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Along the edge of the river; before early closing and the turn of the tide

September 12, 2011

The hamble the shop is just beyond the hotel on the top right.  I have walked up from a boat yard a mile or so from the right

This was a convenient way to ‘somewhere’ and back again. Every week, at 10 years old, I did the family shop at a grocery store at Lower Swanwick.  I was to take this journey along the Hamble, from our houseboat at Crableck until we moved into a house 2 years later.

The Hamble flows from the Southampton water and is subject to a double tide; first the tide flows from English Channel into the Solent between the mainland and the Needles then it flows from the east around the opposite end of the island up the Solent from Portsmouth. While, this has a positive value to the Southampton Docks and the ships coming and going, the constant flux on the shoreline was trying for the vulnerable users

There was no clear path, any foot prints were washed away with the tide and covered with debris depending on the season and the wind direction.  There were little bridges to thwart the creeks and gulleys that interrupted the route.  They were made by other users over the years from drift wood and were rebuilt when buffeted by the tide as it ebbed and flowed.  If the bridge was washed away I would have to leap across to the other side as I had no time or the ability for such a construction.

While, oblivious of the little interloper as she hurried on her way; a shy  otter darted from view, a mullet; a stripped grey fish found in muddy shallows was  watched by a cormorant poised on a nearby mooring. They tried to grab an existence in mud and sedge among the pockets of ‘civilization’ between Crableck yard and the A27.

For a journey not noted for its beauty there were some legendary nuggets that I will share sometime.  For now there was farm along the way, with a painted cow shed that flanked the path, where yellow roses rambled gracefully – out of place and too handsome  for a little girl to sully, by her gaze or touch, so she hurried by breathing in the perfume in huge gulps!

I later learned that this rather elegant converted ‘cowshed was the home of Mrs de Selincourt the mother of the novelist Aubrey de Selincourt.

Before reaching the final frontier – the A27 I had to go through Moody’s Boat Yard – the home of the fibreglass yachts and modernity.  My father, who built wooden boats referred to these shapeless products as bubble gum boats.  All this was not my concern; the most ferocious of creatures was yet to be conquered – the A27. There was no fear of strangers then, safety was the aim – the little girl would screw up her last bit of courage to ask someone to see her across the road.

From now it was plain sailing the job was almost done; now I just had to get the shopping and make it back before the tide turned.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. hambleriver1959 permalink
    February 11, 2013 8:49 am

    We also grew up on the Hamble River. We lived on a houseboat, and our Grandmother lived in Victory Cottages at Swanwick Shore. Our father did his shipwright and boat building apprenticeship at Moodys Boatyard from 1939.The Marshalls

    • February 11, 2013 9:06 am

      What! you are the 3rd person who has made contact. My family name is Carrick my dad was Len[nny] and remain ed on the river until he died 2002. My sisters still live nearby!

      • hambleriver1959 permalink
        February 11, 2013 2:53 pm

        We lived on a house boat called the Joyette, what was the name of your boat?

      • February 11, 2013 3:01 pm

        We lived on different ones when we lived at Burseldon, one was Heron another was Tieba(?). But when we moved to Crableck it was a converted Landing Craft called Miscellany. Our sailing boat was Trooper.

      • hambleriver1959 permalink
        February 12, 2013 6:23 pm

        Will chat to my eldest sister, Zelda, she might remember your family. I was a baby.

      • February 12, 2013 8:09 pm

        Yes I remember the name Zelda I will ask my Sister Anne

  2. December 23, 2013 7:52 am

    Reblogged this on Living, Libraries and [Dead] Languages and commented:

    I have recently learned to re-blog . When I started this journey my readers and followers were few; some of my early attempts to impress the WWW have been left unread. In a bid to address this I will re-blog a post or two … 🙂

  3. Laura Bloomsbury permalink
    December 23, 2013 10:22 am

    The child found the nuggets along the way and shared them all these years later – what a brilliant piece of writing – so glad you re-blogged.

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