Monday, 6 August 2012

Love Me TENDER - Elvis Presley

Wandering through the 'sun-soaked' cemetery it dawned on me that my favourite ornamental tree has probably never featured on the Blog. A fine MONKEY PUZZLE, the deficit is now redressed.
On the way to the bus, and Portland Bill there were a couple of birds such as this DUNNOCK and a totally unobliging juvenile Robin.
Already news was coming through that the Red Arrows would not be able to perform at the event, so we had to make do with the GREY HERONs.
As we passed the TOWN BRIDGE it looked as if it was buckling under the weight of spectators on their way to watch the Olympic Sailing Finals.
There was really only time to get my daily 'fix' of the Island as Weymouth was beckoning, but this pair of RAVENs did put in an appearance
followed by a fly-pass.
SANDSFOOT CASTLE is a ruin of one of King Henry VIII's coastal fortifications but a prime vantage point to overlook Portland Harbour.
There, I was pleased to welcome this small group of ITALIAN SAILING FANS to the town,
while a little later on looking across NEWTON's COVE, there
was the pleasure of meeting the NORWEGIAN PARENTS of 2 of the countries National Sailing Stars, already making their way to the start line in Weymouth Bay.
Across NEWTON's and towards The Nothe people were a bit thin on the ground, but it was early days.
Arriving at the Nothe crowds were arriving from the Weymouth side and already you could feel the atmosphere,
with SWEDISH fans making the biggest splash of colour and sound. We all knew what we where here for, but how nice if the course marker buoys could have read
Portland and Weymouth 2012? All eyes were firmly focused on the sea where there was much to see.
Flags were flying,
HMS BULWARK lurked in the distance while in
PORTLAND HARBOUR racing had already begun.
That was when the first of the Gladiators arrived through the East Ship Channel led by Team GB's Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson in the 'STAR CLASS' boat.
As other boats arrived I was at pains to take a shot of the GERMAN entry as I was now in the company of 2 beautiful  young Frauleins who I'm hoping will see this and take a copy.
Ever wondered how we get to see such fantastic film footage of this fantastic event,
just take a look at this 'Eye on the World'.
Time to make my way back to town, on the way checking out the turnstiles at The Nothe,
the tightly packed cycle pound and
even more people wending there way along the length of the OUTER HARBOUR to find a vantage point.
and the ROWING BOAT FERRY which my Grandfather propelled almost up to his final days. I was now close to
HOPE SQUARE which was also slowly filling with people.
It was now definitely time for a pint and just a matter of luck as to who's company I fell but couldn't quite believe who was encountered.
School and Weymouth Youth Club mates Dave and Heather Coombs along with Fay and Alan Morris, who I do see from time to time but rarely get time to drink with, have been my friends since my arrival in the town in 1958.
The Swede's were once again making plenty of chanting noise and with very good reason having just taken GOLD in the Star Class.
A much sweeter sound was coming from the opposite direction as the Classic 60's/70's band REPLAY swung into action
before a most appreciative crowd. A crowd it was indeed, standing room only, and I don't remember ever seeing the Square quite so full.
It was a full micro-second before everyone was singing at the tops of their voices
with a little Jiving in the margins. All of this was sprinkled with news that first AINSLIE had taken GOLD then from Wimbledon MURRAY had followed suit - the place was in uproar.
Strolling back along Trinity Street there came a moment of Déjà vu as I looked across the quay
to see this 75 foot steal hulled FLEET 'TENDER' secures alongside. It was the LECHLADE which in 1976, as a Boatswain, was in my charge and from which we laid the courses for the WORLD SAILING CHAMPIONSHIPS and the OLYMPIC TRIALS. After the buoys were laid we would anchor and form one end of the 'Starting Gate' as we also carried both start officials and canons. After the days sailing was over we would recover the 'marks' return them to Weymouth before berthing back in Portland Dockyard.
During what was 2 of the best weeks of our lives, my crew and I rubbed shoulder with Olympians and Champions from all around the world, not least the then World and Olympic Champion RODNEY PATTISSON MBE. I still cherish this small token of appreciation presented after a successful games.

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