Back in 2016, when Commando, CJ and I worked so hard to build my summerhouse, we could never have dreamed it would end this way. Nothing lasts forever but, as we painted and hefted and built, we believed the pretty little house would grace our garden for many years to come. It was the perfect place to sit in the shade on a sunny afternoon, a place to plant seeds, relax and sometimes even write. When we got back from the marathon and inspected the damage inflicted by the storm and the flood though, it was clear there’d be no more relaxing, planting or writing. Continue reading Storm Damage
Sleep didn’t come easy last night. I stayed up far too late writing about the peculiar storm and flood while it was fresh in my mind. When I did go to bed it was hard to sleep. The lightning was still flashing like a manic disco ball outside the bedroom window. My mind was racing, filled with images of those huge tubs floating across the garden and worries about what the water was doing outside. It really did feel as if we were in a Winnie the Pooh story and, at any moment, Pooh and Christopher Robin would come to rescue us in an upturned umbrella.
The peculiar heatwave that began on the night of the RR10 and baked us in thirty degree heat on our walk to Hamble continued for the next couple of days. It had all my running friends a little worried. The Southampton and London marathons were coming up. Everyone had trained in nothing but cold wetness. This morning weather warnings were posted. Marathon day was going to be hot, possibly hotter that the record breaking marathon day in 1996 when temperatures hit 22.7C. Heat is never a good thing when you’re running a marathon. Thunderstorms and heavy showers were forecast for this afternoon too but nothing could have prepared us for what actually happened. Continue reading In which we are entirely surrounded by water
After the snow came the rain. It seemed to go on and on with one cold, grey, damp day following another. Walking was something to get from a to b as quickly as possible rather than an enjoyment. There was plenty of it but nothing that warranted pulling my phone out of my pocket. Today though, there was a brief dryish spell and I had an errand that took me along the riverbank. Continue reading Lovely weather for ducks
In December 2013 the White Swan pub at Mansbridge flooded. Floods are not a new thing for the Swan, it happens with monotonous regularity and I suppose it’s the price you pay for sitting on the edge of the river. Usually the flooding is limited to once a year at most. Mostly it gets cleaned up and reopens in a week or so. The winter of 2013/2014 was different, the water rose, receded a little, then rose some more, all through December, January and February. It rose higher than I’ve ever known it, closing the whole road at times. In Late May 2014, it finally reopened and, of course, I had to go along to have a look. Continue reading White Swans – first published 25 May 2014
May 2014 and the end of my epic walk was almost in sight. As I stepped onto the final stretch of the Navigation my feet were protesting. There were more than eight miles to go if I was really going to walk the whole thing right to Northam and I could feel the tell tale burning of emerging blisters. This was when I realised I didn’t even have any blister plasters in my bag. They probably wouldn’t have stuck anyway seeing as my feet, socks and boots were wet. It reminded me of some of those long Moonwalk training walks except my legs didn’t ache too. Small mercies and all that. Continue reading Northam bound with aching feet and blisters – first published 8 May 2014
My May 2014 quest to walk the whole Itchen Navigation from Winchester to Northam continued. Every time I came to a road I seemed to hit another problem and be left dithering. Highbridge Road was no exception. I looked at the sign pinned to the post and every section of the rest of the route had red lines and black crosses to say they were closed. The words ‘unsafe for use by the public’ didn’t sound good. I looked up the road towards Allbrook Hill, remembering all those Moonwalk training walks when I’d climbed it and how tough it had felt. Then I looked along the Navigation trail, the path looked dry and inviting but then so had the Brambridge end of Allbrook. Continue reading Allbrook to Bishopstoke fallen trees and lost dignity – first published 8 May 2014
May 2014 and I’d reached Kiln Lane on my attempt to walk the whole Itchen Navigation from Winchester to Northam Wharf. After meeting a man on the path who told me it had been waist deep further along the trail I didn’t quite know what to do next. Should I attempt the Navigation or should I take the road along Kiln Lane? I stood for a while looking at the footpath sign and then along the road, dithering and uncertain. Continue reading Allbrook and wet feet -first published 3 May 2014
In early March 2014, Commando went off on a twenty mile Sunday morning run, the penultimate long training run before his marathon. It seemed the ideal opportunity for me to go out on another nice long walk. After lots of poring over maps I decided on a route that would take in the Itchen Valley Country Park. The park runs beside the Itchen and touches on the edges of the Navigation. There are trails through woodland, pasture and water meadows. There is also a visitor centre with a coffee shop, what more could I want? Continue reading Mud, floods and crowds at Itchen Valley Country Park – first published 9 March 2014
I’m always thankful that I live near the sea. There’s something about the sound of crashing waves and the taste of salt in the air that can’t be beaten. It may not be a beach of golden sands, with palm trees swaying and the sun beating down but, some days, the shore calls to me and, when it does, it have to listen. In early March 2014, I did just that. Continue reading The call of the sea – first published 6 March 2014
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