Southampton Says Goodbye To Queen Elizabeth 2
I dread to think how small the Harrier and military display came out on Patrick's mobile. He took quite a few photos for someone not interested.  As we were leaving, I told her not to blast or Patrick would spank her when he was back on board. She did. His face! So I told her not to do it again or she'd get a right caning. She did two more! It was hysterical, even though I could've killed her because the video was in my bag!  Always was an awkward cow.  One reason I love her so much.  We said goodbye to Patrick and after he kissed me, saying he'd see me next month, we watched him walk down the pier towards the ferry. We then passed some time in Hythe, we decided we may as well go over to the Red Funnel terminal to wait.  There was a coastguard helicopter flying about doing something and also a rainbow over the Itchen bridge, even though it hadn't rained since the crack of dawn.  As we slowly walked down the pier, deliberately avoiding catching Great Expectations, we bumped into John from the Three Queens Day and my cruise twenty days before.  We chatted a bit, he took our photo then we went our separate ways.
It was standing room only on Hotspur.  As we set off, I couldn't believe this would be the last time we would sail past her going to town.  The sun was setting, the moon out, the weather cold but otherwise perfect.

I'd told my dad to video, since we would never get the chance again and she was looking really beautiful in the late afternoon light.

It was appropriate really the last shot of her from the ferry after all these years was taken from our old lady as we gazed upon Cunard's.
We talked to the ferry man and also a student who had done the trip several times that day.  He was from Plymouth and doing a film for university.  I was surprised when he asked if he could ask me a few questions for it.  So we went outside, using Lizzie as a backdrop but he only asked two.  We ended up talking about ships and lamenting how they're all boring now because of being the same.  He got on the next ferry while me and my dad continued down the road to the Red Funnel terminal.  It was packed with people waiting for the 6pm ferry.  Fay arrived, having come over from the Island.  She'd been given the opportunity to change to the Cowes one but she decided to keep this.  As I was showing her my photos of the morning, an elderly gentleman appeared and also looked.  He was full of questions.  Then we were entertained by two jugglers in sailors outfits who were very funny.  When they'd finished, the elderly man had vanished.
We began boarding at 6.15pm and went up to the top first of all.  We could hear the noise from Mayflower Park, as well as the Silver Beatles before South Today began on the big screen.  Lizzie's funnel was peeking tantalisingly above Town Quay.
It was getting crowded so Faith suggested we went down to the car deck because it might be better.  She knew these ferries better than us so we followed her.  At 6.45pm we cast off and made our way to join the flotilla already surrounding our girl, Red Falcon the other side having come up from Cowes.  Then we waited.
Lizzie's departure time was listed as 7.15pm, where she would be backed up to Mayflower Park for the fireworks.  All the boats gradually moved away so we knew something was happening.  Her final ropes were cast at 7.18pm but it was another four minutes until she blasted, letting everyone know she was on the move.  The moment everyone in and around Southampton plus Lizzie fans around the world had been dreading since the 18th June 2007 when it was announced she'd been sold had arrived.  It was now the very long beginning to an extremely sad end.  As she was slowly pulled away from her home, disco lights bounced off her from the quayside.  They turned her and we moved too.  As it was too crowded at the front, Fay and I went the other end since she'd be coming that way while my dad stayed put with the video.
Once the fireworks had come to their climax, Lizzie blasted which made her aquatic escort parp to her.  I'm sure some honked horns from Town Quay and Mayflower Park as well.  Then she began her incredibly slow journey down that familiar stretch of water towards the Solent and beyond.  The AIS archive had her at 4 knots.  She blasted on and off en route to the QEII Terminal.
The events list stated there would be flares as she passed her home but instead it was fireworks from the dockside.  As she neared Hythe, two Fawley tugs waited for her, plumes of water coming from them.  This would have been better in daylight, or at the very least dusk.  Hythe also let off fireworks.
Another Fawley tug was waiting for her at Netley.  She was still doing 4 knots but at least with her slowness it gave everyone watching along the shoreline plenty of chances to see her.  Patrick phoned at the most inopportune moment.  My battery was practically dead as it waa, being unable to recharge it since 3am.  He had watched the fireworks from the window and was now on the bow, wind making it difficult to hear him.  We said our farewells again until he phoned the next day and would be back on the 4th December after spending a week in Dubai with his nephew.
The tugs returned to Fawley and she picked up speed.  At Calshot flares were fired with a few fireworks let off.  She was still blasting on and off coming down the water.
All the boats bar Red Eagle and Red Falcon left her at Calshot.  They parped goodbye and she responded.  She went round the Hook at over 12 knots and headed along Calshot beach.  Red Falcon turned off to head into Cowes, Lizzie blasting but getting silence, leaving just us escorting her but we were starting to slow.
We went to the front to get our last shots of her them the ferry stopped as she continued on her way, giving her three blasts on our horn but she didn't reply which was disappointing.  Then gradually we picked up speed as we set a course back to the Royal Pier.

We all stayed on deck, frozen and numb, watching as she got smaller and smaller until she was difficult to see among the lights.  Then we went in for a hot drink and cake and a look at the Lizzie merchandise.  Nice farewell voyage poster ruined by having 1967-2008!  Everything was what you could buy onboard but for less.  It was all over.  We said goodnight to Fay, found our taxi and came home.

A very long and expensive day gone in the blink of an eye like
Lizzie.  And to think, if it hadn't been for Southampton Events, we'd have had nothing and she'd have gone as a normal sailing.  Unbelieveable, especially considering how often Carol Marlow et al spout about the company's heritage.  It's all spin.  They only care about money.  At the time of writing it still hasn't sunk in.  I've been a bit teary at times but to me, having seen her come and go all these years from the house, waterfront or even on ships, it feels like just another sailing and she'll be back in a couple of weeks only she never will return to Southampton again.  I dread to think what they'll do to her in Dubai but whatever it is, as soon as they cut her heart out and she can no longer sail, she's dead.  The Lizzie we all know and love will be no more.  I'm glad we did the boat trips, even though we didn't
escort her up Southampton Water in the morning.  It all certainly made for a very memorable day in more ways than one.

Lizzie Beth.  You were the first one I took photos of when I really got into this ship nut lark back in 1987 and also the first one I cruised on.  Thanks for everything, especially the unexpected bonuses since December like the birthday cake
and visits thanks to Patrick.  I'll never forget you, Lizzie, and will love you forever.


© Patricia Dempsey 11th November 2008
Not to be reproduced without permission