Weekend Walk No. 65 – Camden to Little Venice – Regent’s Canal

From Camden in London, west along Regent’s Canal path to Little Venice at Maida Vale. The path soon leads to Regent’s Park, where the canal cuts trough the zoo, and the back gardens of some stately homes side by side along its banks. Then there’s a tunnel, so one has to re enter London streets a while, before the busy but tranquil Lisson Grove moorings and Little Venice itself. After an unusual request, I walked a little way along the Grand Union Canal, to Paddington Station.

Weekend Walk 63 – Mill Barrow Down to Soberton – Wayfarers Walk

A proper South Downs Walk. Continuing along the long distance path from the downs south of Kilmeston, along a bit of the South Downs Way before cutting south past Lomer, Preshaw, the legendary Betty Mundy’s Bottom and Corhampton Down, noisy that day with the shooting. The path then heads in a more easterly direction past Corhampton golf course and onto Fir Down above Droxford. After the village we cross the River Meon and follow the water meadows to the small village of Soberton. Outside the White Lion pub I met a white cat, who I was told is deaf and blind.

Weekend Walk 62 – Alresford to Kilmeston Down – Wayfarers Walk

Into the South Downs National Park after heading south from the market town of New Alresford (my new home town). The Wayfarers Walk then passes through Tichborne, across the small at this stage River Itchen, Cheriton, Hinton Ampner, Kilmeston and then up onto Kilmeston Down for a spot of sheep herding, and Mill Barrow Down.

Weekend Walk 61 – Brown Candover to Alresford – Wayfarers Walk

Hampshire in the spring. A walk I took in April continuing the long distance path through the low downs of central Hampshire, nine miles or so from the Candover Valley to Alresford. The walk crosses the same stream many times, and passes by the villages of Totford, Northington and Abbotstone. The stream enters the very short river Arle which we see at the end of the walk with its ducks, swans (building a nest), geese and trout. Apologies for the wind noise.

Weekend Walk 60

It’s hard to believe I’ve made 60 walking videos! This one is a little different from the usual countryside walks:

A walk from Camden to Hackney Wick along the towpath of the Regents and Hertford Union Canals. The walk goes through or near Kentish Town, Islington, Hoxton, Haggerston, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, before branching off to the north east and Hackney Wick, towards the Olympic Park. A quieter alternative to walking in London by road, this took about three hours.

More London walking videos to follow later this year I expect.

Deane to Dummer – Wayfarers Walk – Weekend Walk 56

The fourth stage of my Wayfarers Walk hike. This walk is a loop, with the first half on the long distance path to Dummer, then back to Deane via North Waltham, Steventon, and Ashe. The source of the River Test is at Ashe. The walk crosses the mainline railway, the M3 and the A30.

Weekend Walk 53 – Inkpen Beacon to Highclere – Wayfarer’s Walk 1

The first five miles of the 70-mile Wayfarer’s Walk long distance path. This hike is high on the North Wessex Downs, starting near Walbury Hill, the highest point in Southern England at nearly 300m. The path leads south east from Berkshire into Hampshire, past West Woodhay Down, Eastwick and Highclere, where I turned back. Half way back I left the Wayfarer’s Walk for Combe and around from the south to Combe Gibbet and Inkpen Hill. Features a view of Highclere Castle, location for Downton Abbey and fine views north. Filmed last Saturday.

Weekend Walk 52 – Winchester and Hockley Viaduct

A circular walk along the River Itchen and the Itchen Navigation, from St Cross south to Hockley Viaduct, now open for walkers and cyclists, back north to Winchester city centre, cathedral and college before returning through the water meadows. Calves, newborn lambs and views of St Catherine’s hill.

Hampshire Architecture – Portsmouth: Milton, Fratton, Hilsea (Listed Buildings)

The merest hints of the former villages of Milton, Fratton and Hilsea before they were swallowed by the rapid Victorian expansion of Portsmouth east and north, with a few old houses (including the TE Owen former vicarage opposite the impressive St Mary’s church, Gatcombe and Great Saltern houses). Otherwise, the listed buildings among the dense terraced houses are institutional: the former workhouse of St Mary’s House north of the hospital, cemetery chapels, C20 churches, the prison, Carnegie Library, and St James Hospital. Here I present the listed buildings in these areas. All photos taken in Feb 2014 by myself.



