Week Three of the January Resolution

13th January Alton

I initially intended to walk the Watercress Line, but the dark clouds and weather warnings changed my mind. Alton is such a pretty village to explore, but sadly the high street is suffering, and many of the shops are vacant and empty.

I’ve recently discovered that Fanny Adams did not always mean ‘F*** All.’ My eldest daughter and keen historian told me the story of the real Fanny Adams. 

The eight-year-old Fanny Adams was murdered in Alton, England in August 1867 by Frederick Baker, a 24-year-old solicitor’s clerk. Her dismembered body was found in a field near the town. She was buried in Alton cemetery. The inscription on the headstone indicates the strength of feeling against the murderer:

Sweet Fanny Adams

Sacred to the memory of Fanny Adams aged 8 years and 4 months who was cruelly murdered 24th August 1867.

Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul but rather fear Him who is able to kill both body and soul in hell. Matthew 10:28.

This stone was erected by voluntary subscription.”

The case was the source of enormous public concern and newspaper reports of the time concentrated on the youth and innocence of the victim. Everyone living in England at the time would have known the name of ‘sweet’ Fanny Adams. The British Royal Navy came to use the expression to refer to unpleasant meat rations they were often served – likening them to the dead girl’s remains. Barrère and Leland recorded this usage in their A dictionary of slang, jargon and cant, 1889:

“Fanny Adams (naval), tinned mutton.”

It wasn’t until later that ‘sweet Fanny Adams’ came to mean ‘nothing’. The term ‘f*** all’ has long been with us with that meaning, although how long isn’t clear as politeness caused it not to be recorded in print until the 20th century. There is more information about the murder here. www.historyanswers.co.uk/people-politics/the-gruesome-origin-of-sweet-fanny-adams/

One of Oliver Cromwell’s Houses

We passed the pretty Church of St Lawrence walked through the Town Gardens and one of Oliver Cromwell’s houses. Although we didn’t follow any particular route, we managed a reasonable distance and resisted tea and cake.

Km: 5.5

Miles: 3.4

17th January Millennium Promenade 

Millennium Promenade

The route starts from Spur Redoubt near Clarence Pier, Southsea and finishes on The Hard, taking in Old Portsmouth, the Camber and Gunwharf Quays. The journey is indicated by a chain motif set into the pavement. Historically it also refers to the chain, which used to be tightened across the harbour entrance at times of potential attack.

A Murmuration of Starlings

The most exciting part of the walk was witnessing a murmuration of starlings – a swooping mass of thousands of birds whirling in the sky above your head. A Fantastic sight against the sea and Spinnaker Tower. We stopped for coffee to celebrate. 

Nelson Trail

Starting at Landport Gate in St George’s Road, this self-guided trail takes you through parts of the old town of Portsmouth, highlighting places and buildings of interest relating to Vice Admiral Lord Nelson and Portsmouth around the time of the Battle of Trafalgar.


Km: 6.5

Miles: 4

‘Hovis’ Hill

18th January – Gold Hill

Not really a ‘walk’ but cool! Gold Hill or Hovis Hill is a steep cobbled street in the town of Shaftesbury in the English county of Dorset. Spent time with good company and scones.


January Resolution Update

January 6th Chichester Canal

I am Lancashire girl who is familiar with our counties three C’s, coal, cotton and canals. Canal walks bring back memories of my father, Sundays visiting the cemetery and then walking the picturesque Bridgewater Canal.  My friend Raymond and I loved the Wigan Pier to Arley Hall and Wigan’s flight of 23 locks to Top Lock. 

Chichester Canal

My husband and I parked near the centre of Chichester and followed the canal towpath, we hoped to get to the marina. Soon I suspected that this wasn’t a ‘working canal’ and a little research proved I was right. Still a great walk that would be perfect for our older dog.

One of the highlights was spotting a heron. And I’m excited to find another spot where water voles hang out too. The coots were plentiful and surprisingly brave and loud.

We didn’t get to the marina, hubby pointed out that we only had two hours free parking, but already made an improvement on last week’s 5k walk and moved up to 6k.

Km: 6

Miles: 3.73

January 11th Highgate Cemetery

Highgate Cemetery has been on my bucket list for a long time, and I wasn’t disappointed. Best of all I will have to go back, preferably with my sketchbook, because the tour of the West Cemetery was fully booked.

We got the tube to Archway (NOT HIGHGATE) and then caught the 271 bus, which it turns out we only needed for two stops. But since it was all uphill, my feelings of embarrassment quickly left. We got off the bus at Whittington Hospital and walked to St Joseph’s Church. Then we cut through Waterlow Park, past the duck ponds to the Swain’s Lane exit.

“A Dude that really knew where his towel was”

There is a small £4 entry fee, and we stepped into the impressive Victorian tombs and gravestones. Many with an abundance of stone ivy and angels. My main reason for the visit was to see sci-fi author Douglas Adams, but of course, I had to stop by the glowering bearded bust of Karl Marx. The cemetery was smaller than I had thought. We picked a cold day with grey skies, and we could hear the crows and the leafless branches of the trees tapping each other.

We walked back down Highgate hill and took a quick picture of Dick Whittington’s cat, but I was disappointed by the not quite 4k. So, we decided to stop at Camden Town on the way home.

Km: 3.9

Miles: 2.74


January 11th Camden Town

Camden Town Market

I haven’t been to Camden’s markets since the 1990s and my goodness it’s changed. I offered to bring my daughter here for her upcoming 18th birthday, but she seems a bit lukewarm about the idea, so hubby and I made a stop.

We picked up on that unique vibe the moment we left the tube station. By now it was already 3 pm, so we didn’t have much time. However, we still looked at the eclectic market stalls, had a quick stroll by Regent’s Canal and sampled the Chinese cuisine in the Asian quarter.

It was a little sad that we didn’t bother to find a live music bar and stay a little later, but that’s life with kids! I had a coffee and a cake, plus a sit down on the tube between the walks so not sure if I can combine the total to six?

Km: 3.9

Miles: 2.7