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  1. Thanks for the splendid pictures of Arundel - though they do prompt the sad thought that this year there’ll be no Sussex cricket match at the ground in the castle park, the most beautiful venue for first-class cricket in the country. I too am lucky enough to live in a beautiful area, and being unable to leave the IoW for over 3 months has been no real hardship. I’m very happy to keep clear of thoughtless youths - and not just them, as there also seem to be quite a few of older generations who are behaving as though the whole virus threat is a hoax. But I have a constant reminder from my window of the economic havoc that is being caused - most of the Marella cruise ships, occasional Cunard and P&O visitors, and other smaller cruise ships, all anchored uselessly in Sandown Bay. And if you are among the people whose livelihoods and finances have been wrecked by the lockdown, I am sure it’s hard to be as relaxed as I can afford to be about the situation.
  2. Thanks - a great quiz (but I would say that, having surprised myself by getting 44). The Fish Called Wanda connection is that John Cleese’s character is called Archie Leach. In case anyone hasn’t heard the old story : some newspaper fact-checker sent a telegram to Cary Grant’s agent, asking ‘How old Cary Grant?’. Cary happened to be in the office and opened the telegram, and replied ‘Old Cary Grant OK. How you?’.
  3. She needs to turn hard to starboard, or she will miss the channel.
  4. There are comments on the Marella ships in Sandown Bay under ‘Cruise ships start to be culled’ thread under News. It is indeed a completely unprecedented sight - and sound, as on the recent dead calm days it’s been possible to hear their emergency drills, even though they’re 2-3 miles offshore. They also periodically go for a spin south of the island. Others will know better than me what for - emptying ballast? The coastguard helicopter carried out a medevac from Discovery 2 on Thursday. Apparently a crew member fell in from a support boat alongside and gouged his leg on a propellor (presumably the support boat’s, not Discovery’s). Was taken off to hospital in Southampton.
  5. She is currently to be seen at anchor out in Sandown Bay. In my view she’s a very attractive design, a modest size vessel on the lines of the Fred Olsen ships, and in my view much to be preferred to the floating office blocks that the industry has moved on to. Having said that, for the last week there have also been three other, more modern, Marella vessels also at anchor in the bay - Explorer, Explorer 2, and Discovery 2 - and they are not bad lookers either. But from my vantage point above the bay I have never in 26 years seen one cruise ship at anchor there more than briefly, let alone four at once. The costs and loss of income must be enormous, and given the bad publicity about people being trapped on board with the virus, not to mention the financial hit many are now taking, the future does not look bright for cruise operators. I agree that, sadly, others will follow Marella Celebration to the scrapyard.
  6. A great picture of MV Hamnavoe, seen at Stromness, from where it does the short crossing to Scrabster (so will not benefit from the promised improvements at Kirkwall). I did the trip last year, and it’s a very comfortable and attractive ship. It was however very lightly loaded, and I did wonder whether they were losing out to the competition from Pentland Ferries, whose route to Orkney is shorter, cheaper and more frequent. We had booked a repeat trip for this April, including the overnight cabin and breakfast offer for the morning sailing from Stromness. When it became clear that the holiday would not happen, I received a quick and full refund from Northlink, despite the terms and conditions allowing them to keep part of the payment if they’d insisted. An object lesson to some other ferry companies one can think of. Overall, my experience of Serco on this route was very positive : surprising, since their reputation in other areas, including as mentioned the upgraded Caledonian sleeper is terrible.
  7. He may not be commuting every day - as far as I know, firefighters have a shift pattern that gives them concentrated periods on duty, followed by several days off.
  8. A good point, but I imagine the thinking is that there will be so few people travelling that it will be easy to maintain social distancing at all stages.
  9. Hovercraft + Hoverbus to station won’t take much longer than the cat. And It appears that Hovertravel were chosen because they carry the mail and pharmaceuticals. I wonder anyway how many of the normal train commuters are key workers still allowed to travel?
  10. Red Eagle did the same yesterday afternoon in a strong westerly - she turned round after departing from Southampton and proceeded ‘backwards’ down Southampton Water before turning again off the Parade in Cowes. The sea was quite bumpy in the Solent but I’ve known worse. One consequence was that the North Lounge, where pets are supposed to go, was at the south end of the ship. Was this simply a means of lessening the movement of the ship or does it relate to Red Eagle’s troubles following the dropped anchor incident?
  11. Hermit

    Windy Sunday

    Indeed, well done them. Whatever their other faults, the Wight Ryders are well-designed for their route and have only rarely been cancelled for bad weather. The fact that they’ve been able to continue while the car ferries haven’t suggests that on this occasion the determining factor has been wind speed rather than sea state.
  12. Hermit

    Windy Sunday

    So the oldest ferry is the only one that can cope with these (admittedly exceptional) conditions. Makes you wonder what will happen when she finally retires.
  13. Definitely an attractive place for a short break - lots of stunning scenery, a great network of footpaths, some big attractions (Osborne House, Carisbrooke Castle, IW Steam Railway), and some good places to eat. (Full disclosure - I live here!). But the cost of bringing a car over is a big issue. It can help if you book early or can find special offers. As to which route, you will see from this thread that Wightlink are particularly unreliable at the moment.
  14. Roundabouts are certainly an improvement on ‘priorité à droite’ junctions, but you need to be aware of the French habit of driving right round the outside of roundabouts, even if going to, say, the third exit, rather than taking a more direct line, as a British driver would. I have often nearly pulled out in front of a vehicle which I thought was turning off into the exit I was waiting to emerge from but which was carrying on round. I’ve often thought they could save on surfacing the middle parts of French roundabouts, since they are never used.
  15. Red Funnel have announced that their summer timetables for both car ferry and Redjet services will be introduced a week late because the refit programme is taking longer than expected. Problematic refits all round this winter!
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