All the nice girls love a sailor

Gosport Travel Blog

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Lord Nelson's flagship, HMS Victory at Portsmouth Dockyards

After a phone call to the recommended mechanic we set off to Stubbington.  Andrew seems amazed that I don't need a map.  I lived here.  I worked nearby and walked this place over 18 years between postings around the Naval Air bases.  We are asked to leave the van with the mechanics and set off into the village for a fried breakfast.  Next we catch a bus to Gosport, then a ferry to Portsmouth.  Head for the now 'Historic Dockyards' of Portsmouth and on to visit HMS Victory, Lord Nelson's flagship and the ship he died on.  They have made it into a wonderful exhibit and we marvel at it's age.  Then on the year ticket we go to see the Mary Rose.

Below decks on HMS Victory
  She is even older having sunk near Portsmouth Harbour in 1535.  The story of her retrieval and raising to the surface and subsequent procedures to preserve her are herculean.  If nearby we really recommend that you go and see her.

The bad news is confirmed about our vehicle and a second hand motor might be impossible to source along with the prospect of being without a vehicle for travelling for a couple of  weeks.  We head back to the caravan park and book in for another night, have another beer and use the internet to look at our options.  We check wreckers numbers to find a place to dump the vehicle as we know we won't get money for it.  Ring a campervan hire place that has MPVs as well and ask for a 130 day price.  He gets us to come up with an offer so we ring him the next day after we have some ideas! His operation is at the back of HMS Daedalus airfield which was kind of over our back fence when I lived there.

HMS Victorious honour board, the aircraft carrier my father served on
  Thirty eight years ago and more I would often walk our dog down to the beach front and the road would have military police stopping the traffic momentarily.  Out of the Naval base a hovercraft would glide across the road, down the slipway and into the Solent.  These were the prototypes and I watched history being created.

We negotiate with the owner of the hire company for an MPV.  He has a Mazda with about 36,000 miles on it and it is great.  The seats do not lie down flat so we tell him that we don't want the five seats and a deal is struck.  We give him the Nissan and his spaniel Grace is happy after hopping in the Mazda to come with us she accepts that she is relegated to the Nissan.   We head back to London to do our washing and to repack the van to prepare to go back to Europe.  While looking for ferry routes and fares on the internet, Andrew finds a couple of folk festivals and as one is in Oxford on the coming weekend, the other is over Easter in Fareham, Hampshire.  We decide to book a ferry to Bilbao, Spain for the Tuesday after Easter.  This means two nights in a cabin on the ferry as it is a 30+ hour trip. 

OXFORD!!!!!   Where my grandparents and parents lived.  Where we as children had school holidays. Most of all, there is a huge mention of Morris Dancing on the programme.  I am stoked.

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Lord Nelsons flagship, HMS Victor…
Lord Nelson's flagship, HMS Victo…
Below decks on HMS Victory
Below decks on HMS Victory
HMS Victorious honour board, the a…
HMS Victorious honour board, the …
photo by: clearviews