Monday 29 April 2013

The wisdom of 6year olds......

A 1st grade school teacher had twenty-six students in her class. She presented each child in her classroom the 1st half of a well-known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. It's hard to believe these were actually done by first graders. Their insight may surprise you.. While reading, keep in mind that these are first-graders, 6-year-olds, because the last one is a classic!

1. Don't change horses
until they stop running.
2. Strike while the
bug is close.
3. It's always darkest before
Daylight Saving Time.
4. Never underestimate the power of
5. You can lead a horse to water but
6. Don't bite the hand that
looks dirty.
7. No news is
8. A miss is as good as a
9. You can't teach an old dog new
10. If you lie down with dogs, you'll
stink in the morning.
11. Love all, trust
12. The pen is mightier than the
13. An idle mind is
the best way to relax.
14. Where there's smoke there's
15. Happy the bride who
gets all the presents.
16. A penny saved is
not much.
17. Two's company, three's
the Musketeers.
18. Don't put off till tomorrow what
you put on to go to bed.
19. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and
you have to blow your nose.
20. There are none so blind as
Stevie Wonder.
21. Children should be seen and not
spanked or grounded.
22. If at first you don't succeed
get new batteries.
23. You get out of something only what you
see in the picture on the box.
24. When the blind lead the blind
get out of the way.
25. A bird in the hand
is going to poop on you.
And the WINNER and last one!
26. Better late than

Tuesday 23 April 2013

IOW Part 4.......

Thursday morning, after breakfast, found us on the coach going back to Cowes to catch a boat, which would take us across The Solent to Portsmouth habour.

Portsmouth with the Spinnaker Tower in the distance.

Spinnaker Tower is a 170 metre (560ft) landmark tower in Portsmouth.  It is the centrepiece of the redevelopment of Portsmouth Harbour,   its shape was chosen by Portsmouth residents from a selection.  The tower, designed by a local firm of architects reflects Portsmouth's maritime history by its being modelled after a sail.  The tower was opened on 18th October 2005.

Fort Blockhouse
Fort Blockhouse was first built on the Gosport side of Portsmouth harbour in 1495 with 5 guns.  Henry VIII ordered it replaced with an 8 gun battery as part of his Device Forts in 1539.  This had probably vanished by 1667 when Bernard de Gomme installed a 21 gun battery for Charles II. In 1708 the fort was rebuilt on an irregular trave.  Upgrading was done at the turn of the 19th century, and again in  1845 from which time most remains date.  The site was considered obsolete by the Royal commission, and it was turned over to the Navy, where as HMS Dolphin, it has been the home of the submarine service for years.

Passing a ferry on The Solent.
In this next picture you can see three of the four Solent's Forts - Horse-Sands, No Man's Land, St. Helens and Spitbank.  They were never used in anger and have become known locally as "Palmerston's Follies" after the Prime Minister of the time.

The middle fort, just behind the Hovercraft,  is roughly the area where Henry VIII's warship The Mary Rose was raised from the sea bed.  After serving for 33 years in several wars against France, Scotland and Brittany and after being substantially rebuilt in 1536, she saw her last action on 19 July 1545. While leading the attack on the galleys of a French invasion fleet, she sank in the Solent. The wreck  was rediscovered in 1971 and salvaged in 1982 by the Mary Rose Trust in one of the most complex and expensive projects in the history of maritime archaeology. The finds include weapons, sailing equipment, naval supplies and a wide array of objects used by the crew. Many of the artefacts are unique to the Mary Rose and have provided insights into topics ranging from naval warfare to the history of musical instruments. Since the mid-1980s, while undergoing conservation, the remains of the hull have been on display at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and an extensive collection of well-preserved artefacts is on display at the nearby Mary Rose Museum.   Unfortunately we didn't have time to go to see the remains of the hull or visit the Mary Rose Museum.

The Spice Island Inn, overlooking Portsmouth Harbour,

was, apparently, at the centre of the red light district in times gone by, and the place where drunken sailors last remember being when they awoke, having been press ganged onto one of His Majesty's ships.

As we sailed into Portsmouth Dockyard the first ship we saw was HMS Warrior, one of two armoured frigates built for the Royal Navy in 1859–61. She and her sister ship HMS Black Prince were the first armour-plated, iron-hulled warships.

The next ship we saw was HMS Edinburgh (D97) which had just arrived that morning.

Edinburgh was built by Cammell Laird of Birkenhead and was launched on 14 April 1983 and commissioned on the 17 December 1985. The largest of the Type 42 destroyers, Edinburgh is known as the "Fortress of the Sea", she will be the last Type 42 destroyer to serve in the Royal Navy and is scheduled to be decommissioned in June, after a tour of the British Isles.  As we sailed by, some of the crew and visitors waved to us, and our captain played "Land Of Hope & Glory" over the PA system which brought tears to everyone's eyes.

We were very lucky that day that so many of the British fleet were in dock for one reason or another, here are some of them.

