Sailing Ships and Stonehenge

 

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England expects that every man will do his duty” was a signal sent by Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson from his flagship HMS Victory as the Battle of Trafalgar commenced on October 21, 1805. Trafalgar was a decisive naval engagement of the Napoleonic Wars. During the battle, Nelson was shot by a French musketeer; he died shortly thereafter, becoming one of Britain’s greatest war heroes.IMG_1007

Nelson asked three things as he died: After Nelson was shot, he was brought below decks and asked for, “Drink drink, fan fan, rub rub.” Nelson was made comfortable, fanned and brought lemonade and watered wine to drink after he complained of feeling hot and thirsty.

Nelson also looked to his Flag Captain, Thomas Masterman Hardy, and demanded, “Kiss me Hardy,” who kissed his cheek and then his forehead. This was a proper way to send off a dying soul to the afterlife.

It is also rumored that Nelson asked how the battle was faring, to which the reply was positive. “Thank God I have done my duty,” he replied.

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A plaque marks where Lord Nelson was shot
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A crossed wreath marks where Lord Nelson died

These stories and others are welcome reminders of a world gone by, beautifully captured along the ribs and shells of the HMS Victory, Admiral Nelson’s flagship.

During my time at Saxon Warrior, I met some new friends from the Royal Navy who insisted that the NUMBER ONE THING I DO IN ENGLAND is visit Lord Nelson’s ship. So I did.

We had a fantastic time! They served as my personal tour guides and let me take a million photos with Grover. Oh. I should explain that. Ummmmm I have a very old but loyal Grover whom I sleep with every night. He’ll be 30 years old this August.

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Big Grover’s last big travel to Guam fall 2016

So, when Trenton was born, he was gifted his very own Little Grover. Now, over the years, the Navy has sent me on many exciting missions. Adventures my little guy would love to witness, but can’t. So, I take Little Grover with me and take pictures for Trenton (below is Iwakuni, Japan; Norfolk, Virginia; Jerusalem; Waikiki, Hawaii; Tokyo, Japan; and Petra, Jordan).

And this trip was no exception!

More great photos from the museum:

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After the museum, my new friends took me for my first pint at The Ship Anson, recommended by my friend and fellow PAO.

The next morning, I woke up to MY LOVE–a Starbucks green tea latte!!! IMG_0963

A few long days later, we caught a short break and made it up to Stonehenge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986! For centuries, historians and archaeologists have puzzled over the many mysteries of Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument that took Neolithic builders an estimated 1,500 years to erect in three stages. Located in southern England, it is comprised of roughly 100 massive upright stones placed in a circular layout. While many modern scholars now agree that Stonehenge was once a burial ground, they have yet to determine what other purposes it served and how a civilization without modern technology—or even the wheel—produced the mighty monument. Its construction is all the more baffling because, while the sandstone slabs of its outer ring hail from local quarries, scientists have traced the bluestones that make up its inner ring all the way to the Preseli Hills in Wales, some 200 miles from where Stonehenge sits on Salisbury Plain.* So, basically, enter ALIENS!

To get to the alien-built rocks, I walked the short distance and passed some friendly faces on the way.

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Beatrix Potter, I presume

 

According to the 12th-century writer Geoffrey of Monmouth, whose tale of King Arthur and mythical account of English history were considered factual well into the Middle Ages, Stonehenge is the handiwork of the wizard Merlin, NOT aliens! In the mid-fifth century, the story goes, hundreds of British nobles were slaughtered by the Saxons and buried on Salisbury Plain. Hoping to erect a memorial to his fallen subjects, King Aureoles Ambrosias sent an army to Ireland to retrieve a stone circle known as the Giants’ Ring, which ancient giants had built from magical African bluestones. The soldiers successfully defeated the Irish but failed to move the stones, so Merlin used his sorcery to spirit them across the sea and arrange them above the mass grave. Legend has it that Ambrosias and his brother Uther, King Arthur’s father, are buried there as well.*

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No matter who built Stonehenge, it was an incredible experience visiting the site and I’m so thankful to have shared this moment with great friends.

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With Denise Almazan and Joe Green
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A very dewy overcast morning at Stonehenge
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My new friends Zack and Dan from the USS George H. W. Bush

On my last night in England, I made the long three hour drive from Portsmouth to Mildenhall and stayed at a quaint “not b&b” in town called The Bull Inn. My room was cow-themed, inexpensive, and super cute!

You guys, I loved England. You don’t realize how much you miss the simplicity and convenience of an English-speaking country when you’re an American far from home. I adore Sicily, too, but I noticed just how much stress I’ve been carrying on these shoulders. Driving is stressful, electricity is stressful, stores never keeping normal hours is stressful, speaking in charades all the time is stressful, grocery shopping is stressful, picking a gas station that takes coupons is stressful, being away from family and friends is uber stressful…BUT:

We eat truly delectable local fresh fruits, veggies, pasta, and bread for pennies, the fish market is one of the most spine-tingling places I’ve ever been to, the vino costs 2 Euros a litre, the people here are enjoyable, the work is refreshing, the opportunity to travel is present if you persist, the scenery is breathtaking, the Mediterranean is always inviting, and you’re never too far from your favorite lemon tree.

(A few final shots of all the English food and drinks!)

*http://www.history.com/topics/british-history/stonehenge

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