277/376 Stuff

There are a couple things I want to write about this evening. The first I think are the birds. Mainly starlings, like everywhere they seem to work as small teams or perhaps families. We have at least one crowd who visit us on a regular basis several times a day. They will go for the tables, the seed they throw on the floor, they are not tidy eaters. And they look for worms on the lawn.

I love watching them, when one bird finds something and starts tugging on a worm, the others will run towards it. They are quite fast runners.

This afternoon I counted eight of them on the lawn. We are getting some sparrows now as well. I must admit I’m surprised that they use the table and low level supplies as much as they do.

It seems like every time I looked out of the window through the course of the day there were birds in the garden. I really, really love that. I can’t quantify how much pleasure that gives me.

I want to talk a little bit about this locality thing. I may have done quite a while ago. Fort Gilkicker is one of the Palmerston Forts built in the mid 19th century it is on the coast. In May 2015, the three queens of Cunards Fleet were in Southampton to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the line. I was stood on the beach with my camera, and my scanner listening to what was going on, and things kind of clicked. Here was an opportunity to integrate my interest and think about how all my different hobbies and interests could be brought together under one banner. I called it locality because that means it’s wherever I am.

Even if I develop a new interest and there is one on the horizon, which will be the subject of a future post.

276/366 Saturday Walk

I went for a walk. I did the usual route, one thing I wanted to do was check on the Jelly Fish, only to find that they had open the sluice and were emptying the pond. I found the drain If you use what three words it’s cooks.onions.grow. I stood there for a few minutes watching the jelly fish. As they got closer to the drain, they were caught up in the flow, and were sucked through, flowing through a short pipe out in to the creek.

Just before then, as I was walking along the side of the pond I was approaching the point where the trolly had been thrown in to the pond. This had happened last weekend, I reported it to street scene via twitter, they did respond and it usually takes them a couple of days to follow up. Probably they knew that the pond was going to be emptied and so have left it. The really annoying thing is that the picture symbolises an act of disgusting vandalism, I was really annoyed. But I can’t get over the fact that I really like the picture, there is just something about it. It is deeply frustrating.

After the Cockle Pond, I walked down to the waterfront. Sometimes, good things happen when I’m out for my walk. I call them my rewards. Today, I had a reward;

The first thing I saw was this tug backing in to the harbour, as it was reversing, I knew a ship was coming in. I waited a few seconds and then;

This refer (ship carrying refrigeration containers). It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen one of these, and it was very nice to see. Now you see, this feeds nicely into my Locality activity. I probably need to do a post on that, what it is and how it came about.

All in all, a very pleasant walk.

275/366 Mistakes

You might have noticed that I had two 267’s. Now, if it had been 2×167’s I wouldn’t have bothered to change, but these were close enough that it was worth changing.

In my mind, it wasn’t a mistake to start this exercise. I didn’t know if I would go full term, I still don’t know, but every day I do this brings me closer to finishing properly. Probably one of the most important questions to ask is; am I enjoying it as much as I expected or hoped to before I started this? I don’t think that is an unreasonable question to ask at this stage. I have never questioned that I wanted to do this. I continue to want to do this. Not because I have to do it, because, yes, I am enjoying it. Now, there is no denying that I have had a couple of hiccups, and there have been a few times when I have sat down with no idea as to what I was going to write.

I think it’s time to consider whether there might be any lessons to be learned from this. I think the decision, made quite a while ago, to provide a weekly cycle of themes. That has certainly helped me, and also allowing myself to go outside those themes has given me flexibility to write about what I want.

But I think I still need something else. There are two aspects to this, I need to work on integrating my locality project in to my writing. I’ve written about locality before, and am not going to do so here, except to say one thing. That is to really do my locality thing, I need to get out more and do the area. That means travelling. And that has not been an easy thing over the last year. I am hoping that things will get easier, and that I am able to get out. That would certainly add fuel to my writing.

The second aspect is Gosport, and as I suggested earlier this week, a focus on the history of Gosport. So, I am going to try things. Let’s see how it goes shall we?

274/366 Gloomy!

It was a grey morning, rain was threatening, there was a bit of a breeze blowing. The tide was low, the clouds were low and heavy, it felt quite oppressive, it felt gloomy.

I did my weather report as usual from the end of the Haslar Marina Pier Wall, a police launch swung by as I did so. I have no idea if they were looking at me. The Normandie came in and the local ferries did their thing.

After that , I walked across to the cockle ponds. There were a lot of Jelly Fish about but they weren’t clumping. The surface was moving a fair bit I’ve found that they don’t like rough water. They were quite spread out. But there were still a lot of them.

The rest of the walk went OK, it didn’t start raining until i turned on to the road leading to home, and even then it only lasted a few seconds. Even with the gloominess of the waterfront it was a good walk.

