Friday 8th June 2018


Although Mottisfont is our nearest National Trust property, we have never visited there before when the roses are at the height of their beauty.


So with Kev and Val paying us a visit before they jet off to Canada this seemed like an ideal time to explore these gardens. Whilst we were wandering around admiring the views Kev and I had plenty of time to discuss further road trips………Spain in late September seems like a very good idea!


We weren’t disappointed and along with the roses there were many other plants in full bloom.  Jane really loves this blue colour……..its a shame I can’t remember the name of this plant though!


Here is Val striking a pose which we are ensured is copying a similar pose to that of Kev’s mum whenever there was a flower around!


I wish I had taken my “big” camera down there to capture the full flavour of the walled gardens but I’m very pleased with the results of my i-phone’s camera!


Although it was a little cloudy the riot of colours really brightened the dull day!


Maybe this black and white shot doesn’t do it justice!


Kev had forgotten to put his bra on and was slightly offended by some of the comments from fellow visitors…………


But they both managed to put on a brave face!

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The Clarendon Way

Tuesday 5th June 2018


06.45am……….. What a great time to start out on our marathon walk ( it was more than a marathon as it turned out!) Having read several guide books and a few websites the general distance given was between 24 and 26 miles, you would have thought that in this day and age that we could be a bit more accurate! As it turned out our pedometers and sat nav on our phones registered 28.7 miles………….


When you read the guide books a little more fully you find out that they suggest that this walk should be undertaken over 2 days…………note to self, read these books in a bit more depth!   It was very helpful that Mr Muddiman was able to find some of the footpath signs to ensure we were heading in the right  direction!


First stop Farley Mount…………..


It was only 9am but we all thought it prudent to eat some lunch, it’s never too early for  pork pie………I only wish I had remembered to take it out of the fridge………..Mr M had one, but he would only let me look at it and discuss how much he was going to enjoy it when the time came!


It was perhaps a little surprising that there were so few people out and about until Mr Pullen pointed out that it was a Tuesday and that most people were at work…..oh the joy of retirement!


A picture of the two Steves together at Farley Mount…….Mr M trying his best to hold his stomach in…….


Here is a picture of me failing miserably to hold mine in, I think its the straps on the rucksack that exaggerate the belly!


Nearly at Kings Somborne, time for a coffee and some proper lunch………


The two Steves were trying to persuade me that opening another shop was the way forward………….I told them politely what I thought of that idea!


We were surprised that they had put up road signs to warn of our arrival, they needn’t have bothered because actually we were quite fast!  We arrived at the pub in Kings Somborne at 11.30 only to find that it didn’t open until 12.00.  However the young girl behind the bar took pity on us and made us a cup of coffee, and then told us that the next pub en route that served food was another hour and half’s walk away at Broughton…..Mr M promptly googled the pubs there and was slightly cheered at the fact that they sold ham, egg and chips!


Off we set at a slightly quicker pace to ensure that we got there before closing time, only pausing briefly for Mr M to gaze wistfully into the river test and dream of his lunch!


Mr P however was deciding whether or not to have a quick swim……………


But he was talked out of it as we were hungry!


How much further to the pub?


I hope this is not a bridge too far I’m starving !


Well there’s a fancy way to serve ham, egg and chips……..It was lovely and very welcoming! Then came the shock, we were told that we were not half way as we had thought, having walked 13 miles at this point! The barmaid, with some relish, told us we had at least 15 more miles to go!


By the time we saw this sign we couldn’t have been going much slower, so the cats were safe. At this point in the journey we were in Winterslow, close to where my Uncle Keith and Auntie Gay live, but we were all so tired that we didn’t want to deviate more than 6 inches from our route and decided to carry on through the pain and not pop in for a coffee!


25 miles into the journey………we must be nearly there by now……..give us a sign!!


After much discussion we all decided it was probably Salisbury Cathedral that we could see in the distance!


A quick break at Clarendon Palace before the triumphant march in to the city!


So close but yet so far, it must be here somewhere, if only the map was a bit more explicit!



Jane was waiting by the Cathedral to drive us back home, she said that we looked like 3 old codgers as we limped in to the car………but she did say that she was amazed we did it !    It was all remarkably quiet on the journey back, 20 minutes by car 12 hours by foot!     I think I’ll attempt something shorter next time!


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Danny Baker

Saturday 2nd June 2018

Unbelievable, out in town twice in one week!

Danny Baker is one of my favourite radio/tv personalities, his dry sense of humour and his genuine affection and interest in the callers to his show make it a must-listen for me every Saturday morning (Radio 5 Live …..try it, you won’t be sorry!)


So it was with high expectations that we set off in to town again. This part of Southampton is unrecogniseable to me these days from those of my youth, what has happened to C&A, Plummers and even worse Tyrell and Green…….


