Advent 12: Illuminations

p1180649
The Titanic leaving Dock Gate 4, Southampton

p1180671Southampton is not usually forthcoming on Christmas lights as much as other cities – What with the Christmas market and so many lights from shops, ships and offices – But, to open up a leisure area for Christmas at West Quay malls this year, a stunning loop of 7-minute, light and sound illuminations ran on our Old Town Wall at the weekend.

p1180654

p1180656Depicted, was the history of Southampton’s port, which focused on departures of: Henry V troops leaving for Agincourt, The Mayflower with Pilgrims preparing for America, The Titanic leaving for New York, boats and planes in WW2 manoeuvres, J-Class yachts, powerboats, hovercraft, container-ships and so on.

Do you have any festive lights where you are?

p1180398
Southampton’s city square

Advent 3: Home for Christmas

 

p1090639
Breakfast in bed © Southampton Old Lady

It is a great time to relax when you go home for Christmas. I love spoiling my daughter. However some people have no homes to go to…

Southampton homeless in doorway
It is estimated that 117,000 children will be homeless in the UK this Christmas. London, Manchester and other cities and especially warmer cities in the South also have high numbers of rough sleepers that are difficult to calculate.    Photo of homeless sleeping in the City of Southampton © Southampton Old Lady

It has been very frosty in the UK and weather forecasters are predicting a white Christmas this year, which is no fun for those who have nowhere to go and are sleeping rough. Why not make a gift of a night in a homeless shelter or buy a Christmas dinner for someone homeless this year?

It is estimated that 117,000 children will be homeless in the UK this Christmas

For homeless young people who have run away to London there is Centre Point’s Home For Christmas appeal – click here

In my area the Society of St James organises such for the homeless click here

Or there is Crisis at Christmas click here

There must be many organisations in your area that you can help: A home is where the heart is.

Also in response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: Relax

 

Pride of Place: Southampton

p1180272
All local artworks in connection with Southampton are displayed
Add to the map places you feel are important
Add to the map places you feel are important

p1180274

Pride of Place is an amazing project organised by The Caravan Gallery which is a collaboration between artists and photographers Jan Williams and Chris Teasdale in partnership with local arts organisations in the UK. Part evolving exhibition, part alternative visitor information centre, these projects give local people an opportunity to explore their surroundings in a creative way by contributing to the exhibition.

An alternative tourist office in Southampton's town centre
An alternative tourist office in Southampton’s town centre

So far the projects have taken place in Portsmouth, Oxford, Litham St Annes, Liverpool, Wirral, Huntley, Guernsey and now Southampton – with the support of  an Arts Council England Strategic Touring grant.

South Home Town
South Home Town
Submit your photos
Submit your photos
Pride in your team, history, culture
Pride in your team, history, culture

 

Also in connection with a Solent Showcase photographic exhibition about seeing Britain through local eyes.
Also in connection with a Solent Showcase photographic exhibition about seeing Britain through local eyes.

Singhsbury's

 

 

The exhibition continues in East Street Southampton throughout November

People are invited to write about their memories
People are invited to write about their memories

Pothole Gallery Challenge

p1150974
Pothole on a main road into the City of Southampton – still to be repaired
p1150972
Pothole in Bevois Town, Southampton

Shoreacres has given me an idea for a challenge. After a chat about potholes she commented: “I can’t imagine any place in the world is boring, if only we take the time to explore it. For example: how about a gallery of potholes?”

So without further ado: here my potholes photos!

If you would like to join in, post your photos of potholes from your post just include a pingback to this post.

p1150973
Same pothole with glove to show size – those stones are big and shoot out when a car passes. Now repaired after much complaining.
p1110111
Broken manhole cover Portswood Road – now repaired.

Now the next one is not my photo but published in the daily echo last year:

southampton-sink-hole
A sink-hole has opened up on the A27 Titchfield Bypass. Police are now looking in to it

City Street Chaos

I have two entries concerning wasted public money for the weekly WordPress challenge: Chaos

Southampton City Centre's uneven pavements cause chaos.
Southampton City Centre’s uneven pavements cause chaos.

Southampton City Council spent £4.6million revamping the civic centre’s main square and pavements which was completed in 2010. But just 18 months after a private contractor completed it (with no expert investigation) large parts of the road began to sink, leaving its surface uneven and cracked.

I don’t know how many times I have fallen over in the City myself – it’s no good just looking where I am going as the shadows create optical illusions, it would be easier to walk on gravel or loose earth. So many have been hospitalised and had their lives ruined. It is cheaper for the Council if pedestrians, cyclists and drivers to claim compensation for their injuries from the contractor than have the street repaired. I think coloured Tarmac would have been a better option for the street and was even better left as it was. Cutting corners always works out more expensive and money always seems to come before people.


