Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Sussex, part 2

Current work: en vacances (because I HAVE FINISHED MY BOOK! Yay!)
Listening to: too early for anyone else to be up yet
Reading: Arianna Franklin

On the Monday, we went to Portsmouth. Felt a little bittersweet as we crossed the border to Hampshire , as this was my mother’s birth county. The Royal Naval Museum was utterly fantastic. We started off with a boat trip around the harbour. Son and I both loved the architecture of the Spinnaker Tower – apparently it has the fifth biggest glass floor in the world, but we didn’t get time to climb it and have a look.

We also saw Spice Island, where the very first potato was brought on to English soil.

We saw lots of ships, including the new Daring warship (due to come into service next year) and the Ark Royal. Then we explored Nelson’s Victory – stunning.

Saw Nelson’s quarters, the place where he was mortally wounded and fell (rather upset me as I live in Nelson's county)

and the hold and the gun decks. Oh, and the surgeon's instruments (they were fascinating - hey, great thought here: dear, lovely ed, how about I do you a historical medical set at Trafalgar?). Odd and fascinating facts: the stores were lined with copper to deter rats, and it took 100 acres of oak woodlands to produce enough wood to build the ship.

We also saw the fore topsail from the Victory – it’s the only early 19th century sail in the world to survive, and is also the largest textile to be conserved. You could still see the holes where cannon balls had ripped through it at Trafalgar. (Pics not allowed - or there would be one here. I took a LOT of pics while we were away.)

Then we went to see the Mary Rose, which is still being sprayed with wax (drying out starts at the end of August and it won’t be on display again until 2011). It was like seeing a ghost ship, esepcially because of the way the spray fell. It's amazing to think that after 437 years on the seabed so much of it was able to be lifted. Below is a view from the side with four of the five decks (the fifth deck, aka castle deck, is just about visible at top right), and then from the bow.

After that, we went round the Warrior, an ironclad warship from 1860. Ship design changed so much in 100 years. It felt much more roomy than the Victory (probably because of the higher ceilings). Weirdly, although the Victory is in dry dock, I felt as if the ship were moving; whereas the Warrior is in wet dock and it didn’t seem to move at all. (I think the camber on the decks might have been shallower.)

Then we indulged the kids with the activities centre. Son, despite claiming that he was much too old for it (cough), discovered that there was a climbing wall and computer flying simulations, and changed his mind. Dinner out in Gun Wharf... and then DH made the mistake of suggesting we looked round the shops. There was a Radley factory outlet shop. Oh, dear. And DH let me go in on my own. Oh, double dear. (Actually, I was v good and just bought a pair of sunglasses.)

Pedometer reading for the day: 17475 steps.


Carol Townend said...

HOW many steps??? It's exhausting just reading your itinerary without the steps!!!

Glad you finished the book. I forsee lots of lovely Displacement Activities...

Lacey Devlin said...

Radley! Hubby's very lucky this time lol. I don't know if I would have been able to restrain myself.

Anonymous said...

WOW I live in Hampshire and have only ever been to Portsmouth once and that was to the University! No sight seeing whatsoever!
The shame.
It does sound fascinating. And well done for the Radley experience.

Kate Hardy said...

Carol - yeah, we do tend to overdo it. Very slightly. :)

Displacement activity = major declutter. I may be begging to go back to work shortly...

Kate Hardy said...

Lacey - I was soooo good. But this means I can be bad in the Pandora shop, right? ;)

Kate Hardy said...

Nina - it's really worth a visit. Fascinating stuff.

Amd no shame. I think you only tend to sight-see in your home county if a) you're showing non-local family/friends round when they come to stay or b) you write local history, so you're going for research purposes.

Jan Jones said...

Double yay on book-finishing!

Kate Hardy said...

Jan - sure is!