The guildhall looked quite striking in the early evening light. The last show we saw here was the Australian Pink Floyd……….highly recommended if you haven’t already seen them!


We were lucky to get through the crowds and the throngs of people to get to our seats in time and we hardly had to queue at all….


The stage was not quite as spectacular as that for the Rolling Stones, but perfectly adequate for this great one man show!

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Danny came on at 7.30pm, and with just a quick 20 minute break carried on until 11.30pm. It was very interesting and highly amusing to hear tales of his life, and how he came to meet so many stars like Elton John so early in his career. His love for his dad “Spud” was evident and he had many comic stories to tell about his father and his disregard of the law.  If you get chance to see Mr Baker live, then take it! I would see the same show again and again as I think every performance would be different !

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The Rolling Stones

Tuesday 29th May 2018

With a week to go I thought I had no chance of  getting tickets to see the Rolling Stones when they played at Saint Mary’s Stadium in Southampton. Then out of the blue, my cousin Adrian and his wife called to say that they had an extra ticket and would I like to go!


Well, I thought long and hard about it for about 10 seconds and then I bit their hands off!  The forth member of our quartet was an old neighbour of mine from when I lived in Sandy Lane……..Nikki Brown. The support act was the Vaccines, Adrian said that “Doctor and the Medics” should have preceded the Vaccines and then afterwards it should have been the “Cure”


Just to say Nikki hadn’t fallen asleep she was just catching up on Facebook!  Age and Ang are pictured here enjoying some of the fine fayre on offer, after a pre-concert meal of ice-cream followed by scampi and chips (not me, I hasten to add, I’m boring and have to eat savoury first!) the food was washed down with a selection of lager, cider and bacardi……… not all in one glass!


The crowd built up slowly as most people seemed to be queuing up for a drink.


The screens have turned to yellow……..its all about to kick off!


The show begins with the appropriately named Start Me Up…………


……..and then maintaining the tempo with Let’s Spend the Night Together followed by Tumbling Dice and It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll…………..


It’s amazing to think that these guys have got a combined age of 294 years, Mick Jagger 74, Keith Richards 74, Charlie Watts 76, and Ronnie Wood 70.


They all had so much energy ………


That they got the whole stadium “rockin”


It’s amazing that with all the drugs that Keiff has taken in his life, he is still able to strut his stuff!


When night finally arrived the lights from the stage really lit up the sky…….


………..and then all too soon it was time for the encore of I Can’t Get No Satisfaction and it was time to go home.  What a truly great evening……. thanks Age and Ang!


Hopefully this should be a clip of the evening…………this is the first time I have added a video!


Time to catch the train home to Romsey………

The next day the papers were full of the great evening we had had…….


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Hinton Ampner

Bank Holiday Monday 28th May 2018


Hinton Ampner is a National Trust property near Alresford in Hampshire. So as it was a sunny Bank Holiday we thought we would join the millions of people already  out on the road, and visit a stately home.

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Dad was still wearing his comedy “chapeau” so I thought I would join him with my rather more elegant Panama hat! It still didn’t stop us from posing for some silly photos!


I was rather surprised that Jane allowed me to take this photo of her, as she is rather conscious of her cellulite!


Although the car park was full to bursting, it was still quite peaceful to walk around these lovely gardens. There were great views across to the South Downs, and to pathways that we need to return another time in order to explore. This will have to be when Jane has returned to full fitness and is able to take on the longer walks.


The carp were willing recipients of any sandwiches that the visitors didn’t want for lunch, and the children seemed to delight in disposing of their unwanted food. Needless to say they didn’t get any leftovers from me!


The colours and fragrances of the garden were perfect for a lazy Monday afternoon.


This 13th century church is built on the foundations of an earlier Saxon church, I suppose it’s quite handy to have your own place of worship in the back garden!


Behind the church is Gander Down in one direction, and in the other the Meon Valley. This is also the site of the Civil War Battlefield of Cheriton where 2,000 Royalists were killed.


So we all had great Bank Holiday!!

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Wentworth Pro-Celebrity Golf

Wednesday 23rd May 2018

Wentworth Golf Club, Surrey


An early start and a quick trip up the M3 and we were at Wentworth Golf Club before 8.30am. We were there to watch the pro-celebrity tournament which is always the day before most major competitions these days. I went with my mate Steve Pullen; we had hoped that our wives might accompany us, but getting out of bed before 6am soon put pay to that idea! There were celebrities from all walks of life………..Mike Rutherford from the older generation of pop stars


To Niall Horan from a group called something like one direction…….not sure whatever happened to them!

