Sunday, 19 February 2012

A short walk in Winchester

A cold but pleasant day out at Winchester today. I went there to watch one of my sons play rugby, but as kick-off wasn't for an hour or so (which actually turned out to be 2.5 hours later) I decided to make the most of the beautiful weather and walk the short distance from the rugby club to the Cathedral and the old town beyond.

Winchester Cathedral
Gateway near Winchester Cathedral
I had explored the immediate area around the Cathedral before, but had never ventured much further beyond. As I made my way down Kingsgate Street, I passed some beautiful town houses, with people leaving them in their Sunday Best, probably on their way to church, or perhaps to venture to the shops which were about to open for Sunday trading. The birds, which no matter how much I looked I could not see, were singing away in the trees and bushes. It was a perfect day and I could have kept walking for hours. Unfortunately I was time-constrained so forced myself to turn around just before reaching the railway track. On looking at the map when I returned home, I was actually quite glad I did turn back at the point I did, as otherwise I would have ended up within earshot of the motorway.

I spotted a couple of nice looking pubs and deli's during the walk, so this has also been added to my ever increasing "to visit" list.


Saturday, 18 February 2012

Bike rides and bubble baths

I'm almost coming to the end of the half-term break that I decided to take off. We've been to Shaftesbury for the day, visited granny, been up to the Picasso and Migrations exhibitions in the Tate Britain, and otherwise just generally chilled and relaxed. I did managed to get out on the mountain bike a couple of times, and have just returned from a pleasant 15 miler today. It was quite grey and overcast, and the 2 pictures below don't really do justice to the scenery ... even the snowdrops on the right-hand side of the path in the first one look a bit muted.

A bridleway near Great Gasson Copse, Hampshire

A bridleway near Great Gasson Copse, Hampshire

Musically this week has been a bit quiet. I have listened to the odd radio 6 broadcast, and whilst not doing that I listened to Peter Hammill - And Close As This, and by complete contrast Coil - And The Ambulance Died in His Arms.

I finally finished reading On the Slow Train and have now just started reading Eleven Minutes Late: A Train Journey to the Soul of Britain. In fact, I'm now beginning to feel a bit cold after having arrived home all hot and sweaty from my bike ride, so it's time to indulge in a bubble bath and read another chapter.


Saturday, 11 February 2012

Hyde Park in the snow

This week I spent three days away from home, working up in London. Work was hectic as usual, involving even more random requests than usual. There was however the added bonus of a couple of social occasions to ease the pain and to let off some steam. To clear my head on the Friday morning I decided to walk some of the way to my off site meeting, and ventured out across a beautiful, snowy Hyde Park. Hard to believe that this tranquil scene is in fact in central London.

Snow in Hyde Park, London, Feb 10th 2012

Last night I ended up working until 2am to clear out my inbox and to make sure those in the office next week have minimal reasons to contact me whilst I'm on leave next week. Fingers-crossed it will work as I really need a break after being "cheated" out of my Christmas break by man-flu. Plans for next week will depend on the weather but will hopefully involve a couple of day trips, catching up on some reading, hopefully including my latest purchase Eleven Minutes Late now that I've just finished On The Slow Train. The latter was a great read but made me feel very sad, and to be honest at times quite angry, that what was once a fantastic rail network of incredible engineering, architecture and spleandour is now merely (sub)functional, expensive and overcrowded. The book does describe some routes where you can get the feel of railway travel in days gone by, so a few day trips or weekends away to add to my ever growing "to do" list.

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