Hampshire Architecture – Portsmouth: Stamshaw (Listed Buildings)

A 19th Century dairy depot, a converted 20th Century church,  a couple of pubs, a smart row of townhouses reminiscent of Southsea, and that’s pretty much it for listed buildings in this area. The rest of west Portsmouth near the Motorway is row upon row of victorian terraces and post-war developments, among which these old and distinctive buildings can be found.

Hampshire Architecture – Hinton Ampner (Listed Buildings)

Hinton Ampner, together with Bramdean forms a parish midway between Winchester and Petersfield, close to and on the A272. For the purposes of  this post, here I am only posting photographs of the listed buildings in Hinton Ampner, with Bramdean to follow at some point. Hinton Ampner is dominated by the Hinton Ampner House estate, now owned by the National Trust. The house and many of the nearby cottages and farmhouse are rented from the Trust. Along the main road towards Bramdean are four further listed buildings including an old school built in the 1700s due to a will of William Blake (not the William Blake, I don’t think) and the old toll building, Turnpike House. Hinton Ampner House was built in 1790, remodelled in 1875 and 1936, and much of what we see today was rebuilt after a fire in 1960. Next to the house is All Saints church and just down the hill, Hinton House, the imposing former rectory. Several thatched cottages were built on the hill up from the main road, and at the top are two large farmhouses, Godwins and Manor Farmhouse. Many of the cottages date back to the 1500s.

Hampshire Architecture – Portsmouth: Mile End / Buckland (Listed Buildings)

There’s little pocket of Georgian and Victorian buildings hiding a few meters from the end of the motorway as you arrive in Portsmouth. 393 Old Commercial Road (the south end of Mile End Terrace) was the birthplace of Charles Dickens. Also nearby is All Saints Church next to the very busy roundabout and the former Market  Tavern, remodelled as accommodation for the ferry port just to the west.

Former Chapel Old Commercial Road Portsmouth 1885 387 and 389 Old Commercial Road Portsmouth c1800 379, 381 and 383 Old Commercial Road Portsmouth C19 Ferry House Lodge (Market House Tavern) Mile End Road Portsmouth c1840

393, 395, 397, 399 (Mile End Terrace) Old Commercial Road Portsmouth C18 393 (Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum) Old Commercial Road Portsmouth C18 391 Old Commercial Road Portsmouth C18

All Saints Church (North) Commercial Road Portsmouth 1827

All Saints Church Commercial Road Portsmouth 1827


Hampshire Architecture – Portsmouth: City Centre

Heavily bombed in the Second World War (and by a Zeppelin in the First) not so many Victorian or older buildings remain in this area of southern Landport. The photos below cover the University Quarter, Guildhall Walk and Square, Commercial Road (South) and West towards HMS Nelson. Mainly Victorian, the listed buildings are pubs, a former cinema, a theatre, assurance offices, banks, military and religious. Seemingly politics (Guildhall), finance (Prudential and Pearl), religion (the RC Cathedral and St Agathas), education (Park Building) and the military (Wardroom) compete for dominance of scale here. (Note that Park Building, behind the Guildhall, was covered in scaffolding today, so I used pictures I’d taken previously.)

Weekend Walk 50 – Ovington to Winchester – Allan King’s Way

The final stage of the King’s Way, along the Itchen Valley to Winchester, via Avington, Martyr Worthy, Kings Worthy, and Abbots Barton. The Itchen Valley always makes for a beautiful walk. Today’s was enhanced by meeting a couple of pigs. Many churches along the way, and I rested in some of them. I entered the Winchester from the north, via Hyde Gate and Parchment Street, the residential area seamlessly meeting the city centre. It’s always interesting arriving at a town or city on foot. The King’s Way ends at the Cathedral, after 45 miles in total.

Hampshire Architecture – Portsmouth: Eastney (Listed Buildings)

Eastney is at the south east corner of Portsea Island, meeting Southsea to the west and Milton to the north. Mainly residential with its late Victorian and early C20 terraces, the area near the coast is dominated by the large barracks built in the 1860s. These impressive military buildings are now apartments and the Royal Marines Museum. They were Designed by William Scamp of the Admiralty Works Department and include a water/clock tower, and the longest barrack block after Woolwich. DW Lloyd says:

The carefully laid-out site beside the seashore reflects its use by Marines; it is also probably the last large defensible barracks built in the country. Part of the best and most complete barracks of the post-Crimean War period.

