Monday 29 January 2018

Note to self

In all the years I've lived and even longer visited the area I've never taken the hovercraft over to the Isle of Wight, so as a reminder I took this picture from Southsea common that I need to get around to it in 2018.

Friday 26 January 2018

View from the Warrior

Erica managed to get a special offer annual family pass to the Portsmouth historic dockyard museums which included our recent visit to the submarine museum and  HMS Alliance . Joseph and I also took an opportunity to use the tickets a while back to drop in on the ironclad HMS Warrior across the harbour in Portsmouth.

I've been on Warrior a few time over the years including for a wine tasting, but the scale and sheer audacity of the ship never fails to impress. Sadly there was a lot of work going on to restore the badly rusted bulwarks on the port side so the best views were looking out across the harbour from the bridge deck.

Down below things are unchanged showing what the ship was like while in service, it was a shame to discover that all the guns (not called cannons aboard ships) are in fact fibreglass replica's, even if they do look very authentic.

Monday 22 January 2018

Lymington gaffers

A couple of gaffers seen down in Lymington presumably laid up for winter in the river, although the grey one looks to be in fine shape.

It looked like someone was at work on this one, I especially liked the bespoke cover over the companion way.

Friday 19 January 2018

Cold snap?

While other parts of the UK have been affected, the predictions of arctic conditions and "snowmagedeon" have so far passed us by on the Hampshire coast, fingers crossed it stays that way.

Monday 15 January 2018

Slow start

It's been a bit of a slow start to the year, between the weather (mostly wet and windy), work which is relentless and the January project to revamp and redecorate Joseph's bedroom we haven't got out that much.

However there was the occasional day when the sky cleared and the rain stopped, when there was nothing else to do but to down tools and get out in the fresh air.

Thursday 11 January 2018

Lone Wolf

Something of interest for the still too long and cold winter evenings. My classic Boat has recently put up a great video of Lone Wolf one of the more famous Old Gaffers around the Solent. She was based nearby at The Elephant Boatyard for many years until owners Dick and Pat moved to the Isle of Wight, which doesn't seem that long ago but was probably 10 years or so.

When we joined the Old Gaffers Association Dick and Pat were hugely welcoming and always ready to share advice and their encyclopedic experience about tradition boats. They invited us to race aboard Lone Wolf with them at the Yarmouth Old Gaffers Festival (YOGAFF) which was a great experience - don't let anyone tell you these old boats are slow.

I recall we were reasonably well placed in the race, but Erica and I can't claim much credit for that. Disk and Pat know their boat so well, after all these years and having sailed so many miles, hopefully we helped by being "semi intelligent ballast" moving to the right place at the right time and getting out of the way without being told.

Sunday 7 January 2018

HMS Alliance

It's been 20 plus years since I visited the Royal Navy Submarine Museum at Gosport, the centre piece of which is HMS Alliance Britain’s only surviving WW2 era ocean going submarine which is ashore on a specially built hard at the museum.

The tour takes you right through the submarine, probably a little less crowded and maybe even better kept, but pretty much as she was when in service.

For mechanical fans there's lots and lots of interesting stuff including a couple of massive diesel engines, huge and complex electrical systems and this plummer's nightmare in the control room.

The staff on board were all time served Navy with tales to tell. HMS served in the cold war up until the the 1970's but we didn't find out any details about this secret weapon spotted in the aft torpedo tube.

Friday 5 January 2018

Gales and tides

While parts of the US east coast struggle with heavy snow and freezing conditions, the Hamble remains relatively mild apart from some gales and a lot of rain.

The biggest hazard along the footpath to Warsash is stranded seaweed washed up across the path by the very high spring tides and southwesterly winds pushing up the HW levels.

The same conditions also washed away the repairs and resurfacing work carried out by Hampshire Country Council less than a year ago. I recall at the time thinking the work was pathetically inadequate for the situation and conditions.

Wednesday 3 January 2018


We visited Bath for a literary event to see Diary of a Whimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney. Not having read the collected works, I left Joseph and Erica at the event and went for a walk around the famous city.

Walking from where I parked out of town, close by the entrance to Sydney Gardens I disturbed a kingfisher who flew along the canal for a short way and then perched safely on the other bank as I passed.

The centrepiece and main attraction is Pulteney Bridge, built in 1774 to a design by Robert Adam in the Palladian style, it has shops built across its full span on both sides and fantastic views from both downstream banks.