Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A right Royal send off

Those of you in the UK and maybe even beyond, may have discovered that a grand old lady is being retired. The flagship of the Cunard line and a much loved British icon, the QE2 made her last voyage out of Southampton last night.

Southampton is the home port of the Cunard line and the QE2. Living within walking distance of the river we just couldn't let this historic moment go by without being a part of it. So last night, after madam had been to Brownies, we walked down to the bridge and stood with the crowds to wave her goodbye.

We get many huge and beautiful cruise ships sailing from Southampton, such as the Arcadia, Aurora, Oriana, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. It's always a bonus if we happen to be down by the water and see one of these magnificent ships sailing in or out of port. However, we generally don't follow the shipping movements or go out of our way to see them.

The QE2 is different. There was always a special thrill and a buzz when she was in port. That unmistakable red funnel stood out among the much larger ships in port. She is far smaller than many of the vast and more modern cruise ships now using the port but I think that is part of her appeal.

So, after 41 years and nearly six million nautical miles, this epitome of cruise luxury is on her way to Dubai to become a luxury floating hotel. A most touching part of yesterday's farewell was a fly past by a Tiger Moth that dropped a million poppies over the ship to mark the 90th Anniversary of the Armistice.

Of course, there were fireworks too.

Bit blurry but you get the idea?!

I managed to get one not too blurry shot as she started to leave port.....and just before my camera batteries died!!

Here are a few interesting facts from The Telegraph website:

'In 1995, the QE2 managed to withstand a 30-metre high wave breaking across her bow during Hurricane Luis

In 2001, the QE2 sailed into Lisbon with a 19-metre long finback whale impaled on her bow.

In March 1975, the QE2 made its first transit of Panama Canal, making it the biggest ship ever to travel through the canal. There was less than a foot to spare as the ship made its way through the canal locks.

Beatrice Muller, from New Jersey, has used the QE2 as a retirement home for 14 years, having paid around £3,500 a month for the privilege. Now 89, she is still deciding what she will do after the QE2’s final voyage – but says she plans to remain at sea.'

That's just four of fifty fascinating facts about this great ship. My Minx summed it up last night when she looked up at me with tear filled eyes and said 'But I don't want her to go Mummy...why can't we keep her?'

Aww bless her.

She barely knew the ship even existed before last night!!

After all that emotion, here's some evidence of craftiness.

Presents for Minx's friend's birthday. A pencil case and accidentally rather large zippy pouch:

These are finished too.

...and this continues to grow:

I'll be back here at the weekend with news of a bloggy meet up here. I'm running away on Friday and will even be staying in a hotel with Locket and her very bossy BIG sister Ally :-)

Wish me luck ;-)


Katy said...

real poppies? A million? Blimey. I wouldn't want to sweep them up.

Ooh, the blog meet is a looming - I hope you and Locket behave in a hotel room without husbands. DON'T drain the mini bar, and DON't order room service and scoff it in bed. Ok?

(thankfully the bossy sister will be there to sort you out)

Rachel said...

Wow, that last shot of the ship with all the lights blazing must have looked really stunning "in the flesh" as it were.
Have fun at the fair! I'm quite jealous - I've left it far too late to arrange a visit myself so make sure you take loads of pics, I shall want to hear all about it next week!

Working Mom Knits said...

What a wonderful send off! I heard about the retirement on yesterday's news and couldn't help remembering a conversation with an elderly lady friend who'd just returned to the US via your ship. Her children living in London had treated her to a voyage in celebration of her 80th birthday. When I asked how she liked it, she said it was wonderful - especially because she and her traveling companion were the YOUNGEST passengers aboard!

I am so glad Family Moog were there to wave her off.

ps: I trust you and LLP will do your best to keep Trashy in line this weekend : )

Ali said...

A friend of mine has been working on the re-fit project of the Ship. I hated hearing about it - such a cheesy end to a wonderful piece of floating history.

And I can hear all about Friday on Saturday! Yippee!

the vicious chicken said...

Oooh, your secret production-line crafting is frustrating; I want to see what it is!!

