11 March 2011 – fitting in a walk before the dentist

Riverside Park

Riverside Park

True to my world I did get up extra early this morning to get some walking time in before my dentist appointment. Originally the dentist was meant to be 11.45 but, due to a cancellation, it was moved forward an hour, seriously cutting into my walking time. Grrr!

It was quite sunny when I left home at about 7.30 but not too warm so the trusty parka came in handy once again. The roads were surprisingly busy and held me up quite a bit before I reached the park which was frustrating. The swans were all standing around on the mud flats for some reason. There were quite a lot of ducks of various types milling around too. Maybe the water was a bit chilly for them. The park was pretty empty, except for the men emptying the bins. Not a job I envy as they double as dog poo receptacles.

The road at Woodmill was also hard to cross. It is always a bit of a gridlock there because the road narrows to one car width as it crosses the s shaped bridge by the mill and two way traffic has to take it in turns to pass. There are no traffic lights there and the whole thing depends on drivers giving way to each other. Obviously this is a recipe for disaster.

The White Swan side of the park was also empty except for a few hardy fishermen and my swans were right up by the little bridge near the pub. They were on the edge of the river on the opposite bank. I think this is where they were nesting last year and I wonder if they are nest building again. None of the cygnets were anywhere to be seen so I suppose they are all much further up the river giving mum and dad some privacy.

Because I’d used Map My Walk to work out the distance from the Swan to my dentist I knew it would take me about half an hour. Originally I’d thought about walking up and down the river until it was time to make tracks to my appointment but, in the end, I decided I’d walk toward Eastleigh instead. A few calculations as I walked told me how long I could keep going until I had to turn back so I marched off toward the airport wondering how far I’d actually get.

Once again the roads were busy and I wasted a fair bit of time trying to cross the three roads I met on my way. All the pavements have been resurfaced between Mansbridge and the airport since I last came this way and they’re very smooth and sticky but quite pleasant to walk on. There is still some kind of work going on outside the airport and I had to walk along a diversion in the road past it, with noisy diggers beside me. The crossing was blocked off so I had to cross at a makeshift one further down with no lights to stop the traffic. This meant quite a long wait as there’s a lot of traffic coming off the main road from Southampton.

I made it all the way to the Swan centre in Eastleigh in the allotted time. A quick loo stop and I turned round for my return journey. Luckily the traffic was a little better on my way back and I got to the Swan with a little time to spare. It was quite a good job too because I hadn’t factored in the steep hill that runs past the Swan garden centre (everything round here seems to be called the Swan). This slowed me down a bit!!

I made good time on the rest of my journey to the dentist and actually arrived a little early, if also red in the face and slightly sweaty. My teeth are all fine and, after my hygienist visit, they are all clean and sparkly too. My walk home, up Chalk Hill past a huge new housing complex, and all the way down West End Road towards home added another two miles and I ended up with over 11.5 miles in total. Not as much as I’d have liked but better than nothing.

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