Tag Archives: Portsmouth

Things I should write about before I forget – No. 3

Forget to put this in my Portsmouth post; when I arrived back at Ashby’s I let myself in the back door and could hear some-one just about bringing the house down snoring. Another woman was coming in through the front at the same time and we just looked at each other and burst out laughing. The owner, who is rather a large man, but lovely, was sitting in one of the lounge chairs with his head dropped way back dead to the world.

Without disturbing him we sat and chatted for quite a while, she’s an American, travelling alone too and had come the opposite way to me so we swapped stories on where we’d been. She gave me a few good tips too. If someone dodgy looking asks her questions she answers them with “sprecken ze deutch?” and makes out she’s German, says no-one messes with Germans!!! And I can’t remember the others now, hopefully I will, because they were good tips – see, this is why I need to write stuff down before I forget.

Anyhow, we were there chatting for a good half hour before old mate woke and joined us for a chat. Somehow they started talking about little known facts, they said something about there always being a “green man” somewhere in the windows or decorations of cathedrals – strange, I know, and I’m not likely to ever find out if it’s true as churches and cathedrals are not high on my lists. Next thing you know the owner toddled off and came back a few minutes later with two pages printed for each of us with little known English laws; that kept us amused for a good while then.

Just another one of the little things that keep it interesting!


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Out and about around Portsmouth

The historic dockyards at Portsmouth, (right near the train station, I might add), weren’t even a ten minute bus ride away from where I was staying so I arrived all fresh and ready for a big day out.

Reminded me of the time we took the kids to Underwater World at Mooloolaba many years ago, we were there about 8 in the morning and they didn’t open until 10!!! I wasn’t quite that bad, only half an hour early so I sat and started to try a boat sketch. Well, I’d not long started when I got a phone call, from someone who shall remain nameless, but you know who you are – having a dummy spit at me about something that was not of my doing and that I had no control over. After trying to help, shedding some tears, a couple of sharp exchanges and ruined mascara for the day I actually made it into the dockyard.

It seemed a bit expensive at £21 to see all the exhibits and museums, but it did include a 45 minute boat ride around the harbor and you could easily spend all day there if you were truly interested. Probably showing my ignorance here again but I was surprised by the number of warships there were floating around, the guide must have pointed out and named at least 20 I’d guess. I think they get partly built and fitted-out there?

HSM Victory was next, they say it’s the worlds oldest commissioned warship and still has a full naval crew – don’t know if she’d be much good in a war now though, she’s in a dry-dock!

Look how gorgeous the floor is - HMS Victory

Look how gorgeous the floor is – HMS Victory

Built in 1759 it was the ship Horatio Nelson was on in the Battle of Trafalgar, where he was shot and died. There’s also a huge barrel on-board where they put his body, and filled it with spirits to preserve it until they got back to England – true story, I kid you not!

The site I have linked to here is an absolute mine of information so I’ ll just post some pics and leave the facts to those who know them much better than I.

Just a few of HMS Warriors cannons

Just a few of HMS Warriors cannons

The only other visit I made was to the HMS Warrior, the first iron hulled armored warship, apparently. It was built in 1860 and was steam powered as well as having massive amount of sails. Considering this poor ships’ history, it’s amazing she’s still around. She was only in active service for 22 years, was a stores and depot ship until 1904, had something to do with the navy torpedo school until 1927 and was then an oil jetty until 1979. Can you imagine the amount of restoration required after that? It’s an amazingly lovely ship with some really spacious rooms for the officers and some pretty fearsome fire-power stashed all over the place.

I decided that the £1.70 bus fare more than outweighed the wear and tear on my poor old boots, so caught the bus back to Southsea, and walked down to the D-Day Museum. Blowing the sightseeing budget today – but well worth the £6.50 admission fee. I found the film and the reminiscences of people who were around at the time the really moving. I seem to have a bit of a fascination with war related history, but it’s more the effect war has that interests me, not the actual fighting aspect.

South Parade Pier, Portsmouth

South Parade Pier, Portsmouth

Still not finished for the day, I then walked further along the beach to the South Parade Pier. It was originally built in about 1860, was completely rebuilt in 1908 after a fire, was damaged by fire and rebuilt again in 1967, was heavily damaged in 1974 during the filming of the movie “Tommy”, again by fire – and rebuilt! I vividly remember going to the city to see that movie! Sadly, it’s closed because of safety concerns but I sat and did a bit of a sketch from nearby. I was reading it had been put up for auction last December, asking in the vicinity of £190,000 to £210,000, but wasn’t sold. It would be a shame if it goes down the same path as the West Pier at Brighton.

Anyhow, it was back to Ashby’s for dinner, a glass of red and more blogging for me after that.

