Sunday, May 10, 2009

HMS Illustrious

Thanks to a very generous invitation from Ian, I enjoyed a tour of HMS Illustrious yesterday afternoon.

I will be the first to confess that I know almost nothing about the military so I had little idea what to expect.

I was pleasantly surprised by how welcoming the crew were and how keen to show us around and explain how things worked.

The first thing that struck me was quite how large it was:



The second most surprising thing was how much access they gave us.  This is the "steering wheel":




And this is the ski-jump, which we were allowed to walk to the top of.  I was pleased to see they had installed a small net to catch anybody who happened to fall off...



However, this was the only piece of pandering to the health-and-safety mafia.   The James Bond-esque sinking floor was, gloriously, left entirely unprotected with fences or warning signs when it dropped away and left a gaping hole in the deck.  Hurrah!



Even more impressive was the machinery that underpinned this little piece of magic:



So, thank you to Ian for the invitation and to the Royal Navy for opening themselves up to ignorant people like me.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


A couple of blackbirds are hanging around by the flat and I'm convinced they must be servicing a nest somewhere but I just can't figure out where it is.

It would be quite nice to watch the young birds as they fledge but, knowing my luck, I'll probably miss it.