Saturday, 30 August 2014

Tick, tick, tick, BOOM!

royal naval museum of naval firepower priddys hard gosportJof left for work, but I slept on. The safety operative came to inspect the gas meter, I did not see fit to wake up. I came to at 10.
This is the last free day of the hols for me so he said shall we do the Explosion museum, some biggish bike ride, or something else. I chose pootling about the charity shops of Southsea and throwing some rocks into the sea which basically means as little as possible that will detract from my time on Hayday on the tablet.
Because I had got the answer wrong, he presented the first 2 options for my re-consideration and hey presto, I chose both of them.
explosion museum of naval firepower gosportSo off we set on the same route we used for the Submarine museum just 2 days ago. Portsmouth Harbour was abuzz as usual with tall ships, ferries, touring boats, yachts, warships and freight vessels. A bloke my age drove a speedboat past us.
So having consulted the map at the ferryport we turned up Mumby Road, into the hilariously named Weevil Lane and over Forton Lake on the suspension bridge. Directly the other side are the low brick buildings of the Museum of Naval Firepower, most of which are abandoned.
explosion museum gosportThe whole area is surrounded by moats, walls and other fortifications and thumping great armoured brick buildings hidden in the undergrowth, it was once a city-fortress of its own back in the day.
Even outside the site there are cannons of all vintages hidden in the bushes with buddleia trees growing out of them. The museum shop looked promising so we got the ticket where you can return free within a year and went in.
nuclear weapon naval firepower museum priddys hard gosportNow, unless you've sampled the funny fungi growing on the lawns outside, you wouldn't normally expect to laugh in a museum. But, not kidding, we went from exhibit A to exhibit ZZ guffawing and chortling and going "I've got one of those" and it was hilarious.
Scattered throughout are helpful little interactive screens where you can ask some old bloke who used to work on the items in question who built them, what it was like to work on them etc. From them we got lots of titbits such as the 30kg projectile leaves the barrel of the gun at 1800 mph and flies 30 miles before totally destroying Southampton.
The area is full of projectiles bigger than me and I was in my element. If like us, you are an 8 year-old boy who likes his guns'n'bombs, visit this place.
museum of naval firepower now wedding venueWe didn't get to shoot any of the guns but there is a WW2 4 1/2 incher outside that they fire blanks from on special occasions. Each room is packed with rifles, pistols, gunpowder barrels, sea mines, depth charge throwers, torpedoes, rockets, submarine cannons, Bofors anti-aircraft guns, spears and swords, deck-mounted cannons, high-explosive shells, a 10-barrel Gatling, mortars, Howitzers, cut-away bombs, things you can play with and things you can't, Polaris missiles and some ICBMs.
I have been banging on about nuclear bombs since, like, forever, so it was nice to get my hands on some, I think they might have taken the fissile material out but who's counting. It was also nice to see an AK47, good for whenever you absolutely have to kill every mother/father in the room, apparently.
museum of naval firepower
Commonest were the 4 1/2 inch shells which are nice because we've got one in the dining room. The #1 Magazine is the brick-built behemoth where they stored all the nation's gunpowder/cordite/TNT etc and it has walls 10 feet thick and they were setting up for a wedding. It is the successor to the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth which is where Bud and Jof had their wedding.
In the end I bought a load of Lego-alikes and some chocolate for the PuddleMummies and we headed off on roads unknown. Fortunately, at least one of us has a sense of direction and soon enough we came out on Elson Lane which houses a swingpark we visited before going in Fort Brockhurst a couple of months ago, so we were on familiar territory.
museum of naval firepowerWe ate big lumps of meat in the Sailmakers Carvery next to the old railway and struck north hopefully to find old favourite Bridgemary Park. I commented that all the roads look the same, welcome to the infinite council sink estate that is Greater Gosport, he said.
However we did find many many blackberry bushes which you should always strip when you can, free food full of vitamins.
From there we simply hopped back onto Henry Cort Way (was old railway line, now bus and cycle route) and vectored down to Wooden Fort Park (Leesland) where I decided I really needed a poo. Crapping in the park may be frowned upon even in Gosport (unless you're a dog) so we continued to Morrisons by the high street, for when a man's gotta poo, he's well anyway.
This gave me further energy for the exercise park by the boating lake and we re-acquired the ferry and got home after 7 hours, 5 parks (1 new) and 13 and 3/4 miles in the saddle. Jof was having a nap so I got my tablet time after all, hoho. Film Night: Arnie S in 'Running Man'.

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