Mixing boats with pleasure

So, I woke up early this morning for the first time since Sunday and prepared to go to work. I used the hour of waking to check my health status. I didn’t feel perfect by any means but felt good enough to get ready. I then took the girls to Sue, something they were both very pleased about. Perhaps they get as bored being stuck at home as I do.

Portsmouth looked beautiful this morning, especially the Algerian tall ship in dock at the naval base. The El Mellah is a training ship and, during her maiden voyage, is visiting us. Commissioned in 2018, she is very new even though she looks quite old. (El Mellah means The Sailor in Algerian.)

She didn’t look quite this beautiful as her sails were furled. Also this photo was taken from the Poland at Sea website: http://www.polandatsea.com/el-mellah-sailing-ship-begins-second-set-of-sea-trials/ and is quite clearly NOT at Portsmouth Naval Base.

What else looked ‘beautiful’ was the office. I was wondering whether it would have changed much, given the work that’s been going on but whatever changes have been made, they weren’t obvious to me. My desk was, as usual, full of a collection of old books, new photographs and stationary and the mouse was difficult to manoeuvre because of it.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned the desk I use every week before. Obviously, it’s not mine (except on Wednesdays) but I do wonder how the regular user manages being surrounded by quite so much detritus. And the worst thing is the mouse.

There’s only a small mouse mat and it’s wedged in between an in-tray (full) and the end of the desk. It allows about three inches of mouse tracking in any direction, which can be a bit annoying. Though, to be fair, I generally use the tab key to navigate around the database so any annoyance is minimal.

Probably the most annoying thing is how various items get piled on the end of the desk where I need to place the books I’m working on. Like the famous Pisa tower, various sizes at various levels threatened to topple it whenever I place a book on top. Not that I have a lot of choice – it’s the only place available.

Today there was a pile of papers beneath a small volume which then had about 20 large, colour printed photographs of the inside of a ship. These were not only bigger than anything beneath them but also extremely slippery. And, no, there’s no where else I can move any ‘stuff’ to because the office is decidedly full. It’s all just work in progress.

Actually, I feel certain that Mirinda would say I should feel right at home given the state of my own office.

But, back to work and this week it was all about warships. Big thick books about big beautiful boats. There were some gloriously colourful ones (one with the most gorgeous watercolours) and some dry old tomes full of words and precious little images. There was also a two volume set about Ironclads which I especially coveted.

Possibly my favourite book, however, was called The Steam Navy of England and was written by this chap:

Harry Williams

What a dashing fellow he appears to have been. Harry was a chief engineer and, eventual, naval architect. So he definitely knew his stuff. His writing style was very much of a 1900 drift though, much belying his whimsical appearance.

More whimsical was possibly the reason I really loved this book so much. Before coming to the library it was a gift: A gift from the Sisters Twit to the mysterious W.W.W.

Cox & Nicholas Twit?

The Sisters Twit stuck this note in the first page after the cover. (Does this page have a name? In my descriptions I end up putting ‘page opposite inside front cover’ but would rather put the actual name if it has one. It’s terribly annoying when I purport to be a librarian!) Now I want this on a t-shirt. It is a superb note. Up there with the one about Hitler destroying the model boat club of Liverpool that I included last year.

Above the note is the name of a previous owner who is clearly not W.W.W.

I then, obviously, went on a bit of a search to see if I could find the mysterious Sisters Twit. The closest I came was a blog, written by a pair of sisters who want to remain anonymous from their relatives so write using the pseudonym Sisters Twit. Not the same but quite amusing in a 21st century way.

Anyway, there were lots of books and lots of work entering them and it felt so good being among people again rather than the dogs. Even the trip home was a pleasant judder through the Hampshire countryside followed by a bit of Surrey.

Mirinda came home about 15 minutes after me feeling worse than she had when she left on Monday. I made a frittata but I’m not sure if it had any effect either way.

French ship
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