St Boniface

22 February 2018

On the west of the River Itchen There are three churches dedicated to St Boniface all within a few miles of each other. One is in Chandlers Ford, another in Nursling and the third in Shirley close to where CJ and I were enjoying a well earned cup of coffee. St Boniface was the church we’d walked so far to visit, although, at this point, we weren’t sure if it was open or not. Continue reading St Boniface

West Side wanderings

18 February 2018

The River Itchen meanders through the centre of Southampton dividing it roughly into two halves, west and east of the river. Almost all my life I’ve lived on the east side, so much of the west side of town is something of a mystery to me. Today CJ and I thought we’d explore a small part of it. There was a plan, albeit a fairly vague one, centred around an unusual church we’d seen from a bus some time ago.

Continue reading West Side wanderings

A hint of spring and things to make me smile

15 February 2018

It was the most beautiful day, bright, crisp and cold with a definite promise of spring in the air. As I was in town anyway I thought I’d take a wander through the parks to see if there were any signs that this long, cold winter was drawing to a close. My tour began with a stroll through the enchanted park. With the beautiful golden light and the trees reflected in the puddles there certainly seemed to be a touch of magic in the air. Continue reading A hint of spring and things to make me smile

The metamorphosis of the forgotten walls

15 February 2018

For many years the medieval walls from Bargate to Polymond Tower have been neglected and largely forgotten. They are so well hidden behind the shops on Hanover Buildings and the old Bargate Shopping Centre many people don’t even know they are there. Those that do venture along York Walk are often met with a dark, dingy, rubbish strewn journey. With the demolition of the Bargate Centre, this is about to change. There are ambitious plans to open up York Walk and make a feature out of the walls and towers there. Demolition work began a few weeks ago and today, as I was in town on business, I thought I’d see how it was going. Continue reading The metamorphosis of the forgotten walls

Five run fifty at fifty – the hard miles

9 February 2018

Shortly after half past twelve we’d watched our intrepid runners and cyclists leave Southampton General Hospital. We had an hour before their next stop, outside Eastleigh College but we had things to do before then. This was Rob’s fiftieth birthday and Kim wanted to get some balloons to decorate the View Bar at the Sports Centre where the run would finish. This meant a trip to the Swan Centre and a chance to grab another coffee while the grabbing was good.  Continue reading Five run fifty at fifty – the hard miles

Five run fifty at fifty – heading for half way

9 February 2018

We passed the runners with loud cheers and honking of the horn as they made their way through Netley Village.  Their next stop would be the Common just after eleven o’clock. We had two hours so we headed to the nearest Starbucks, on London Road. Sitting in the warm drinking coffee felt like heaven after all the standing around in the cold, even if there was a touch of guilt thinking about our runners still pounding the chilly pavements.  Continue reading Five run fifty at fifty – heading for half way

Five run fifty at fifty – the first ten

9 February 2018

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

Checking on the Itchen Swans

6 February 2018

Usually I avoid watching the news. In my opinion there is enough unavoidable doom and gloom about without going looking for it. Last night though, I accidentally ended up watching the end of the national news and what I saw was rather worrying. Apparently a suspected outbreak of bird flu has killed several of the swans on the River Thames near Windsor. Of course, this left me worrying about the swans on the Itchen so today I thought I’d go and check out all was well on the river. Continue reading Checking on the Itchen Swans

Fifty miles

27 January 2018

On a normal Saturday morning I can usually be found hanging around on the Common while Commando runs parkrun. Sometimes I volunteer, sometimes I just go for a quiet wander. For three weeks in a row though I’ve been conspicuous in my absence and it’s all down to Commando’s friend Rob and a harebrained scheme to run fifty miles and raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK. Continue reading Fifty miles

The lost estates Weston, Weston Grove

17 January 2018

We’d walked from the top of Weston Lane to the bottom and the closer we got to the shore the more the wind buffeted us. We were now walking on what would once have been part of the Weston Grove Estate. Of course, the whole of Weston once belonged to the Chamberlayne family. The exact history is unclear but in 1424, Alice, the wife of Ralph Chamberlayne, inherited an estate on the east bank of the River Itchen. By the late 1700’s all the land between Itchen Ferry and Hamble belonged to William Chamberlayne, in part inherited from his father’s friend and client, Thomas Dummer.Things have changed beyond recognition since the Chamberlayne family owned this land. What was once the domain of one family is now home to thousands of people and the word Estate has a whole different meaning. Continue reading The lost estates Weston, Weston Grove