West Side wanderings

18 February 2018

The River Itchen meanders through the centre of Southampton dividing it roughly into two halves, west and east of the river. Almost all my life I’ve lived on the east side, so much of the west side of town is something of a mystery to me. Today CJ and I thought we’d explore a small part of it. There was a plan, albeit a fairly vague one, centred around an unusual church we’d seen from a bus some time ago.

Continue reading West Side wanderings

Fifty miles

27 January 2018

On a normal Saturday morning I can usually be found hanging around on the Common while Commando runs parkrun. Sometimes I volunteer, sometimes I just go for a quiet wander. For three weeks in a row though I’ve been conspicuous in my absence and it’s all down to Commando’s friend Rob and a harebrained scheme to run fifty miles and raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK. Continue reading Fifty miles

Tales from the photo archive summer

For more than a month Commando had been sidelined by illness. It was June before he was finally allowed to put his trainers on and test his legs. He still was far from well but seeing him cross the finish line at Southampton parkrun on 10 June felt like a huge leap in the right direction. Continue reading Tales from the photo archive summer

Beyond Graffiti

19 August 2017

With all the decorating going on there have been no proper walks lately. Life has been one long round of cleaning, sanding, painting and organising things like new blinds for the windows and furniture renovations. Although all this has given me plenty of exercise I’ve missed being out with my camera walking so, today, while Commando was running round parkrun, I took a short wander on The Common.  Continue reading Beyond Graffiti

A small disaster on the Common and some graffiti – first published 5 September 2014

In early September 2014 I’d revisited my past and had a pleasant walk through the parks. Now I was on my way to the Common. As I was passing the old Mad House building a van passed me with its stereo blaring. I often wonder about the hearing of people who play their music so loudly in their vehicles but this time they were playing one of my favourite songs, Kevin Lyttle’s Turn Me On. This was one of those tunes we’d put on the CD player when the marketing team were in the penthouse at Dream Factory. Sometimes we’d even get up and dance around a bit. Hearing this reminded me I had my iPod in my pocket. Once upon a time I almost always had my iPod on when I was walking but lately I’ve hardly used it. I got it out, found the song and set it to shuffle. Continue reading A small disaster on the Common and some graffiti – first published 5 September 2014

Another Saturday, another Parkrun

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8 October 2016

Last week Commando made a park run comeback. This week it was the turn of another Spitfire, Sarah, to return to running, this time after major surgery had kept her on the sidelines for some time, marshalling, token collecting and generally cheering everyone else on. Of course Commando would be running again too so I went along to cheer them both on. Continue reading Another Saturday, another Parkrun

A very special parkrun

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27 August 2016

Parkrun is becoming a bit of a regular Saturday morning event for me these days, although, obviously, I don’t run. Sometimes I help out, doing things like marshalling, sometimes I just watch or have a wander on the Common, other times I walk it. What I’ve never, ever been asked to do before though, is blow up balloons. This was a very special parkrun though.  Continue reading A very special parkrun

Remembering the Somme at Hollybrook

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30 June 2016

One of the bloodiest battles in human history began on 1 July 1916. It raged, in mud and trenches on the banks of the River Somme, for one hundred and forty one days. To most people this is ancient history, too far in the past to connect with. The image of all those young soldiers resonates with me though. Pappy was one of them. It seemed fitting that my walk today should take me to a First World War memorial and I knew just the place to go. In fact I’d been meaning to visit Hollybrook Cemetery for some time and the eve of the hundredth anniversary of Battle of the Somme seemed like a good day. Of course CJ wanted to come along.  Continue reading Remembering the Somme at Hollybrook

Parkrun behind the scenes

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21 May 2016

Hundreds of people turn out for parkrun at Southampton Common every Saturday morning. They run their 5k and they go home feeling virtuous, quite rightly so. It takes a lot to get out of bed early at the weekend and run around an often cold, wet, muddy common after all. Most probably don’t realise all the work that goes on behind the scenes to make their run possible though. This week Commando was volunteering to help set up. For him this is a regular thing, he does it a few times a year. Some amazing people do it every week though. They are the real parkrun heroes! Continue reading Parkrun behind the scenes

Common photos, gallows, a well and some extraordinary people

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31 January 2016

When I said I’d go up to the Common with Commando on Sunday morning for a photo shoot I didn’t expect rain and cold. We were amomgst the first there and we stood around shivering and chatting as other people slowly began to arrive. The photo shoot was for the runners who’d volunteered as pacers for the Southampton Half Marathon, including an Itchen Spitfire team. There’d be a practice run around part of the course at the end of it.  Continue reading Common photos, gallows, a well and some extraordinary people