• Tarnie

The day of reckoning

Updated: Feb 19, 2020

19 January 2020- Bristol to Portsmouth

We left Bristol later than anticipated which had me on edge from the start, which is never a good start. My main concern was knowing that Richard wanted to see the Mary Rose and HMS Victory in Portsmouth before they closed at 5pm and not knowing how fast we could push Bumble in her first big drive. Portsmouth is around 120 miles from Bristol and we had a rare sunny day to set off.

We had made it only 2 of those 120 miles when the suspension began dropping so much so that it was rubbing on the shell of the buggy, so we stopped. This was frustrating to me and in combination with my lack of knowledge on these matters I asked the question of ‘whether it was necessary?’ Not the correct question apparently. I will admit my impatience wasn't helpful but neither was the shirty response I got for asking a valid question, well at least it was valid in my mind.

All this aside, we got our first disagreement of the trip over with, and we worked well together to the get the suspension raised and off we set. There was a great deal of stress that had been building for this day so it was bound to come to a head.

Things went fairly well from there, we made it, shaky and shivering after what was about an hour and a half longer than expected to the outskirts of Portsmouth. We now had an idea that google's estimated times were going to be much shorter than what we needed in the buggy. We stopped in at a nursery, called mud, or something to that affect and tried to warm ourselves with Tomato soup and tea. This would have likely worked, if we didn't have get back in the buggy for the remaining 30 minutes to Portsmouth harbour.

Honestly it was pretty miserable at this point and I was having serious doubts of whether my extremities could handle this type of driving for much longer. Thankfully we arrived. The publican at the Spike Island Inn kindly stored our bags as we set out to see the HMS Victory and the Mary Rose.

The security clearance, although being understandable still makes me uneasy and mainly sad, bags get searched and no one is above suspicion. I guess humans have created the situation so surprise is no longer really an emotion we get to have.

Anyway, the Mary Rose and the story of her sinking in battle in the 1500’s, only to be dredged from the depths was truly awesome and the half of a ship that they have managed to restore is truly spectacular. As we ambled through we had to pick up the pace as we had a tour of the Victory at 4pm, and this was the last entrance to the ship to be allowed to this day.

So the Victory presented me with the one thing I learned that day, she is still considered an active war ship and the oldest one in the British fleet. She still hosts active Navy and although in Dry Dock I imagine it to be an honour to be assigned to her. The tour, which lasted around an hour was fascinating and disturbing all at the same time. Two key take aways and spoiler alert, Nelson died on board this ship in the Battle of Trafalgar and was preserved in Brandy until they made landfall weeks after the battle and around 800 men slept in and area that would now be considered that of a small apartment.The thought of the smell would be enough to send me straight to the loony bin or better yet off the side of the vessel.

After being hurried off the ship so it could be handed back to the caring hands of the navy we headed back to Spike Island for dinner and to pass the hours before we were to board the ferry to Spain. We holed up in the Spike Island in against a radiator, clearly we had not yet warmed up! We drifted through the hours, with a pretty good chicken pie to fill the time. Finally the time had come and we headed for the ports and a journey I was very much dreading.

Until next time...

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