Tuesday, 3 May 2016

We Were Up Early,

we had a busy day planned,

Duncan very kindly dropped us off at the Historic Naval Dockyard in Chatham,

we made our way past some of the exhibits,

like this, one of the early covered vessels dating from 1838,

we made our way to this beauty,

built in 1878,

with Diana in the foreground,

we were blessed with a nice cold in the morning but sunny day,

the vessels figure head,

our next port of call took us past the H. M. Submarine Ocelot, built in 1962, the bulge at the front is for sonar, which is used as radar does not work underwater,

we passed one of the guns on display,

and H.M.S. Cavalier, built in 1944,

Diana strikes the pose,

as we passed one of the helicopters on display,

we took a little rest,

 as we made our way to the ropery,

we were introduced to our guide,

and were taken to the start of the tour,

we were told that the H. M. S. Victory, a 1st. rate 100 gun ship needed over 31 miles of rope,

we were then taken on a small rope making facility,

where our guide,

took us through,

all of the processes,

that were needed,

to make rope in a small demonstration,

it was a bit complicated, trying to work out if the gear on the extreme right turned anti-clockwise which way would the gear on the bottom left turn?

the demonstration,


a few volunteers begun,

as our guide made a length of rope,

we then took a tour of the ropery,

it is over a quarter of a mile long,

we were told earlier that all ropes in naval dockyards is colour  coded, in this case a blue yarn is woven into the rope, showing it is made in Chatham, other ropereys have different colours woven into them, to stop theft and reselling of these top quality ropes, 

back to the ropery looking from one end,

zooming half way down, past one of the bicycles used to travel the works, 

then past that to the far end, 

naturally I had to strike the pose,

we walked past one of the ropery machines,  

and out of the building,

halfway along it,

so I took a panorama of one side, it is 346 m (1135 ft) long, and when constructed was the longest brick built building in Europe capable of laying a 1,000 ft(300 m) rope,

we passed our guide waiting outside for the next tour,

as we made our way to the Ajax, 

which was in steam,

the main end ready for action,

all set for the driver to take charge,

next on our places to visit,

it looked so big from the outside, but the huge tanks on the outside hold seawater for ballast, the crew have the narrow bit in-between them,

our guide for the tour introduced us to the submarine, she mentioned that taller people should take care not to bump their heads, she was right with that one, several times for me!

another coloured coded rope, steal one of these from the Royal Navy at your peril!

and this is what many times it is all about, a torpedo,

and 6 of the tubes they are fired from,

to make your way through the submarine you have to go through these hatches,

the sleeping quarters are small,

as were many areas on the submarine,

we could hardly make our way through some of the companionways

the Captain had his own cabin, but in truth it was so small,

the sonar shack almost seemed bigger,

it was a huge big boys toy,

Diana by the main periscope,

the controls look so complicated,

the drivers seat where the seaman steers the vessel,

more taps to turn,

the kitchen looks small but has to feed 68 crew,

we made our way into the engine room, 

two huge diesel engines, 

that power the vessel and produce electricity for submerged running,

more taps to turn,

next a electrical panels,

these I guess to monitor the condition of the batteries,

and then we were out, you may have noticed there were no showers, baths or washing machines, each crew member was allowed drinking water only, none for washing or shaving and just one change of clothes, and the tour of duty was for 90 days, phew! 

a quick pose for the camera,

the vessel was the last submarine built in Chatham for the Royal Navy in 1962, but 3 more were built for the Royal Canadian Navy,

we decided on a snack,

as we made our way to the restaurant a dockyard train was steaming towards and past us,

the restaurant was in one of the engine sheds,

a work in progress,

the cafe made from a waggon sans wheels,

we both chose a sandwich each, 

smoked salmon for myself,

and a huge sausage sandwich for Diana,

the same dockyard train,

the engineer looking,

at the invisible steam turning into water vapour that we can see,

we made our way to the exit,

where whilst waiting for a taxi Ajax caught up with us,

next stop Rochester High Street,

for the annual sweeps holiday, for three days every year chimney sweeps had 3 days off work, so to celebrate a unique British festival the town celibates,

which means that shopkeepers bring their wares,

on to the street,

along with instruments to play for the kids,

and Morris dancers for the adults,

some 60 teams,

in different costumes,

arrive for the event,

so let the dancing commence,

for this uniquely British tradition,

with a hop and a skip,

the performance scrutinised,

by one of the band,

the dance certainly keeps you fit, it was so cold, but the dancers when finished had worked up quite a sweat,

the dance was being watched by some of the competition,

which he thought was funny,

we made our way through the crowd,

until we saw these chimney sweeps,

getting ready for their show, 

with blackened faces and feathered hats,

cue the band,

and it is all go,

we then saw this gentleman,

I am guessing the head sweep,

two teams take time out,

whilst another team's member looks on,

both teams and visitors take a rest at one of the streets gardens,


in the street the show goes on,

it was getting crowded,

the chilly morning not putting visitors off,

a group of troubadours,

we decided to take a look at the outside of Rochester castle, so a slight diversion,

some of the performers taking a well earned break,

Diana with the castle in the distance,

we made a move for home,

passing a class for dancing,

by now it was hot and the crowds of happy families getting bigger by the hour,

we caught the train back to Bromley, going over the Rochester bridge the Russian submarine that had been bought a a tourist attraction looked the worse for ware, I guess someone floated the idea, but it did not take,

changing trains and arriving at Beckenham junction, we called in for a drink, coke for Diana, larger and lime for myself, we arrived back at Steve and Kai's home, where after our evening meal watched some television, then with tired legs we were off to bed.

No comments: