14 January 2011 – walking through my past


I’m getting fed up with missing my long walks because of the weather so, even though it was raining this morning I decided to attempt a long walk. Setting off early, I wrapped up with my long eared hat and my parka with the furry hood. It wasn’t raining too much when I left but I had already decided to give the Riverside walk a miss because of the flooding last week which could only be worse after seven more days of rain.

In the end I walked up the Little Hill and past the little common, where it was slippery with wet leaves and smelled of damp earth. Down the hill and up the hill past my old school, the veracity ground football pitch and soggy grass were deserted. This is a long and winding road leading down to Millers Pond, where a new housing estate has sprung up since I last came this way.

At the bottom, opposite the pond, I went under the bridge and turned up the steep hill past the edge of Mayfield Park and made my way down the wide lane that leads down to the shore. Right at the bottom there used to be a pub, The Seaweed, named after the old seaweed hut that once stood just above the high tide line. The hut is long gone and, sadly, the pub is closed now. This is where I turned down towards the shore.

By now it was beginning to rain harder and, as I walked along the promenade beside the shingle of the shore it got harder and harder. Feeling determined, I carried on past the little oval huts that line the seafront. They have all been refurbished now and they are decorated with little bits of the history of the shore and the city. One is all about the spitfires that were built just up the road in Woolston. I passed the tall blocks of flats and the horse grazing on the big green field in front of them. 

When I got to the point where the path ends I decided that carrying on down the lane leading away from the shore towards Victoria Country Park would not be a good idea with the rain getting worse by the second. Reluctantly, I turned around and walked back along the shore and took the path beside the pitch and putt and the boat yard to Woolston where I used to live. It reminded me of the days when my boys were small and I used to push the puschair down there one boy on each side one in the pushchair. I passed the old Vosper Thorneycroft site where Commando used to work and where building work on a new housing complex is moving on apace. 

The shops in Woolston are looking pretty bleak since Vospers closed, lots of empty shops. The rain was easing a bit as I came up past the church on the green overlooking the place where the Spitfire factory once stood. I carried on along Peartree Avenue, which is a long road sloping gently up towards my village. Right at the top I reached the little park where I started and then it was just down the hill and home. Only seven miles, which is disappointing but better than nothing I guess.

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