Immediately to the east and west are the Eastney forts. Just to the north is the Portsmouth Pumping Station with its Beam Engine House and associated boiler room and other listed buildings on the site. Also included here, although really in Southsea, are the Eastfield Hotel (by pub architect AE Cogswell) and St Patrick’s church (a most unusual and appealing church by GE Smith). Being so different to the municipal and military architecture, these are shown first and then all of the listed buildings of Eastney (apart from Fort Cumberland.)

Eastfield Hotel (The Eastfield) Southsea 1906

St Patrick's Church (North) Southsea 1906

Hampshire Architecture – Droxford

Droxford is a Hampshire village situated in the Meon Valley. It has the busy A32 running through the middle of it, with the river Meon just to the East along with the former Meon Valley Railway. Most of the old buildings are right on the main road, with some set back on Mill Lane and near the church. In the village you will find listed cottages and houses from the C15 to the C19, although mainly Georgian. Larger houses are the Manor House (II*), Fir Hill, West House and The Old Rectory (II*). Next to the river is the church, of Norman origin. Out of the village are some listed farmhouses, barns and their C18 granaries.

Here I present all of the listed buildings in the parish, except for a couple of barns that I couldn’t get access to. Thank you to all the property owners who gave me permission to photograph. My favourites today are The Malt House and Mill Cottage, appearing first.

The Malt House Droxford C18 Mill Cottage Droxford C16

11 Aug 2013

Dreams: Crippled. A snivelling wreck in a damp corner, spine arched, alone, neglected, no one near. But I’ve seen him, me, caught a glimpse at least. First contact. Then… Van not starting. Others I’m with go on, leaving me, again, alone and also taking the girl I like, who just felt caring pity towards me. No one wants caring pity. On my own, trying, trying, trying to make the van start. Even pretending it does to those who ask when passing by.

Meditating after a deep dream allows the meditation to go deeper, as long as you are not too spooked and are willing to explore it in a relaxed, attentive way. The dreaming has already uncovered a lot for you.

An injured day. Neck much worse on waking and I’m unable to sit upright for meditation and breakfast and therefore work. So I spent the day propped up on pillows, finishing the yoga book, answering some work emails, watching a few things and browsing about. Saw some pictures of Marilyn Monroe doing yoga. I hadn’t realised.

Probably thinking of my neck, but it’s not good to turn to smile at the camera with one’s neck in these positions.

After some athletics this evening – Bolt does it again at the World Championships – wacthed Kirsty the property lady’s show about making furniture from free stuff. I remember something similar in the early Channel 4 days, when I first saw car seats being used in the home. The table from scaffold planks was ruggedly appealing. 

Here’s hoping the neck is freed up and painless tomorrow…

10 Aug 2013

Woke at seven after going to sleep just after eleven.

Deep dreams these nights. Scenarios that last and last. I can’t leave them, even if I want to, and last nights was a continual getting ready to leave a hotel-like place, or maybe a hall of residence. But I was too drunk. Or disorganised. Long time periods would pass and I’d done nothing at all to prepare.

Sitting this morning was uneventful. Some unsettledness was close by, so I moved towards it, yet most of the time all was lost in little thought stories. However, a sense of deepening stillness behind the thinking bubbles. Sat in half lotus some of the time but soon got pins and needles so back to both feet on the ground, one leg slightly in front of the other, so that neither leg weighs on the other.

A simple yoga sequence today after the long review of poses yesterday. Shoulder stand, plough, forward bend. Repeat. Sit quietly. And that’s it. Some nervy sensations back of the neck. The flaw in today’s routine – straight into the shoulder stand with no warm ups. I should know that this isn’t a good idea, especially with my prone to be stiff neck, so suffering all day from very stiff trapezius both sides. 

Then an open day with absolutely no plans. Put together the walk video from yesterday:

A nap before lunch. A shortish walk with C in the afternoon, laughing together at many things. Otherwise, listening to music, and looking at suggestions from this Reddit post: What’s the one song you’d recommend for someone to listen to to get into your music genre? Most interesting for me was the chill wave, underground jazz hip hop and the chillstep. Watched some elephants on the telly. Incredible creatures! To bed early to continue reading the 60s yoga book.