I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Monday, 22 October 2018

RAF Museum Cosford - Photos

While we were away in Shropshire we made a visit to the RAF Museum at Cosford.  I found it fascinating and took lots of photos which, if you like planes, you might enjoy looking at.  The first hangar had a normal type of set up with planes having their descriptions in front of them.  The second hangar was much more modern and had planes hanging from the roof as well as on the floor.  The only trouble with that is that I couldn't work out which plane was which, consequently most of the first photos have their maker's name and the plane type but the last ones don't.  The museum is free to go into but there is a £3 per vehicle charge for a stay of up to 3 hours and £4 per vehicle for a stay of up to 4 hours.  I can thoroughly recommend a visit.

Bristol 188

Gloster Meteor F8 (Prone)

Saunders Roe SR 53

Bristol M.1C

Hawker Hurricane 11c

Boulton Paul Defiant Mk. 1

Messerschmitt Bf 109G

Gloster Gladiator Mk. 1

Mitsubishi K1-46-111 (Dinah)

Focke-Wulf FW 190

Yokosuka Ohka

Messerschmitt Me410A-1 U2 Hornisse

de Havilland Mosquito TT35

Avro Lincoln B11

Avro Lincoln B11

Messerschmitt Me 262

Sepecal Jaguar ACT

Hunting H126

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Western Mediterranean Cruise - Days 14 & 15 Sea Days

Days 14 & 15

Our two sea days before getting into Southampton were not the best.  Having had such amazing weather we spent the two days in either mist or fog.  We now know that the fog horn on Silhouette blasts out every 2 minutes and 3 seconds!  I would say that the fog horn was going for about 90% of the journey.

Needless to say this photo was not take on either Day 14 or 15!

We listened to the Captain's daily talk at 10am on Day 14 and when he said that it was going to get rough I quickly took a Stugeron!  However it wasn't really rough but there was a swell of a good 2 to 3 metres.  A swell is always worse for me - give me a proper rough day anytime!  Penny took one too and we were fine but there were people missing from dinner on both nights :-(

The Captain, George, gave a talk on Ships Navigation which was extremely interesting.  He also did a Q & A session.  Jim asked who sets down the rules for when and if a Pilot has go come onboard.  The answer was that the port does - sounds like a good way of making money to me!  Captain George also told us about the medivacs.  I always thought that the helicopter would land on the deck but decks today aren't big enough.  He said that he has an easy job - all he has to do is stay on the course given to him by the helicopter.  A wire links the helicopter to the ship so both have to stay on exactly the same course and the same speed.  ALL he has to do???  Sounds frightening to me!  The casualty is slid along the wire to the helicopter - I think I would need to be sedated for that!

Another question was - how long would it take to evacuate the ship - answer - 30 minutes!

Silent disco

On Day 14 we were able to sit out on our balconies albeit wrapped up in a blanket and we saw so many dolphins and even a big whale.  The dolphins seemed to want to show off to the ship and we saw four execute an amazing synchronised leap - we called them the Awesome Foursome!  Sadly all the dolphins were too quick to be photographed.

Pool area at night

The ship is lovely and the crew amazing.  They work long hours but always have a smile and a greeting - you never pass one without them saying something.  Our cabin attendant, Ronald, was very attentive and had a laugh which will stay with me forever!


I bought a monkey in Gibraltar for Tobyn and I also took Mr. Moose with me.  Mr. Moose came from Stockholm last year and even though he belongs to Tobyn I thought he might like to go on another cruise - daft I know!  Each night, when we returned to our cabin, Ronald had put them in a different pose - but I think this is my favourite.  Those are chocolates on his hands!

Our waiters were amazing and the food in the main dining room excellent.  We chose not to have a set dining time but were supposed to take pot luck however 95% of the time we had the same table and the same waiters.

Wiratha and Lucia

So would we go with Celebrity again?  You bet we would though we aren't next year as they don't do the itinerary that we want to do.  However, maybe for 2020!!

Oh yes - we covered a total of 4491.43 nautical miles (5168.64 miles).

Here are a few facts about Celebrity and the Silhouette.

In 1989 the Chandris family introduced the first Celebrity Cruises ship.  The inspiration for the "X" logo came from the Greek alphabet, as X is the symbol for the Greek letter "chi" which is the first letter in the Greek spelling of Chandris.

In 1997, Celebrity Cruises Ltd. merged with Royal Caribbean International to become Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., which operates Celebrity, Royal Caribbean International, Azamara Club Cruises, Pullmantur Cruises and CDF Croisières de France. 

For the techies amongst you here is some technical data.  Jump past it if you aren't techie minded but you might just find it interesting!

