Friday 31 May 2024

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

On the second day of our weekend away we visited the historic dockyard at Portsmouth. This wasn't our first visit. In May 2023 we visited Portsmouth and the dockyard. I paid for two ultimate explorer tickets, which meant we could return as often as we wanted in the next year . We visited 5 or 6 times and had a great adventure but unfortunately I appear to have lost a lot of my photographs. I am particularly annoyed about the ones I took on our first trip when we went on a tour of the harbour. This is an hours boat trip round Portsmouth harbour and past the main dockyard. Both The Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales aircraft carriers were in dock and I took some fabulous photos. Never mind, annoying though it is they were only photos and I have my memories of the trip. Anyway on our last trip we decided to enjoy another harbour trip. We were  the first on the boat and so could choose our seats. Remembering the best side for getting photographs I nabbed great seats. As luck would have it the Prince of Wales aircraft carrier was in dock. It had just returned from NATO exercises and its deck had marques covering it. We were informed it was having it's flight deck resurfaced to make it safer for the planes.

When the tour started we got a good view of HMS Warrior, the first steel plated warship. She never served in a war setting.

We passed several ships but I didn't make notes of their names or status so the pictures will be all I can offer.

You can just see a ship in dry dock in the photo below. It is having a complete refit. You can see a Dragon on its bow.

There were cargo ships in dock.

and also a cruise ship (not one of the huge cruise ships.)

and also a ship heading for the scrap yard having been sold.

We also passed the marina.

By the end of the tour we needed to rehydrate. The weather was very hot and combined with the reflection off the water we needed to apply more sun screen. After coffee we visited the Mary Rose exhibition. We had visited this before but didn't complete seeing all the exhibits so had planned a return trip.

The Mary Rose was a warship built in Portsmouth for King Henry VIII. It was built between 1509 and 1511 and rebuilt in 1536 and was Henry's favourite ship. It was sunk in 1545. The Mary Rose was sank in the Solent between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight whilst trying to stop French ships landing on the Isle of Wight. It sank without firing a shot. In 1982 it was raised from the sea bed with many preserved artefacts. I remember following the raising of the ship on television and it fascinated my father. He would have loved to see the remains of the ship and all the artefacts.

There was so much to see but I was taken with the skeleton of the ships dog  and the backgammon board.

When the Mary Rose was raised there was half of the hull. Half was protected in the sea by the build up of silt. The hull is in a special room with humidity especially set to best protect it. 

The rest of the afternoon we spent visiting HMS Victory. I have quite a few photos so I will write a separate post.

Tomorrow is the first day of June and I'm going to spend a little time this evening working out what I want to try and achieve in the month. It's always good to have a plan even if you don't stick to it.

Take care


The Mary Rose was a warship built in Portsmouth for King Henry VIII. It sank in 1545 and was recovered in 1981, with many artefacts still on board.

The Mary Rose was built between 1509 and 1511, and rebuilt in 1536, and was Henry's favourite ship. 

A weekend trip

In early May, we went away for a weekend. We had booked a hotel in Portsmouth and planned to visit the historic dockyard and also to take in the Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson. Fort Nelson was built in the 1860's to protect Britain from an expected invasion from France. It gave fire power to stop the enemy capturing Portsmouth naval dockyard. The war never came but Fort Nelson did play its part in World War 1 and in world war 2 helped to prevent another possible invasion from the Germans. The fort itself is very well preserved and there was a lot to explore including the barracks, guardroom and tunnels. Fort Nelson now houses the artillery collection of the Royal Armouries which is the national museum of arms and armour. Fort Nelson is just one of the three sites that house the collection.

The fort is a very complex building on several levels with outer walls of irregular lengths and an interesting range of heights and angles. I got a little confused as we went through the galleries due to the angles. In order to house the museum there have been some changes to the galleries, not least the nice glass entrance.

Looking right before entering the fort I could see this fabulous brickwork and patterning.

The shape and design of the fort make it able to protect against attack from the sea and also the land around it. It had a range of guns to provide long, medium and short range fire. The galleries in the main building were interesting with a wide range of artillery not just British but also from other countries and from different eras in history.

There were two sections of the Iraq 'super gun' They don't look that big in the photo below but the room was huge. Remember there would have been another 24 sections if it had been built.

I was interested in the 'Smith' gun. This was used by the Home Guard but also by the regular army.

The wheels allowed the gun to be transported to where it was needed and then the operator would flip it onto its side so it sat on the lower wheel and the upper wheel  potentially provided some shade for aiming the gun.

We walked through the tunnel to the ramparts. The old conveyer belt along the wall was used to move the shells  to the guns. 

There were areas off the tunnels where the magazine was situated for storing the powder barrels. The tunnel was cold and damp and I was pleased to be out in the fresh air again.

It was also fun spotting the graffiti. Never let it be considered a new activity.  

We walked around the ramparts and enjoyed the view  and then we sat and rested on a bench at the parade ground. We also visited sleeping quarters, ablution's and guard room.

There was so much to see and the best of all there was no entry charge to the museum. The day was very hot and sunny and we finished our visit in the cafe to rehydrate ourselves.  

