HMS Warrior, now preserved in the Portsmouth historic dockyard. Just to show it on contrasting English summer days, here it is again
Built in 1860 it was the first iron hulled, armoured warship. Powered by both steam and sail it was a cutting edge design but only 4 years later it was superseded by faster, better armoured and bigger gunned warships and downgraded to coastguard duties. In 1883 her main masts were found to be rotten and to save cost she was converted to a Naval School. When she was put up for sale in 1924 no buyer could be found so the ship was once again converted but this time to a floating oil pontoon and renamed Oil Fuel Hulk C77 to spend her remaining working life in Pembroke, Wales.
By 1978 the Warrior was the only surviving example of the 45 iron hulls built by the Royal Navy between 1861 and 1877, happily the navy had kept her hull in good condition during her stay in Wales so when it was announced the oil depot would be closed the Maritime Trust made great efforts to ensure it was not scrapped. Towed to Hartlepool for what turned out to be a £8M nine year restoration project (mostly financed by the Manifold Trust) starting with the removal of 80 tons of rubbish including the thick concrete layer encasing the upper decks poured on when she had been an oil pontoon. Once the restoration was finished she left the Coal Dock in Hartlepool to travel 800 miles down the east coast of England and round into the English Channel to be greeted by fireworks, gun salutes and cheering crowds and at last dropping anchor in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard which has been her home ever since.
HMS Warrior by the naval artist WF Mitchell (1872)
An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey from A to Z which this week has moored at W
Travelling around Britain one of the things often seen are the letters VR on objects of a certain age. This ones glistens on one of the sides of the ornate Eastgate clock in Chester. The initials stand for Victoria Regina, and the clock was made for the occasion of Queen Victoria's 60 years on the throne, the Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The clock stands above the old Roman east entrance into the city which was widened in Georgian times but is still on the Roman wall route if you wish to walk around the walls.
Not easy to spot this VR in Ulverston until getting closer
perhaps to post some cards. And there it is on top of the wall box. You can always tell the age of a post box by which royal reign it was made as the royal cypher is displayed on them. These cast iron boxes are painted every three years and it looks as though this one has been recently done. The first Post Office wall boxes (which are mainly for rural areas) were installed in 1857 and went through many designs (mainly to try to prevent the rain getting inside) before eventually in 1887 the so called jubilee box was the end result. The jubilee referred to is Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee (50 years on the throne).
An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey from A to Z which this week has reached the letter V
The immaculate topiary of Tatton Park and one of the cast iron urns near the entrance to the Rose Garden with a relief showing Greek warriors. The garden designers must have had a fondness for these receptacles because they are everywhere.
on top of the ornate seats
and by the side of Verona marble bench whose ends are carved into winged lions.
But sometimes things are not what they seem. Stand here in the Pleasure Gardens and look at the wall (built in 1818 and behind which are the Orchard and Vegetable gardens) ] with ornamental urns stood on the top. They are a disguise and are actually chimneys. The south facing walls gain most of the sun but north facing walls are often in shade and these were heated in spring and autumn by furnaces whose flues ran through the thickness of the wall and emerge as chimneys. From the 18th to the mid 19th Century heated walls (also known as 'hot walls') were quite common in the north. Fires would have been lit in early Spring in order to protect the fruit blossom from frost.
More words starting with the letter U can be found at ABC Wednesday, a journey from A to Z
Looking back to a warm sunny day in September (unlike today when the wind and rain rattles outside) we headed for the tranquillity of Tarn Hows. This is a place I often visit but always tacked on to a longer walk so have never parked nearby. Events earlier on the summer when I broke my leg meant I was still on one crutch so a nice easy stroll round the tarns would be ideal. Parking at one of the little car parks out of sight of the objective a choice of two paths, one leading over a pretty little bridge. Over the bridge is the way I said confidently.
We gradually walked up hill past waterfalls, then it got steeper
oh yes we had gone up Tom Ghyll so a certain amount of being hauled up rocks now took place but I did discover that a crutch is ideal for crossing streams.
Our objective reached we joined
the families walking,
and those just sitting an enjoying the day. I did some of that too. We then took the gentle route
back to the car, my self appointed fitness trainer (well someone has to do it) leading the way.
ABC Wednesday, a journey from A to B with this week lots of words starting with T here
La Roche Bernard is a small harbour town on the River La Vilaine, with a popular marina and Michelin starred restaurants. Its origins date back to the 9th Century with stories of Vikings but today it is a popular tourist destination.
Designated a "Petites cités de caractère" it has a historic centre but here we are walking down to the harbour.
The boat that takes trips up and down the river in Summer was about to leave but my attention was taken with
the numerous photos in the water by the yachts.
which were blown up postcards of the building of the bridge across the Vilaine. I collect old postcards so a lot of camera clicking went on at this point, this one is my favourite, all the town's population in those past times seems to be gathered on one side of the river. I guess the reason these photos were here was that there was a celebration of photography and an exhibition in La Roche Bernard and
I remembered back in April I had taken photographs of the quince bush in bright sunlight, ABC Wednesday sorted. In the language of flowers, send a quince flower and it means temptation. Unfortunately the quince fruit on the bush this year are not very tempting.
One of just three on there at the moment, usually it is full. Maybe it is due for some cosseting. Certainly no-one will be queuing pick its fruit.
But on such a beautiful weekend lots were queuing to climb on board the ferry and shorter queues because there are more doors
to climb on board one of the trains of the Thomas the Tank Engine weekend. Thomas himself was further down the line.
In the rhythm of the seasons the beaches in the Rusland valley are always the last to change colour which usually coincides with the first frosts, the prelude to winter. All though of winter are put aside for clear skies and sunshine this weekend have been perfect for
who soon whizzed by towards their destination
Sailing on the lakes. The ferry Miss Lakeland was packed as it came to disgorge its passenger at Lakeside and fill up with more to travel down back down Windermere.
whereas the sailing boats were enjoying tacking across the lake. The smaller visitors to the Lakes were steaming
from Haverthwaite to Lakeside on Thomas the Tank Engine
For the perfect peregrination sometimes a little effort is required, gets the heart palpitating when winding
for water filling up the lock, two barges parked in parallel
but lots of other mechanical things to do while the pooch is patrolling along the top, meanwhile the driver
is relaxing having a powwow with a fellow peripatetic bargee on their rise up to the next part of the Chester Canal
The gates open and the journey continues. This canal has lots of possible destinations because it is is part of the Shropshire Union Canal, and as its name implies it is a union of many. We walked a small stretch at the weekend and
on the way back another two barges were going the other way. The Lock Keepers cottage (c1800) is a listed building, including its walled yard and privy which used to drain into the sluice-way under the house. Happily the latter aspect is not listed, modern plumbing rules.
The object of our peregrination was to walk around the medieval walls of the city of Chester , our entry point being by the side of this dovecote which was in possession of pigeons who suddenly flew into the air as I snapped my photograph.