Portsmouth (Day 2) and Norma
We woke up to a beautiful day. So breakfast by the sea was in order.
The historic dockyard called today and so we headed back to where we were yesterday. We only had a few hours before our lunch date, so the aim was to fit in as many boats as we could. First stop the HMS Victory, launched 1765, Lord Nelson's boat. It does look a bit like a pirate ship. Note that the masts are shorter than they should be. The boat is undergoing some restoration.
It was a fascinating tour. Asher was under strict instructions not to listen to everything on the audio guide. We managed to catch up with a tour that was happening for some official looking navy people and so we got to listen to the story of Lord Nelson's death on the boat. It was a very heroic death and he was clearly a well loved and honoured man, who led the British to victory against the Spanish.
Our next stop was a very small ship that served during the Gallipoli Campaign. HMS M.33 is one of only 3 British War Ships that remain from the 1st World War. It also served in the Russian Civil War which followed WW1. It is a very small boat, only 75 men served on it during WW1 and they were mostly all volunteers rather than navy men, it's purpose to get close to shore and shoot things. No one died on this ship, ever. A very lucky boat to have served on.
Side note: the boats we'd seen were separated by 100 years or so of time and the development in technology was clearly evident in the guns used and the type of sailing they did. Really interesting stuff.
By this stage we had run out of time, so we dashed past the HMS Warrior 1860.
We headed to the port to meet Norma, our wonderful friends Deb and Dan's mum. She lives in Gosport and caught the ferry to meet us. Gosport is really close to Portsmouth, so close that the ferry takes about 4 minutes.
We took Norma to lunch at a pub just across the road. We had a lovely time together catching up.
The real treat was taking Norma up the Emirates Spinikar Tower. This large tower was built for the millennium, though finished well after, and has a viewing platform. We wandered slowly through the shopping area between the road and the tower. Norma found it much changed since she had been there. Hannah wanted to go look in all the shops, but alas, no time.
We watched a short video on the history of the area and then headed up the lift. It wasn't as high as the Shard, so you didn't feel quite as nervous to be so high. Norma loved seeing her town from up high and she spent some time trying to work out all the places she knows. It is harder than you think.
They had a VR game, where you could walk outside the tower on the 'ribs' (seen in pictures above). Hannah begged four pounds off us and had a go. It was pretty funny to watch.
We watched ferries coming and going from Gosport, Isle of Wight and France.
Fun fact: Portsmouth is actually on an island, as a river cuts it off from the mainland, but you don't really notice.
It was another wonderful day and we loved seeing Norma. Dan and I decided we would happily live in Southsea and would return to Portsmouth again.