Cunard 175 - Southampton 2nd July 2015
Cunard 175 was upon us, having begun in May.  Rival ports Southampton (which they have used since 1911 and became their main departure port from 1919, getting the original Queens too) and Liverpool (their original main departure port where they also had their head office from 1840-1967 and 'spiritual home' as Cunard loves to call it, including inverted commas) shared the celebrations and are inextricably linked in the Cunard story whether Joe Anderson and Cunard obsessives liked it or not.  Southampton began the anniversary celebrations with the three Queens on the 3rd May, a low-key event unlike previous meetings.  Liverpool had a long weekend which had Mary arriving 24th May, all three meeting up for 2 hours on the 25th, QE sailing that same night after fireworks and QV going on the 26th.  Now they were about to share the Britannia transatlantic recreation.  Southampton's on the 2nd was what Cunard called a "Thank you" to the port and would feature a 25 minute display by the Red Arrows at 3.05pm, weather permitting, so we hoped it wouldn't be a repeat of their Jubilee Rendezvous in 2012 when they were cancelled because of the wind and rain.  The day started wet but by 2pm the sun was coming out - yay!  Massive crowd down the marina both sides of the lock but deja vu happened when weather prevented the planes from taking off from Bournemouth.  The slot ended at 3.35pm and they were clear for take off.  Bloody typical!  It would be a flypast now - or would it?  Nope!  They got as far as the Isle of Wight, waiting for permission to fly over, but cloud was too low so that was abandoned.  Many had left by then anyway and it was colder.
The departure time was changed to 5.30pm and it was flipping blue sky, gentle breeze and hot.  Now why couldn't it have been like that a few hours earlier???  Mary, for once, left bang on time!  A kid behind asked someone if she had a driver.  Bless.  As we were leaving some Americans arrived and were thrilled to see her sail, not realising she was in port today.  And so she was off to recreate a journey first made in 1840.


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