Can you remember your ‘first day’ for something? Perhaps at the start of a new school term, a new job, activity group, university practical session, or delivering a speech on stage. The ‘first day’ experiences are normally filled with anticipation, a million thoughts and what-ifs, and even “butterflies in the stomach”.
For me, while I stared out into the blur of trees and houses as my train zoomed southbound towards its final stop (Portsmouth Harbour), I did not experience any “butterflies” nor had pointless thoughts hovering but instead felt a strange calm. The past few months leading to this day were spent on logistics arrangements, mental and physical preparation and sorting of office matters before my long leave. It is no huge wonder that I felt serene with all that behind me.
I had spent my first night in London staying at my hosts’ (Uncle Chong and Aunty Cheng). Coupled with a lift to Sutton station, my hosts had prepared a snack-box of; hard-boiled eggs; fresh tomato; banana; apple and; a can of Coke for my journey south.
Upon arriving at Portsmouth Harbour, I jumped on a 10-minute “Spirit of Gosport” ferry and disembarked at Gosport where the Clipper office is situated. However eager I was to check out the Clipper yachts, the sole task on my mind was locate the Bed & Breakfast accommodation in order to offload the heavy backpack from my back and neck. The Spring Garden Guest House was simple enough to find, standing at three stories high and built along the junction of Spring Garden Lane and Mumby/Forton Road, it was humbly painted with a light shade of pink. A single room for the night went at £30, it came fitted with a sink, shower and overlooked Spring Garden Lane. Once accommodation had been settled, I was well on my way to check out the 68-foot clippers at the Royal Clarence Marina. The Clipper Office was tucked away in a quiet corner off Weevil Lane, from what looks to serve as navy officers quarters.
Gosport being a quiet town, I retreated to end the day with a lovely pizza by the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth’s Gunwharf Quay. Thinking about it, I will be on a yacht in less than 24 hours, on a 22-day training syllabus, for a new life experience.
Here are some pictures from that day.
The view as the train journeyed towards Portsmouth Harbour.
The snack-box for the journey south. The pasta by the side was something I bought from Morrison’s (Local Supermarket).
Photo from the Gosport-Portsmouth ferry en-route to Gosport. You can roughly make out the Gosport Marina on the right.
A snapshot of the single room.
A glimpse of the Clipper 68-foot yachts from the previous races. Coincidentally, I was to train on the “Welcome to Yorkshire” for the next week.
And lastly, pizza Thursdays (half-priced) near the Spinnaker Tower