Having seen all we wanted to see we headed for Portchester castle. The castle is set within the preserved walls of a Roman fort and sits on a tongue of land that projects into the natural harbour of Portsmouth. There is a lot of history happening here. The guide book tells me that the Roman fort was probably established in AD 280's. There was a Saxon community here in about AD 904 and it became a stronghold to protect the kingdom of Wessex. Following the Norman Conquest in 1066 the Roman fort walls provided a defensive perimeter to a large castle. A monastic foundation was established around 1128 and the parish church remains today within the outer walls. The 12th century keep has survived and we climbed to the top.

The keep stands at 100 feet and there were quite a lot of old worn stone spiral steps to reach the top. There were also some newer wooden steps to several floors. The view from the top was worth the climb

On one of the floors there was this sculpture. In 1796 more than 2000 prisoners of war arrived at Portchester Castle from the Caribbean having been captured following fighting between Britain and France. Amongst the captured were 99 women and children. Some prisoners were released but many were kept at Portchester until the weather became too cold in the castle. The women and children were sent to Forton Prison where they lived in a hospital ward. Eventually the prisoners were exchanged for British soldiers and sent to France

The birds on one of the floors were fun.

There were also two old wall paintings. I couldn't fully make out what they were, maybe you can,

To finish our visit we walked round the outer walls before returning to the car and enjoying a cooling ice cream. Several plants have made the walls their home.

A great day out. We were both rather warm and tired as we headed to our hotel and dinner. I'll tell you about our trip to the Historic dockyard tomorrow.

Take care


Thursday 30 May 2024

May round up

Only one more day left in May so it's time to check if I achieved my goals for the month. May has been a difficult month since I was unwell but I am feeling much better now. Unfortunately my hearing is still not right and I'm having difficulties hearing people. However my ears should clear soon since they have reached the point when they keep on popping and you can hear properly for a while. It will probably take another couple of days before they are working as they should.

The Chookshed stitchers challenge for May was number 5 which for me was to progress my dinosaur quilt. I had already made 2 stegosaurus but there are 6 in the set. Early this month I completed the other 4 and started cutting the fabric for the 6 brachiosaurus. I have managed to make all 6 during the month.

I love these dinosaurs and the quilt will be so bright and cheerful when finished. I still have 12 dinosaurs to make so it won't be finished anytime soon. I completed my Chookshed challenge and I very happy about the progress I've made on this quilt.

My goal for the One monthly goal was to complete my countryside embroidery. This is how far I had got at the beginning of the month.

I'm pleased that I have finally finished this piece. I may still add a few more poppies or other flowers but I might not. If I do add more poppies I will embroider them.

I have also finished my cardigan. It is so soft and warm. The yarn is Rowan Island Blend Fine which is 70% wool, 15% alpaca and 15% silk.  

I'm also enjoying hand quilting the mystery quilt I made. This will take me some time as this is the first time I've done it and I'm trying to get my stitches even.

I'm linking this post with Stories from the Sewing room for the One Monthly Goal link up, and Dreamworthy Quilts for Chookshed Challenge link up. 

This evening I'm going to do some more knitting and watch a film. 

Take care


Monday 27 May 2024

Quick, slow slow Sunday stitching.

Sunday is my favourite day of the week. I can have a lie in bed reading for a while with no alarm to shout at me at 6 a.m. or any other time. We always have a family dinner which is a chance to catch up with what everyone has been doing and I can do some slow stitching. This Sunday I did however start by getting my sewing machine out. Having not used it for a fortnight I was needing some sewing time. I had two dinosaur blocks cut and ready to go so I started my day with them.  They both went together quickly and easily. The instructions are very clear and this pattern is a pleasure to make. I soon had a yellow and an orange brachiosaurus.

I want to get the other four in this set made before the end of the month, that would then leave two more sets of dinosaurs to make before I can put this quilt together.

Having satisfied my need for some sewing time I switched to slow stitching. I have finished my cardigan I was knitting and had made a start on the jumper. The pattern comprises 4 rows and there is only ever knit stitches  but you have to slip stitches as if you are purling them sometimes with the yarn at the back and sometimes at the front of the work. This had me a little confused at first but I now have the pattern clearly in my head. Here is how far I've got. I love the colour of the yarn and the texturing of the pattern is fabulous.

I had also made a plan to hand quilt the mystery quilt I joined in with. My thinking was I had done something new to me following a mystery quilt along so why not follow through and hand quilt it. This is another new to me activity. Many years ago someone bought me a quilting hoop. I tried hand quilting with and without the hoop and for me the hoop was easier. I'm not going to be doing anything special with the quilting. I just want to get the hang of hand quilting and getting my stitches even. It is quite a relaxing experience. You can just about make out the one line of stitching in the photo below. I'm using a variegated thread that goes well with the fabric.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching. I'm going to pop over and see what everyone has been working on. I love to see the different hand stitching projects. Kathy does a range of projects including really pretty cross stitch.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about our last weekend away. Having been unwell I still need to take the photos off my camera. 

Take care