Fire, demolition and disaster

10 March 2018

There aren’t many things sadder than a fire in a bookshop. Just after midday on  6 March the large Waterstones store in Above Bar caught fire. The city centre was brought to a standstill by thick black smoke as thousands of pounds worth of beautiful books burned. I wasn’t there but I saw a video on Facebook and felt like crying.  Continue reading Fire, demolition and disaster

St Boniface

22 February 2018

On the west of the River Itchen There are three churches dedicated to St Boniface all within a few miles of each other. One is in Chandlers Ford, another in Nursling and the third in Shirley close to where CJ and I were enjoying a well earned cup of coffee. St Boniface was the church we’d walked so far to visit, although, at this point, we weren’t sure if it was open or not. Continue reading St Boniface

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

A hint of spring and things to make me smile

15 February 2018

It was the most beautiful day, bright, crisp and cold with a definite promise of spring in the air. As I was in town anyway I thought I’d take a wander through the parks to see if there were any signs that this long, cold winter was drawing to a close. My tour began with a stroll through the enchanted park. With the beautiful golden light and the trees reflected in the puddles there certainly seemed to be a touch of magic in the air. Continue reading A hint of spring and things to make me smile

Hills, windmills and another fallen tree

10 January 2018

After a string of dull grey days when all my walks were about getting somewhere as quickly as possible before it rained, the sun came out to play. This obviously called for a proper walk and I knew just the place for bright blue skies. The Bursledon Windmill was calling and, for the first time this year, CJ was joining me. Usually I’d head along Shoreburs Greenway to get to the windmill but, with all the recent rain, this didn’t seem like a good idea. The trail is muddy at the best of times and I didn’t fancy getting half way and finding it flooded, or losing a boot somewhere along the way. The alternative was a long, boring walk along the main road but this didn’t appeal much either so I plotted a more scenic but much longer route meandering through Sholing. Continue reading Hills, windmills and another fallen tree

Happy New Year

1 January 2018

First thing on New Years Day all the sensible people are in bed sleeping off a late night, too much food and way too much alcohol. My warm bed was just a hazy memory as I strolled across Southampton Common, wrapped up against the chilly morning air. For some reason the parkrun organisers thought it would be a good idea to have an extra parkrun today. In fact there were two, one at Netely and one st Southampton, with the Netley one starting before the Southampton one so people could run both. Continue reading Happy New Year

Sunshine after the rain and confetti in the catacombs

8 December 2017

We’d reached Six Dials and the end of our walk along the busy main road. Feeling pleased to be away from the traffic, we headed down into the underpass and emerged on Kingsway. At this stage there was no real plan, other than to get a coffee before we went back home. We stood looking over the railway bridge trying to decide which was the quickest way to our favourite Costas. Usually our walks to town would take us along Old Northam Road and through St Mary’s, so there was a certain amount of dithering and mentally recalculating of routes.  Continue reading Sunshine after the rain and confetti in the catacombs

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