273/366 A history of Gosport

Yesterday I wrote about the desire to have a thread running through my writing. As i suggested, History is a huge component of Gosport, my words were “absolutely stuffed” and that is the case.

The picture at the head of todays post is that of Gosport’s Victorian rail station. One thing that you won’t see here are pictures from that era. There are lots of those about, and the story of the station is well told.

That’s because I want my history of Gosport to be that of today. It’s almost a kind of “Where are they now?” Gosport as it is today.

Gosport’s railway station today is a collection of flats, offices and conference rooms that can be rented for single meetings. I haven’t gone any further in as I feel I am treading on private property.

Some effort has been put in to restoring what had been a derelict facility. It was that or demolish it. That would have been very easy. The building today is a very presentable structures reminding people of a past time.

There are no rail tracks here. To the west of the station, runs the route that was the line up to Fareham, and down to Stokes Bay. That has been converted to a regularly used cycle track and footpath for the first part of the track with a bus route added up to Fareham, taking traffic away from the road.

To the East, once you have crossed over Mumby Road, you encounter the Gosport Ramparts, now fenced off and heavily overgrown, and with large parts removed. The fortifications are another part of history that will be addressed in a future article. Once over Mumby Road railway tracks can be seen for a short distance, not much probably about 100 yards. The tracks, at the behest of Queen Victoria punched a hole through the walls to take the Queen and her entourage across to Clarence Yard. It is possible too walk up to the eastern end of the tunnel which is probably about 10 metres long, this alone gives a perspective on the size of the defences. And then, for a few metres, you can follow the tracks to the edge of Weevil Lane and no further beyond that.

It is sad that the railway has gone from Gosport. But in it’s place is a safe walking and cycling route – a good price to pay for the loss.

272/366 The Week of the Story

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not at all dissatisfied with my writing. It’s not perfect I know, but I am pleased with what I have done so far. The reason I’m saying this is because I have been thinking about how I can introduce a narrative thread through the posts.

Now, what is the thread and how do I weave that thread, but what is it? I’m trying to work that out. I thought last night that I could write about parts of the journey and the link would be the journey.

The thing about Gosport is that it literally is stuffed with history. Every street has a story to tell. That story might be a recent one; I don’t think our street existed a hundred years ago. The first mentions of Rowner & Alverstoke were around 942AD. The intervening years have seen incredible changes. I would love to devote more time to exploring those years, but it will be done in dribs and drabs, as that is all I feel able to give at the moment. Research takes time and resources, both are limited. So, I will do what I can.

Several years ago, I started playing the Augmented Reality Game Pokemon Go. I enjoyed playing the game on my morning walks, initially because the way the game works enables you to learn things. I had the idea of writing a book about the history of Gosport but weaving it into the game. I even spoke to a lady who publishes local history books, not a specific conversation for the purpose of writing the book, more to see what she thought of the idea. She didn’t laugh me out of court. I never went ahead and did it – I don’t know why, probably something distracted me and I didn’t let myself create the time.

Now with this blog, and with the fantasy holiday that I am conducting on my facebook page I am writing and researching every day. I am not going to give either of these activities up. Certainly not this blog, and I will see the fantasy holiday through to the end. But it is taking time. I can use that time when I finish these activities. I never really intended for there to be separation of content between Facebook and here, it just seemed to happen that way.

This is Post No. 271 of 366. There are 95 days left to go, that’s just over three months to go, and the Fantasy holiday is scheduled to run to almost the end of the year. I have been thinking what to do next. A unified project that works across both platforms is the way to go, and it pretty much has to involve history and gosport. So, I know roughly what the project is (subject to change of course). I can think about planning as a sideline.

271/366 Reading Habits

This is the Viking Venus. She came in to Portsmouth this morning, escorted by two tugs. The tugs always impress me. One is going in reverse ahead of the ship and one astern. A very skilful job, and I would guess not without its dangers. But, it was nice to see the ship come in.

I’m still on the Ecclesiastical history of the English. The Romans understandably continue to have a significant impact on life in the 5th and 6th Centuries,although a translation, the book was written be a man who was there. Incredible.

Today, the next issue of Black & White Photography turned up. It seems only a few days since the last time I wrote about the magazine. More on that next week.

We have a fair few books on our shelves, we both like books even in this internet age. Partly, I have great difficulty in giving books away and would certainly not consider throwing them out. But we have a lot of books, and I confess that a large number of them are unlikely to ever be read. But they will be used as reference books.

There was a point in the lockdowns (was it as I was beginning this blog run? I’ll have to look back) when I started to read the books on the shelf that if I didn’t read them now, I never would. I would choose a book and start reading, I would only interrupt reading it to read my magazines, which having paid to receive I was determined to read from cover to cover, and I do. I would read the book at Breakfast, and lunch and in the evening.

