Gold and orange / triumph and tragedy

Day Three in England…a full day…a knife to the throat…the gold of victory…the first port of a legend…

Last year, prior to my best pal’s wedding, we arranged to have a barbershop shave to ensure that no five-o’clock shadow faces would cloud the perfect nuptial day.

Iain thought it might be a lark to have another close shave today at a barber shop called Mr. Men manned by a crew of lady barbers.

Razor sharp blade scraping facial follicles held in the hands of a woman, a gender that does not grow facial hair, and a gender with often serious issues with the opposite gender, a man under a knife.

Happily the blood loss was kept to a minimum.

Naked faces later, we drove to the nearby village of Warsash.

Bright pink ferry boat crossing across the Hamble River to the opposite village of Hamble-le-Rice.

After a delicious soup and sandwich brunch at the Bonne Bouche Deli, we walked into the town square, where I learned why red pillar postal boxes are, on rare occasion, painted gold.

When a British athlete wins a gold medal, the Royal Mail determines where the athlete is from and paints the red postal boxes there bright gold.

One such Olympic victory caused one patriotic fan to impatiently on his own initiative paint the town’s postal boxes gold .

He was arrested for damage to Crown property, but the Royal Mail did not pursue the case as public opinion was clearly in the fan’s favour.

Later we took the train to Southampton and a trip back in time

Southampton was the launch port of 18th century wars with the French, the Crimean War and the Boer War as well as the main embarkation port during the Great War / World War 1.

Southampton was the point of departure for the Pilgrim Fathers aboard the Mayflower in 1620 and in 1912 the RMS Titanic sailed from Southampton.

4 in 5 of the Titanic crew were Sotonians (from Southampton).

1/3 of those perished in the tragedy hailed from Southampton.

The Titanic crashed into an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland, only 700 of the 2,200 aboard survived.

Orange painted moorings mark the place where the Titanic ropes were cast off to eternity.

The Spitfire aircraft was designed and produced in Southampton. Heavy bombing of the factory in September 1940 destroyed it and many homes in the vicinity.

World War 2 hit Southampton particularly hard because of its strategic importance making it a target for repeating Luftwaffe bombing raids until late 1944.

630 people lost their lives as a result of the air raids on Southampton, nearly 2,000 men were injured, thousands of buildings damaged or destroyed.

Death hangs heavy in memory on Southampton’s lanes and quays, and crime remains higher today than the national average, more violence, more theft, more shadows lingering under the dark skies of night.

Daylight deceives.

High Street a-bustle with shopping activity, museums chock a block with visitors, cruise ships in and out of the port, grain and tobacco processing plants, live music and theatre performances, belie the nocturnal nature of the place.

The town has suffered much.

Pain, violence.

Such an English tradition.


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