Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Up Up & Away

This was a belated birthday present from my wife, belated in the fact I was supposed to get it for my 40th Birthday but as I found out the surprise was lost so she did something else instead. Now that was like taking candy from a baby as I never really forgot and every so often would hint I really would love to go up in a balloon. Well on my last birthday (21 for the third time) I was surprised with a couple of tickets for a Balloon flight and the other day my wife & I took one over Oxfordshire.

We where the first there when the Balloon turned up

laid out along the grass

opened out

Then off came the basket

inflating the balloon

My wife was with this crew holding on to the rope

getting bigger
 the pilot making sure it inflates right

 getting bigger

flame on

up she goes
 Nearly ready

the Burners

The route and GPS following the flight

Next thing I know I'm looking down on Oxford, this is Christchurch.

The Radcliffe Camera goes past

Looking up through Oxford

Magdalene Collage

View looking off into the hills nearby 

The John Radcliffe Hospital or JR as it is known locally

This looks off towards Didcot where you can just make out the old powerstation

This bit is called the Headington Hamburger

Passing one of the Villages

over countryside

A village church

This place is called Brill on the Hill

A private school

The cows did not seem to care about us though

Most of us have a car out the front of our house, this guy has a plane

looks like a runway but its solar panels on the old runway

This is Waddaston Manor we are coming to

Finally we land and get out safely

And a goblet of Champers,
 Hope you enjoyed the flight

A Walk Along the Itchen Way

This was the first walk of any real length I had done in while so prepared the equipment I would need in advance. My old trusty sling bag with wide angle lens and large flash if needed and a cable release along with a light weight tripod which it turned out was not the best idea as I found out it really needs replacing. I also took along my GPS and a hard copy of a map of the area I would be walking. Last thing was walking boots, they had cost enough so I was using them.

I started out from the  Holiday Inn at Winchester where my wife was at a Conference for the day

and it was not long before I was in the country passing scenes like this

then coming to the first village of Easton

where you walked in past a thatched cottage

and past the village pub

this was the wheelwrights cottage so most likely the blacksmith as well at one time

First stop was this church called St Mary

and nearby is the old village school and if I'm right there are two doors in that porch were boys went through one & girls the other.

 From the church I crossed over the River Itchen

the started following a path footpath called the Itchen Way

so it was not long before I saw my next church to visit at Martyr Worthy
and the church of St Swithun

 After spending some time getting photos of the church I left over this footpath 

 passing other travelers on the way

and cows in their field

 Along footpaths like this. The animal mentioned here was a huge Bull, obviously been getting to many titbits

eventually I came back to the River  
 The River Ichen which is 28 miles long and comes out in Southampton Water

just after I spotted this notice ona locked off gate

and met Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme

soon I was in the village of  Itchen Abbas
 and the church of St John the Baptist

 Once I'd been round the church it was off again and I passed off going in this pub for a quick pint (I wished I had later )

off along this road an back across the River Ichen 

would you believe this part flows through someones backyard or at least past it

Passing theses gates to a country house. You might have noticed the lens hood has sneaked in the last few photos, I only just realised it after this and forgot to retake the photo
 Anyway this the drive leading to the house
 And this is Avington Park which is open to the public at certain times

further round I met some of the local residents 

Then finally the last church of my walk, St Mary
Soon enough it was off and past a Red Phone box

then back along a footpath along a field
 Where towrds the end I noticed the trees were full of Mistletoe

there were loads of them around here. Wonder if the locals raid them at Christmas

Further on past an old watering trough  which shows once they kept cattle or livestock in the field

This was called Mud Field, I wonder why?

A last view of the way I had come
Because soon enough I was passing this old derelict farm I had passed when I started and I knew I was only half a mile from where I started. By the time I had finished I had walked 9.5 miles according to my GPS, I was rather hungry and needed a drink which was why I wished I'd gone to the Pub. Hope you have enjoyed my walk