Old lady of the sea heads for her final birth

Queen Elizabeth 2

The above image was obtained from freephoto.com click here for more

Whilst sitting in my hotel room in Barcelona tonight I was catching up on world news curtsy of the BBC World News channel. I found myself reflecting on the day when the QE2 was launched amidst a blaze of publicity. I recall watching it being reported on TV ( in black and white ) and collecting copies of the newspaper articles about the new super liner and keeping these as mementoes for some time.

Some very nostalgic memories as I recall discussing all of this and marvelling over the birth of a new liner, something which seemed to be nothing short of a miracle to a me as a typical 12 year old boy from the fishing community of Fraserburgh where the local fishing fleet consisted at the time of boats (hardly ships) which were made of wood. I remember puzzling over how a vessel made from steel ( a material which does not float ) would stay on the surface. I also recall being mesmerised by the beauty of her design – she looked so futuristic with her slender lines and beautiful stem ( or bow ).

However, today she completes her period of 40 years service as an ocean going liner and now, as I write this, she is embarking on her last voyage to Dubai where she will become a floating hotel. So I guess there is still life in the old girl yet!

But it seems to me that to stay on the hotel QE2 will be a bit like going for a swim in a dusty field! Lets face it, she was never designed to be a hotel which never leaves port. She was designed to give her passengers the opportunity to sail the oceans and enjoy visits to her ports of call. All this whilst enjoying her accommodation and general living facilities which I am sure were of the highest standard.

Of course having said this should I ever have the opportunity to stay aboard her I will probably not say no!!!

Is this the end of an era – is this the last real sea going liner? That seemed to be the opinion of a former captian who was interviewed as she sailed out of Southampton for the last time. This was for me a rather sad and nostalgic moment. If interested, you can read more about this great lady of the sea by clicking on the following links!

Here is a site published by Glasgow University which has some photo and commentary of the construction of the QE2 click here

The QE2 Home Page click here
Fifty Facts about the QE2 click here
Wikipedia and QE2 click here
QE2 leaving Cork for the last time click here
QE2 bids farewell to America click here
QE2 an American view click here
BBC report about her last days in Southampton click here
What else happened on this day click here

Bennachie – a particular view

For the last few years prior to starting my new job in February 2008 I travelled almost every week to either Glasgow or Edinburgh. This took me on a particular route where I passed a particular point on the road near to Kemnay where you can see a great view of Bennachie. The view is uninterrupted and is always different in terms of colour and mood. I often regretted that I did not have my camera with me to capture the scene – but last week on my way home from a trip to Glasgow I passed the spot and almost carried on due to pressure of time – but then decided to go back and capture the scene which was well lit, featured the first snow of Winter and also the colours of Autumn. All this in one view.

I expect that there will be better photos of Bennachie but for me, I am publishing this photo as a token of those many times that I saw the same view ( or a variation on it to be more precise) and wanted to record it but could not or did not for one reason or another. So here it is, taken with my Finepix A800 – I did wish I had my other camera with me but there we go – this is better than nothing I suppose. Of course on reflection, a photo never does capture the moment completely but I think this one was worth the taking and sharing. (Click on the photo to see it full size)

See the Wikipedia entry on Bennachie click here

Visit to Vienna

I have been in Vienna for the last two days in connection with my work. See below the view from the room in Vienna’s Millennium Tower which is 51 floors tall and one of the tallest building in Vienna – this is where I have been working. The photo shows the Danube river and was taken early in the day – the effect of the sun trying to penetrate the cloud seemed interesting at the time.

I hope to get some more photos when I get back to the hotel later today.

A first for Youth in Aberdeenshire

Sunday 2nd November and the first of a new series of events for young people the in the North East of Scotland was held at Kemnay Parish Church Centre. Approximately 65 people attended the event which consisted of multimedia presentations, drama, some worship times and an address given by the speaker James Duce (see below). James spoke about the bible account of Jesus bringing back to life a young child who had died and explained how the message behind this story can apply to people today. He also challenged the people present to commit to following Jesus and living a life which witness to other about their faith. A number of young people responded to these challenges.

A key objective of the event is to provide young people with the opportunity to come to a church event which is less formal/traditional ans to engage in worship using a style which is more natural for them. The songs used are mostly written by contemporary christian song writers and a praise band led the worship times. There was also a drama sketch performed by a group of young people. Multimedia presentations were also used to get across the message for the evening.

Young folks attended from a number of churchs from the Aberdeen, Westhill, Alford and Kemnay areas. People who attended seemed to enjoy the experience and the organisers are planning to hold other similar events on the first Sunday of each month. There is a web site where information about the events is posted – see www.engageyouth.org.uk for more information.

Some of the young folks who attended the event. It was great to see young people coming along to church at this time when many young people feel that the church is outdated and no longer relevent to them.

Congratulations to the organisers – keep up the good work. It was also great to see a number of older people coming along to support the event by performing various tasks in the background.