Showing the Flag – Put Out More Flags!
One couldn’t have dreamed of a more exciting 80th birthday party on a sunny May morning by the river.
At that ripe old age, one needs to celebrate quickly and calmly in jolly company, so a gathering of good old friends sitting by the Thames sharing a picnic lunch. For good measure we had hoisted the Union Jack, as is the custom. My good friend and neighbour of old is a nautical ex RN and all that – so when one of Her Majesty’s minesweepers steamed past we did the proper thing and dipped our ensign. Alas, no response, but on the same tide Lady of Avenel – a 1991 brigantine from Maldon in Essex – motored by upriver. Suddenly she not only hoisted all her sails but also responded to our ‘Ahoy’ greeting and dipped her large, red ensign in response with a merry cheer as she paraded up and down for a photo shoot in front of the Old Royal Naval College.
Heartened by all this, we greeted HMS Edinburgh – a type 42 destroyer with a similar salutation as she steamed up to the Pool of London.
The crowds on her bridge, however, were wisely focussed on Deutschland – a German cruise ship moored up at the Greenwich Tier. This classic, five-star vessel had arrived in style on yesterday’s tide. Her passengers had sited themselves in order to enjoy watching the avenue of architectural treats unfurl as her two escorting tugs moved her between the yellow buoys which mark a deep water mooring just off Deptford Creek. Deutschland is best suited for German speaking couples, according to Douglas Ward Comprehensive Cruising Guide, once owned by Peter Deitmann and family. Her mature elegance is unusual – she appears rebranded but still bears the proud Olympic logo from when she ‘housed’ the German delegation in West India Dock – the largest vessel amongst the international super yachts which had blossomed in last year’s great gathering!!