Stop Press - Have just arrived home from Weymouth (17:20) where the weather is excellent, the crowds are gathering and already there is a carnival atmosphere. As I approached the Pavilion the 'alarms' went off as a result of a fire within. 7 fire appliances, 4 ambulances and a squadron of cycling paramedics were on the scene before the camera was brought to bear. I can report no more than that except to say the Pleasure Pier was evacuated and there has been a furore ever since. For early readers this report may be the first you have heard of the incident, but with live media coverage coming from that very spot the whole world will have now been informed. Let's hope everyone is safe and well.
Beyond the horizon of the place we lived when we were young
In a world of magnets and miracles
Our thoughts strayed constantly and without boundary
The ringing of the division bell had begun
On such a day, one that I and MILLIONS of others have been awaiting with baited breath, it would have been appropriate to have included 2 headlines, the other being the correct title of that track
which I'm sure we all have for Team GB - bring it on!
At 08:12 precisely this morning, as Bill Turnbull and Sian Williams was interviewing Martin Creed,
the whole Nation joined hands to ring in the 30th Modern (Summer) OLYMPIC GAMES. Creed, along with his infectious smile was there to explain his work of are as a passage of music that anyone could contribute to. Rather than construct an edifice, which only a few would be able to visit wherever sited, he opted to allow the masses to join in an extravaganza of Bell Ringing - WELL DONE Mr Creed your Nation stands proud!
What better way could I start this historic day than with a huge portion of Ego Stimulation, as our 172nd country, VANUATU, joined the readership.
To continue the Olympic (backdrop) theme, Andy, Dawn and I (see yesterday post) paid a visit to my beloved Portland to view what will be the Sailing Arena from one of the best vantage point, strangely outside of the Verne (high security) Prison. Centre, is the thriving Portland Port, distantly and beyond the breakwaters is Weymouth Bay where the larger yachts will compete and in the foreground the Naval Cemetery where lies the body of one of our greatest heroes Jack_Foreman_Mantle VC
From left to right the National Sailing Academy, Portland Marina, Mulberry Units, Queen's Pier jutting into the open expanse of Portland Harbour.
Verne Common Estate lies in the foreground before the 18 miles run of Chesil Beach, a Natural Wonder of the World. Millions of tons of pebbles naturally 'self sort' with the larger (potato) sized ones at this end gradually diminishing to fine gravel in the far distance.
include the Cruise Liner ARTANIA with the Portland Fuel Barge SARA alongside.
The afore mentioned MULBERRY HARBOUR UNITS
and competitors commencing practises for their Big Day. Security here is now paramount and a mammoth task but we are all under the ever watchful eye of the ROYAL NAVY, in the shape of
HMS OCEAN, Great Britain's largest warship, passing the Portland Bird Observatory (archive) doubtless crammed full of Special Boat Services and Royal Marines - Bless Em -
In addition the DORSET POLICE HELICOPTER is Watcher of the Skies (Genesis).
From the Verne we continued out tour to TOUT QUARRY which remains under ownership of the Portland Stone Firms who allow budding Masons, Sculptors and the General Public free access.
Among the hundreds of sculptures stands a Druid style STONE CIRCLE which is occasionally used by such groups as Dolmen, Elfin etc for their ceremonies. Here you can see Drew and his wife Id.
Singularly my favourite 'man made' structure on the Island, which has feature herein on more than one occasion. None of my guests are allowed to miss LANO's BRIDGE which is said to have been built by the Quarry Man during his lunch breaks. ANDY and MOI.
Walking through the arch, this is the view that greets the eye - WOW (Kate Bush) does it get any better than this? If so answers on a post card please. All along the walk through the quarry and along the West Cliff we were meeting people from all nations and thus far we had stopped to talk to a Jamaican family, 2 German lads
and now here we were meeting up with sister from Chicago, USA and a Dutch friend left, what a buzz to welcome these people to the Magic Island! We furthered our walk around The Bill and East Cliff as far as Reedy Ditch before returning to my second home
PORTLAND BIRD OBSERVATORY
where, as ever we received a warm welcome (and tea) from Martin Cade (Warden), Prof Peter Morgan (Chairman and Warden Apparent during Martin and Families 'summer holiday' [Cliff Richard] along with wife Rosie), John Lucas (Committee) and long time Members Ricky and Sandra Lambert.
Not open to the general public, it is always considered a privilege to be able to climb the TOWER
and a welcome bonus for my guests
especially Dawn who have never been to the top of a Lighthouse before. Not surprisingly Weymouth is now buzzing with people and tables for dinner at a premium. We had no luck with a telephone reservation so we would now have to lean on my mate in the Prezzo Italian Restaurant for a vacancy. Walking to any date in Weymouth I have to build in a 'cackling factor' as it is inevitable I meet someone and stop for a chat. Last evening the boot was very much on the other foot
as we approached the restaurant Andy recognised a couple of likely lads walking towards us. ROB SELBY and his mate NORMAN, Macams both, they were in Portland fitting fire and safety devices to a Cable Ship that can just be seen in the first photograph taken from the Verne (above).
Andy who is Chief Engineer on Technips owned DEEP CONSTRUCTOR and responsible for such modification had met the lads once in Mobile, Alabama, USA and once in Vitoria, Brazil. So what chance then of meeting 2 people who live in Sunderland that you have only met twice, on the other side of the world, or even remembering each other for that matter.
finally and as a pointer to any who may visit our very special town. Andy and Dawn tell me of the comfort and quality of the OAKLANDS EDWARDIAN GUESTHOUSE, for instance the best bacon and sausage either have ever eaten.