Ten days ago, on Saturday, 4th August, I joined the group from Langley Parish on a trip to Portsmouth. The Christ the Worker congregation organised the hiring of a coach/bus for the trip. Being unsure of how long I would need to walk to the church, I left home about 7:50 am—to make sure I gave myself plenty of time to get to the church by 8:30 am. I need not have worried, because I was there by 8:10 am. A couple of ladies were already there, and as we stood awaiting the coach, other parishioners joined us.
|My tour guides "Bea & Will"|
The Maverick was busy at work for the day, so I attached myself to “Will & Bea” for the day. They had previously lived in Southport, which is fairly close to Portsmouth. They were very familiar with the south coast and I felt like I had personal tour guides.
An interesting fact about Portsmouth is that it is the birthplace of Charles Dickens.
Some people went off shopping down at the Gunwharf Quay, which is overlooked by the Spinnaker Tower. Others went to the historic dockyards to see the ships: the Mary Rose which was King Henry VIII warship; Admiral Nelson’s flag ship, HMS Victory and the first iron hulled warship, HMS Warrior. The Royal Navy Museum is also at the dockyards. http://www.welcometoportsmouth.co.uk/index.htm
However, “Will & Bea” and I went eastward along the beach front toward the castle ruins and the D-Day museum.
|Leading into the castle|
At the castle/fort was a coffee shop, where we stopped for cappuccino. We wondered around enjoying the wind, watching the boats, ferries and hovercraft traverse the waters between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. “Will” filled me in on some of the history of the area as we stood on the ramparts of the castle, overlooking the coast.
|From post card of Panel 7|
|From Postcard of Panel 15|
The hi-light of the day for me was visiting the D-Day Museum, which houses the Overlord Embroidery. It seems that the Overlord Embroidery is one of those unintentional secrets from the public, as most folk haven’t heard of it. This impressive masterpiece of design and stitchery is massive—34 panels that reach about 268 feet in length. Post cards of the panels are available for purchase, which is probably the best way to get a souvenir of it—or a book. I found myself wanting to reach out and touch this beautiful work of art, and realised it was under glass. A very good thing to keep it in pristine condition.
Inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry in France, the Overlord Embroidery was commissioned by Lord Dulverton of Batsford and designed by Sandra Lawrence. Each of the 34 panels depicts a scene is the story of the Normandy Landings on D-Day 6th June 1944. Each military leader is easily identifiable, even though facial features are created with fabric and stitching. If you want to read more about the Embroidery, you can go to: http://www.ddaymuseum.co.uk/
After the D-Day Museum, we went for lunch and then headed west, toward the Mary Rose and HMS Victory. Although my walking routine has increased by energy levels, I found myself getting tired as the board walk is miles long.
|Portsmouth Catherdral Chancel|
Sunny, breezy and refreshing, we made our way toward the docks. A group of actors in period costumes were handing out brochures for a local theatre, so that added to the character of the day.
Since “Bea” and I were flagging a bit, instead of the ships, we detoured and went to Portsmouth Cathedral. As we walked toward the Cathedral, we noticed a wedding group outside the church. The bells were ringing, signifying the wedding was over. We made our way inside and found that there was also an art show in the foyer. That was truly a delight for me, as a holder of a Bachelor in Fine Arts degree.
As we sat for a few minutes resting, the bride and groom—a royal naval officer in uniform—came back into the church for more photos. “Bea” surreptitiously snapped a photo of the couple. I stuck to taking photos of the chancel and stained glass windows. On the way out I took photos of the foyer. http://www.portsmouthcathedral.org.uk/
|Portsmouth Cathedral Foyer|
Since we had to meet back at the dropping off point by 4:00 pm, we moseyed our back to a bench and enjoyed the view from the hill overlooking the board walk. Finally we walked back to the board walk, where I found a place to have hot miniature donuts. Yes, I did share them.
It did my heart and soul good to be out, exploring, learning and fellowshipping with good friends. I know I’ll go to Portsmouth again, because it is a beautiful place and there is so much of historical significance to see. I’m now looking forward to the next opportunity for an outing.
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,