In the battle between parks and walls the walls won. The snow seemed to be getting harder so staying close to nice warm shops and cafes seemed the sensible thing to do. The precinct was almost deserted. All the really sensible people were probably in WestQuay enjoying the warm and dry. We walked past and headed straight for Bargate. There was less snow than I’d hoped but the medieval gateway stood on an island of white with flurries of fat flakes fluttering all around it. Continue reading A snowy walk of the walls
In hindsight the hottest, most humid day of the year wasn’t the best of choices for our first zebra hunt. CJ and I were too excited to wait any longer though and this was the first chance we’d had since the zebras went on display on Saturday. With one hundred and ninety eight zebras on the trail, including all the babies hidden in shops, we knew from the start we weren’t going to find them all in one go. Half way over Northam Bridge, with sweat dripping into my eyes and legs that felt like lead, I wondered if we’d even make it to town to find the first one. It may only have been three miles but, in such weather, it might as well have been a marathon. Continue reading Southampton old town Zebras
The first Sunday in August 2013 and, as usual Commando was out on a run and I was cleaning the bathroom, washing clothes and pegging them on the line. When he came home we went to town, just for a mooch around. It’s something we do once in a while on a Sunday afternoon. Then Commando asked if I fancied a coffee in Tudor House. This was not something at all normal and I jumped at the chance. For all the times I’d walked past it I had never been inside. Continue reading a very old house – first published 4 August 2013
When I finished work on Friday it wasn’t exactly the end of my day. Commando’s friend Pete, the one who organises the spring New Forest Walks, had some tickets for a Southampton Ghost Walk but found himself accidentally overbooked. Knowing about my slight obsession with ghosts, Commando said he’d take them off his hands. There was just about time to freshen up before I had to dash back out again with CJ in tow. Neither of us knew quite what to expect as we made our way through a mostly empty city towards the Bargate. Continue reading Ghostly goings on in Southampton
March 2013 and spring was in the air. This was short walk week on the Moonwalk training although, at this stage, the short walk was ten miles. Commando had gone out to run his usual Sunday two bridge challenge so I thought I’d go one better and try three bridges. Planning the route turned out to be more difficult than the walk and I messed around with maps so long I ended up starting later than planned. It wasn’t long before I ran into trouble…
When our tour of the vaults and walls ended outside the Wool House my foot was a little achy and CJ and I were in need of coffee. The Wool House already looked packed so we decided to walk up Bugle Street towards the centre of town and find somewhere there. As part of the price of the tour we’d been given discount tickets for Tudor House Museum. CJ was keen to use them but, given the time and my aching toe, I thought we’d be better saving them for another day. Besides, it was sunny and we’d spent a great deal of the morning underground. There was no reason we couldn’t go inside for a coffee though and maybe a little look at the garden. Continue reading Coffee in a medieval garden and an air raid!
After the Norman Conquest, when the French came to live in Southampton, they worshiped in a church dedicated to the patron saint of Normandy, St Michael. That church still stands today. At the point where French Street becomes Castle Way there is an alleyway leading to Bugle Street and St Michael’s Square. To me this always feels like the place when today meets yesterday with a modern building on one side and the stone wall of the church on the other. CJ and I walked down this alley heading for coffee and, at the other end, it was like walking back in time. Continue reading St Michael’s Square, walking back in time
On a whim I decided to descend the Forty Steps to Western Esplande, leaving the medieval town. At street level the height of The walls and towers can be truly appreciated. Behind, the tower of WestQuay echoes them. Looking up, I see the machicolations where stones or boiling oil could be dropped on would be invaders and ivy leaved toadflax has made a home between the stones. Continue reading Southampton’s medieval walls, Western Esplanade to Friars Gate