HMS Illustrious (R06),  is the second of three Incincible-class light aircradt carriers built for the Royal Navy in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She is the fifth warship and second aircraft carrier to bear the name Illustrious, and is affectionately known to her crew as "Lusty" .

HMS Defender (D36)  is the fifth Type 45 or Daring-class air-defence destroyers built for the Royal Navy.   She is the eighth ship to bear the name.

In the next photo, in the background between the two newer ships, is HMS Victory, famous as Lord Nelson's Flagship at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805.  She is 104-gun first-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, laid down in 1759 and launched in 1765.

HMS Lancaster (F229) is a 'Duke' class Type 23 frigate of the Royal Navy.  She is known as "The Queen's Frigate",  the Duke of Lancaster being an honorary title of the Sovereign. She is also known as The Red Rose Frigate, after the emblem of Lancashire.

HMS Duncan (D37), Seven Royal Navy ships have been named HMS Duncan, after Admiral Adam Duncan, hero of the Battle of Camperdown.
HMS Dauntless (D33) and Diamond (34), Type 45 or Daring-class air defence destroyers.

HMS Bristol (D23), a Type 82 destroyer, the only vessel of her class to be built for the Royal Navy.  Originally intended as the first of a class of new large destroyers to escort the CVA-01 aircraft carriers projected to come into service in the early 1970s, Bristol turned out to be a unique ship. The rest of the class were cancelled when the CVA-01 carriers fell victim to the 1966 Strategic Defence Review.

HMS Endurance (A171), MV Polar Circle was built in Norway in 1990, chartered by the Royal Navy as HMS Polar Circle, and finally purchased as HMS Endurance. She is a former Antarctic ice patrol ship, and is a class 1A1 icebreaker.
HMS Richmond (F239) is a Type 23 frigate of the Royal Navy.   She was launched on 6 April 1993 by Lady Hill-Norton, wife of the late Admiral of the Fleet the Lord Hill-Norton,  and was the last warship to be built by Swan Hunter shipbuilders.  The ship behind the Richmond is HMS St Albans (F83), another Type 23 frigate of the Royal Navy. She is the sixth ship to bear the name and is the sixteenth and final ship in the 'Duke' class of frigates. She is based in Portsmouth. I don't know the name of the third ship in the line up.
HMS Westminster (F237), a Type 23 frigate of the Royal Navy, and the second ship to bear the name. She was launched on 4 February 1992. Westminster was used for the interior shots in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies in three different roles - as HMS Chester, HMS Devonshire and HMS Bedford. For the exterior shots a model was constructed.
HMS Ark Royal  a decommissioned light aircraft carrier and former flagship of the Royal Navy She was the third and final vessel of Invincible-class. Affectionately known as The Mighty Ark, she is the fifth Royal Navy ship to have borne the name of the 1587 flagship that defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588. Originally intended to be named Indomitable to match the rest of the class, this was changed due to the public reaction to the loss of the Ark Royal name after the scrapping of the previous Ark Royal in 1980, after 30 years' service.
The Araguari (P122) The Brazilian Navy's third and final BAE Systems-built Amazonas-class ocean patrol vessel (OPV).

A Fyffes Banana boat.   Fyffes Line was the name given to the fleet of passenger-carrying banana boats owned and operated by the UK banana importer Elders & Fyffes Limited.

This next shot shows where Commander Lionel Kenneth (Buster) Crabb OBE, GM (28th January 1909 - presumed dead 19th April 1956), who was a British Royal Navy frogman and MI6 diver who vanished during a reconnaissance mission around a Soviet cruiser berthed at Portsmouth Dockyard in 1956.  Apparently he was diving round the Soviet cruiser and never surfaced.  A headless and handless corpse was found some time later which couldn't be identified but someone recognised a distinguishing feature on the corpse so it was presumed to be Crabb. The ship berthed there in this photo is the Illustrious.

I had a sobering thought whilst touring the dockyards - if some foreign leader had decided to bomb Portsmouth dockyards that day they would have destroyed half our fleet!

As we headed out of the dockyard we saw Domus Dei, now also known as the Royal Garrison Church, it was an almshouse and hospice established in 1212 in Portsmouth and is an English Heritage property and a listed Ancient Monument.  On 10 January 1941 the buildings of Domus Dei were partially destroyed in an attack by German bombers. The Garrison church remains, albeit roofless, as a popular tourist attraction.  It was also used as the set for Horatio Hornblower's wedding in Hornblower:Duty, 2003.
Sailing back to the IOW we spotted Norris Castle, located on the Isle of Wight it can be seen from the Solent, standing on the northeast point of East Cowes. The castle was designed by James Wyatt for Lord Henry Seymour. It has a galleted facade with crenellations, but all of this is for show as the castle has no defensive fortifications. The building's original function was entertaining. Despite its size, it has only four bedrooms. The illusion of size is created by the fact that most of the building is occupied by only one room, and a passageway.  Wyatt also designed the farmyard buildings that are further inland. They have the same design.King George IV visited the castle in 1819, and the future Queen Victoria with her mother the Duchess of Kent in 1831. Queen Victoria later purchased Osborne House, which is the next estate to the east.   In the second half of the twentieth century the castle was opened to the public; it is now closed.

