The alarm was set for 5.30 am this morning as we had an early start at  BBC Solent Radio and we hadn’t a clue where it was. Showered, shaved (that’s Bob not me :) ), we left the hotel at 6am. Luckily the rain had stopped and heading into the direction of the town the roads were surprisingly quiet. A cheery road sweeper told us to keep the clock tower in view and to our right, and sure enough we found ourselves opposite the radio station at 6.30 – not bad to say we were both google eyed! Now to find the car park. ‘Round the back and through electric gates,’ we were told by the lady working the intercom who was obviously more wide awake than us. Inside the building was eerily quiet and void of people, but you could feel the ‘buzz’ of the place.

We sat in the ’Green Room’ and waited, for we were going to do a live link to BBC Radio Leeds, as I mentioned on yesterdays blog. Warm drinks on hand Bob had a strong coffee. Here’s a few pic’s of Radio Solent for you!



Bob almost awake for his talk on the cold case reviews in West Yorkshire, after his strong cup of coffee.

At the news desk of Solent Radio

The showcase of awards in the foyer at Solent Radio.

Whilst waiting we had a lovely brief encounter with a guy called Nic Holc-Thompson whose wife was to be an Olympic Torchbearer on Sunday in Fareham. Her story is an inspiration to us all, and you’ll meet her and Nic on our blog tomorrow at Waterstones in Portsmouth, but here is a link to the very brave and inspirational women that is Cathy Holc-Thompson.


Bob’s interview for BBC Radio Leeds lasted all of ten minutes and we were back on the road to our hotel and breakfast. If you’re interested in ‘Cold Case Reviews’ you can listen to it here @

Not to get the day off to a good start and make up applied – and plenty of white eyeshadow in the corner of the eyes, for the appearance that you’re more wide eyed than you really are (that’s me this time not Bob), we set off to find Waterstones West Quay in Southampton. What would today bring we wondered.

Well, West Quay was easy to find – you learn whilst on a tour that choosing your hotel nearby is a godsend. But, finding a loading bay where we were to leave our car was another thing. There are loads of shops! We eventually found the underground loading bay which resembled a ’rubbish tip’ and smelt like one too as it was ‘bin day’! Saying that is was really clean but just like an underground void (similar to the ones at a police station where Bob often did his briefings for a ‘big raid’. Getting to Waterstones was no mean feat either as the  void turned out to have lots of tunnels, like a rabbit warren. Up the service lift and into the shopping centre. Book signing is not all glamour believe me, but meeting the public when you get into the store is.

Southampton West Quay Waterstones staff were lovely! Thank you Sue for looking after us and to Lucy Thompson who was doing work experience at the store - Lucy you were a wonderful host. Thank you for all the tea and coffee’s!


Bob and Lucy Thompson.

The next people we met were not only lovely couple, but again an inspiration to us all. Darren Cockle and his partner Carla. Darren has recently had his true life story published and if you haven’t heard his story -Breast Cancer from a male perspective and life as a single dad through grief and learning to live again yet, it won’t be long before you do.

As one lady (Sarah J) writes in her review of the book – It’s a searingly honest account, Darren Cockle lays bare his heart and soul in this stunning debut. Equally as funny as it is heartwrenching. It’s a true life story that will stay with you long after you finish the final page.

Good luck with the book Darren. You are lucky to have found Carla – a real gem. We will stay in touch I’m sure. Now with a box of tissues handy, we will start reading!

There is always a character at a book signing and today was no exception. A guy came up to Bob, ‘She’s got nice legs,’ he said, nodding in my direction.

‘Yes, she has,’ Bob agreed.

‘Might have to grab them,’ he whispered. Obviously thinking Bob was a store worker and not my co-author.

‘If you do it’ll be the last thing you do, do’ he whispered back. ‘It’s the wife.’ The man scurried off.

‘Sorry love,’ Bob laughed, I guess I lost a sale there.

You’ve got to laugh, haven’t you?

Book signing finished and at tea time (or dinner time to you southerners) we left store and headed to our hotel. Both totally shattered. Isn’t it funny how you get used to not having to get up so early? I remember when Bob could be called out to an incident twice, or even three times in one night, and still get up for work the next day. How did he do it? Goodness knows!

 The Antico Hotel where we were staying was a lovely hotel and the food, gorgeous! If you are in the area and need a place to stay – look no further.