The young lad in the black Nike shirt is Brad Simpson, he is the illegitimate son of Homer and 1/2 brother to Bart, Lisa and Maggie. Marge knows nothing of this so far and the makers of the fly on the wall documentary “The Simpsons” are more than a little miffed that Brad decided not to change his surname!  Still what a lucky boy to get a day off of school to play in such a prestigious competition! As were the many young girls who were following them around.  The blonde lad is from something called “Love Island”…………..I haven’t heard of it either!


It was good to get up close to  professionals that you normally only get to see on the T.V, Ian Poulter was on good form with both his game and the crowds.


The battle of the breakfast tv presenters was fun to watch but Dan Walker had by far the better game.  Kevin Pietersen was always on hand with some “helpful” advice!  Piers Morgan seemed remarkably quiet on this occasion.

“I think the putt breaks to the left!”


Ian Wright was having fun with the crowds, holding up play to sign an autograph for a “youngster” who was probably in his late 60’s!


This chap looked remarkably cool……..Damian Lewis seemed to be enjoying being amongst a “Band of Brothers” and so close to his “Homeland” too, however I don’t think he will earn “Billions” from his golf game!


Chris Evans was playing in the 4ball in front of his radio colleague ……….


Vassos Alexander, both looked good golfers and were having a lot of fun!

I never realised how tall Chris Evans was, he certainly doesn’t sound that size on the radio!


Chris Hollins, is also not a bad golfer……….


You wouldn’t want to mess with this guy…… Andrew Johnston, affectionally know as “Beef”……………..


…… a lot more friendly than he looks!


I’m sure this chap used to play for Saints……….the name will come to me in a minute!


Danny Willet the former Masters champion was having a steady game today.

Thomas Bjorn the European captain for the 2018 Ryder Cup.


Vinnie Jones was playing music from his bag as he walked around, we heard “Mac the knife” blaring out……….not the done thing on the golf course…….but nobody was going to tell him to turn it off!

A couple of great Olympians here, Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent.


This chap looks like he has a lot of potential……….


Sir Anthony Peter McCoy or as most of us know him…….A.P McCoy.


I have to say I’m not too sure who this is, I was told it was “50 Shades of Grey” star Jamie Dornan but the pink top has thrown me!

Anton du Beke had a great sense of humour and an even better game of golf!


Try as I did I couldn’t get a clear photo of George Clooney, Jane was very disappointed to have missed him, she has even said she will get up at 5am next year to join us if he’s playing……………..dare I tell her that I was just using a little poetic licence!


Well I suppose thats the closest I’ll get to Rory and Tommy!

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O.K  so its not my most flattering photo but the only one of Steve and I on the golf course.  Note to self ……I must practice my selfies!


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The Royal Wedding and Hillier Gardens


Saturday 19th May 2018

The excitement had reached fever pitch and it was time to sit down and watch the wedding of Harry and Megan. Jane was in such a good mood that she made me a special “Megan bacon sandwich”, delicious!  Charlotte celebrated with a litre of mineral water, and then had to put on her head band to stop it leaking out of her head!


I said at the beginning that I didn’t think I would be sitting down all morning to watch it, how wrong I was, I thought it was absolutely lovely and dare I say there was almost a little tear in my eye! ( well it did get a little moist, my eye that is!)


Well what a lovely day for a wedding and what a great day for visiting our next door neighbours. We are very lucky living with dad in Braishfield and his house is right next door to Hilliers Arboretum (The Harold Hillier Gardens). We can walk there in 5 minutes and being that close we can take advantage of any fine weather!

The gardens are generally full of colour but at this time of year its seems especially  to display an absolute luminosity of colours!


A walk around these grounds will definitely lift your spirits, even if it is on days like this when you think our spirits could’t get much higher!


I have lived in and around Braishfield for the best part of 50 years and this Saturday was my best timed visit to these stunning gardens.


The sun and the blue sky made the colours even more vibrant……….I’m not sure if this was a real plant……. Jane says it is……. I have my doubts!


So if you haven’t already visited these lovely gardens (and I’m not on commission!) then its about time you did………..


And if your timing is good, let me know of your visit and I might be around to make you a cup of tea!


I would recommend at least 3-4 hours to get a least a flavour of the place………..


And if you brought a picnic to eat amongst these spectacular plants……….


Then you might get a taste that might never leave you!


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May Day Bank Holiday Weekend

Sunday 6th May 2018

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Long Sutton

There is one thing to make sure of when you are invited around to a BBQ with Steve and Sara, and that is that you get to the food before Steve, otherwise you will be very disappointed with the meagre amounts left!


Sara had worked very hard and produced a lovely selection of wonderful salads and accoutrements, and after lots of helpful advice from me, and an intensive lesson in the fine art in cooking over hot coals, Steve managed to serve up some very passable hot offerings!


