The east wind

3 April 2019

When the weatherman said the first half of April was going to be cold and wet, with maybe a little snow, I should have listened. Ok, I did find my yaktrax just in case but, this morning, when I looked outside there was beautiful blue sky and sunshine. This was handy as I had an errand to run involving a fourish mile walk.

Anticipating the cold, I did put my arctic coat on and grab a hat as I headed for the door. Outside it looked like perfect walking weather but, as I put my key in the lock to open the door, something began to fall out of the sky. In fact lots of somethings. Little balls of ice about the size of a pea, not quite hailstones, not quite snow were hitting the decking in ever growing numbers. Some landed with a splat and disintegrated, others bounced and rolled. From past experience, I believe they are called graupel.

Outside I stopped to take a few photos and a video, sure the graupel would be short lived. It kept on falling though, getting heavier and heavier. My errand wouldn’t wait though, so, hood up and head down, I set off up the hill with the icy balls bouncing off my hood and sleeves.

East wind

At the top of the hill I stopped to catch my breath and look at the pretty primroses surrounded by icy little balls. The heat of the climb didn’t last long. The wind was bitingly cold, even with my warm coat. My face hurt. If anything, the falling ice was getting harder, more splat than bounce now.

Two miles on it was still falling. The catkins at Millers Pond looked sad and droopy, crystals of ice weighing them down. The icy drops were teaming into the pond creating a million little ripples around the lily pads. There were no ducks to be seen. No doubt they were all sheltering somewhere under the trees.

Beyond the Railway arch I thought I saw a tiny patch of blue sky but the sleety, haily, rain was still falling hard. My errand took me to the top of Portsmouth Road. My original plan had been to visit St Mary’s Extra Cemetery but the weather changed my mind. Instead, one my mission was accomplished, I just turned around and headed back towards the pond.

As I made my way along the trail towards Middle Road, the blossom on the hawthorn seemed to be mocking me. It’s supposed to be a sure sign of good weather after all. By now the worst of the ice and rain had stopped but I was wet and very cold. It felt more like January than April although the bluebells told a different story.

Typically, the sun did come out when I was half way home. It did little to warm me but the slightly uphill walk helped a little. If the hawthorn is to be believed spring is here, just not today with the east wind blowing.

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Big changes on the butterfly walk

19 April 2018

After weeks and weeks of rain and cold, the surprisingly balmy evening running through Victoria Country Park seemed like it might have been a turning point, at least weather wise. This morning the sky was a beautiful shade of blue and cloudless. Spring seemed to have finally sprung and it felt like time for a walk at last.  Continue reading Big changes on the butterfly walk

The lost estates of Weston, Mayfield

17 January 2018

All my life I’ve lived near the sea. The lapping of the waves and the sound of fog horns is something I can’t imagine being without. Having said that, Southampton is hardly a seaside town. The little bit of seashore we have, less than a mile of shingle bordered by tall flats and a large council estate, could not be called a resort by any stretch of the imagination. Even so, it’s nice to walk along the shore and, today, the sea was calling me, despite the high winds I knew would make walking difficult. Continue reading The lost estates of Weston, Mayfield

Trapped on the butterfly walk

20 September 2017

Bridge or slope? We dithered for quite a while, weighing up all the pros and cons. The slope was steep but there were steps and it would take us onto Archery Grove a shortish Walk on pavements to Millers Pond. There’d be no mud and, after the initial climb it would be easy going. The bridge would take us onto the butterfly walk. There’d probably be mud and obstacles to negotiate but it would be prettier.  Continue reading Trapped on the butterfly walk

The butterfly walk – first published 22 July 2016

With Mediterranean temperatures and high humidity in July 2014 I knew I’d have to come up with a good walking plan if I was going to get some miles in. Goodness knows I needed to as the hundred miles a month was looking more than a little short with just over a week to go. For once there was some forward planning. Ok so this only constituted a water bottle in the freezer (with the lid off otherwise they burst when the water expands) but still, it was a step in the right direction. Continue reading The butterfly walk – first published 22 July 2016

From Millers Pond to Bursledon Windmill – first published 29 June 2014

At the end of June 2014, I started working four long days each week, which meant having three days off. My first three day weekend began with a walk, obviously. Being the last weekend of the month and being a little shy on the hundred miles I’d promised to walk it probably should have been longer  but a very bright humid day had me revising my plans before I set out. There was only so much water I could carry in my rucksack and only so much sun a fair skinned girl could take. The new plan was to revisit the Bursledon Windmill and see what, if any, progress had been made since my last visit in early September 2013. Continue reading From Millers Pond to Bursledon Windmill – first published 29 June 2014

Searching for signs of spring at Millers Pond

28 February 2017

Meteorological spring starts tomorrow, although the vernal equinox and the real, official first day of spring is a few weeks away yet. In the spirit of positive thinking CJ and I set out for Millers Pond this morning in search of signs of spring. It might be considered jumping the gun just a tad but we had high hopes as we set off along Spring Road.  Continue reading Searching for signs of spring at Millers Pond

Escaping the chores at Millers Pond

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27 October 2016

Today was one of those busy days with no time for a proper walk. The sky was too blue not to take advantage and get some fresh air though so, when I was out running errands, I decided to take a little detour to Millers Pond.  It’s been a while since I was last there and I thought there might be some nice autumnal reflections in the water and maybe a few ducks.  Continue reading Escaping the chores at Millers Pond

A two walk Saturday – first published 9 February 2014

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Usually one walk a day is enough but, in Fenruary 2014, with almost constant rain and floods all over the city I was struggling to fit in the miles for the one hundred miles a month challenge I’d set myself. A Staurday morning with blue sky was too good an opportunity to miss and I ended up with not one, but two walks. Continue reading A two walk Saturday – first published 9 February 2014

Sholing wanderings, Spike Island and a hidden henge

28 June 2016

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Today, with blue sky overhead for a change, CJ and I decided to see if the flood that gave Commando such problems getting home from work last week had caused any lasting damage. There was also a cutway I’d spotted on the map that looked as if it could do with some exploration and might provide an alternative route home. Continue reading Sholing wanderings, Spike Island and a hidden henge