Full marks for a
well-planned weekend full of inventive things to do! We went round
ships, submarines, museums, ate fish & chips, Chinese and in a
Navy wardroom, played pool and even "painted" a room! The
later possibly a tad alcohol-fuelled...
Those who arrived on
Friday started the weekend in style with fine whisky drinking, which
was probably a good thing given the freezing weather! On Saturday
morning we gathered at the historical dockyards to begin our day with a
tour round Nelson's ship the Victory. Being short (or the same height
as Nelson!) had the advantage of not having to do monkey impressions in
order to avoid banging your head on the deck above, but even so there
were bits everyone had to duck for! Highlights included insights into
the taste of ship's biscuit maggots (blancmange) and the speed
a limb could be amputated (90 seconds)!
The best part of the
docks for me was seeing the Mary Rose, whose raising from the sea bed I
remember watching on the TV in 1982. The conservation of the
ship is a fantastic project that's still ongoing - currently
they are saturating the wood with a polyethylene glycol solution that
will allow them to dry out the timbers without them collapsing. Despite
the blurb saying how large the ship is, she seemed tiny compared to the
Victory and of course modern warships. I couldn't help
wondering if Henry VIII would be sad to see his favourite ship in such
a condition, or touched that people would still care so much about her
nearly 500 years after she was built.
The Mary Rose museum
is a treasure-chest (literally!) of amazing Tudor objects, many of them
unique. The shoes are pretty cool and bore an uncanny resemblance (in
build that is, not in condition!) to my favoured footwear, DMs! I won't
comment on the case containing dagger handles, except to say it was
amusing, and that the curator who arranged the display has a sense of
followed these trips with much needed fish and chips. I wholly
recommend the haddock as it was fresh and superb, and whatever fish you
have, the chips are just great! Then
on to Action Stations!, an, er, "interesting" propaganda film for the
navy. We kept expecting the captain to set course at warp seven, make
it so Number One! from here we went for a pint at Gunwharf Keys, then
back home for food and drinks.
Goghs hit Portsmouth
balloons liberally round the place (Diccon - have you found them all
yet?!) we tucked into large quantities of Chinese and even larger
quantities of alcohol. In which state we were more than qualified to
paint Diccon's downstairs room with finger paints! I'm not sure what
psychologists would have made of it all, but it certainly was
colourful! However, I have still to
understand why Spanna thinks of himself as a wazere!
Hangovers cured by a
fry-up, we spent the next morning seeing the inside of a submarine!
Pretty cramped but really really interesting! The guide was great and
gave a really good feel of what it would be like down there for 3
months with rationed water, a watch system and a build-up of smells!
Then back to Diccon's
and into our suits and smart clothes for lunch in the HMS Sultan
wardroom - a really cool experience, with gentleman's club style
lounge, cheap-as-chips drinks and a fantastic three-course
meals! just to make people jealous: broccoli and stilton soup,
roast pork with apricot glaze plus Yorkshire pubs and roast potatoes,
and mandarin cheese cake! I'll blame the large and lovely meal for my
unpredictable pool playing that enables the girls to pull-off a 2-0
loss against the lads. How come I can pot stuff right up until the end,
when I miss and leave the black wide open?!
So all in all, a
fantastic and varied weekend was had by all!
updated 21st May 2006 by Spanna.