Up on the roof

25 November 2017

The final part of our tour of God’s House took us into the tower itself. Built in 1417, at the same time as the gallery we’d just left, the tower was one of the earliest forts built specifically to carry cannon. It had eight gunports and rooftop firing points. The gallery and tower jut out from the town walls and would have spanned the town moat, meaning the town gunner had the perfect vantage point to protect the water mill and the gate. Where the gallery was far larger than I’d expected, the inside of the tower seemed smaller. In the eighteenth century, when it was used as the debtors prison, it must have been terribly cramped. Continue reading Up on the roof

Inside God’s House

25 November 2017

The tour we were taking today would be the last of its kind. Between 1961 and 2011 Gods House Tower was the Museum of Archeology but, for one reason or another, I never managed to visit. The doors closed in 2011 and, since then, apart from a few tours and exhibitions, it hasn’t been possible to go inside. Now, exciting things are afoot. Thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, the tower is about to be refurbished, then reopened as a new arts and heritage venue. Continue reading Inside God’s House

Frost on the Common and sun on the walls

25 November 2017

Today there was a cold and frosty start as we crunched our way across a frozen Common to parkrun. The sparkling grass and the flaming trees under a brilliant blue sky were all very pretty but I don’t mind admitting my teeth were chattering as I waited around for the run to start. The blue sky was a definite bonus for the adventure I had planned later in the morning though.  Continue reading Frost on the Common and sun on the walls

The last championship race

19 November 2017

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

Late autumn rivers and lakes

16 November 2017

This year, with little in the way of wind to ruffle them, the trees seem to be holding onto their autum leaves. Today, as the weather was bright, if cold, I thought a nice long walk was in order to enjoy them while they were still there. CJ and I set off fairly early for the river. We had a plan to walk to Eastleigh and back with a quick stop off for coffee in the Swan Centre. Continue reading Late autumn rivers and lakes

The importance of Remembrance

11 September 2017

Another dark and dismal Saturday morning at parkrun was brightened a little by  the golden autumn foliage on the Common. It feels as if the leaves are clinging on for longer this year, maybe because we haven’t had too much windy weather yet. There wasn’t too much time to hang around admiring the show this Saturday though, because we had a remembrance service to go to. Continue reading The importance of Remembrance

Underground, overground, making the best of things

8 November 2017

CJ and I left the Bargate Centre with mixed feelings. The new plans look exciting but the ghosts of old memories make the demolition of the building feel a little sad. We walked down East Street in silence, each remembering those far off days. Soon we’d come to another place of memories, the East Street Centre.  Continue reading Underground, overground, making the best of things

A parkrun milestone

4 November 2017

Some Saturday mornings parkrun doesn’t seem like such a great idea and I wonder why I’m getting out of bed early to watch a lot of runners going round and round The Common. This Saturday, with rain beating down and wind making it all seem worse, was a case in point. There was no way I was staying at home in the warm and dry though because this was a very special parkrun. John Grant, the founder and Chairman of the Itchen Spitfires Running Club and the Event Director of Southampton Parkrun, was about to run his two hundred and fiftieth parkrun. Obviously, the Spitfires had a few surprises up their sleeve for him.  Continue reading A parkrun milestone

Hamble or bust

27 October 2017

Last week, a little dawdling and some getting lost on our walk through Spear Pond Gully meant we missed the chance to drop in on Commando at work. Today was his last training shift so I thought I’d walk down to Hamble and meet him while I still had the chance. In theory it should have been a nice easy walk, all downhill after the climb to get to the village but timing would be key. Arrive too early and there’d be a lot of waiting around, too late and I’d have a long, uphill walk home.  Continue reading Hamble or bust

A postcard from Highfield and a wild goose chase

26 October 2017

The area directly outside the south door of Highfield Church is dominated by a war memorial, dedicated in 1921 to men of the parish lost during the First World War. For such a small parish, there seem to be an awful lot of names inscribed upon it. Their loss must have been a terrible blow to the area. We stopped for a moment to read and think. No doubt, a wreath of poppies will be laid here soon to remember them, although it’s doubtful if there is anyone alive now who knew them personally.  Continue reading A postcard from Highfield and a wild goose chase