Length - overall 348 feet
Width 120 feet
Depth of deck 9 to water (our deck) 107 feet
Lauched 29 May 2011
Maximum number of passengers 3502
Maximum number of crew 1271
Total life saving appliances for 5966
Lifeboats 18 + 12 tenders
Propellers 2 at 22.85 tons each
19 feet diameter

One last thing.  I took a couple of videos on the first night of Le Petit Chef however I couldn't seem to post them using the iPad so here they are

Monday, 1 October 2018

Western Mediterranean Cruise - Day 13 - Lisbon Part 2

So here is my potted history of Lisbon and Portugal.  My trouble is that I get so involved in the history of places that some times it gets a bit silly - this is one of those occasions!  A lot of what I have written was briefly
told to us by our guide, Nonu, but it wasn't enough for me so I have just had to dig deeper.

Also, I didn't have enough room yesterday to put all my photos so I'm inserting them in this post.

That's where we were on our way into Gibraltar
Philippa of Lancaster was Queen of Portugal from 1387 until 1415 by marriage to King John I.  Born into the royal family of England, her marriage secured the Treaty of Windsor and produced several children who became known as the "Illustrious Generation" in Portugal.  Philippa was the oldest child of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster.  Philippa married King John I by proxy, and in keeping with a unique Portuguese tradition, the stand-in bridegroom pretended to bed the bride!  John I of Portugal signed the remarkably long-lasting Portuguese-English Alliance, which continued through the Napoleonic Wars and ensured Portugal's tenuous neutrality in World War II.  Philippa, at the age of 27, was thought to be too old to become a bride for the first time, and the court questioned her ability to bear the King's children; however, Philippa bore nine children, six of whom survived into adulthood, one of which was Henry the Navigator, first Duke of Viseu, who, though never an explorer, guided Portugal to the Age of Discovery.

Lisbon Port Authority building

Upon the start of World War II in 1939, the Portuguese Government announced that the 600-year-old Anglo-Portuguese Alliance remained intact, but that since the British did not seek Portuguese assistance, Portugal was free to remain neutral in the war and would do so. In an aide-mémoire of 5th September 1939, the British Government confirmed the understanding.  As Hitler's occupation swept across Europe, neutral Portugal became one of the Continent's last escape routes. Portugal managed to remain neutral throughout the war despite extraordinary pressures from both sides, notably over the strategically located Azores islands and over the wolfram (tungsten) trade.

In 1940 Lisbon hosted a World fair. This event was intended to increase trade during the harsh depression years and for Portugal to enhance its position of neutrality within the growing tensions of the world.  There were major exhibits from all of the colonies Portugal controlled - Brazil was the only independent country invited.  Portugal did indirectly gain from the exhibition as it confirmed their neutrality and spared the country entering the war.

Train on suspension bridge 

The Portuguese Colonial War or in the former colonies known as the War of Liberation, was fought between Portugal's military and the emerging nationalist movements in Portugal's African colonies between 1961 and 1974. The main countries involved were Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique.  Unlike other European nations during the 1950's and 1960's, the Portuguese Estado Novo regime did not withdraw from its African colonies.  The end of the war came with the Carnation Revolution military coup of April 1974. The withdrawal resulted in the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Portuguese citizens plus military personnel of European, African and mixed ethnicity from the former Portuguese territories and newly independent African nations.  The new independent countries were Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Cape Verde.  Portugal had been the first European power to establish a colony in Africa when it captured Ceuta in 1415; it became one of the last to leave.

9000 lives were lost in the Portuguese Colonial War and in Lisbon there is a memorial to them.  The Monumento Combatentes Ultramar memorial comprises three distinctive sections; the flame, the monument and memorial wall.  The central flame burns continuously to signify the lasting memory of the dead soldiers while the names of each solider who died in the protracted African conflict are etched into the the three walls that surround the memorial.  We didn't have time to visit this but we will do one day.

The first Portuguese revolution of the 20th century was organized by the Portuguese Republican Party and overthrew the monarchy on October 5th 1910. After approximately 16 years of an unstable government, a military coup overthrew the First Republic and replaced it with the Estado Novo. The Carnation Revolution, the third Portuguese coup of the 20th century, took place almost 50 years later.

This is flat though it does make you a bit sea sick!

The Carnation Revolution started as a military coup in 1974 organised by the Armed Forces Movement composed of military officers who opposed the regime, but the movement was soon coupled with an unanticipated and popular campaign of civil resistance.  The name "Carnation Revolution" comes from the fact that almost no shots were fired and that when the population took to the streets to celebrate the end of the dictatorship and war in the colonies, carnations were put into the muzzles of rifles and on the uniforms of the army men.