The back of Old Northam Road, Southampton
The back of Old Northam Road, Southampton

The street where the Developer has run off with the cash

p1100926
Resotoration of Old Northam Road

Southampton City Council granted £1.4 million of public money to Grays Developments in the early 2000s to refurbish Victorian properties in Old Northam Road. This was to regenerate what was once the antiques quarter of Southampton, England.

The man who owns Grays, bought up 30 commercial properties and 68 homes within Old Northam Road had promised to invest millions restoring them within 13 years.

So far there has only been ripping down and dilapidation. No work has actually started, leaving residents and businesses in chaos. Some who lived above shops have had walls to their property removed and just left.

The traders insist that he has spent the money on a house for his mother and ran off with the rest of the cash. Here is a YouTube video of promises from the project manager: Restoration of Old Northam Road

 

 

Cancer Blanket Tree

p1170044
Rows and rows of stitches – a repetitive exercise for the brain
p1170043
Tree wrapped in a Cancer blanket

I have always been a bad knitter and hate repetitive tasks; I have always been envious of yarn-bombers.

To help recover from gaps in my memory ‘chemo brain’, I was advised to keep doing repetitive tasks, until I had mastered them, then take up another task as a way of re-training my brain.

I bought wool oddments and decided to knit a blanket while watching television. I had to relearn from scratch. I cannot tell you how many stitches I dropped and how much unravelling I needed to do. But it worked – I got it right and can knit better now than before my chemo treatment. I had visions of my ‘Cancer Blanket’ becoming some sort of heir-loom.

p1140864
I got the idea from this little warmer in Vienna when I visited in January this year.

I loved the blanket and felt a great sense of achievement, but alas, everyone else in my family hated it. So, as part of the dejunking, when deciding whether to donate it to the charity shop or put it straight in the bin, I recalled a blanket that I took a snap of in Vienna. It wasn’t your usual yarnstormer – it was  as if the crafter wanted to warm up a cold building by wrapping a blanket around a thigh of one of its columns.

But it gave me the idea. I took my blanket and wrapped it around a sad tree I knew of near a corner shop where passers-by continually dump their rubbish – cigarette packets, beer and wine bottles, unwanted take-aways, broken umbrellas and the occasional mattress.

Oddly enough the area was recently cleaned, but the blanket was left. Since then people have stopped throwing their rubbish there.

I am now on sailing knots.

p1180226
Dumped mattress and square of hardboard and naked tree

UPDATE 28th October 2016:

The blanket has now been removed. People have been dumping their rubbish again including a mattress.

 

 

Zebra Go

P1160642
Print Primary Zebra contrasts with Southampton’s freshly cleaned Bargate

While the world plays Pokemon-Go – the people in Southampton are walking around and searching for painted zebras. A few years ago it was rhinos in collaboration with Marwell Zoo. It was such a success that we now have these zebras with sponsored themes.

P1160652
Judge Zebra Below Bar – with reference to when Southampton’s Bargate was once a court.

So here are some photos of a few of my favourites – I must confess I did not take the details of all of them – one of the best bloggers for these is on the WP site “I Walk Alone” so seek her out for some lovely walks.

P1160647
The Wheels on the Bus Zebra en-route from West Quay shopping centre
P1160999
Abbey Road Zebra by Watts Park entrance

Vandals have stolen some of them; one also with a Beatles theme, named Ticket to Ride featuring buses, was found floating along the River Itchen and rescued by a youth sailing team.

P1160658
A beautiful Ocean Zebra in St Michael’s Square
P1170023
Jigsaw Zebra. You never know who will be dropping by while you are at a Mettricks having coffee in Southampton.
P1160660
Sharknado Zebra outside the old town walls at Western Esplanade
P1160989
Foxy Zebra in front of Southampton Guildhall

For more zebra photos and an interesting article from a ‘crazy’ tourist who flew to Southampton on a day trip click: here

For an avid walker who seems to be getting them all (though you might need to register on her site) – I Walk Alone – click: here

Drenched from puddles

I walked to the doctors’ surgery today. It was sunny when I left but I took my waterproof coat, umbrella and wore rubber shoes as the forecast was rain. Here in the UK we check the weather forecast every day and go prepared for all unpredictable weathers.

While sat in the waiting room, the Heavens opened and the downpour filled up gutters with fast-running rivers. But the time I left, the rain was at a ‘normal’ pour but puddles were everywhere. I still managed to get drenched; not from above, but from the fast-driven wheels on cars relentlessly splashing water upwards. I wish I had worn my bathing costume!

Car-splash surfer from the viral video
Car-splash surfer from the viral video

It reminded me of the hilarious car-splash-surfing in Lancashire video that went viral last December. If you haven’t seen it then click here – it’s a treat.

Meanwhile here are a few more snaps I took of puddles:

P1150959

P1150960