For some reason, at the moment I am only doing the evening reading. I’m not sure why. The impact of course is that it is taking me longer to read a book than it did earlier in the lockdown. I am going to try to get back in to the old habit.

270/366 What is going on?

I don’t like posting negative pictures. But, sometimes you see acts of such outrageous stupidity that by whatever means, you have to say something. It wasn’t just tipped over the side of the cockle pond, this is a few feet out, so it has been thrown. (Added later) – I should say that I tweeted Gosport Borough Council StreetScene – they are pretty good at responding to twitter calls.

Apart from that it was a nice walk. The weather was a bit surprising. I was expecting it to rain, but it didn’t. It has warmed up but it was still a bit chilly but not enough to wear a fleece, and not warm enough to go out in a T-Shirt, but I do, and it wasn’t at all bad. I took a fleece with me, but didn’t need it.

The big cocklepond was completely free of Jelly Fish, onward that because they had gone, or had gone to ground. Hopefully they will be there tomorrow.

I went along the waterfront. Apart from the Gosport ferry there were a few sailboats moving around which was nice to see. There were a few people walking along the promenade, but it was easy to avoid people. There was a friend whom i speak to most mornings, so I stopped for five minutes .

I was pleased to get out. I enjoyed it.

269/366 A Busy Day

The (I suppose you could call it an) Obelisk is one of two at the ferry end of Gosport High Street, hence, these are the Ferry Gates. Almost at the other end of the High Street are two more, these are called the Clarence Gate. Their location next to Clarence Road Sid presumably not a coincidence. I am trying to find out who the Clarence is who’s name is so synonymous with Gosport; Clarence Road, Clarence Tavern and the Clarence Victualling Yard, clearly denotes a person of some repute.

Well, there you go – just found it on Wikipedia apparently named after the Duke of Clarence who later became William IV, King of England (1765-1837). Anyhow, the gate posts have clear glass spheres on top of them. I’ve been trying to get a picture of the sun coming through the sphere for some time now. Infortunatly I obviously have not put in the obvious amount of effort you have to put in to get it right, plus I’m not sure how effective this is going to be.

I was supposed to go for a walk today. At around 11, I wasn’t able to go out as we had picked up several little tasks. I’m going to try again tomorrow.

268/366 A week of walking (almost)

The almost is that I went for a tun on Monday, it was a bank holiday, so I went early, and ended up not going for a walk. Apart from that, I went for a walk every morning this week.

Sometimes it can be a struggle to get up. But for some reason it has not been the case. Has it been because the weather has been lovely, or is it because I am keen to check on the progress of the Jelly Fish? Who knows.

As a result of the motivation in the morning, the writings has been relatively straightforward (I won’t say easy) but there are times when the worlds flow.

When I go out in the mornings, I do the weather report (as I’ve discussed before) to the #Breakfastclub. I adjusted my route to include a trip past the Cockle Pond so that I can do an update on the Jelly Fish. One the members of the morning radio event (The #Breakfastclub) G6RTE Jo, made a comment that it was being talked about. That made me smile. The thing is, that I am not just doing it for fun, I’m doing it because I’m interested. If my reports entertain then I am happy with that. This morning for example, I saw the biggest jelly fish yet.. Easily five inches across. From the way it was laying on the surface, I thought it was dead, but I gave it a gently prod with my gadget stick and it started moving.

Getting ready to go out for my morning walk is a bit of a process I check two apps; the tide app which does as it says plus gives me the phase of the moon, and gosportweather.co.uk. This is a very professionally run website that gives me an initial view of the weather outside, especially the temperature and pressure. I attach my hand anemometer to my gadget stick (tripod or monopod depending on the time of year) make sure I have my phone and my house keys and set off.

One of the first things that usually sense, apart from the temperature of course, is the morning chorus. I love hearing the multitude of birds, well, ok mostly sparrow, letting rip and enjoy it for a good part of my journey. I prefer not to have it interrupted by the sound of people; cars, lorries etc. But it happens. I pretty much follow the same route every morning and end up taking pictures of the same thing. I do look for different images, but that’s where my lack of artistic sense lets me down, but even then I sometimes take a picture which makes me think I really like that.

I have the choice of going clockwise or anti around the route. At the moment it’s clockwise, mostly because I want to get to the waterfront for the early dawn light. I’m probably going to change that in the next few weeks. I recently added about a mile to the walk, taking in South Street and Stoke Road. I have definitely broken the anxiety I used to feel at needing to be home by 0700. Now I quite regularly get home between 10 and 20 past seven.

I must admit, I do enjoy my cup of tea when I get home.

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