Being near the sea is the main reason I love it here

Verity (right) with friend Lenka and group leader Justine Holland-Reynolds
Verity (right) with friend Lenka and group leader Justine Holland-Reynolds
Brent geese flying into the Solent for the winter,, having travelled thousands of miles	Picture by Alan Price / HIWWT

ALICE ASHCROFT: Bird migration is a wondrous phenomenon

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Out of the many things that I love about Portsmouth, the proximity of the sea has to be numero uno.

I once moved away for a short period of time and realised that I had always taken the shorelines and the sea for granted.

Back I came.

Last Sunday, I visited The People’s Memorial, on the shoreline of Langstone Harbour, just off the Eastern Road.

Despite having lived around the city for my entire life, I had never walked down this way.

The memorial has been created as a tribute to men and women serving in the armed forces, past and present, and a peaceful area complete with benches and tables has been constructed for dog walkers, passers-by and – I’ll get to this in a minute – joggers and exercisers alike.

My reason for discovering this little corner of the city, one to which I shall return now that I know it is there, was in order to join a new bootcamp-style of fitness group.

Military Workout for Ladies (which can be found on Facebook), is taking place for an initial starter of six weeks on Sunday mornings, from 10-11am.

The group meet at the memorial for an hour of challenging (grouped according to ability) fitness, comprising of stamina, strength, speed and agility training.

My friend Lenka and I decided to give this a go and braved a chilly five degrees, a heavy rain forecast and a lot of mud.

We were not disappointed! Wet, and looking like a pair of mud wrestlers, but not disappointed.

The group is run by Justine Holland-Reynolds, who offers motivation and a variety of exercises in different areas of the shoreline. Lenka and I found ourselves running, sprinting, lunging, squatting and in myriad other laughter-inducing and bottom-toning positions.

If you fancy attending an outdoor fitness group in the city that is not remotely intimidating, is plenty of fun and challenging without being scary, then I fully recommend it.

Even the passers-by were motivating and calling out encouragement, as opposed to the ridicule I’d usually expect were I to be found face down in a puddle in public.

THE PAINFUL NONSENSE ABOUT LOVED ONES MUST BE HELLISH

Bereavement is an horrendous time for any family to even attempt to come to terms with.

But given the non-stop headlines about the death of George Michael during the past few weeks, I cannot comprehend what it must be like for the parents and relatives of those in the public eye.

There is the old argument that famous people have essentially ‘asked for it’, it’s ‘part of the game’.

But as Prince Harry recently said, it’s really not a game. It’s life.

And the relatives of those who are famous have not necessarily played a part in it anyway.

To be continually photographed whilst at your lowest ebb, and to read painful nonsense about your loved one, must be hellish.

AS MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC, WE RARELY SEEM TO GET THE DETAILS

It was interesting to hear prime minister Theresa May discussing the mental health of young people this week.

It’s all very well saying that we need to focus on this in schools – and we most certainly do.

But where is the funding coming from and when will it be in place?

When issues are identified, how will they be dealt with and in what timeframe?

When will mainstream teachers find the time to do so and what will happen to the children if they can’t?

To what extent will local authorities play a part in the funding and who will then regulate this?

As members of the public we rarely seem to get the details from proposal, to implementation, to practical workings.