I had a friend down to visit this weekend, so of course before she arrived I was planning what we might do.
She hadn’t seen the newly-revealed Mary Rose, so that was high on her list, and it was clear what we would do yesterday, at around about 11am.
I’ve watched or taken part in Remembrance Sunday parades since I was young, holding flags for various Girl Guide or Scouts units I was in.
But it was only when I moved back to Portsmouth after many years away that I went to the Guildhall Square service.
It was six years ago, in 2010, when I and my then-husband arrived at the service with a certain Linvoy Primus, and Pompey’s then-commercial director, Lucius Peart, both of whom we’d bumped into in the multi-storey car park.
It was raining and bitterly cold, and as we’d arrived without a brolly, Lucius leant us his saying he and Linvoy would share one.
As VIPs, they were invited to take part in the service standing on the Guildhall steps, while we took our place across the square in front of the Civic Centre.
Up went our brolly, as did Linvoy’s.
But very soon I saw the former Blues defender put it down.
It was, as I’ve come to expect, an excellent parade and service, with young and old alike turning out to honour serving personnel and, of course, the veterans.
Afterwards, I asked Linvoy and Lucius why they put their umbrella down and stood in the rain without it.
The answer was simple.
The veterans, they said, many of whom were in their 80s and 90s, were standing ramrod straight throughout the service, without a brolly to keep them dry.
So, they said, how could they take shelter?
Recounting this story to my friend reminded me that, no matter what the world throws at us – and I think we can all agree that there have been some dramas this year – we’ll be okay as long as we stand up straight, focus on what we believe in, and don’t let the storms get to us.
TOUR BID LOOKS AS ACHIEVABLE AS SCALING ALPE D’HUEZ
I was bemused by the two stories in last week’s News regarding Portsmouth’s bid to host Le Tour De France’s Grand Depart.
First there was the frankly astonishing story that the Department of Culture, Media and Sport hadn’t received the bid from Flick Drummond, Portsmouth South MP.
And then, just 24 hours later, the DCMS said the bid had been found, and blamed an administrative error for the blunder rather than, as former council leader Gerald Vernon Jackson had been quick to point out, a fault of Flick’s.
A Grand Depart would be amazing for Portsmouth. But without British Cycling’s backing, it seems like a task as tough as scaling the Alpe d’Huez on two wheels and with a head wind.
SOUTHERN TRAIN DOOR BLUNDER COULD HAVE BEEN A LOT WORSE
It was a three-paragraph story on page three of The News last Wednesday: a Southern train service without a conductor on board, left a station with one of its doors open.
The train operator blamed the driver, which is sweet of them, but just served to highlight the crux of the issue the rail unions have with Southern’s plans to rely on drivers checking to make sure doors are shut safely before departing.
They say the conductor is a necessary double-checker – they’re the ones who check to make sure it’s safe for passengers on train or off before doors are opened or closed.
It might have been a three-paragraph story, but can you imagine the front-page furore if it had happened and someone had been hurt?