June 5/2023: So… this involves a string of remarkable coincidences. Number one: my mother at age 15 went on a family trip to Ireland and the UK and was in England when Elizabeth was crowned queen in 1953. Number two: Twenty years later, in 1973, Prince Charles sailed into Portsmouth NH on HMS Minerva, on which he served as an officer, to help celebrate the town’s 350th birthday. He spent three days here, much of it in the company of Arthur Brady, the town’s mayor. During the visit, he had tea in Brady’s house on Pleasant Street, where I now live with my family. Number three: Fifty years after that, HMS Scott, a Royal Navy survey vessel (see image up top, of Scott in the wild) arrived in Portsmouth to help celebrate the town’s 400th birthday.
HMS Minerva arrives in Portsmouth in 1973
Arthur Brady (left) and Prince Charles (right) touring Portsmouth in 1973, just down the street from our house
Yesterday I happened to notice HMS Scott on the waterfront and stopped by to pass a note onboard inviting two of the ship’s officers to join us for dinner in the house where Charles once had tea 50 years earlier. Much to my delight, I soon afterward received a call that my invitation had been accepted!
Post dinner group shot! From left to right: HMS Scott’s Navigation Officer Daisy Kelly-Fletcher, wife Clare, neighbor Jeff Bolster, First Officer Jim Chapman, neighbor Molly Bolster, neighbor Sooky Lassen
We had an absolutely fantastic time, with much good feeling and many hugs shared all around. And to reciprocate, officers Jim and Daisy had us aboard HMS Scott for a tour this afternoon.
Jim in Scott’s wardroom, ‘splaining what the ship does, conducting deep ocean surveys all around the world
Daisy shows off the ship’s bearing compass on the bridge
My offspring Jay relaxes in the captain’s chair
Daisy in her quarters
Jim discusses damage control while Jay suits up to fight a fire
Jay is ready to rock!
A mold for making more ship’s propellers, just in case. The engines run at a constant RPM and speed is controlled by varying the pitch of the blades on the one propeller
Anchor windlasses on deck
Many many many thanks to our new best friends in the Royal Navy.
There are further ancillary coincidences.
Number four: Queen Elizabeth died on my mother’s birthday, September 8. Number five: to celebrate Jay’s 18th birthday, we traveled to England to attend a big fancy horse horse show at Badminton and were in England when Charles was crowned king. Number six: Charles was in fact crowned on Jay’s birthday, May 6.
In between cross-country rounds at Badminton, I tried a few of the jumps myself
King Charles III, monarch at last, with his heirs
How about that???