Postcards from Winchester Cathedral

3 September 2017

It was time to leave the little secret garden and head back towards the car park. As it was still a little early for Commando to be back from his Half Marathon run I figured I had time to get a coffee in Costa on the way and maybe dry out my damp old bones. As I hadn’t had breakfast before we left home and the milky hot chocolate I’d had at six thirty seemed a long way off, I might even treat myself to a croissant too. Thinking about it made my tummy rumble. Continue reading Postcards from Winchester Cathedral

In poet’s footsteps

20 August 2017

Most people like a little lie in on a Sunday morning, me included, but today, not long after eight o’clock, I was in Winchester. This was mostly because of the Winchester Half Marathon. Commando is pacing and I am tail walking, like I did last year. This morning there was a training session for the runners to get used to the route. There was no way I’d be taking part in that because I’d never keep up but, rather foolishly, I decided to go along anyway and have a walk. When the alarm went off at silly o’clock this morning it suddenly didn’t seem like such a good idea but Mitch was keen to come walking with me so I dragged myself out of bed.  Continue reading In poet’s footsteps

Winchester, trying for the whole Navigation – first published 3 May 2014

The first walk of May 2014 and I was all in a dither. Originally I planned to attempt the whole Itchen Navigation, starting in Winchester and walking right to Northam where the original wharf had been. The non stop rain, Southampton Central Station being closed for line repairs at weekends and the knowledge that there were trees across the path at Withymead made me wonder if I should think of another route. Continue reading Winchester, trying for the whole Navigation – first published 3 May 2014

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

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3 November 2016

Poetry is something I’ve always been fond of so having to learn poems by heart at school was never a hardship. Long before I met Commando and acquired a poetic surname, one of my favourites was John Keats, To autumn. The fact that it was written as he walked a trail through the water meadows in Winchester makes it all the more special and I’ve long been meaning to follow in his footsteps. Today, with the words of the poem running through my head, CJ and I did just that.  Continue reading Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

Walking The Weirs with new eyes and dithering

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29 May 2016

Standing at the bottom of Wharf Hill, I toyed with the idea of heading towards the Itchen Navigation. Only days before I’d walked it with CJ though and, beautiful as it is, it didn’t seem the best use of my time. Besides, I wouldn’t get very far before I had to turn back even if I marched my fastest. The morning was getting warm and slightly muggy so dawdling was the order of the day. Instead I headed towards Wharf Mill, or Seagrams Mill as it’s also known, once the main grain mill in the city. Sadly this is not the original Wharf Mill, built in around 1205. The modern building was constructed on the site of the old in 1885 and these days it’s no longer a mill. Like so much else it’s been turned into luxury appartments. Continue reading Walking The Weirs with new eyes and dithering

Winchester, a flooded crypt, sensory overload and a robin

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25 February 2016

Winchester has been the focus of many walks. From the rush of elation when I saw my turning point at the cathedral on my final Moonwalk training walk, to the lure of coffee at the end of the Itchen Navigation it has drawn me. Many times I’ve looked in awe at the massive Gothic cathedral, one of the largest in England and the longest in Europe, but I’d never been inside. An intriguing photograph on the Winchester Heritage Facebook page made me realise a visit was long overdue. The rattle of car keys alerted CJ and, when he heard what I was going to see, there was no putting him off.
Continue reading Winchester, a flooded crypt, sensory overload and a robin

Winchester and a rhino disappointment – first published 16 July 2013

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Finally I’d done it, I’d walked the whole Itchen Navigation, well as much of it as I could given stolen bridge, burst banks and bits I just couldn’t find. Now I was in Winchester and there were rhinos to hunt, well one anyway. First though, there was the little matter of working out exactly where in Winchester I was. Continue reading Winchester and a rhino disappointment – first published 16 July 2013

Winchester and the long walk home – first published 26 April 2013

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At any given point in a long walk there is an internal battle against the voice inside my head telling me I must be mad and to turn for home immediately and check myself into a clinic to get help for my obvious mental health issues. Mostly I ignore it and keep walking but, when the walk in question is twenty-six or more miles, the voices get very loud. From the outset Winchester had been the aim of all these walks, the holy grail that I’d been walking towards for months. It was within touching distance but the voice in my head told me it might be a step too far. Did I listen? Continue reading Winchester and the long walk home – first published 26 April 2013

Black and white

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Recently I was tagged by Sherri from A View From My Summerhouse to take part in the  Black and White 5 Day Challenge. Because I’ve been on holiday and therefore out walking I’ve had quite a bit to write about this last week so, instead of a roundup of the week this is my take on the challenge.

Black and white photography is something I’ve always admired but never really dabbled in before but I’m about as good at sticking to rules as I am at finding my way when I’m out on a walk so apologies to Sherri and the challenge setters. My take on it is to use photos for my last five days of walking. For the record the real rules are as follows;

On 5 consecutive days, create a post using either a past or recent photo in B&W.
Each day invite another blog friend to join in the fun.

