When your climbing partner in crime suggest meeting him from work for an evening of climbing, what is a gal to do?
Other than to find out where the closest coffee shop is, and how you can get to it. As it would be an evening of climbing, the ‘have dog will travel’ attitude was altered to ‘have cane will travel’.
Train journey, easy, no problem.
Bus journey, not so easy, but still no problem.
Hedge End (where the CPiC works) has a tiny train station, yet within a short distance there are mammoth superstores of every possible concept. While other coffee places are available, I set my sights on hitting Starbucks, mainly because it has a simple pull up and park location right next to the motorway junction in the direction of Calshot.
Which in fact meant that it had a ‘quirky’ navigation on Google Maps.
The bus stop is placed directly outside the station, the bus was scheduled to tie in with the train arriving. Pure brilliance!
The bus however did not have an audio-visual display. It did have an incredibly friendly and happy to help driver, who ensured me he would notify me of my stop.
So off we went……. And sure enough, the driver true to his word, told me when we had arrived at my stop, he even explained the direction I needed to walk to arrive at Marks and Spencer’s (the major store that afforded its own bus stop!). He also waited until he had ensured I was walking in the right direction before continuing with his journey.
Only; I didn’t want to go the Marks and Spencer’s. I wanted Starbucks. Which as the crow flies is directly opposite Marks and Spencer’s (near enough) Simple enough? the only issue was the great big MASSIVE road known as Charles Watts Way – A334.
And this is where I put my faith in my iPhone and Googled my way!
The directions weren’t straight forward, which made me believe that Google was aware of the size of the road and was walking me a safer way, after all how could it possible take 7 minutes to walk such a short distance (when equating walking time, it doesn’t allow for traffic, as it would if you were driving)
So, ironically. I blindly followed its route……
….. A route that saw me walk through Marks and Spencer’s and out the other side, around the outside of Sainsburys and behind it where a worker was having a sneaky cigarette.
Still my map told me to continue, so onward I went. (I must admit, had it not been a bright afternoon, I may have had other thoughts)
Across a short path and …….. BINGO……
I had found it. The reason why Google maps was telling me it was 7 minutes.
Because in front of me was a rusty cream rail, a thin metal grate on the floor and the key to crossing Charles Watts Way.
It was the ramp, that twisted around in a loose corkscrew before evolving into a long straight path with a slight gradient for several steps, before flattening out and then rising again. It was a bridge.
In the warm sun, the shadows create by the overhanging trees made it hard to make out just how simple and easy it was to navigate.
It was a time to put my trust into my cane, because with the light; the shadows cast and the uncertainty of where I was, I felt apprehensive. I needn’t have; it really was as smooth and easy as I explained it to be.
And before I knew it, I was walking across the top of the bridge, right above all the traffic queuing beneath me. And then I was back into the shadows and the long straight declining path. Turning just once, 180 degrees to walk a similar distance again before coming to a small offset railings, a quick weave and I was on the path beside that very same traffic that I had just walked over. (I didn’t hear it moving!)
A short distance ahead and I could feel the path changing, this time it was much smoother, yet paved, not tarmac as it had previously been. I couldn’t home in on much, because although the trees were cut back, their shadows were replaced by bright glaring sun.
Faithful cane soon told me I was reaching a curb edge, the tactile paving soon enabled me to place myself in the right direction, a small road across the car park and low and behold…….