I was looking at this blog this morning, realising that this would be only the 4th post of 2015. Glad to get most of this bug out of me, though still a slightly tickly throat and the odd sniff, I was actually more eager than usual to get out there. I was up early enough to make a 10am start until I couldn’t find my woolly hat. I looked everywhere, almost everywhere at least, and by around 10:40 had given up and taken up the offer from Pammy of a bright yellow woolly hat. Certainly I wouldn’t be found wanting for visibility, except that I would always be found in that colour. But……… as I walked self-consciously past the car I realised, all of a sudden, that I had taken the hat to Cardiff last weekend, since we were driving a long distance in cold weather and we both had “so what if we break down, we need loads of warm clothes….” and, lo and behold, I opened the car and there it was, bold as brass, on the back seat. A very very cold woolly hat – but black and not bright yellow. Yes, it was all falling into place.
The plan was to nip up toward Fareham but turn left into Highlands Road and then take the Deviation Line wooded walk up to Knowle Village. Wooded like this:
Quite nice – and a blue sky and temperatures hovering at a quite all right 4 or 5 Celsius (that’s about 40 degrees Fahrenheit for some of our older readers). This was the 4th time I had walked to Knowle Village, by different routes, and I knew I was approaching Knowle when the railway line came close to the path. Knowle Village is one of those places that even many people living just a few miles away have barely any knowledge. Today was a bit weird. It was so quiet as to be spooky. There was barely a soul on the streets and those that were were giving me the odd stare. There isn’t a great amount of thoroughfare and it was just that sort of day when I felt that entering the shop or pub would have had someone lower their heads, open their eyes widely and drawl slowly, “Ye not be from round here, are ye?” I checked my face in case I had grown a third eye or third ear and that I still had just the five digits on each hand. No, I was ok. Perhaps that was the problem. The village felt like the antithesis of activity. It appeared to be the home of second homes when everyone had gone home to their first home, if you know what I mean, with a GDP of about 47 quid. I wasn’t about to add to that by risking a shop purchase and feared for the economic future of such a haunting place (and it didn’t feel like the centre of drugs and prostitution to raise the GDP either). However, contrast this with 2010 and my first Knowle visit, where the angel did see (think about it!) a cricket match between Sarisbury’s 5th team and Knowle Village played on the Green, even if the pitch was more coffee brown than green – hardly a grassy Knowle (ok, I do have a day job). If there is such a thing as the Knowle Carnival, it would hardly have been treated as a bigger event than this one. Everyone but everyone had come out to see this match. Everyone playing for Knowle was from the village, it appeared. Anyway, today, I passed by the scene of that match (which Sarisbury won comfortably, incidentally) and up the secluded main road across to the A32.
It was a shock to the ears to suddenly come across traffic and noise once again. I was beginning to regret not risking the shop as I was a bit peckish but glad to feel that the miles being clocked up were telling on my waist belt feeling a trifle looser, my calves feeling a trifle tighter and my thighs a trifle firmer. While these might have had desperate housewives swooning for miles around, I was pining for a few secs in the city and some food outlets. The A32 toward Fareham always feels more downhill than up, whether walking or driving, and I was soon past the motorway turnoff and past what used to be known as Edwins (where I once had two Christmas lunches in two days, when I was shared between two jobs in ONS, and both sections coincidentally were feasting there). A few more calories than normal but I had deserved them. Skinny vanilla latte, cheese and ham Panini, and an apple Danish. Yes, not exactly Jamie Oliver, but the apple might just count as one of my 5 a day. I was happy to take a winding walk home, taking the longer route through Warsash to build up to 19 miles.
Knowle Village? Can you hear me? No? Anybody there yet? Look, I didn’t mean it, I didn’t mean to be nasty. But you were very very very quiet.