I/we have never disguised the fact that Southampton is not the city for us. We’ve met some lovely people here and made a few good friends, with who I hope we stay in touch. The surrounding area has given us great days out (see here, here, here and here). But what of the city itself? Has anything shaken up the humdrum of daily life? Have there been any redeeming features?
Happily, the answer is yes! So, as we prepare to leave, I thought I’d share a few of the places/things we have enjoyed about living here. First up is:
Come rain or shine, it’s our favourite stomping ground. Only minutes up the road, the Common is 326 acres of open grass, woodland, ponds, wildlife centre and playground. It provides us with a scenic shortcut to other parts of the city, including Shirley (mainly for its charity shops – more on that in another post), and the all important Uptons the butchers. It’s also part of a longer, circuitous walk from our apartment to the local supermarket.
The crisscrossing paths mean that no walk through the Common need ever be the same. Time and again they’ve provided the perfect terrain for ensuring that a certain boy takes his afternoon nap. On our walks we’ve not only spotted the obligatory ducks and gulls but also robins, cranes, swans, a yellow winged butterfly which seemed to follow us half the way home and a woodpecker (overheard, not seen). To distract the eye further there are so many trees and plants that I don’t know half the names of, and lichen and fungi of all shapes, sizes and colours. The Common is also where our boy had his first go on the swings, his first taste of whipped ice cream, and his first picnic this spring.
Southampton Common has quite simply been this city’s saving grace.