Sunday, November 30, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
This is post number 347 on this blog....and quite the most difficult I have had to write. After over nine years of devoted loyalty, we finally had to say goodbye today to our beloved Henry. He was more than a faithful friend, he was part of our family and part of the community here in our village.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
In my boyhood days at Hythe on the western shore of Southampton Water, I used to spend a lot of my time sitting just where this picture was taken from. At the bottom of what was then our back garden, there was a sea wall and just out to sea - where the new apartment block is now - were the large, black hangars used for the maintenance of BOAC`s flying boats.
In those days, in the late 40s and early 50s, Southampton Water was always busy with the big passenger ships coming in and out of Southampton Docks - the Union Castle liners, the Lusitania, Mauritania and the Queens; the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary both majestic and unforgettable. I used to sit there and watch the bows of one or other of those two great ships nudge its way into view from behind the hangar. The rest of the ship would take its time to come into full view, seemingly filling the skyine with its huge elegance. They were lovely ships, the original Queens. Elizabeth was the larger of the two but Queen Mary was my favourite, with her flowing lines and three funnels.
The first Queen Mary
Queen Mary is now replaced, of course, by Queen Mary 2 and the original Queen Elizabeth was replaced by the QE2 which last evening bid her own goodbye to her home port before heading off to Dubai to become, like her sister ship, a floating hotel. QE2 was given a memorable send -off last evening as she pulled away for the last time en route to her final destination, a fitting tribute for a ship which had docked 726 times alongside her own Southampton terminal.
It`s 60 years ago since I used to sit on that sea wall and these days, when I go back to Hythe and take in that view once more, the great liners are, of course, few and far between, having been taken over by the cruise ships which, whilst impressive for their size and their design, somehow lack the elegance and style of those ships of long ago. Now also, there are the mammoth container ships, in and out of the Millbrook container port, which have no pretensions of elegance but nonetheless manage to possess a certain presence about them. You wouldn`t argue with them, that`s for sure.
Things change, of course and the march of time goes on. But, as with the original Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary, this latest farewell to another great liner left me with more than a tinge of sadness not only at the memories of the ships of my youth but also the passing of time itself. It sure does fly. The ships may come and go, but their wash and the waves of Southampton Water will still lap upon that friendly shore which I still call `home.`