Emsworth station, bus-replacement service

Emsworth station bus-replacement service

If you ever find yourself at Emsworth train station and there is a bus-replacement service, here is a map of where to catch the bus. Don’t make the mistakes that I made of either expecting it to leave from the station or from the bus stops just outside the station. I waited outside the station – no bus came. I waited at the bus stop just outside the station on the main road – no bus came. Interestingly a man in one of the houses by the bus stop came out to point out that on several occasions he had told people that the bus replacement service didn’t leave from the bus stop! He told me where he thought they left from – he was quite correct though I actually ended up catching a local bus service from the town centre.

See also www.nationalrail.co.uk/posters/EMS.pdf for related maps and information.

Solent Way (part 8) Hilsea to Emsworth

It was an eventful final section of the Solent Way that I walked on a sunny but sub-zero, January day. Starting at Hilsea and ending at Emsworth, the walk is supposed to be just 8 miles, but my 12.4 miles also included the stretch from Hilsea train station to the actual Solent Way path as well as extra miles caused by some unexpected backtracking (see below).

From what I saw of Emsworth I would hope to return to explore what looked to be an attractive, small town. Lots of small pubs and independent shops, a bookshop, a Victorian cafe on platform 2 of the station (charming), and a large harbour which I’m sure would be more interesting when the tide is in.

An eventful day had began with a fallen tree blocking part of my route, threatening a cancellation of the whole day. Fortunately, using my wonderful phone app, I found an alternative route. Whilst on the walk, flooding had swept away part of the Solent Way, requiring some backtracking and rerouting across fields leading to lots of mud as well as a face-off with cattle (one with horns) blocking my way. I couldn’t face more backtracking so by making a lot of noise I managed to create sufficient space to be able to dash past the now rear-facing cattle. Phew.

To top it all, my return journey home began with a train bus-replacement service from Emsworth station. It didn’t turn up, neither did the next one 30 minutes later. I was almost certain that I was waiting in the wrong place – it clearly wasn’t the station.

In the end I found a bus stop where I could pick up a local bus service, though not the rail replacement. The rest of the journey happily went to plan.

What a day to finish off the Solent Way, long-distance path. Now I need another challenge…..

The 60 (actually 71!) miles of the Solent Way

2022 recommended books

My favourite books of 2022

2022 was a good year for books, both in terms of number read (95) and in the pleasure given.

Below are the 18 fiction and 15 non-fiction that I gave the highly recommended award, with the best of the best highlighted in bold.

The 18 fiction delights

  • About the Author – John Colapinto [Accidently re-purchased 8 years after I first read it! As good the second time around. A book about a book, it’s a clever psychological thriller.]
  • The Last Thing to Burn – Will Dean [Extremely tense abduction tale. Terrific.]
  • Those Who Walk Away – Patricia Highsmith [Wife commits suicide and father challenges husband in psychological thriller set in Venice. Absolutely brilliant.]
  • Under Your Skin – Sabine Durrant [TV presenter finds a body whilst running and becomes a suspect. Superior whodunnit.]
    • The Gravediggers’ Bread – Frédéric Dard [An undertaker, his unhappy wife and an opportunist. Fabulous, little tale.]
    • Bird in a Cage – Frédéric Dard [Man returns to his home town and meets a mysterious woman. Another short, 1950s, French, suspense novel.]
    • The Executioner Weeps – Frédéric Dard [An artist, a violin and a car accident. A French love story and thriller. Another fine, short tale by FD.]
    • Crush – Frédéric Dard [17-year-old Louise escapes her dull life and moves in with an American couple. A short, 1950s, French, suspense novel.]
    • The King of Fools – Frédéric Dard [A mere 160 pages, a delightful 1950s tale of obsession from a prolific, French writer. ]
  • The House Uptown – Melissa Ginsburg [Carefully woven tale of an artist and granddaughter and the past.]
  • My Phantoms – Gwendoline Riley [A wonderful tale of an appalling father and a dreadful mother.]
  • Seasonal Work – Laura Lippman [Superb collection of short stories.]
  • How to Measure a Cow – Margaret Forster [Woman with a past tries to move on. Superb.]
  • Heaven My Home – Attica Locke [Superb tale about race and a missing child in rural Texas.]
  • The Standing Chandelier – Lionel Shriver [A mere 120 pages but a hilarious tale of male/female friendship.]
  • My Policeman – Bethan Roberts [Fabulous love story set in 1950’s Brighton.]
  • Idaho – Emily Ruskovich [Superb tale of family and tragedy set in rural America.]
  • The System – Ryan Gattis [Superb tale about the American justice system as experienced by all of those involved.]