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Getting to Ashby’s Gastropub, Portsmouth

This post is having it’s second coming – I had written it, was trying to add a couple of pics and I have no idea how I did it but I lost the whole thing. So here we go again, maybe this time it won’t take me an hour or more.

Why Portsmouth? Because it’s on the way to the most south westerly part of England; and I’m not sure why I’m heading there either, except maybe because I like the sound of the name, Lands End. It’s a bit like Timbuktu isn’t it, just sounds like somewhere that would be cool to go. Also, this having no plans is good but it does help to keep moving in one direction – so, off to Portsmouth.

In London I caught the tube almost to Natalia’s doorstep, when I arrived in Brighton I wussed out and caught a cab to the BnB from the train station. Being there almost long enough to be considered a local (just joking), I caught a bus back to the station when I left and on arriving at The Hard at Portsmouth I decided it was time to start walking from the train station to my new place.

How hard could it be, the maps thing on my phone said it would take 8 minutes. So, off I set, me, my big backpack (the 60 litre version), it’s little brother (5 litre zipped on to the big one), shoulder bag and phone with the map showing my route. Five minutes down the road I had to stop and de-robe, it’s amazing how hot you get walking and carting all that stuff around. So, stop, put phone in jeans pocket, take shoulder bag from around sling position and balance on top of backpacks, take coat off, add it to the pile, take fleece off, put coat back on while clutching fleece between knees, put shoulder bag back in sling position, retrieve phone, hang fleece over arm, grab backpacks and off we go again – makes you tired just thinking about it.

I really didn’t have the hang of following the maps directions, had a few scenic detours along the way; but thank goodness for the little flashing blip that showed me wandering away from the blue line, oops, wrong turn, oh well, we’ll just take the next one instead, and there you go we’re back together again. BUT, I think there might be a problem, I’ve been going for about 15 minutes and I’m nowhere near the end of the blue line and it said it would only take 8 minutes – took me a while to work it out, but that was if you were fortunate enough to be travelling by car! Well, the wonderful feeling you get from exercise or maybe it was stubbornness made me keep going, but after another 20 minutes or so I was certain I’d gotten myself hopelessly lost when I was almost there according to the bloody blip and the blue line; I just couldn’t seem to find the last little bit.

So, I called in to a little pub and asked if they knew where this place was, turns out I was only half a block away. Who puts a photo of the front of a place on all their advertising and gives an address that takes you to the back gate that looks nothing like the front??? Another good lesson learned, check what mode of transport the map is using before making any hasty decisions.

All things considered though, I didn’t do too badly and Ashby’s Gastropub’s a great place; I have a lovely ground floor room, there’s a bar and restaurant and best of all – free wifi! As if getting there wasn’t enough walking for one day I then went out and had a wander around the neighborhood, seems like I’m actually in a part of Portsmouth called Southsea – not far from the ocean and some really nice houses to drool over. The wifi kept dropping out in my room so I spent the evening happily ensconced in a comfy lounge chair out in the bar area catching up on some blogging and researching my next destination – had a yummy Ploughmans platter for dinner and a nice glass of cab-sav.

Off to the historic dockyards tomorrow, think I’ll be catching the bus though!



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Things I Should Write Before I Forget -Number 1

I like to be punctual and that goes doubly so at the moment, what with being away and catching public transport again after 30 odd years of not stepping foot on a bus or train.
Well, old mate at Portsmouth train station the other day, just about gave me heart failure. The train pulled in, everyone got out and I was going to get on – as you do.
But no, not on my watch girlie – this train guy starts waving his hands around and yelling, no, no, no, you can’t get on. I started looking around, like a bloody idiot, thinking, wonder who’s doing the wrong thing? Oh shit, no-one else doing anything, it’s me! But what’s he on about?
So, I’ m standing there with my backpack (huge backpack, that I’d never be able to put on my back anyhow, don’t know why I bought it, but that’s a story for another day) – sorry, where was I? Yes, one hand on the rail and the other fiercely gripping the backpack from hell ready to use every muscle I own to get it and myself on the train.
Yeah, no, not going to happen just yet he informs me. You can’t get on yet, it hasn’t been cleaned out and carded. WTF?? Since when do they do that?
Here I’ve been congratulating myself on sussing out this train situation, working out which one to catch, what platform to catch it from, being on time, leaving your big luggage in a special spot (and hope like hell no-one pinches it), and now they go and change the rules on me.
Now, you may remember I liked not feeling conspicuous in Brighton, well, hello, I might as well have put a big flashing sign on my head – and the ones having a chuckle didn’t even try to make me feel better either. Oh well, lesson learned and it could have been worse I’m sure.

NOTE TO SELF – don’t be the first one to get on the train!!

PS I also found out, you don’t sit in the seats with a little card sticking out the top of them – they’re reserved. Now there’s another trap for the un-initiated, don’t you think?

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