Invasion of the giant snails and pest control

26 May 2017

The round of waiting rooms and blood tests is far from over but a steroid injection means Commando is feeling much better. It isn’t a cure, investigations are still ongoing, but, for now, he is making the most of it. In fact he’s become a little stir crazy. Word had it that the new Watermark Plaza had been invaded by giant rainbow coloured snails. In fact I kept seeing photos of them on Facebook so, today, I thought we could drive over and have a look at them for real before they all slithered off.  Continue reading Invasion of the giant snails and pest control

Barrie, food, art and au revoir, not goodbye

12 May 2017

Our last stop of the day was the city of Barrie. On the map it looked like a huge sprawling thing, at least in comparison to Gravenhurst and Orillia. According to the sign we passed it had a population of 136,000, a little over half the number of people living in Southampton. There’d been precious little time for proper research so we really had no idea where to go or how easy it would be to find somewhere to park. More by luck than judgement, we ended up driving right into the centre of town where we found a car park on Lakeside Drive.  Continue reading Barrie, food, art and au revoir, not goodbye

Let’s go to Huntsville

11 May 2017

My twisted body clock woke me at quarter to five this morning. It was quarter to two in Vancouver and quarter to ten in England so goodness only knows what time zone my brain was in. The merest hint of pink was just beginning to show above the tree line outside. I took a quick photo and then tried to go back to sleep. Half an hour later I gave up. My body was determined it was morning so I might as well listen. The sky was a little lighter now, the line of pink rising up to meet the midnight blue sky.  Continue reading Let’s go to Huntsville

Eling Tide Mill – first published 24 August 2014

At the end of August 2014, I finally got round to the Eling Tide Mill walk. Even so, the walk started off in a grump. I’d intended to have a shortish walk, maybe five miles or so, and attempt the Eling Tide Mill on Tuesday. When I looked at the weather forecast it seemed Tuesday was going to be torrential downpours though. This rather put the cat among the pigeons. Then I realised I’d forgotten to charge my phone so I had to hang around drinking coffee while it charged. Not a happy bunny. Continue reading Eling Tide Mill – first published 24 August 2014

The Vancouver Marathon and five seconds of fame

7 May 2017

Last night Commando went out for a run, his first in a month. He came back within ten minutes. The marathon was off. The pain in his Achilles tendon kicked in almost at once. There was no way he could run a parkrun, never mind a marathon. After all the miles and miles of training and lots of ups and downs when the pain came and went for no apparent reason, the last glimmer of hope died. It was a sad evening.  Continue reading The Vancouver Marathon and five seconds of fame

Sunday strolling Southampton streets – first published 17 August 2014

It was a normal Sunday morning in mid August 2014. Commando was out for a training run of seven and a half miles and I decided to go for a walk. The only plan was to visit the big new Sainsbury’s for a few things they don’t stock in the one in the village. Other than that I thought I’d just have a wander and see where I ended up. Yes, I know I’m always banging on about planning walks, blah, blah, blah and I very rarely actually do it but sometimes just wandering aimlessly is actually fun. Continue reading Sunday strolling Southampton streets – first published 17 August 2014

Granville island, Downtown, rain and a free concert

3 May 2017

We’d been warned Vancouver wasn’t called Rain City, Raincouver or the Wet Coast for nothing so, when we woke to a decidedly wet world this morning, we weren’t exactly surprised. After breakfast we popped on the wet weather gear we’d sensibly packed and headed towards Granville Island where we’d had a lovely birthday meal with Jen and Kevin the night before. At least it wasn’t cold and, as we’d previously had Jen as a guide we knew more or less where we were going. Continue reading Granville island, Downtown, rain and a free concert

Casting clouts, nesting swans and a coffee disaster, almost…

12 April 2017

Reluctantly we’d left the cool green shade of Monks Brook. We crossed the road by the Swaythling railway arch and, for a moment or two, I dithered, torn between walking through Monks Brook Meadows or the less scenic but more direct route along Wide Lane. In the end I thought about my recovering knee and the distance we’d be covering and decided on short and less sweet. The first hawthorn flowers of spring spilling over a garden wall seemed to be a sign I’d made the right decision.  Continue reading Casting clouts, nesting swans and a coffee disaster, almost…

Bartley Water and a different Boardwalk

28 March 2017

Right at the moment we were about to give up on finding the gate to the Boardwalk and head back to the Tide Mill, there it was.  This at least proved that I really did know where I was going even if it had taken walking around for ten minutes or more to work it out. When I said as much CJ rolled his eyes and pointed to the sign saying ‘this Boardwalk is due to be replaced during summer/autum 2016 and will be closed.’ If the sign was still there did this mean the work was still going on? If it was would we be able to get through? There was no real way of telling so we went through the gate anyway. Continue reading Bartley Water and a different Boardwalk

Monks Brook, heat and an invasive species – first published 14 July 2014

My mid July walk in 2014 had started off on a sour note but had soon improved when I had an up close and personal visit with a black swan. As I walked on towards the reed beds and, ultimately, the White Swan pub, I sipped my water. The early morning rain combined with the sun seemed to have sucked up all the air and left behind a damp stickiness. Even along the river there was little breeze and my pace slowed considerably. Still, I told myself this was not about speed but about getting out and walking, enjoying the nature around me and the sun on my skin, if not the sweat trickling down between my shoulder blades. Continue reading Monks Brook, heat and an invasive species – first published 14 July 2014