Walking with friends

23 April 2019

Walking is an everyday thing for me. Sometimes it’s just a march up the hill for supplies or a wander into town to meet a friend for coffee. Other times there is a real purpose to it, searching for boundary stones or Titanic crew houses, walking the walls or the Navigation, uncovering history. Some walks are filled with photo stops, others are about just drinking in the sights, smells and sounds. A lot of the time I walk on my own but CJ likes to tag along when he can. Today’s walk was completely different.

My lovely friend Rachel is recovering from major surgery. She can’t run like she usually does but she’s now allowed to walk. As I’d undergone something similar myself many years ago, I offered to join her for a walk. Kim said she was free, so then there were three. We agreed on a time and said we’d meet at The Feather.

When I left home it was all blue sky and the scent of Mexican orange blossom from my garden. The walk to Woolston was uneventful and unphotographed. As always, I was early so I sat in the Millennium Garden for a bit just enjoying the sun on my face. Kim was early too. She’d run all the way from the top end of the Avenue and been quicker than expected. Rachel was on time and looking very good all things considered.

We set off in the general direction of the Shore. None of us were sure how far Rachel would be able to walk and, if it turned out not to be very far, we could stop at Metricks for coffee. There were still no photos because we were so busy chatting.

We chatted our way past the coffee shop and on towards the Rolling Mills. We could stop at the café there if needs be. We didn’t need to though. Rachel was still feeling good and we kept on going, along the promenade past all the little beach shelters to the far end of the shore.

Of course we couldn’t not have an ice cream. It’s almost a rule to stop and sit on the bench by the no longer standing dead tree and eat ice cream, or, in Rachel and Kim’s case, ice lollies. Usually I take a photo of the sea and the tree. Today I took one of my friends enjoying their treat and then, because I am rubbish at selfies and hate having my picture taken, one of my friends and my ice cream, just to prove I was there too.

This was where I thought we’d turn back but Rachel was still raring to go. She wanted to walk in Westwood. I have been lost in Westwood more times than I care to admit but Rachel is a qualified run leader and she’s run in these woods many times. Perhaps, just for once, there would be no going in circles wondering where I was.

It started well. The first part of the path was awash with green alkanet. I even stopped to take photos. Rachel was confident she knew where she was going and we followed, chatting and laughing as we slowly wandered amongst the trees,

It all went a bit wrong when we got distracted by the bluebells. There were great drifts of them painting the woodland floor blue. We meandered down one path after another gasping at their beauty.

Then we realised we didn’t quite know where we were. After a bit of walking in circles (probably anyway), we found what looked like one of the main paths. We seemed to be close to the end of it. In theory the Shore should have been nearby. Westwood is a maze of paths though and it’s full of tricks. We kept walking but, just in case, I opened the map on my phone. It was a good thing I did. We were almost in Netley, heading away from the shore not towards it!

As we turned around and began walking back, Rachel admitted she’d regularly got her running group lost in these woods. I’m glad it isn’t just me Luckily the extra walking didn’t do Rachel any harm and we made it back to Woolston in one piece, laughing all the way. Next time I think I’ll plan a route I know won’t get us lost.

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Memories of the 1970’s School’s Out

September 1972

From the moment I got my first record player, along with a big box of singles, I loved listening to music. Often I would sit at the piano in the front room, where all the silver cups Dad had won at bird shows were displayed, and pick out a tune or two, rather badly by ear. We listened to the radio a lot when I was small too and the songs of the sixties evoke many memories. Mother and I would waltz around the bedroom singing along to Englebert Humperdink’s Last Waltz and Mother would often make me sing Those Were The Days or Sing a Rainbow to her. In the summer of 1972, though, a pop song captured a moment in time for me like no other had before.  Continue reading Memories of the 1970’s School’s Out

Storms on the horizon – first published 3 October 2013


Mostly I don’t feel old. Well, not until I look in the mirror anyway. In my head I guess I’m twenty, maybe twenty five. On 3 October 2013 though, I felt ancient. This was down to Ashleigh. This was the day she turned twelve. How did that happen? How could I have a twelve year old granddaughter? It just wasn’t possible, not when I was only twenty, or maybe twenty five. Where did all those years go to? Continue reading Storms on the horizon – first published 3 October 2013

Lunch at The Wool House

Waiting for Panda, WestQuay Southampton
Waiting for Panda, WestQuay Southampton

24 May 2015

My rendezvous with Panda was the entrance to WestQuay so I found an empty seat with a good view and sat to wait and watch. The South American pan pipe players had set up a little further along the precinct so it was a pleasant wait, if short. I’d hardly had time to get comfortable before I spotted Panda. Eleven in the morning is a little too early for lunch and our planned venue wouldn’t open until midday so, once we’d done with all the hugging and greetings, we set off through the Bargate, past the piano accordion playing busker to Costa for pre lunch coffee. Continue reading Lunch at The Wool House

meet me at Borough Market – first published 17 November 2012

Commando Junior's river photo
Commando Junior’s river photo

17 November 2012

Yesterday I was housebound, waiting for the oven delivery. It was grey and foggy outside, as shown by a photo Commando Junior took from the Big Bridge, so being stuck inside was no great hardship. The oven finally arrived at half past eleven. The  delivery men probably thought I was a nutcase, I was so happy to see them. So I have a new oven. Granted it’s sitting in my gym right now but at least it’s in the house. The rest of the day was a mammoth cooking fest, leaving me free to have some fun in London today with the WLR girls. Continue reading meet me at Borough Market – first published 17 November 2012

Coffee tastes better with friends


11 January 2015

It’s no secret that I hated working at Mad House right from the outset. In fact I only applied for the job because of a rather spooky coincidence that had me thinking the fates were trying to tell me something. My temporary job was coming to an end and my lovely boss, Mac, told me I should apply for a job at Mad House, “you’d be brilliant at it,” he said.
“A call centre! What gives you the idea I’d be brilliant in a call centre?”
“Well, you’re good at talking.”
“Yes, I learned at a very early age.”
“On the phone I mean, you have a lovely phone manner.”
“I worked in a call centre before. It was awful. I hated it.” Continue reading Coffee tastes better with friends

disappointments and good friends – first published 16 October 2012


Some days it seems as if all that can go wrong does go wrong. You make all the right plans, do all the right things but, somehow, everything conspires against you. Those are the sort of frustrating days that can leave you feeling frazzled, cross and as if the whole world is against you. If you’re very lucky though, you will have friends who know just how to make you feel better. This post is about some of mine. Continue reading disappointments and good friends – first published 16 October 2012