With Daniel Craig only doing one more Bond movie the search is on for the new “007”. If Barbara Broccoli is reading this I think I might be able to make next summer, and Steve says that he would be more than happy to stand in as my stunt double!


Watch out Blofeld………


It’s amazing, however old you are water pistols on a hot sunny day are still great fun!


Luckily for us we had our own gun runner and Fraser supplied all the weapons while Steve supplied the ammunition !


I have to say Julian, Fraser’s dad, took quite a long while to get changed…………he must have played this game before methinks!


That night at home we had a visitor in the garden………on his way to a stag night I imagine!


Bank Holiday 7th May 2018

A promising start to the day……………

for my return to competitive golf for the first time in nearly 2 years. As you can probably tell from the lack of T.V coverage I didn’t win!………..but we did have a great day.!



When travelling into Romsey please can you check the height of your vehicle compared to the height of the local bridges………….. otherwise if you get it wrong this can cause a lot of inconvenience to the local residents who are driving into town to get their dad’s medication, amongst the many others!


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Kingston Lacy and the Bluebell Woods


Tuesday 1st May 2018

We met up with our fellow adventurers Kev and Val at the National Trust property at Kingston Lacy near Wimborne in Dorset. I can’t remember if it was a windy day or that Jane and Val had both chosen a similar hairstyle.


Kev was having a bad hair day so he wore a cap!  We got together to plan a couple more trips in the caravan, well I say plan, we discuss some dates and Kev does all the hard work with the routes and sites etc. So it looks like we are off to Spain in September for a couple of months and then next summer we are going to drive to Budapest.  That all sounds very exciting!


Kev still hasn’t got the idea of hide and seek and Jane easily spotted him behind this tree!


Friday 4th May

I have renewed my golf membership at Hockley.  Although we still plan to travel, I miss my golf and I don’t want to get too out of practice. It must be in the blood, my Dad has had 2 golf lessons this week and he is 82! The first week back was tough………..I had to play 4 times in a week to get my competition handicap back.  Jane was pleased as she got a bit of peace and quiet!


Talking of Dad, he has discovered a new burst of energy. He has just joined a local art class in Romsey, here he is showing Jane some of his latest work. If you are interested he is making an exhibition of himself on the 6th of August at Hanger Farm Arts Centre, Aikman Lane, Totton, SO40 8FT from 7.15pm-9pm.

There will be other exhibitors, so it will be interesting to see what the class gets up to on a Tuesday morning at the old Convent school in Romsey.

Saturday 5th May 2018

Living with Dad in Braishfield we are close to Parnholt Woods and at this time of year the whole place is awash with colour. The brilliant yellow of the rape looks almost unreal!


The woods are carpeted with bluebells ……..


Everywhere you look is another inviting path for you to follow……..


We were so lucky with the weather, and the dappled sunlight really makes this place come alive.

As you can see I took loads of photos here……..


If you walk through the woods from the Braishfield end you get to the Clarendon Way, this is a 24 mile track from Winchester to Salisbury (If anyone wants to give this a go let me know, I’m sure we could do it in a day!) At this point on the Clarendon Way you are on a ridgeway and the views are stunning; the photo above was taken at Farley Mount and you can see for miles!

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A Tale of Two Cathedrals, And Much More

Thursday 26th April


“If you want a Cathedral, we’ve got one to spare…..” so goes the old Liverpool folk song. They are situated either end of the aptly named Hope Street.


Both are fine looking buildings


But we both found that the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King (Catholic), also known as “Paddy’s Wigwam”,  …….

….. had a more tranquil, calm feeling to it inside and that the stained glass worked to better effect here.


This Liver Bird doesn’t look like the ones I remember from the TV in the late 60’s!


Albert Docks and a view of the Three Graces.


The Ferry across the Mersey………….

Many of the old derelict building are now being refurbished. Its great to see new life being injected in this run down area of town.


A statue of the first world war truce, when fighting stopped on Christmas day 1914, is situated in the grounds of the bombed out St Lukes church which faces towards Bold street.  The church itself is a monument to the 1941 blitz of Liverpool when it was almost destroyed after having been firebombed.

In the afternoon we took a drive out to Crosby beach which is just north of Liverpool, to see Anthony Gormley’s Another Place, which is 100 statues of iron men spread along 2 miles of coastline. We were lucky to visit when the tide was out to get the full effect. I found it both awesome and eerie at the same time!


Back to the hotel and a little stroll before tea, and a photo of the Three Graces at dusk.  These buildings consist of The Royal Liver Building, The Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building.


Well thanks lads we have had a great time in your city, it’s a shame it wasn’t a little warmer!


Goodbye Liverpool we have had a FAB 4 Days!

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