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Why we never did make it to Southampton

One of our to-dos while in Hampshire was a visit to Southampton, which partly influenced our choice of accommodation. While the main family connection was with Portsmouth, Southampton also had some relevance and there were other general interest reasons for wanting to go. We would be there a few weeks after the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking.

A day trip was scheduled mid-week. Dad’s cousin Helen would come with us and we would detour to a family church on the way.

That was easier said than done. The church was in a rural parish that had been known as Farley Chamberlayne but it’s not on the map, nor just Farley, so the satnav programming required a bit of lateral thinking. Once we were in the depths of the countryside driving down Farley Lane we just had to keep going and hope we came across the church or a signpost.

We found it. After not knowing what to expect or if we’d even get there, it was good to find something substantial. Historic church, beautiful location.

St John’s Church at Farley Chamberlayne. For such an out of the way place there were two other lots of visitors including three on a photo shoot for a book

Me and dad with his first cousin Helen

The little Norman church is several hundred years and perhaps up to 1,000 years old. There was likely another church from Saxon times on the site before this. My ancestors attended this church from mid 1700s for about 100 years

The beam work is striking. We were told it was sourced from a ship

If doorways could talk… the notches were made by returning crusaders (circa 11th-13th centuries)

We hunted through the graveyard but if there are any family members buried there it was impossible to tell, the age and condition of the headstones making most names illegible

The church is at the end of a lane in the quiet countryside between Romsey and Winchester

Not a bad location eh?

Me and a new friend

A view from out the front of the church. All was serene, though not for long…

Our respective wanderings moved to various parts outside the church grounds and it wouldn’t be long before we’d be leaving and off to Southampton.

Suddenly I heard a small commotion and saw the photo shoot ladies run toward the neighbouring house. Not sure what was going on, I hurried over – to find Helen sprawled on the ground.

She had tripped or twisted her ankle on the uneven surface and fell quite hard. I didn’t hear it but others did: apparently there was a loud crack as she went down and she was convinced that her ankle was broken.

Everyone was in agreement that she shouldn’t be moved so we made her as comfortable as was possible and I got on the phone to emergency services.

While the photo shoot ladies protected Helen from the sun by holding up a large reflector!, I called for an ambulance and hoped my vague location description made sense

Given the remoteness, I drove down the road so that I could direct the ambulance when it arrived. I waited half an hour or so at a crossroads not far from the church

Having skilfully pointed the ambulance in the direction of the church (waste of time as it turned out, one of the ambos knew the area well), I returned to supervise proceedings as they assessed Helen and got her comfortable

Helen was to be taken to the hospital in Winchester and so there was nothing else for it but to abandon our Southampton plans and follow. Mum accompanied her in the ambulance, dad and I going ahead in the car. We’d fill in time and mum would keep us posted with proceedings at the hospital.

Winchester wasn’t in our plans and I didn’t know much about it. But turns out there were some landmarks of interest and so I began to look at our change of plans positively.

However, after we found some lunch and took some up to mum, Helen was almost ready to leave. The doctor didn’t think she had broken her ankle and so she was discharged, albeit still very sore. We left without really seeing anything of Winchester and returned back to the Portsmouth area.

So that was that. The church had stopped the day from being a complete loss and well, it gave me a sort of medical emergency to write about. I’ll have to catch up with Southampton next time I’m in the south of England, whenever that should be!

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Christine #

    Ahhh…..yes……..our day that didn’t quite go to plan!!!
    (alas Helen is still having bother with her leg, currently having physiotherapy)

    25 August 2012
    • Given the big cracking noise everyone heard, it seemed that it was much more than a sprain. I think we did very well with the ratio of things that went to plan vs didn’t.

      25 August 2012
  2. beautiful pics hayley!

    25 August 2012
  3. gorgeous church and wonderful shots! Such a shame about your aunt, I hope she’s all recovered now.

    28 August 2012
    • Thanks Olivia … and no unfortunately, three months later and she’s still having problems.

      29 August 2012
      • Oh no, I’m sorry to hear that! Must have been quite a fall.

        2 September 2012

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