November was going to be a busy month for me with spending the first weekend in Cardiff, a trip to Winchester and a Guitar Retreat in Ross-on-Wye at the end of the month.
Last year I became the Editor/Coordinator for Moody Owners Association’s “Compass Magazine”. The post comes with a small honorarium but like all the other Committee Members, it is voluntary. The job mainly entails pestering and badgering other members for articles and content, then spending an inordinate number of hours editing and correcting them. The magazine is published three times a year and the work I need to do takes about one month for each edition. I’ve edited three editions now including the milestone 100th edition.
This year I was invited to the General Committee Meeting held in the Holiday Inn, Winchester. I had originally planned to spend a few days in the area and stay with a Guitar Retreat friend in Southampton for a couple of days, but his family circumstances meant a trip to the Czech Republic to see his two children who live in Prague with his ex-partner. This and with another trip south later in the month to a Guitar Retreat (when I would be seeing him anyway), I decided just to go for the one night.
I flew to Southampton with FlyBe, the only airline to fly direct from Edinburgh. Not the most reliable of companies with flights often being delayed or cancelled and their fleet of Bombardiers cramped, slow and noisy. Still, Hobson’s Choice. As I discovered on my return journey, Southampton Airport is rather run-down and tacky with poor amenities. However, it does have the distinct advantage of a main rail line running right next to it with frequent links to the city and north to Winchester. The hotel was nice and the meeting went well despite lasting till well beyond 10:00 pm. I had booked my return flight for late the next afternoon which gave me plenty of time to explore Winchester for the day.
Winchester is most famous for its College and the medieval Cathedral immortalised in the 60s song of the same name by The New Vaudeville Band.
I had a few hours to wander around the City and pay a visit to the Cathedral. It was fairly early in the morning when I arrived and the place was very quiet. I asked about tours and was told that there would be one at 11:00 am, but in the meantime, did I want a tour of The Crypt? I had read that there was an Antony Gormley sculpture “Sound II” in the crypt and I was keen to see it. The sculpture was created from a mould of Gormley himself and as the crypt is below the water table it can sometimes be knee deep in water when it rains heavily. I was the only one on the tour and the two guides took me to parts that aren’t generally open to the public. There’s also a small exhibition on Jane Austen - she is buried in the cathedral.
I found somewhere to have something to have a coffee and spent time wandering around the city before I took the train back to the airport later in the afternoon.