Sunday, December 16, 2012

On the doorstep

Mr Moog and I moved here, to Southampton, way back in 1998. In that time we've explored, and come to love, so much of the beautiful countryside around Hampshire but somehow, have not spent so much time exploring our home town.

The in-laws have been here for a pre-Christmas Christmas weekend, starting with a trip to a proper panto at Ferneham Hall, in Fareham. Cinderella, starring Madge from Neighbours, no less.
Buttons was my favourite. Especially his John Travolta number. Awesome.

 Lovely mother-in-law happened to mention that she'd seen an advert for a Victorian Christmas event at the Tudor House in Southampton. We had seen nothing about it but a quick Google search sealed the deal and after a hearty breakfast, we took a short drive across the bridge into town and entered a Southampton that we never knew was there.
The Tudor House has undergone a major restoration programme over the past few years and reopened last year as a very 21st Century museum. The exhibitions and interpretation were so well put together and all of us found something to engage us.

There's an incredible history behind the site, parts of which date back to the 1100s - and that kind of history blows my mind.

We discovered today that Southampton was once an important spa town, with folk (including royalty) travelling from all over the country to take the waters.

We discovered that the city walls were constructed to order by King Edward III after an attempted French invasion. A small part of these once extensive walls (and nothing of Southampton Castle) remain, most being lost to centuries of change and the ravages of the World War II bombings when Southampton was heavily hit.

We discovered that several hundred years ago the city walls, that are now well within the city centre itself, were actually right on the waterfront, with a beach!

We discovered that the Tudor House was at one time occupied by a dye-works, an architect and a milliner in the midst of an area of terrible slums and that Jane Austen lived nearby.

We discovered that this is a beautiful peaceful little haven in the middle of the bustling, retail-driven city centre.

I discovered that I need to be more careful taking photos with my phone, just in case it looks like Mr Moog is peeing in the courtyard of an important historical building (he wasn't).

We decided that next time we go shopping in town we will come here for lunch.

Nothing whatsoever to do with's a pretty cow (bullock?)...

.....we saw these beautiful beasts on our 5 mile walk up at Selborne last weekend, and discovered this evening - thanks to Countryfile - that they are in fact Park Cattle, first brought to these shores by the Romans, and now used at Selborne to manage the habitats of the nature reserve.

This one even had a cow bell. I loved that - made me think of Heidi and I just knew you'd appreciate that :o)

You may be wondering what happened to this weekend's pudding. Well, there was one - or two, but they were baked and supplied by mother-in-law and have been eaten (unphotographed) by us. A beautiful bakewell tart and an apple pie. Minx was unexpectedly given the weekend off pudding duty but will be back next week with a host of sweet delights.

We're now looking forward to the last few days of term and getting fully into the Christmas spirit, including 'Verastonbury' at our local park on Thursday night.

Bring it on.

Moogs xxx


dragonfly said...

Fascinating stuff! The only time I come down to Southampton I am confined to the sweltering poolside of the diving competitions. Perhaps next time I will disappear for a while.
I love those cows - did you see them on Countryfile last night? I declared that I would very much like one for Christmas, with their cute little black noses and ears!

Thimbleanna said...

Oh, you lucky girl -- to live in the shadow of such history! It sounds as if you've had a wonderful weekend.

And alas, Anon humorously strikes again. The brain dead part is too funny (pot calling the kettle and all....)

French Knots said...

It's great to view your home city with fresh eyes, we are not far from Manchester but don't often take advantage of that to go and see things.