There’s no place like Pompey for me

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CLIVE SMITH: Third World War fears from the internet generation

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It was February 1984 when I became a citizen of planet earth.

I entered the world at St Mary’s Hospital in Portsmouth and since then every major event in my life has happened here in the city.

I have moved around Portsmouth a few times and lived in various places but I’ve never left.

Of course I’ve been on many journeys across Portsmouth’s borders but whenever I leave the city, for whatever reason – to go to work, see friends or even go on holiday – there’s always no place like home.

For me, Portsmouth has always been home. I just can’t imagine living anywhere that didn’t have a PO postcode.

More importantly, I don’t think I’d want to now that I have two children and want life to be stable for them as nursery and school is looming.

However, I do sometimes think that I take my home city for granted and forget not only how lucky I am to live and bring up my kids here, but also how many things there are to see and do in this historic waterfront city.

There’s miles of beautiful seafront, plenty of shops and, importantly for all parents of young children, lots of parks packed full of slides and swings.

On a warm and sunny day I could sit in the garden with an ice cold drink and let my two girls run around releasing their never-ending energy.

Maybe, if I’m feeling particularly energetic, I’ll join them in a game of tag or hide and seek but it is just great to get out of the house and explore with them.

We spend a lot of time on Milton Common – it’s a great place to take our dog, Ralph, and the girls love taking some bread from our kitchen cupboard to feed the ducks and the swans.

It’s such a beautiful part of Portsmouth but never busy. I really do feel that it’s one of the city’s best-kept secrets.

I’d also recommend you take a look at the beautiful People’s Memorial – built there last year to remember service men and women who’ve lost their lives.

A walk along Southsea seafront and then around Canoe Lake is another favourite of ours. Sometimes we finish it off with some cake at The Tenth Hole Tea Room. The girls never decline cake.

Just recently we made a visit to Staunton Country Park in nearby Leigh Park. In such a busy and hectic city it’s hard to believe that just around the corner there’s a place containing all sorts of farm animals.

Caitlin and Alyssa loved petting the pigs and goats and who’d have thought we would have our very own set of donkeys.

Sometimes it is nice to take a trip outside the city, but most of the time with my two daughters in tow, it’s nice to take advantage of what we already have on our doorstep.