Wednesday, 9 September 2015

The Royal River Salute

On the 9th September, Queen Elizabeth became our longest reigning monarch, bumping her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, off of the top spot. To mark the occasion  there was to be a flotilla of boats led by the Royal barge Gloriana. It was hoped that a rolling wave of cheers and applause would follow the flotilla on it's journey from Tower Bridge (which would open for the occasion) to the Palace of Westminster

If you didn't go, you really didn't miss anything. The whole thing was staggeringly underwhelming. I decided to watch from the Albert Embankment opposite the H of P. Actually, not so much a decision as a necessity, as it was the only point I had a chance to get to, given that I had left it so late to leave home.

I got there just as The Gloriana cleared Westminster Bridge. It was followed by the Havengore, two fire boats, one of which, the Massey Shaw, was a Dunkirk Little Ship. There were also a couple of Police boats and a Thames cruise boat.

These were followed a few minutes later by something that didn't pass under the bridge but was making a variety of wonderful hooting, screaming noises from it's steam whistles. I later found that the source of these noises was what looked like converted (in a good way) trawler named the George Stephenson that, despite having folded its funnel and mast, clearly wasn't going to risk passing under the bridge with the tide as high as it was.

I'm not sure what I expected of the "flotilla" (the information I saw was a little vague about that) but it was a bit more than this and the expected wave of cheers/applause that the organisers hoped would follow this event from Tower Bridge to Westminster, if it ever started, had fizzled out long before it reached me!

On the other hand the weather wasn't too bad and it did get me out of the house slightly earlier than my natural lethargy suggested was possible.

By the way, I was wrong about the George Stephenson. Not a converted trawler but something altogether more interesting. Thank you to Joanna Moncrieff for pointing me in the right direction on this one.

Oh, and I should give a special mention to the crew of the rather lovely cruiser Elvin, who seemed delighted to have so many cameras pointed in their direction, even though they were not part of the flotilla!


That's it!

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