April 30 – A Day Trip to Southampton to Visit Joy and David

A Few Church Micros on the Way

Hi from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

We have been invited to sister my Mum’s cousin David and his daughter Joy again this afternoon in Southampton. So  we planned a route taking in several church micros along the way. We were keen to get to 120th on the Church Micro list before we returned to New Zealand so we were always looking for a few more to add to our total.

Our first stop was at St Nicholas church in Battenburg Ave in North Portsmouth. It has quite a unique exterior in Portsmouth and was built in 1929. The church was not open so we collected the numbers easily enough and drove to the final but there was no sign of the hint item. The hint said we were looking for a bench and was quite specific about where to look on the bench but our coordinates took us to a group of shops and there was no bench to be seen. It looked like we had something wrong but we were not sure how as the collection of the numbers had been pretty straight forward. We hopped back in the car, ready to give up but after driving a short distance we saw something else that would fit the bill. It was a small park with lots of benches in it. Surprisingly we managed to park the car again as this was a very busy road and went to have a look under some of the seats. I could not believe my ears when Mike said that he had found the cache. I thought he was joking. The magnet that attached it to the underside of the bench was not attached so we found a plaster in the car and temporarily fixed the magnet to the box until the CO had time to do a more permanent fix, which they did the following day.

Our next stop was at Portchester Methodist church built in 1933, where we had an easy but sneaky find of a cache as it was a flat sign on a post.

Our cell phone took us to a car park close to our next church of St Peter and St Paul in Fareham. The car park cost us £1 for one hour and only when we walked the rest of the way to the cache did we realise that we could have parked much closer for free. The church was closed too so we were unable to go inside. Still we found the cache easily and moved on.

Just along the road at Sarisbury Green we found a convenient free car park over the road from St Paul’s church. It was a strange shaped car park with only enough room for about six cars and we got the last one. St Paul’s was built as a Chapel of Ease within the Titchfield Parish in 1835, to serve the spiritual needs of 1100 people. The church had some lovely stained glass windows including a three light East window showing ‘Christ of the Apocalypse’ with the twenty-four elders and the adoration of the shepherds and magi below. The south transept window dates from 1870 with the central light of the three showing the last supper with Saint Gabriel and St Michael in the outer lights. It also had a lovely marble reredos and some unusual tiles. We collected the numbers and Mike eventually found the cache in the first place he had looked despite having looked there several time before. We had lunch in the park there before also doing the ‘Geological Forensics Earthcache’ nearby too. There have been many of this series of earthcaches in and around Portsmouth placed by gjacko and we have done quite a few of them including two today. I love them as they are so informative and I continue to learn more about geology. I think I can finally tell the difference between granite and marble.

The next church was St Leonard’s in Burseldon, just across the Hamble River, which can trace its history back to the second half of the twelfth century. The foundation charter for this church still survives from when the monks of the Hamble Priory gave permission to build a chapel sometime between 1129 and 1171. In the 1830’s two transepts were added making it a cruciform church. It had a pictorial East window showing the Ascension but even more impressive was the wall painting below the West window and above the entrance door of the Mary’s at the tomb of Christ. There was a 6 foot deep hole in the ground in one corner which was for the pendulum for the clock to drop into. Outside was a lovely lychgate and a wonderful flowering rhododendron which was the first we had seen this spring. I miss the rhododendrons so much as in many places in the United Kingdom they seem to be treated as a pest or as one site suggested – an invasive non-native species. I saw the traditional cache easily but I could not reach it so I called to Mike saying that I couldn’t reach and needed his help. I was so impressed by Mike’s climbing skills and he soon had the cache. He threw it to me to sign and then I tried to throw it back. Apparently, I throw like a girl. LOL. Surprising that! I definitely don’t have any athletic genes, never have done. Luckily Mike does, despite his advancing age.

St Andrews church in Sholing was not on our agenda for the day but as we were driving passed we stopped to find it. Well it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it. It is a modern building so we collected the numbers for the multi quickly and walked the short distance down the road to quickly find the cache between the holly and the ivy. A hint which always makes me break into song!

For our last stop of the day we visited a new Mall of shops in Whiteley where we did another earthcache in the Geological Forensics series. This one documented the differences between igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks which is a common topic. The new shops had parts of their walls decorated in slabs of polished rock featuring crystals of pink, brown and black. This cladding was very beautiful and we were glad that gjacko drew our attention to it using this earthcache. Around the shopping precinct were other interesting things such as a game of Vagabond and a sculpture of woodland animals by Lucy Casson in 2012. As we were here we walked through the shopping precinct to look for a traditional cache nearby. We are currently doing a geocaching challenge in the area and today’s geocaches gave us a further 112 points.

It was then time to meet up with David and Joy. Unfortunately David’s wife died in February after 71 years of marriage but he was still pleased to see us again and showed us several photographs which he knew we would be interested in and also brought out the family Bible which listed many important family birth, deaths and marriages. Mike photographed all the information so that we would have a permanent record for my ancestry studies. He told us many very interesting stories about the family. His father and my grandmother were brother and sister. We had afternoon tea and after several pleasant hours we drove back to Portsmouth to feed Suzan the cat.