Monday, May 21, 2007

Cutty Sark

It was with considerable sadness that I heard about the fire on Cutty Sark this morning.

Cutty Sark is a ship that London has very much taken to its heart. It has actually been in dry dock at Greenwich since 1957, so 50 years this year.

The adventures of this ship, charting the globe to China, Australia and elsewhere have been well documented today.

What is worth repeating is that this ship represents the best of the British adventurous spirit in travelling the world in search of opportunity. This ship and thousands similar laid the foundations on which the modern and wealthy British nation is built. London is the city it is due to the maritime adventurers who brought wealth to her.

Cutty Sark has played a special role in my recent life. It was beneath the shadows of Cutty Sark that I first dated Mrs. Donatella. We lived in Greenwich for a while. My local station on the DLR took its name from the ship. Many is the time that I have walked past her, jogged past her (occasionally). Frozen in time she nobly stood on the banks of the Thames.

That her fire could have been the result of vandalism is shocking but I suppose not unique. Think barbarians at the gate.

Thankfully, she is in the middle of a huge refit originally due to take until 2009. Her masts and many of her timbers are in store in Chatham.

It seems Cutty Sark may yet live. I certainly hope so and if this sad day certainly reminds us to value our heritage, something positve can yet come from it.

Here is the area around Cutty Sark just two weeks ago when Mrs. Donatella and I walked in Greenwich. There was little of the ship to see behind the hoardings but this brief clip gives a feeling for the area to anyone who does not know it.

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