continue reading L’Empire de la Mort

Bonjour Paris

Wet pavements and sunshine, bonjour Paris
Wet pavements and sunshine, bonjour Paris

22 November 2014

On Saturday there was a plan, of sorts. This involved finding our way across the city armed only with a map and three separate objectives. We emerged from the hotel to wet streets and sunshine, it had obviously been raining at some point but the sky looked reassuringly blue. We got off to a good start, we knew which direction to go to start out. Continue reading Bonjour Paris

Under the sea to gay Paree

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21 November 2014

Friday morning began with a latte in Costa Coffee and a long wait on the cold platform of Southampton Central Station. We’d arrived way too early. The lesser of two evils, it was that or leave later, get stuck in rush hour traffic and possibly miss the train. In my time I’ve spent many hours on platform one of this station. As a teenager I worked in the offices above and caught the train to and from work every week day for five years. On Staurdays in the summer I helped out on the platform, guiding people to their connecting trains. Some of the announcements are imprinted on my brain. Continue reading Under the sea to gay Paree

common land and hidden gems

Freemantle Common
Early morning on Freemantle Common

20 November 2014

After such a warm, wet autumn my little garden is in need of some tender loving care right now. Unfortunately, the need of the garden in Commando Senior’s crooked little house was greater. This meant a little morning walk across Freemantle Common with my folding secateurs in my rucksack. Thankfully it wasn’t raining and it certainly beats walking to work. Continue reading common land and hidden gems

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

Kasbah ghost town, argan oil and a mosque – first published 10 august 2012

The gate to the Kasbah, Agadir
The gate to the Kasbah, Agadir

After a week spent mostly lazing on the beautiful Agadir beach or by the pool it was time to experience a bit of culture. As my lovely Geordie friend, Holly, owns a tour company we decided to hire one of her guides for the day and, for once, we did the tourist thing. It was both an interesting and moving experience. Continue reading Kasbah ghost town, argan oil and a mosque – first published 10 august 2012

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month

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11 November 2014

Despite my pledge to attempt to reach Scotland on my virtual coastal walk this month, this weekend was turning out to be a bit of a washout in more ways than one. The planned Sunday walk was scuppered by Commanndo’s plans and my plan to walk to the dentist and back on Monday fell victim to heavy rain and food shopping. That left Tuesday as my only chance to fit some miles in. The weather forecast was hardly inspiring. Even so I planned out an ambitious walk, considering the chance of heavy rain, to Victoria Country Park. In fact it fit rather well with the date, 11 November. Continue reading The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month

Remembrance Sunday

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9 November 2014

Sunday was about remembrance in more ways than one. It began with two minutes of silence and the Queen laying a wreath of poppies on the cenotaph in London. Of course we weren’t there, we were standing silently in the gym watching on TV and thinking of all those who gave their lives for our freedom. Continue reading Remembrance Sunday

How do I get out of here?

Universal Boatyard
Universal Boatyard

4 November 2014

So there I was in Universal Boatyard surrounded by boats on dry land and lots of shipwrights looking askance at me. Uncomfortable didn’t even begin to describe it. According to my pre-walk reading I was supposed to go to the right of the boatyard but there didn’t seem to be a path to the right. I walked this way and that, trying not to look too lost or too suspicious but all I could see were dead ends and boats. Continue reading How do I get out of here?