Thursday, June 18, 2009

Britannia and balloons.

While we were down in Edinburgh last week we took a taxi to Edinburgh's historic port of Leith for a tour of The Royal Yacht Britannia. This magnificent vessel was launched in 1953 and served the Queen for 44 years taking the Royal family on 968 official voyages all around the world. On 11th December 1997 the Britannia was decommissioned at Portsmouth naval base and was permanently moored at Leith to be maintained as a 5-star visitor attraction. For the tour around the vessel we were given individual handsets and directed to various stopping stations where we would learn about the room indicated.

Our favourite room was large The State Dining Room. Here the Royal family would have wined and dined most of the Heads of State of various countries over the years. The table can seat 96 people and can be hired today for special occasions and events. All the food served on board the Britannia is local Scottish produce and freshly prepared by a team of chefs in the rather small but efficiently run Royal Galley. The rooms of the crew were below decks and not quite so spacious to say the least.
In contrast to this rather tranquil location we were walking down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh the next day when we heard a cacophony of noise coming down the road from Edinburgh Castle. At first we thought the police outriders were escorting a very important 'big cheese' until we saw and heard all the taxi drivers in a very noisy procession. On asking we were told that most of the taxi drivers in Edinburgh give up a whole day every year to take handicapped and needy children round the streets of Edinburgh for a fun ride armed with water pistols and then on to a beach with a picnic. Turn up the sound - but not if you are in the office and supposed to be working !

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