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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Tales from the photo archive Spring

The first of my spring photos come from a walk around the City Centre parks on 7 March. I was running errands so didn’t have too much time to look around. The trees were still bare but The crocuses were flowering, a sure sign spring was in the air. Continue reading Tales from the photo archive Spring

Westwood reprise

14 April 2017

It isn’t often Commando wants to go for a walk with me so, when he said he said he fancied a stroll in Westwood to stretch out his legs after weeks and weeks of marathon training runs, I jumped at the chance. Westwood has become a bit of a bête noire of mine. It seem so to be a place where I always end up getting lost or on the wrong trail. Commando, who spent his boyhood in these parts, knows it far better than I so walking it with him would be a real treat.  Continue reading Westwood reprise

The Westwood mystery revisited

5 April 2017

The crumbled and broken gatepost we’d found once belonged to Lake House. This was one of three houses built on the edge of the wood in Victorian times, named after the lake in its grounds. Sadly, the house is long gone but the lake remains as Westwood’s main pond, along with some of the plants that once graced the gardens. Just beyond the fallen gatepost, I could see the whateveritis we’d come to look at. Perhaps CJ would have some useful ideas about what it might be? Continue reading The Westwood mystery revisited

Aiming for Hamble and trying to beat the wind, rain and tide – first published 31 January 2014

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The last few of days of January 2014 were a whirl of activity, most of it centred around trying to find a job. There was a meeting at Office Angels which turned out to be far shorter than I’d expected. The person I was supposed to see hadn’t turned up, never a good start, and the one I did see wanted me to completely change my CV. Frantically working away to make the changes, I got so involved I almost made myself late for my afternoon dentist appointment and had to march it out for the three miles or so to get there. Thankfully the old choppers were fine. Pete, my dentist told me, “you really need to eat more toffees and brush your teeth less often to give me something to do.”  Continue reading Aiming for Hamble and trying to beat the wind, rain and tide – first published 31 January 2014