Fabulous QE2 facts there, missus... and those blurry firework photos are truly beautiful - proper little works of art - much nicer than they would have been if in sharp focus, in my opinion. My firework photos have never looked half as good!

Have a lovely bloggy meet-up, and make sure you take lots of pictures to show us all when you get back!!

Gina said...

Wonderful to see but so sad she has to be retired... I'm with Minx, it would have been nice if she could have stayed in this country. Looking forward to Friday!

Thimbleanna said...

Wow Lesley! What a fantastic experience. I believe I'd have tears in my eyes too. And Dubai? That just doesn't seem right! Thank you SO much for sharing your exciting evening with us.

And have a fantastic time with Ms. Lucy. I'm so jealous that you'll be getting together with even more bloggers. I hope you guys get some rest -- I'm confident it won't be easy LOL!

Lucy Locket-Pocket said...

Well all I've got to say is you'd better hope the BIG SISTER doesn't read this before Friday or you will be in even more trouble than me!!!!!

Lovely sewing and crocheting too!

Locket xxx

P.S. word verif is "tallst" - that's BIG sis, the tallest!

dottycookie said...

Fabulous photies Mrs Moog. I trust the three of you will BEHAVE on Friday night or there will have to be stern talkings to on Saturday ;-)

French Knots said...

Just like the fireworks we had in the garden last week! I wish.
Have a brilliant time!

artisbliss said...

Love the QE2 photos. It's too bad, but all good things must come to an end eventually.

I think I'm not getting you're e-mails. If you know what you'd like in trade for your chicken just post a note on my blog. Thanks!

artisbliss said...

I haven’t gotten it yet, but I’m sure it will arrive soon. I know you don’t expect anything in return but I’d really like to send you something. How about a pair of hand dyed bamboo silk socks? You’d love them.

Kaz said...

Aaww that must have been really something watching the old bird leave.

Lovely craftiness again and I can't wait to find out what your pile is!!

Have a fabby time on the weekend.

wonderwoman said...

great pics - i wish i'd known earlier or we would have come down -must have been some send off!!


Julie said...

Thank you for sharing this piece of history Lesley. My Mum has been on cruises on the QE2 so she's sad to see it go. I agree, it should have stayed here.

Have a great time on Friday.

picperfic said...

My friend texted me to tell me she had been to see the QE2 leave Southampton for the last time. Thank you for posting this, I miss Southampton when special things like this happen...those poppies must have looked amazing!

monkee maker said...

Wow - that looked like some leaving party. The blurry shots look brill - they add a kind of romantic angle!

Heavens to mergatroyd you've been busy on the crafting front, I love the pencil case and pouch.

Hope you all have a fabulous time at the weekend .... go wild!


Rachelmp said...

What a great experience. I would have loved seeing all those poppies fall from the sky. I have craft fair AND crochet envy here too x

Jodie said...

Please hug locket for me - a big squeezy one (We are getting married you know).

Charlie P said...

Sniff...bye bye QE2!
You've been very very busy on the crafting front, haven't you? I'm dying to know what those red and greed buttony things are.
Have fun with Locket on Friday (but not too much fun because we'll all be jealous) and don't forget Lofty and Gloria! :)

monda-loves said...

enjoy your bloggy meet up with Mrs Locket and her bossy sister - sadly I am far too busy to go along to the country living show this year - hope you take lots of pics to show us.


JuliaB said...

Ahh... what a lovely but sad post. You are lucky seeing all those ships. My dad sailed on the original Oriana in the 60's so I have been to s'oton a few times to see various cruise ships! And Mr M's family (from liverpool) apparently worked on the original fit of the QE2. Cruise ships are so evocative of glamour don't you think? Lovely pressies too! x

marit said...

We used to watch QE2 sailing in to Geiranger from our former home, and we've seen her many times in G. Always special when she came to port. Thanks for sharing the facts:-)

Have a great weekend!

Bethany Hissong said...

I've caught the crochet bug and I'm thinking a ripple blanket is in my future... yours looks great so far!!

syko kajsa said...

Oh, there is the blanket, coming up very nicely I can see! I'm so envious of your blog meetings, one day I will turn up on one of those, after all it's only a 2 hour flight.