By Masturbius (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
A few weeks ago an invitation dropped through our letter box inviting us to a reception on board HMS Argyll. It has been a some years since we were last on a ship. Edward was a career Naval Officer for many years, so it was going back to the past.
A Trip To Glasgow
On Saturday 7th March 2015, we drove to Glasgow where the Argyll was berthed. You could see the super structure bristling with radar and other devices long before coming along side. Argyll has recently been involved in chasing drug runners in the Caribbean.
The Lynx helicopter had been flown off the ship leaving the hanger and flight deck clear to be covered by an awning. Tables had been set up either side with small eats and horrors of horrors tea and orange juice. We have never been to a reception in all Edward's naval life where no Gin & tonics or Horses Necks served. Evidently the reason being, our new strict drink driving laws up here prevented alcohol from being offered. Just like American Naval vessels, dry, and only tea and sticky buns for a cocktail party. There is another tale here.
The Grand Tour
A tour of the ship showed that although equipment had been upgraded, things had not changed too much. Edward felt so at home especially when looking into the Wardroom. I knew how many hatches and ladders to be climbed up and through so chose to forgo the tour and stayed on the flight deck talking to some of the crew. Polite, willing and smartly dressed, it would do some young people good to acquire even a fraction of the discipline.They all looked so young!
The afternoon finished with the ceremony of Sunset, where the Ensign is lowered and, as we used to say "the Queen put to bed" There were Drummers and Buglers from the Royal Marines playing the sunset call. No matter where ships are in the world, 365 days a year at sunset this ceremony is carried out. For hundreds of years this has been a tradition and it is still very moving to see. One of those situations where the hairs stand on the back of your neck.