and the 15 non-fiction delights

  • Licence to be Bad – Jonathan Aldred [Terrific critique of “How Economics Corrupted Us”. Will need to re-read to do it justice.]
  • Outraged – Ashley ‘Dotty’ Charles [Internet outrage – why we shouldn’t.]
  • Why the Germans Do It Better – John Kampfner [20th/21st century history, politics, people.]
  • Wayfinding – Michael Bond [“The Art and Science of How We Find and Lose Our Way!” Brilliant.]
  • Dancing with the Octopus – Debora Harding [An assault, a horrible mother and how a daughter copes. Brilliant.]
  • The Moth and the Mountain – Ed Caesar [“A true story of love, war and Everest”. A fascinating, well-written read.]
  • Another Day in the Death of America – Gary Young [In America, ten violent deaths of children on the same day. Shocking. ]
  • The Life of an MP – Jess Phillips [Superb and honest account of what it’s like to be an MP.]
  • Four Thousand Weeks – Oliver Burkeman [“Time Management for Mortals”. Superb.]
  • In the Wars – Dr Waheed Arian [Inspirational bio of an Afghan refugee who fought to become an eminent doctor.]
  • The Weather Machine – Andrew Blum [The global weather forecasting system. Fascinating.]
  • In Control – Jane Monkton Smith [“Dangerous Relationships and How They End in Murder”. A brilliant study. A must-read.]
  • Batavia’s Graveyard – Mike Dash [17th century, Dutch shipping disaster and mutiny off coast of Australia. Brilliant.]
  • And Away… – Bob Mortimer [Bob’s wonderful and funny autobiography.]
  • Working on the Edge – Spike Walker [Crab fishing off Alaska. Fabulous tales of the dangers and of the fishermen.]

Bad luck in Matlock!

Bad luck in Matlock!

A 2-day stay in Matlock in Derbyshire to see family and friends showed considerable promise when I spotted the Oxfam bookshop directly opposite our Airbnb! And just a few shops down there was another second hand bookshop, too!

Picked up from the station, we had a light lunch at the home of our relations for the first reunion. But it was downhill from there onwards as a violent sickness bug took hold at the end of the day. Earlier in the week little Iris had been unwell and it looks as if I had picked up her bug. The next fifteen hours were the worst of the worst and we were unsure whether I would be able to travel home the following morning. Fortunately I was.

St Pancras looked magnificent – the photo below was taken on the way up.

However I never got to see much of Matlock or get to visit the bookshops or participate in the main, family reunion. Next time….

The magnificent St Pancras Station

Sutton 1 Rochdale 0

Sutton 1 Rochdale 0

A fortunate goal scored direct from a corner was the difference between two poor teams. Pressure from Rochdale in the second half might have given them at least a draw, but it wasn’t to be. Without the goal it would have been a dire game, but instead it was just poor.

Still, it was good to be at a game again.

Solent Way (part 7) Portsmouth to Hilsea

The 7th of the 8 sections of the Solent Way walk was, on a lovely, sunny and warm November day, uninteresting and tiring . Starting at Portsmouth and ending at Hilsea, the almost 10 miles was mainly along the seafront.

Nothing of interest once I had left Portsmouth other than a Hovercraft service to the Isle of Wight – I didn’t realise hovercrafts were still ferrying passengers. Sadly I missed out on taking a picture.

I’ll be glad when this walk, the Solent Way, is finished – only one section to go!

Picnic on the Southsea beach

The 60 miles of the Solent Way

Chartwell

Last year we visited Chartwell, Churchill’s home, on a day when it was entry-free to everyone not just National Trust members. It was packed, the car park was full and we and others were driving around looking for a space to park. We gave up! Today was completely different and it was almost empty despite the glorious, late Spring day. Churchill was a keen, self-taught painter and his studio is well worth a look. We had a lovely day.