As a reward for all the long walks, or maybe out of guilt for having signed me up for a marathon without my knowledge, Commando arranged a little treat for this afternoon. This came in the form of a cruise, although not the kind most people would imagine when they think of the port of Southampton.
Back on the first floor we entered the upper gallery of the hospital chapel. In front of us was a glorious stained glass window and a beautifully painted ceiling. For the poor wounded soldiers, fresh from the horrors of the front line, the sense of peace and quiet here must have felt a little like heaven. We stood for a moment or two drinking in the atmosphere and then walked slowly along the line of pews reading the stories of some of those who once worshipped here. Continue reading Heaven and hell
When we stepped inside the chapel it was empty except for the lady who sells tickets for the tower tour and a single guide. Entry to the chapel is free but there is a small charge to climb the one hundred and sixty six steps to the top of the forty six metre high tower. This was what we’d walked so far for and £3.50 seemed a small price to pay for a birds eye view of the park. Continue reading Climbing to the top of the chapel
Today CJ and I were on a mission. In August the renovations on the Royal Victoria Country Park chapel were finally completed. Although we were both itching to go and visit, we both agreed it was best to wait until the school summer holidays were over and the initial burst of visitors had subsided before checking it out. This was not something we wanted to rush around in a crowd. So, we set off bright and fairly early for what would be the longest walk I’ve taken since my back troubles began. Continue reading On a mission
When we set out this morning it was sunny but cool. We’d guessed the weather would warm up a bit as the morning wore on though and were well prepared with bottles of water and snacks. We’d been sipping the water steadily all the way through the butterfly walk and, by the time we reached the shore, our bottles were almost empty. The day was turning out to be far hotter than we’d expected but the cool breeze off the water and a well earned ice cream made us feel much better and there were shops in Netley where we could replenish our stocks. Continue reading Water, oil and trains
Five thirty on a Friday morning and I’m trying to peel my gritty eyes open. The last couple of days have been a manic haze of preparation, mostly revolving around food and maps. This is the morning Commando and his friends, Rob, Rob, Ian and Luis run fifty miles to celebrate Rob’s fiftieth birthday. To say I can think of better ways to celebrate turning fifty would be an understatement. There is also a frisson of worry about Commando running such a long distance given the events of the past year. Continue reading Five run fifty at fifty – the first ten
Last week, a little dawdling and some getting lost on our walk through Spear Pond Gully meant we missed the chance to drop in on Commando at work. Today was his last training shift so I thought I’d walk down to Hamble and meet him while I still had the chance. In theory it should have been a nice easy walk, all downhill after the climb to get to the village but timing would be key. Arrive too early and there’d be a lot of waiting around, too late and I’d have a long, uphill walk home. Continue reading Hamble or bust
We’d left to Road that thought it was a trail and were back on a real road again, with houses and even a sign for a railway station off to our left. One of the houses had an interesting gateway, a little like a lych gate. For a second I thought it might be the church where I was planning to stop and have a break. It wasn’t but the gate wasn’t so interesting I was about to take a photo when my phone rang. It was Commando, calling on his lunch break for a chat. If we’d walked a little quicker we could have made a detour and gone to see him. Once he’d gone I took my photograph of the gate. It was worth the wait, especially the sign that said Beware of the Gnomes. That really made me smile. Continue reading Show me the way to go home
By the time I’d left Netley Abbey on midsummer Sunday in 2014 I was very hot and sorely tempted just to walk back home along the shore. The lure of the cool sea breeze was strong and, beside it, the prospect of the Hamble Rail Trail, away from the water and an unknown quantity, was not exactly appealing. The sun was strong and the heat oppressive. There was some bargaining with myself and the result was I carried on towards Netley and Victoria Country Park still unsure exactly what I was going to do. Continue reading Hamble Rail Trail, the one that nearly got away – first published 21 June 2014
After the 10k race at Victoria Country park in May 2014 and my wander around the military cemetery, it was tempting to walk back to the car with Commando and go straight home. It was warm and the sun was beating down on my head. That hadn’t been the plan though so he walked one way and I walked the other. He was headed for the car park while I was on my way to the sea, or what passes for sea around here. Continue reading Back to the sea, sort of – first published 18 May 2014
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