As usual, click for largest size and better quality -
Celebrity Eclipse was in so I went to Mayflower Park first to take her picture ~
Grande San Paolo was also in ~
And Balmoral, which my friend Patsy is on for a short cruise up to Zeebrugge ~
Then it was a walk from Mayflower Park up to Sea City Museum at the Civic Centre, via Waterstones and the Saints Store at West Quay. The museum costs £8.50 for an adult (£6 concessions) and, quite frankly, I think it is very overpriced. Obviously the thing has to be paid for but, given you're paying the thick end of a tenner, the exhibits are quite disappointing, unless you are into the Titanic as it is mostly dedicated to that ship. The Southampton: Gateway to the World exhibit is rubbish, with a lot of prehistoric and medieval exhibits (including the skull of a Barbary Ape!). The giant model of the Queen Mary, previously housed in the old museum at the Wool House, was great as were the smaller model ships mounted around it - I'd love that model here at home but there'd be no room and the cats would have a great time breaking bits off it! The rest of it was just boring - as well as the prehistoric and medieval stuff there were pieces about West Indian folk coming to England, the influx of Poles and something about Chinese people studying here, as well as a glass case displaying bags containing different species of rice. None of these pieces were in-depth and none featured the way these folk - and bags of rice - got here. I'd have liked to have seen more about the ships - and planes - they travelled on.
The shop was crap, with mostly Titanic items - dare I say Tatanic? - and overpriced at that, a lot of which was stretching the boundaries of taste a bit. I am not much of a humanitarian but 1514 people died when that thing went down and now it's an excuse to flog overpriced fridge magnets, tea towels, beer mats and iPhone covers. Whether the disaster happened 100 years in the past or not, this strikes me as
Overall it was quite disappointing and not worth the £8.50 I paid (as a senior citizen my aunt paid £6) unless you are a Titanic enthusiast and I have to admit that I am not. That said the Titanic exhibits were well done but there is more to Southampton's maritime history than that 'epic fail' of a ship. What about all the other passenger ships which have called this port home over the decades? What about the other merchant ships? Southampton is a busy commercial port and I'd have liked to have seen more on the cargo ships that have called here over the years. Hopefully, once the 100th anniversary of the Titanic is over at the end of the year, they might change things round. I hope so. I did take the opportunity to fill in a feedback form and said as much on there. Oh yeah and £3.80 for a dry cheese and tomato baguette make the cross-Solent ferry companies look positively good value for money.
Back to Town Quay and the chance for some more photos. Princess Cruises' Caribbean Princess was at the Ocean Cruise Terminal, so I took a few pictures of her, although I couldn't get a decent shot without obstructions (I'd come over from the Island on the Red Jet so no opportunities for photos from the water). It's funny, I absolutely hated these ships - the Princesses, Azura, Ventura, etc - when they first appeared, but they are growing on me.
Town Quay really is a disgrace. The large fence on the southern end is still there and the place becomes more overgrown and decrepit by the year. I emailed ABP a few years ago, asking if they were ever going to repair the quay and remove the fence. They replied, saying they were aiming to do it within a year. Little did I think it would be a Plutonian year...! They rip people off for parking on Town Quay and there's a number-plate-recognition system there, so anyone who even drives onto the quay and drives off again without paying gets a hefty fine, so why can't they put the proceeds of that towards repairs and the removal of the fence?
There is a nice crop of ragwort growing on the end ~
And a Buddleia is nicely established, rapidly approaching large shrub proportions and providing food for any butterflies in the vicinity - maybe I should bring my macro lens ~
Ferry activity, with Hotspur IV off to Hythe ~
And here comes Red Jet 4, our ride home to the island ~