On Thursday we went to Portsmouth to see the Spinnaker Tower and look around the Gunwharf Quays Shopping Centre. The Spinnaker Tower was built to celebrate the Millennium and as part of the regeneration of Portsmouth Harbour. Rising to 170 metres above Portsmouth Harbour, the Spinnaker Tower is visible for miles around Portsmouth.
We approached the Tower passing the site where that abomination called The Tricorn had been built, now, thankfully, demolished. Parking is available at the Spinnaker tower complex but it is quite expensive (£6 for 5 hours) We were advised to buy our entrance tickets in advance so we were able to proceed straight to the lift to take us up to the first level. The views are breath taking. We managed to see as far as Chichester Cathedral on the east, the Isle of Wight, Gosport and in particular our old parish church of St. John’s, Forton on the west. It was a most wonderful experience and we stayed on the first level for quite some time before going up to the next level which is even higher. I’m afraid we didn’t venture up to what is called “the Crows Nest” which is an open area.
Portsmouth Harbour and the Solent are always busy with shipping of all shapes and sizes from Ocean going liners, Brittany Car Ferries heading to France and Spain, the Isle of Wight car ferries and catamarans, Navel Ships, the Gosport ferries and a multitude of local yachts and power boats. After a walk round the shops and a brief half of HSB at one of the pubs en route, we had lunch at the Spinnaker Cafe. We had a table overlooking the harbour where we could just sit and watch all the harbour activity. Interestingly, the new boat, sponsored by Jack Petchey was moored on one of the pontoons; this has been purchased for the Sea Cadets.
(Three generations of ships)
After lunch we drove to Clarence Pier and then along the seafront to Eastney before returning to our hotel on Hayling Island.
On Friday we went to Lee-on-the-Solent where we lived prior to going to Salisbury & Wells Theological College. It was interesting to see how much the place had changed and how much new development has taken place since we left. We loved living at Lee. One year, after a serious illness, during a hot summer I was able to swim every day. The beach was less than a 100 yards from our house so it took very little effort to leave the house and walk to the beach. We then set of back home.
One thing this nostalgic visit proved to me is how much my wife and I miss the sea. Let’s face it there’s no sea at Romford!