Well we have travelled a long way in my emails since leaving Australia we have just survived an English winter a mild one we are told and I will not be doing another. Portugal next winter and perhaps everyone after that. I am going to make a deal with the owners. We are just about to hit the road again , off to Ireland.
The last month has been full of visitors. First, we had my cousin Sheila and Clive. We had a wonderful time visiting Tanglemere Aviation Museum, which is literally just down the road. It was a fabulous place with all the stories behind the airmen that had flown from there. Most of the stories had sad endings to brave men but a few had happy endings with the airmen living to old age. There was also a bit devoted to RAF Halton, where I think my father was after the war and a piece on the female spies who went to France or Germany and of course did not survive. One of the airmen actually shot down a plane as he was crashing how brave was that. They were defending the naval base at Portsmouth. They must have done a brilliant job. After the museum, we visited the local graveyard where many of the airmen are buried, they come from all countries some from Australia and New Zealand. They also have some very well kept graves slightly to the side which have German airmen buried, as they were brave too.
The next day we went to Portsmouth, in a gale force wind from a storm called Doris, where there is a huge and I mean huge Naval base. The museum part houses or rather floats, the Warrior, my favourite ship, the first iron clad steam ship in the Navy and fully restored to how she was thanks to able seaman Murray (aged 14) who was given the task of drawing up the deck maps and added so much information that they know not only which cabin was which but where all the different foodstuff was stored. I was completely fascinated. The people on board love their ship and could talk about it for hours and I could listen for hours getting left behind by everyone else. The galley was set up amidst the cannons with the tables and chairs between each cannon, hence the saying clear the decks as the tables and food would need clearing in event of battle. The Warrior looks like she was built yesterday a tribute to the Museum and able seaman Murray.
The other ships are,
The Victory Admiral Lord Nelsons Ship, and again it is restored and looks fabulous, I got chatting to the man in the surgery and found out the Lord Nelson paid his surgeons well so he got the best and they did research, when not at war. There was some sense to trepanning the habit of drilling into a person’s head. In battle if someone had head injuries the pressure on the brain was removed this way. The Victory is also restored and has a cannon that was fired at Trafalgar. I wanted a picture taken but it was too dark and the flash from the cameras sets of the fire alarms for some reason.
The Mary Rose is just a half a ship, but fascinating she was pulled out of the Solent and preserved. She was commission by King Henry VIII when he first came to the throne, he commissioned two ships at a cost of £700. They do not know why she sank, but going by the swiss cheese theory it sounds like all the problems aligned and down she went. The cannon bays were open when she turned allowing the water to enter, she was heavier than commissioned due to extra cannons, the crew was not well disciplined. Then down she went with all 500 aboard only three where saved. The ship was so well preserved in the silt that many of the belonging where preserved telling us a lot about the crew and the weapons of the time. There were so many bows and arrows on board that they have tested some to destruction. Finding out a lot about the bowmen of the day who could pull a 80 lb bow throughout a battle no mean feat we had trouble pulling a 70 lb one. The bowmen had curved spines from the pressure of pulling the bows.
The last ship was a funny little rough and ready ship built in 7 weeks during WW2 it was designed to carry a gun, but the size of the gun changes from that it was designed to carry so the ship, a monitor number M33 could not go out into heavy seas and had to be towed by larger craft. Regardless M33 was at Gallipoli and lost no one. Quite a feat. Especially as the guns could not be aimed with any accuracy so someone (brave) had to go ashore and relay back the new directions to fire the gun after every shot. We spent a whole day at Portsmouth and still did not see everything. It is well worth a trip.
My friend from High school England, Charlotte was our next visitor. Off we went to Petworth in the rain to see the gardens. We ended up doing the tour of the house. The owners were big sponsors of artist, Van Dyke being one so the art work around the house was marvellous. The house was having a clean ready for the summer season so much of the important stuff was in storage or covered a bit of a disappointment. We did enjoy the kitchens where we could watch them cleaning the pans etc. with a vacuum and small brush. They used the brush to brush the dust into the vacuum it would take a long time to clean a house like this.
We have also been organising the rest of our year. We have our trip around Ireland all booked up. Charlotte knows Ireland well and was a great help, telling me what to see and where to go (in the nicest way). She has also volunteered to look after our car when we go to Berlin. We have organised to see an Aussie dance group the Tap Pack in Berlin with a group of friends. We have got Portugal deposit paid so we are pretty much organised until April next year.
We are excited about booking a trip Southampton to New York on The Queen Mary 2, November 4th 2018 (yes 2018 I am organised!!). There are 6 of us going at the moment, so if you want to come feel free to book, the more the merrier. If you are coming start taking your ginger tablets now to stave off sea sickness as November might be rough. It is formal so get out your bowties and long dresses. So cool!!
I have been doing a bit of cooking I made a great cheese cake for Sheila and Clive and have just made it again only this time it fell to pieces coming out of the baking case and I have a very broken cake!! I also made a fruit cake which was slightly over cooked due to the oven but tasted Ok.
Thing learnt this week:
a Fret or Hoar is a mist that comes off the sea, we have suffered from a Fret for the last 2 days
Puntarella I think that’s how it is spelt is a salad vegetable very strange. I am told I must cut the green shoots in half soak them in cold water then drain and dress with an anchovy dressing. I have found directions and a recipe. I am game to try anything once. It is a member of the chicory family. I will tell you if it is any good.
Must go and make beds and do boring housework. I am so good at it (not)