ZELLA COMPTON: Bike ride made me realise our shoreline is awesome

Portchester Castle
Portchester Castle

The statistics that mask continuing real hardship

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All it takes is a beautiful sunny day and I fall in love with Gosport all over again.

‘How is this possible?’ you might ask, given the state of the high street (secondhand shops, pound shops and the tyranny of generic stores which appear absolutely everywhere).

Well, I answer, because we have an awesome shoreline which isn’t overly busy and, brilliantly, you can cycle around most of it.

So that’s what I did with my eldest daughter last weekend. From Stokes Bay you can almost follow Portsmouth harbour’s oozing tributaries all the way to the ferry – with a quick whip around the back of ASDA to view the numerous shopping trolleys in the mud.

But that’s part of Gosport’s rich heritage – see a bit of water and throw something in it.

Then along by the harbour front and ferry esplanade, which one really shouldn’t ride on. But when there are only two other people using it and one of them is on a bike anyway, it doesn’t feel like law-breaking.

And the view is fab, of the Spinnaker Tower, Gunwharf and of course Old Portsmouth which is, in all honesty, much better when viewed from our side of the water as you can take in the whole scene.

Next stop The Boathouse café. It’s quite something to sit amongst sun-weathered faces with bleach blonde hair to make you quite forget that you aren’t actually in the south of France.

After that, a whizz across the Millennium Bridge and you find yourself pedalling along beside Explosion! museum and with views over to Portchester Castle, before heading via Elson and completing the circuit on cycle paths.

There is one thing that Gosport can’t be beaten on, and that is harbour views. We get to look at all the awesome places around the shoreline while the rest of the shore-dwellers get to look at us.

But I wonder how long it will be before people take note of the potential of our peninsula and its amazing waterfront routes?

All it needs is for someone to connect the dots, do something about the sad situation of the high street and Gosport will be able to hold its head up high.

CELEBRATING THE LIFE AND WORK OF THE TALENTED EDWARD KING

I’ve been involved in a wonderful writing project over the past couple of months, celebrating the life and work of Edward King – a Portsmouth painter who created some stunning images in the aftermath of World War Two.

He had a troubled life and spent 26 years in St James’s Hospital in Milton.

Many of his paintings are on display in Portsmouth Museum and the project writers – 14 of us – respond to an image each.

There’s more information at writingedwardking.com and this coming Saturday there are four sets of readings during the day at the New Theatre Royal.

Please excuse the shameless plug, but when you’ve worked hard on something, it’s definitely worth the extra push.

HOW COOL TO FIND A BOOT SALE BARGAIN IS WORTH A FORTUNE

How cool would that be – to find out that something you bought at a car boot sale is worth a grand old sum.

Earlier this week it came to light that a lady who’d paid a tenner for a ring had in fact been wearing a girt great diamond worth more than £300,000 on her hand for years without knowing it.

Seemingly it didn’t look like a real diamond as it wasn’t cut for the shine.

Instead it was simply a giant rock on a ring.

But my question is this; who pays £10 for something, anything, at a car boot sale?

It certainly seems a rather steep price to shell out for someone’s unwanted item – especially back in the 1980s, when I reckon that £10 would probably have bought you a couple of very good nights out.