Last week, a several of us Nonsuch Rotarians headed off for Portsmouth to visit the Historic Dockyards in Portsmouth. What an amazing day. I’d never been there before but Chris F, our in-house historian did brilliantly as our guide.
Our first stop was HMS Warrior a stunning iron hulled ship built in 1860. She is a true knockout: an actual warship and the very first of her kind. I’ve never seen as many cannons, small arms and swords on any ship before and couldn’t believe her colossal size. She’s powered jointly by steam and sail with retractable tunnels to reduce drag. What an innovation!
Then to see the war torn sail from Nelson’s flagship and then to HMS Victory herself. Such an elegant looking beast: we didn’t go aboard but are sure to at our next visit!
The Mary Rose was our next stop and what an incredible achievement to raise this 16th century wreck from the Solent and preserve her in all her glory. I was simply incredulous at the huge range of items brought to the surface with her: weaponry, including cross bows and arrows, cooking utensils and a whole cooking range; clothing, furniture and not least a complete skeleton of the ship’s dog.
The day was far from over as we left the Dockyard and headed for The Lighthouse concert hall in Poole to watch and listen to the Bournemouth Symphony perform Bruckner’s magnificent 9th Symphony, one of the best symphonies ever written, in my view, and ‘one of the greatest achievements of the human mind’ according to Terry Barwell, the author of the programme notes.
The five of us who went to Finland in 2015 to celebrate Sibelius’s 150th anniversary met Terry there along with a schoolboy friend of mine, David Billinge, from Poole Grammar School and, surprise, surprise, we met the two of them again at this concert!
An brilliant day out, despite the late night homecoming!