We also spotted Osbourne House, the former royal residence of Queen Victoria.   Queen Victoria died at Osborne House in January 1901. Following her death, the house became surplus to royal requirements and was given to the state with a few rooms retained as a private royal museum dedicated to Queen Victoria. From 1903 until 1921 it was used as a junior officer training college for the Royal Navy known as the Royal Naval College, Osbourne. Today it is fully open to the public, unfortunately for us it didn't open to the public this year until the day after we left the IOW or we would have taken a tour of it.

We got back to our hotel about 1.30 p.m. and had a quick lunch in a cafe before having a walk around Sandown, when we found, yes you've guessed it, a nice pub (The Castle), with a real roaring log fire,  where we enjoyed a pint of real ale.
We enjoyed another delicious dinner at the hotel and some good entertainment then it was time to retire for the night, as we had an early start the next morning to catch the 9.30 a.m. ferry from Fishboure for our journey home.

We thoroughly enjoyed our few days in the IOW and would like to go back in the summer to enjoy the beaches and see the Mary Rose Museum and Osbourne House.

I hope you've enjoyed our IOW tour.

Friday 19 April 2013

IOW Part 3........

Another hearty breakfast set us up for the journey to Godshill, located between Newport and Ventnor in the southeast of the Island.  A beautiful village with it's thatched properties,

quaint restaurants,

and pubs.  One of the pubs offered a unique service,
 Chocolate shops,
tea rooms,
quirky courtyards,

 and it's 14th century church, the Church Of Lily Cross.

The name 'Godshill' is said to originate from the foundations of the local church being moved from the bottom of the hill to its present location on the top of the hill on three occasions whilst it was being built. This was taken to be a sign from God that the church should be built on the hill, hence the name Godshill.  We were allowed to take photographs inside the church, which I am happy about because it means I get to show it to you.
Godshill also has a model village.

On our journey to our next destination we passed the famous Parkhurst prison.
Parkhurst prison is one of the two prisons that make up HMP Isle of Wight, the other being Albany. Parkhurst and Albany were once amongst the few top-security prisons (called "Dispersals" because they dispersed the more troublesome prisoners rather than concentrated them all in one place) in the United Kingdom, but were downgraded in the 1990's.  The downgrading of Parkhurst was preceded by a major escape: three prisoners (two murderers and a blackmailer) made their way out of the prison on 3 January 1995 to enjoy four days of freedom before being recaptured. One of them, Keith Rose, is an amateur pilot. During those four days, they were living rough in a shed in a garden in Ryde, having failed to steal a plane from the local airclub.  A programme entitled Britain's Island Fortess was made about this prison escape for National Geographic Channel's Breakout documentary series.

Parkhurst enjoyed notoriety as one of the toughest jails in the British Isles. Many notable criminals, including the Richardson brothers, the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, Moors Murderer Ian Brady and the Kray twins, were incarcerated there.

Our next stop was Cowes.  West Cowes is located on the west bank of the estuary of the River Medina facing the smaller town of East Cowes on the east bank of the river. The two towns are linked by the Cowes Floating Bridge, a chain ferry.

Cowes has been seen as a home for international yacht racing since the founding of the Royal Yacht Squadron in 1815. The town gives its name to the world's oldest regular regatta, Cowes Week, which occurs annually in the first week of August. Later on in the summer, powerboat races are held.   It is believed that the building of an 80 ton, 60-man vessel called Rat O'Wight on the banks of the river Medina in 1589 for the use of Queen Elizabeth I sowed the seed for Cowes to grow into a world renowned centre of boat-building.   However, seafaring for recreation and sport remained the exception rather than the rule until much later. It was not until the reign of keen sailor George IV that the stage was set for the heyday of Cowes as 'The Yachting Capital of the World.' In 1826 the Royal Yacht Squadron organised a three-day regatta for the first time and the next year the king signified his approval of the event by presenting a cup to mark the occasion. Hence the start of Cowes Regatta which soon grew into a four-day event that always ended with a fireworks display.

 Much of the town's architecture is still heavily influenced by the style of ornate building which Prince Albert popularised.

In earlier centuries the two settlements were much smaller and known as East and West Shamblord or Shamelhorde, the East being the more significant settlement.   The Isle of Wight was a target of attempted French invasions, and there were notable incursions.  Henrician Castles were built in both settlements in the sixteenth century. The west fort in Cowes still survives to this day, albeit without the original Tudor towers, as Cowes Castle. The fort built in East Cowes is believed to have been similar but was abandoned c1546 and since destroyed.

Walking round the streets of Cowes we were never very far from the sea.

Of course we found a little pub to have lunch and some ale.

After a great day out, seeing much of the island, it was time to head back to the hotel.  We had time to have a short rest before getting ready for another delicious dinner, after which we enjoyed a game of Bingo!

Join me again for IOW Part 4 when we visit the naval dockyard at nearby Portsmouth on the mainland.