The final voyage of HMS 'Liverpool'
After a leisurely breakfast, Alison took me out and about to explore the sights of her home turf around Southsea and Portsmouth. After cruising along Southsea beach, we went to explore Old Portsmouth and stopped to photograph the first of several statues of Admiral Lord Nelson. It struck me later in the day that I don’t think the town of Nelson, my home in New Zealand, actually has a statue of Nelson – though I may be wrong (I’m sure Hazelnut can give me an answer on this!). I certainly can’t think of one.
There were a number of photographers with serious gear – as Alison said, “I think we’re seriously out-lensed here!” waiting around the sea wall and we soon found out why – HMS Liverpool, a Type 42 Destroyer which saw action in the Gulf War, was about to leave Portsmouth for the last time. Decommissioned in 2012, she was bound for a scrapyard in Turkey – a poignant sight as she was towed out by tugs; we could just discern where her name had been, close to her stern.
Spending a day in Portsmouth, one feels the naval history of the town everywhere. After lunch, we visited the historic Dockyard where we walked around the outside of Nelson’s famous flagship HMS Victory – she is much larger than I had imaged; a truly imposing sight. Her masts are currently being restored (a process that will take several years) so she looked a little odd, though still magnificent. Alison has had the wonderful experience of having attended Naval dinners on board in the past. A wander through a couple of the free Naval museums and then we bought tickets for the Mary Rose museum which is fascinating – neither of us had any idea that so many artifacts had been salvaged from the mud of the Solent when this great battleship of Henry VIII's was finally raised in 1982, after 400 years on the sea bed. There were many Tudor shoes and combs, amongst other things! Even a gentleman's manicure set….
In the evening, Alison’s daughter accompanied us as we walked to a nearby Pizza restaurant for supper – beautifully light and crispy pizza with delicious vegetarian topping for me! At home, we blippers sat side-by-side on the very comfy sofa and tried to decide what to blip – Alison chose an image of me with Nelson (for obvious reasons!) and I practically fell asleep while uploading this picture of the Liverpool setting out on her final voyage.