Cunard 175 - Liverpool 4th July 2015
I travelled up to Liverpool on the 3rd ready for Mary's arrival on the 4th, staying with my cousin John.  It had been 17 years since I was last in the city of my dad's birth and second home during my formative years and it's changed a lot.  Last time my dad was up in 2000 he hated what various councils had done to his beloved city.  He vowed never to return, which he didn't.  Now, due to health, he can't travel that far even if he changed his mind meaning it was just me on this jaunt.  One of the things I'd planned to do was catch Mary after her Southampton departure.  Unfortunately, due to tides, she was scheduled to arrive at 12.30am - eek!  As it turned out she ended up circling off Wales for three hours, arriving in Liverpool by midnight in a thunderstorm.  So in the morning, as the pleasure boat Balmoral was sailing at 9am, my cousin John took me to New Brighton to watch her sail.  It was a pity about the haze.  The Red Arrows did a flypast but by the time it was mentioned it was too late for many, including myself, to get there.  Later, John dropped me by the Liver Building so I could get some photos before the sailaway boat trip.  Many areas were closed off because they were doing a record breaking catwalk attempt.  The ferry was the Royal Iris of the Mersey, hence called so as not to get confused with the old Royal Iris on the Thames.  They picked up first at Seacombe at 9pm then Pier Head fifteen minutes later.  We tootled about as the sun went down, getting inaccurate commentary about Cunard and Mary along the way despite him supposedly being an expert.  My cousin's other half Jill lent me her jacket and a cardie in case it got cold.  Cardie stayed in my bag since the coat was warm enough.  Originally the fireworks were supposed to be at 10.30pm with Mary departing afterwards but instead they were at 10.18pm with Mary going fifteen minutes later.  By then we were being deafened by the ridiculously loud 'musical interlude' which ended up being several songs by Hughie Jones of The Spinners, and pissed off a LOT of people who were delighted when it finally shut the hell up.  It also drowned out Mary's whistle to everyone on the boat.  The skipper Ricardo would have been adored forever if he'd smashed whatever it was being played on especially since we'd been told it would be only ONE bloody song not practically an entire album.  Maybe they should tell their 'experts' to leave the music at home - or just leave them behind! - because the trip is for the public not them.  It was my only complaint about the entire boat ride.  The people on deck were great and we had such a laugh.  We headed back to Pier Head at 11pm then the rest were dropped back at Seacombe.

Happy anniversary, Cunard and here's to many more!  For photos of the three Queens in Southampton, click here.


© Patricia Dempsey 2nd & 4th July 2015
Not to be reproduced
without permission