As I wheeled across Guildhall Square in Portsmouth yesterday I saw a man crouched over a machine gun. He was quite hidden and under the trees in the far corner of the square, just between the Guildhall (built 1890) and the massive glass fronted City council offices. I wanted to investigate.
There were two single machine gunners. They looked slightly larger than life size and sat protecting a wall of names.
The memorial could easily be missed as even though its large, it is bounded by a railway line, the guildhall, Council offices and the back of shops and so there is only a small opening on the corner of the square that alludes to its presence.
The memorial does not honour any particular corps, squadron or regiment. Rather it honours the role of Portsmouth Citizens who served in any of the three branches of the armed serviced and who paid the intimate price. One side of the central column honouring a particular Service branch with a relief.
We spent some time there. Karen found a number of family names that she will look up to see whether they are her kin.
We then re-entered 2017 and shopped in Commercial Road. I know which part of the day I preferred.
Alex reminded me that the boys moved into their flat two years ago today.
Since then dad has died
I’ve had a few operations including a Pacemaker fitted
Karen turned 60
We celebrated 35 years of marriage
I completed a Masters degree
And we bought a flat by the sea
Of course there have been lots of others things take place, both good and bad. The biggest in terms of lifestyle have definitely been losing dad, the boys moving out and the partial relocation to Pompey.
Some periods in life little happens and then there seems to be massive bursts of change over quite limited periods. Alex’s text about moving out made this all the more obvious today.
As some readers will know we recently bought a flat in Old Portsmouth. We’re not rushing anything so each visit involves a little work getting the place how we want it and some time just relaxing and getting to know the area.
Up until now the front room is totally unfurnished and Karen makes do with a stool and a couple of canvas garden chairs. We have beds and, as of yesterday’s delivery from Ikea, bedside cabinets, a gate leg table and a sideboard. However we only made the former yesterday and so the rest of the furniture is still flat packed in its boxes.
We don’t have a TV or the Internet yet and so the day’s are very different to the ones spent in Beckenham. For example, yesterday we were up early and so had bacon rolls and tea for breakfast and then took a little wander to the Point and Bath Square to take in the sea air and watch and ships and fishermen before making the bedside cabinets up.
The day before was hot and so we decided to get to know the area a bit more so we walked to the local shopping centre at Palmerstone Road and then on to the Guildhall, then another shopping centre and then back.
Today we worked out that we’d walked and wheeled four and a half miles on the first day. I can’t remember when I last did that. The fact that Portsmouth is so flat is wonderful for a wheelchair user and the fact we are getting to know this place together makes the whole experience stimulating and exciting. Life is good just now….
We all like photos as mementos don’t we? When Alex and Ruhie visited for the weekend I took a typical couple of shots of them with Karen.
The first emphasises them rather than the place
We then turned around and I took a shot that did the opposite
But this last image captures more of a sense of the day!
We’ve just returned from a few days in Portsmouth. Karen mostly worked (painting, wallpapering) but we had time to explore some more.
Looking down: a swan has made its next just in front of our flat. You can see the two eggs at the bottom left of the photo below. They’re better protected when the tide is low.
Of course we had to spend some time just watching the sea traffic.
As some readers will know we’ve recently purchased a flat in Camber Dock, Old Portsmouth. It’s not totally wheelchair accessible yet, but I can get by for a couple of nights. We arrived the other day and, as luck would have it the weather was kind to us.
Our location is facing the dock and so the view is ever changing with the tide and type of craft present, as the dock is home to fishing boats, pleasure craft and working tugs and craft. Here’s a night and day view.
We spent a little time sorting things out but as the weather was so good most of time was spent outside enjoying it. The time passed quickly, partly because of the ever changing view.
There’s quite a lot of variety very local to us: Camber Dock, Gunwharf Quay, Clarence Parade, with its funfair as well as the usual things like the beach and associated attractions. Of current interest is the BAR team’s headquarters for the 35th America’s Cup. In fact I don’t think we’ve explored one percent of the place yet. Anyway all to soon it was time to head back to Beckenham with one last view from the front.
I suppose we betting start thinking of furnishing the place…..