Buck's Blog

The Stream-of-Consciousness Journal of a Wargamer

HAWKs Tankfest Tour (part 1)

Arriving at our hotel in London.

Last year, I came to England with my family, and we had a great time.  A highlight for me was a visit to the Tank Museum in Bovington.  As with many museum visits, my family patiently put up with Bovington for a couple of hours and then kept hinting that it was time to leave.  So, I suggested that some of my wargaming buddies and I should head to England for Tankfest at Bovington and while there visits to some other military history museums.  Candy did the lion’s share of the work to pull this together.

The National Maritime Museum.

Our first, very, very long day involved the flight to London, train to Paddington Station, and check in at our hotel.  The we took a somewhat eventful tube ride to Greenwich.  I didn’t realize how far apart the North Greenwich and Greenwich tub stops were or that we had to transfer to the DLR.  Then none of the locals could tell us how to get a bus ticket to complete the trip. So after a little floundering, we arrived at the Maritime Museum.

The Maritime Museum is free.  We spent about two hours here, and we were able to see most of what was on display.

A handsome and study visitor to the Royal Maritime Museum.

A WWI era motor torpedo boat.

I found this model of a WWI-era motor torpedo boat very interesting.  A few years ago I wrote a set of wargaming rules for motor torpedo boat games in WWII.  I knew there were motor torpedo boats in WWI, but I had never seen one.  I am not sure how the torpedo was launched since it is facing into the boat, but I suspect the propellors were wound up, the torpedo was dropped, and the boat veered quickly to the side.

The main deck of the Cutty Sark.

After the Maritime Museum, we decided to visit the Cutty Sark, which was once the fastest ship in the world.

The ship’s bell.

We entered the Cutty Sark in the cargo hold, visited the tween deck, walked the main deck, and visited some of the cabins.

In the officer’s ward room aboard the Cutty Sark.

The ship was interesting, and there were some nice informational signs.  There were no docents to help explain things or answer questions.  Unlike the Constellation in Baltimore, there was not audio self-guided tour.  At 13 GBP, I thought there would be more explanation, but it was nonetheless a worthwhile experience.

The underside of the Cutty Sark. Note how the ship’s hull does not touch the ground. It was jacked up to prevent the hull from warping.

After the Cutty Sark, we stopped in a pub for dinner.  We were all beginning to run out of steam.

Finishing up out dinner in a Greenwich pub

Duncan, Don, and Eric at the Globe theater in London. Don had just take a happy pill.

In an effort to get our bodies on Greenwich Mean Time, we decided to attend a play in the Globe theater in London before returning to our hotel.  We saw the Shakespearean play A Winter’s Tale.  We were all fading, so  keeping up with the rapid, Elizabethan dialog and the proper accents was something of a challenge, particularly since I didn’t know the play. Last time in the Globe I saw The Taming of the Shrew, which is one of my favorite Shakespearean plays, and I liked that better, but it is always interesting to attend a play in the Globe.

This concluded day one.  We went back to our hotel after a longish walk along the Embankment to Waterloo Station and a short train ride to Paddington.  All the old timers said they had had enough walking.  Duncan’s fit bit measured us at nearly 18k steps.


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