Picks of 2015 – Travels in Portsmouth and Portsmouth Travellers

This week we’re revisiting some of our best pieces from 2015. Today, we look at travel writing with features about the city and adventures from Pompey people in different parts of the world.

(Click on the image or title to read the article.)

Photography by Alan Ford.
Photography by Alan Ford.

Christine Lawrence – View From a Hill

“Memories leap to my mind of bringing children here for an ice-cream, queuing at the van whilst they run and tumble on the grassy slopes, then pointing out places of past happenings, the city reaching back into my younger years. Years of playing on shingle beaches, riding the fair, there my graduation, there the births of my two children, there where I passed my driving test, there, the nightclub where I met the father of my son, there the streets and high-rise flats where I worked as a nurse in the 1980s, there where I got married, there the hospital where I last saw my dad, laying lifeless after his final heart attack.”

Sarah 050

Maggie Sawkins – Harbour

“I’ve brought the local rag. My eyes settle on a story: two days after his discharge from St James’ Hospital, a man has leapt from the A3M Bridge. The third this year, and it’s only July. The council has put up a sign advertising the Samaritans’ number.”


Lewis Baglow – Between Two Ports and the Hard Place

“…my seductive seating partner spoke softly: ‘It’s lovely on here isn’t it?’

“‘Yes, it is,’ I replied, revelling in my own dystopia, ‘It’s very relaxing.’

“‘It is. I love coming home on the ferry, it’s so peaceful.’

“I daren’t ask where she had been. It was mid-morning and she was wearing the brightest of reds. I just smiled a response as the ferry swung around; manoeuvring itself alongside the pontoon that sat under the shadow of Portsmouth’s piece of Dubai.”

Moody moon

Tom Sykes – In Memoriam: André the Shaman

Alexander asks him which animals he has sacrificed.

‘Goats, chickens, lambs and cows,’ says André casually.

Looking this toilet-sized room up and down, I marvel at how he ever got a cow inside, much less slaughter it.

‘Do you use a knife on the animals?’

‘No,’ he smiles.

We ask him if we can take pictures and he tells us that the last foreigner who tried to do that here died instantly.

‘Best we don’t then,’ says Alexander.


Tom Phillips – A Map of the Solent

“…the initially confident journey turned into a psychogeographical ramble into Buckland which eventually brought us out, not at our hotel, but at Dickens’ birthplace and a brief, unexpected moment of literary homage which I wouldn’t have otherwise managed to infiltrate into our official sub- and Tudor warship-dominated itinerary. Adding to the pleasure of surprise was the fact that the house looks so … well, Dickensian, to the point at which I half-expected the cast of Oliver! to come bounding out of the front door singing ‘Consider Yourself’ while Mr Brownlow looked on benevolently from an upstairs window.”

And finally, an honourable mention to Daniel Malice’s anti-travelogue:

Portsmouth City Museum

Daniel Malice – I Don’t Go Outside

“I’m not one of these socially anxious youths stuck behind their Apple brand laptop and phone. I’ve got an Acer and a Nokia thank you very much. I mean I saw some of Portsmouth but everybody tells me I didn’t see nearly enough. ‘What about the Historic Dockyard, what about all the bits that aren’t Fratton ASDA?’ Whatever, I got what I needed. I got my semi-regular fix of movies and shameless consumerism thanks to Gunwharf Quays. Even the occasional Nandos. Cheeky.”