Seasick

Portsmouth has had no cable TV since the thunderstorm yesterday afternoon. So, instead of watching repeats on thre UKTV channels, we've had to make do with videotapes of repeats from a year ago.
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My laptop has contracted the computer equivalent of measles, and has come out in a rash of popups. Well, I was intending to clear off unused software and repartition the drive anyway.
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Today sees the start of the 'International Festival of the Sea'. So far as I can tell, this is when fourty seafaring nations of the world parade bits of their respective maritime history around the coast of my home town.

There are tall ships, warships, yachts, wooden exploration ships, aircraft carriers, cruisers and probably the odd tug boat.

Someone has decided to move the 200th aniversary of the battle of Trafalgar forward three months to become part of the festival. However, the organisers have decided that the battle itself and the war it was part of should not be mentioned, for fear of upsetting the French.

We can mention the Spanish Armada, but not their defeat. The African slave trade is also deemed a distasteful subject. Indeed, colonialism and wars should not be mentioned at all as we celebrate the existence of ships built to make these things possible.

At some point over the next seven days, Portsmouth will be honoured by a visit from the queen, who will 'inspect the ships'. This apparantly involves the monarch going on a guided tour of some floating villages to check they are not sinking.

To ensure no one tries to blow up a battleship or shoot the queen, security has been tightened. There are helicopters flying around in circles, and the local police are complaining about undermanning.

Anyone who bothers to go and see the event will see policemen in riot gear wandering around the common ground, shore, and harbour. They may even see one or two local people who remember when this was a navel town, 40 years ago.

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