Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria & Queen Elizabeth (II)
It was time for the 13th time all three Cunard Queens were together on the 10th August 2018.  It was also the 9th in their home port of Southampton since they began it back in January 2008 when QE2 was still in the fleet, although they erase both meets from history.  Mary was scheduled to arrive for 6.15am with the bookends fifteen minutes later.  For some reason, they changed Mary from Ocean Terminal to City and Vicky from Mayflower to Ocean.  My friend Stephen Morton had arrived the night before so we met up with him in Hythe before the arrivals.  This was to be longest, physical day since my surgery 37 days earlier.  It was a glorious morning.  All were going to be the correct way around - wow!  Until 2013, Mary used to turn at the Upper Swinging Ground when she docked in City but from 2014, she turned at the Lower Swinging Ground and went astern.  Because she is there so infrequently (this was the 8th time since 2008), I'd forgotten.  As Vicky neared, it looked like they were playing chicken.  She turned as Mary backed up while Betty did likewise off Dock Head and they were all running late as it was nearly 7am by now.
After a couple of hours back home, we met Stephen to catch the 9.40am ferry for the Shieldhall harbour tour.  It had started raining on and off.  Surprisingly, with the Queens being a tourist attraction, even without dodgy weather, for some reason they decided to run the much smaller Jenny Blue.  Most were in the small, sheltered bit.  It was my first time on her and she wasn't bad.  Due to Tony Cannings being a bit late, we caught a taxi to the Shieldhall due to more rain and thankfully they allowed everyone to board early.  Tony, his wife and kids arrived as did John and Roz Kennedy.  My dad decided to stay in the saloon keeping dry.  It was so windy we had trouble getting off the berth, which reminded me of my dad's last trip when QE2 arrived for the final time.  It rained on and off throughout the trip but a squall and thunderstorm meant we couldn't berth afterwards, so we tootled up past Hythe pier to wait for it to pass.
Back to Hythe pier for the sailaways and we sheltered in the waiting room hoping the rain would stop.  Thankfully they were running late so by the time any moved, it was blue sky again.  Mary moved first, with Betty following suit just after 6pm and led the way.  Poor Vicky was left to make up the rear again.  The lucky passengers then enjoyed the Red Arrows display for Cowes Week and a flyover near Ryde.  As I don't drive, I had to miss that sadly but ached anyway so couldn't wait to get home and rest.

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© Patricia Dempsey 10th August 2018
Not to be reproduced without permission