 The staff at Antico!

Sorry Bob I had to ‘grass you up’ with this pudding!

Night All!

Till tomorrow and Portsmouth Waterstones!

C & B x



20 Interesting facts about Southampton

 1. The Pilgrim Fathers chose Southampton as their point of departure from England

and both Mayflower and Speedwell were here in August 1620. Plymouth, in

Devon, only became a departure point when the two ships put in there following

the Speedwell springing a leak.

2. In the Napoleonic Wars, French prisoners, held in the building that is now the

Maritime Museum, carved their names there and these carvings can still be seen.

3. Southampton has the oldest Bowling Green in the world dating from before 1299

and it is still in use. Every August a unique competition takes place there for the

Knighthood of the Old Green, the winner being entitled to be called ‘Sir’ within the


4. Southampton’s Cenotaph is the ‘model’ for the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London.

Sir Edwin Lutyens took his design for Southampton, simplified it and it became

accepted as the design for London.

5. The Ordnance Survey moved to Southampton from London in 1841 following a

fire at the Tower of London where they had been based. They have been in

Southampton ever since and in 1846 a detailed colour map of the town was

produced by the OS, a unique and fascinating reference source for local


6. Southampton was the first local authority in the country to call its offices and town

hall a Civic Centre.

7. The long railway tunnel into Southampton Central, from the east, partly follows

the line of an intended tunnel for a canal that was never completed.

8. St Michael’s Church has the oldest brass lectern in the country dating from

around 1350 and which is in the form of an eagle. It was originally the lectern in

use at Holy Rood Church and was rescued in 1940 when that church was largely

destroyed in the Blitz.

9. In 1554 Philip of Spain arrived in Southampton, stayed 3 days, heard Mass at

Holy Rood Church then left in heavy rain with 3000 men on his way to marry

Queen Mary at Winchester Cathedral on 25 July.

10. The cockerel on top of St Michael’s Church is hollow and, when work is done to

the spire of the church, a note is put inside the weathervane.

11. On 1st May each year, May Day is welcomed in by the choir of King Edward VI

School singing from the top of the Bargate.

12. The area called The Marlands, on part of which stands Southampton’s Civic

Centre, is a corruption of Magdalene Fields, once the site of a leper hospital

dedicated to St Mary Magdalene.

13. Southampton has a Court Leet that still meets once a year and the Mound, where

the Court Leet was held in medieval times, survives on the northern part of

Southampton Common. On the day of Court Leet the Sheriff of Southampton

takes part in the ceremony of ‘Beating The Bounds’.

14. Southampton’s Victorian Cemetery on the south west side of Southampton

Common is the second oldest such cemetery in the country owned by a Municipal

Authority and retains its original buildings from 1846.

15. In 1946, Southampton was the departure point for six voyages of the liner Queen

Mary taking 9000 GI Brides and their 4000 children to New York.

16. Southampton had one of the earliest municipal water supplies in the country. In

1420, the town took over a fresh water supply, the pipes for which were originally

laid down by Franciscan Friars in 1304. One of the Friars’ stone Conduit Houses

can still be seen opposite the main entrance to the Mayflower Theatre,

17. Henri Portal, a Huguenot refugee, escaped to Southampton from France and in

1724, in Hampshire, founded Portals, the company that was granted leave to

produce paper for Bank of England notes.

18. The Mayor of Southampton is also Admiral of the Port and, in procession, the

Silver Oar of Admiralty is carried with other Civic Regalia.

19. In the 15th Century, the Water Gate Tower, at the Town Quay end of the High Street, was leased, at times, at an annual rent of one red rose but the lessee was responsible for repair and maintenance of the tower in time of war.

 20. The hymn writer, Isaac Watts, was born in Southampton and educated here at  King Edward VI Grammar School then in Winkle Street in the Old Town. His  statue is in Watts Park, facing the Civic Centre and, at 8am, 12noon, 4pm and

 8pm after the hour has struck from the Civic Centre Clock Tower, there can be  heard the opening bars of Watts’ hymn ‘O God Our Help In Ages Past’. 

21. The writer Jane Austen and members of her family lived in Southampton between 1806 and 1809. A new Jane Austen Trail is linked to a series of plaques in the Old Town tracing her associations with Southampton.


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