The first three photos are from my Hockley Viaduct walk. It was difficult to find pictures that would work well in black and white. There was a lot of trial and error and some discussions with Commando Junior who knows about photography. The first is looking along the Itchen from Blackbridge, I liked the way the lack of colour brought out the patterns in the water and how the buildings suddenly looked older and more interetsing. The second is of the railway arch and train bench close to the start of the viaduct, the shadows and the brickwork on the bridge really benefitted from the monochrome look. Finally a moody looking shot of the restored signal on the viaduct itself. The dandelion motifs on the path were lost but the variations in the shades of the bricks became more pronounced. It surprised me just how different things look without the distraction of colour.

Blackbridge, Winchester
Blackbridge, Winchester
Railway bench, Hockley Viaduct
Railway bench, Hockley Viaduct
Restored signal, Hockley Viaduct
Restored signal, Hockley Viaduct

The next set of photos are from the Five Bridges Road trail. Photo number one was one of my attempts to photograph the viaduct across the water meadows. It didn’t work because I was shooting into the sun but, in black and white, the arches are almost visible and I loved the way the branches turned to silhouettes against the sparkling river. The second picture was the avenue of trees by St Cross Hospital where the loose cows frightened me. Without colour the cow looks less threatening and the texture of the tree bark really stands out. My third shot didn’t actually make it into the post because, as ever, I had way too many photos. The arches at Winchester Cathedral look much to same with or without colour but I think the atmosphere of the photo is different. The stone looks far colder and I could almost imagine a ghostly monk around the corner in this version.

The viaduct from Five Bridges Road
The viaduct from Five Bridges Road
Avenue of trees, St Cross Hospital
Avenue of trees, St Cross Hospital
Winchester Cathedral arches
Winchester Cathedral arches

The day three photos come from my historic dockyard trip. Despite my sadness over the run down state of my local station, I have to admit that peeling paint and old bricks look rather good in black and white. The second photograph felt a little like cheating because the tinted glass meant there was very little in the way of colour in the picture taken inside the Spinaker Tower to start with. A little fiddling though and the chrome and glass seemed brighter and crisper and, in fact, I like it better than the colour shot. Finally, I couldn’t resist the temptation of  a huge sailing ship sans colour. The rigging and the sky were the big differences when I compared it to the colour shot. Black and white really does bring out the detail.

Bitterne Station ticket office
Bitterne Station ticket office
Spinaker Tower, Portsmouth
Spinaker Tower, Portsmouth
HMS Warrior
HMS Warrior

The Saturday Parkrun provided the photos for day four. It took a fair bit of time to find photos from the run that worked well in black and white but, in the end, I settled on three. The D-Day memorial on the shore looked good in shades of grey, especially the rocks around it. The second shot I chose was of the driftwood on the beach. Although I like the way the grain in the wood looks and the details that came out on the pebbles, it didn’t work quite as well as I’d hoped. Even so, I’ve included it. Finally, shot number three had to be of Commando running. I cropped this shot as I wanted Commando to be centre stage. One of the things I liked about the original was that I caught him in  mid air. In the black and white version this more pronounced. It really looks as if he’s flying.

The D-Day memorial
The D-Day memorial
Driftwood
Driftwood
The runner
The runner

The final three photos are from my Sunday walk along the river. Despite being innately colourful things flowers seem to do very well in black and white and my first picture is of the blossom tree that flowered through the winter and is flowering again now. I couldn’t resist the merest hint of pink in this one though. The inside of the church is my second photo. As with the arch at Winchester Cathedral I think old buildings lend themselves very well to monochrome photography and I especially like the shadows of the pews, which I’d not noticed in the colour version. Finally, the mass of little birds in flight by the reed beds brings my black and white adventure to a close.

Blossom, with a hint of pink
Blossom, with a hint of pink
St Mary's Church, South Stoneham
St Mary’s Church, South Stoneham
Birds by the reed beds, Riverside Park
Birds by the reed beds, Riverside Park

In the spirit of breaking rules, I shall not be nominating five people to take part in the challenge but I will throw down the gauntlet to all my WordPress friends to have a go at this challenge. Go on, I dare you!

An old walk, a new footpath, an almshouse and a cathedral

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10 March 2015

When I was training for the first Moonwalk my route was always the same except I added a mile each week. Usually I prefer a circular route but the need to add that mile made it impractical so I’d walk in the general direction of Winchester, add half a mile then turn round and walk back. For months and months I went out in all weathers and the only real variation, except when I got lost, was the last half mile of each walk. Oh, how I looked forward to that half mile of new ground and the excitement of finding something different to look at.

Continue reading An old walk, a new footpath, an almshouse and a cathedral