We caught a 38 bus to Victoria Station and arrived with about an hour to spare. Better that than risk missing the train.
For once, the platform was announced about 15 minutes before departure so we had time to teach the train and find seats.
We discovered that the overhead luggages rack is too small for anything larger than a briefcase and that there sre no other provisions for baggage. How can train companies be so stupid?
We found seats in two facing rows of three and put our bags on the floor beside us. If any train crew object to this they can arrange matters themselves.
As the title suggests, our destination is Portsmouth where we will spend four nights, returning to London on Wednesday. The train, if on time, will arrive at Portsmouth Harbour at 12:05.
Photo by Tigger
Tigger has just sent me this dramatic skyscape. According to the forecast, the weather in Portsmouth is cool but sunny. Let’s hope that’s right.
This uninteresting view was taken at Horsham where we arrived around 10am. The only noteworthy fact about this is that our 12-coach train divides here and only the front 4 coaches continue to Portsmouth. And yes, we did remember to sit in the right part of the train!
Landscape by Tigger
This photo by Tigger shows that the weather is looking better but we still have quite a way to go and in Britain even a short distance can make a big change in the weather.
As we approach Portsmouth Harbour, we have the first glimpses of the Spinnaker tower which has become the modern symbol of the city. We will see it again during our visit.
HMS Warrior (1860)
As we left the station, we photographed that other, more ancient, symbol of Portsmouth, the battleship HMS Warrior, launched in 1860, Britain’s first iron-hulled fighting ship. Despite her very short career (she was decommissioned in 1883), she represents an important stage in the evolution of British warships.
Looking towards Gosport
I also took this photo for sentimental reasons: it looks across the harbour to Gosport where Tigger was born!
Boats in the harbour
Photo by Tigger
This photo by Tigger shows some of the small boats of which there are many. I think the largest one is probably a private yacht.
Wagamama, Gunwharf Quays
As check-in time at the hotel is not until 3pm, we decided to have lunch. We went into Gunwharf Quays which, despite its belligerent name, is a shopping centre, and looked to see what was available. There were queues at many restaurants.
We joined the queue at Wagamama and fortunately did not have to wait too long. Apart from that, the experience was lacklustre. I won’t bore you with the details but will say the starters and mains arrived in the wrong order and the first cups of tea were tepid.
After lunch, a bus ride and a walk brought us to our hotel. The room was ready and we were able to occupy it straightaway.
A corner of the room
This is a view of one corner of the room from my vantage point on the bed. It’s a fairly standard, no frills, room but notice one detail: the kettle. That’s Tigger’s own kettle which she brought “just in case”. And it’s fortunate that she did because, unusually for hotels in Britain, this one does not provide a kettle and the makings of tea and coffee. Not to worry, though, as we have brought our own, so all’s well.
Around 5pm we bestirred ourselves and went out. We went down to the waterside. There is a funfair there with a big wheel among other things.
Flying a kite
Someone was flying a kite over Southsea Common which is now a pleasant stretch of parkland between the seafront and the houses.
The Brittany Ferry
We watched the Brittany Ferry coming into port, presumably from France. The coastline you can see beyond the ferry is the Isle of Wight.
We walked back across Southsea Common to find a bus stop where we could catch a bus to the Hard, which we hoped to find our evening meal.
Bird feeding frenzy
Someone had just scattered some food on the grass with the result that a mixed crowd of birds flew in to eat and squabble over it.
We took a bus to the Hard, which is the area near the station, and looked for somewhere to have supper. The first place we tried was closing, the second was reservation only and our third try was this cafe. We were the only customers and they closed while we were eating.
The cafe (I forgot to find out its name) is run by a married couple who have had the business for about 30 years. The place was a shop before they took over and there were still some traces of that (for example, see next picture).
The cafe, exterior
When the cafe is open, there are tables are chairs out in front but they have been moved inside now it’s closed. Note the sign projecting from the wall above the white door: it bears the three words “SWEETS NEWS TOBACCO”, obviously dating back to when this was a shop.
We will “bookmark” this cafe for future reference as we may find occasion to eat here again.
Canoe Lake, Southsea
From the Hard we took a bus the carried us back past our hotel and to further along the coast of Southsea. Where we left the bus is what is called Canoe Lake where you can go boating though by now it was closed for the night.
Figures on a beach
We went down to the beach just to “see the sea”. The light was beginning to fade as the sun neared the horizon.
South Parade Pier
This is the South Parade Pier. This photo is from the shadow but is the only photo I managed to take of (almost) the entire pier.
The pier, sunlit side
Here it is from the sunlit side but as this is a panorama shot, there is a certain amount of distortion.
The esplanade, looking west
This is a view of the esplanade, looking west. As the light faded, we decided it was time to return to the hotel.
We took a bus and as it approached our stop, pressed the bell. It didn’t work! I pressed another button and this one worked but just too late for our stop. The bus carried a us a stop too far from which we had to walk back to the hotel. However…
The Museum, illuminated
…this did allow me to have this extraordinary view of Portsmouth Museum, illuminated in glorious (?) colour! We had hoped to visit the museum at some point but have yet to ascertain whether it has reopened.
From here, we soon reached our hotel and our temporary home where Tigger’s kettle enabled us to make tea.
Thus ends our first day in Portsmouth.