A Short Walk and a Long Ship

Tree by the sea and container ship Evergreen Ever Goods (by Clive) Monday 31 August 2020

Monday hello from Felixstowe.

In recent weeks and months, Monday — or more precisely, Monday evening – has not been my favourite time of the week. Two weeks ago, as most of you know, Clive was taken by ambulance to A&E (he was actually wheeled out of our building at 2am Tuesday, but the drama began several hours before that). I broke my kneecap on a Monday evening in May, and am still working on its recovery. I try not to think about those two Mondays but instead focus on the positives, like today’s good news that Clive is now off all of his recent antibiotics and he’s feeling much better.

For a happy Monday evening activity, he joined me for a short physio walkabout around the public parking lot. This was his third short walk since he’s been home from the hospital. Yay! He came back inside and I continued strolling for another 30 minutes or so to give my knee its necessary exercise.

And earlier today, after a time of resting and reading on the balcony, Mr Ship Tracker informed me he’d snapped a photo of a large ship passing by. He reports: ‘Arriving in Felixstowe from Hamburg, Germany on a calm sunny day is the Container Ship Evergreen Ever Goods. She was built in 2018 and is 400 metres in length. Her container capacity is 20,000 which just qualifies her as an ultra-large container ship.’

Wednesday is the September full moon, known as Corn Moon or Harvest Moon, and timed for 6:22am in England. Somehow I don’t think we’ll catch it this time.

In any case, happy end of August and first of September, and happy first day of spring Down Under.

Moon path 31 aug

Tonight’s almost-full moon path on the North Sea, Felixstowe

Take care everyone and stay safe and well and tickety-boo,
xxxx with love from us to you

A Post-Hospital Shipping Report

Tree by the sea (noticeably more autumnal) and container ship Vaga Maersk (by Clive) Wednesday 26 August 2020

Midweek greetings from Felixstowe.

Mr Ship Tracker is slowly recovering from last week’s hospital stay. He’s had a few difficult days but is gradually regaining his strength, and we’re thankful he’s able to recover at home.

This evening, for the first time since Mr ST was discharged, he said he spotted a ship and was going to photograph it. I felt this warranted a special, good-news post.

He reports: After a few wild and windy days, at 7:30pm tonight, the weather situation in Felixstowe could be best described as ‘calm’. I decided to stand on the balcony for a few minutes to gulp in some sea air. Unexpectedly, I was greeted by an incoming ship which was too difficult to ignore. Container Ship Vaga Maersk is arriving from Bremerhaven, Germany. She is a modest 200 metres in length and was built just a year ago in 2019. Over and out.

Thank you, Mr ST and thank you, friends near and far for your kind comments and support. We will keep you informed about Mr ST’s progress.

Take care everyone and stay safe and well and tickety-boo,
xxxx with love from us to you

Mr Ship Tracker’s Discharge Day

Cloudy but the sun’s coming out: Tree by the sea Friday 21 August 2020

Happy Friday from Felixstowe.

Mr Ship Tracker has had a challenging week in hospital, but as always he maintained his strong, positive attitude. I had a good visit with him yesterday, and this morning we received the happy news that later today, he will be discharged. He’ll need to take it easy for a while and have a follow-up test or two in due course. We’re both over the moon he’ll be home before the weekend.

Who knows, he may even spot a ship or two from the balcony – though probably not this evening because gale-force winds are swirling around today.

We both thank you for your many kind comments, messages and prayers and are indebted to our local friends for their loving support. More to follow.

Have a great weekend everyone and stay safe and well and tickety-boo,
xxxx with love from us to you

Isolating in England: Day 147, Two for the Price of One Together with Same Day Delivery

Tree by the sea and container ships MSC Regulus and Maersk Kotka (by Clive), Monday 17 August 2020

Happy Monday from Suffolk. We hope everyone’s week is off to a good start.

Today the sun shone, beachgoers and walkers returned to the seafront and Mr Ship Tracker caught a lovely moment from the balcony.

Mr ST reports: ‘After a relatively quiet weekend for shipping movements in and out of Felixstowe Port, the pace picked up this morning. The morning provided a rare event for us and for the tree by the sea. I nicknamed it a ‘Two for the Price of One Together with Same Day Delivery’ meeting almost opposite the Tree by the Sea. As Carolyn watched the vessels getting closer, she uttered an ‘Eek’ as she was waiting for what looked like a collision [note from me: I know it’s an optical illusion but the ships’ two front points really did look like they were going to touch]. The ships safely avoided each other.

‘On the left of the photo (top of post) is Container Ship MSC Regulus heading to Felixstowe from Sines, Portugal. She was built in 2012 and her length is 366 metres. On the right is Container Ship Maersk Kotka heading to Antwerp, Belgium. As I write this, she has already arrived at her destination. She was built in 1996 and is 318 Metres long.’

After enjoying the criss-crossing ships, we had a rather quiet day. An afternoon Iceland delivery – in bags, yay — took about one minute, thanks to the competent (and friendly) delivery woman. She noticed we had an amazon package waiting and brought that up, too. Wow! The day’s activity concluded with my 41-minute physio walkabout. Mr ST is still resting at home, bless him.

Whatever season you’re in, we wish you a happy and sunny week ahead.

Monday beach and blooms (photo Visit Felixstowe)

Take care everyone and stay safe and well and tickety-boo,
xxxx with love from us to you

Isolating in England: Day 146, All Quiet on the Felixstowe Coast

Felixstowe’s old police station on High Road West (photo Ipswich Star/Gregg Brown)

Sunday greetings from Felixstowe, where we seem to be waiting in vain for rain, or for more than five minutes of it.

We apologise for the lack of shipping news, but the weather’s been murky and Mr Ship Tracker and I both had another quiet day. I managed an evening parking-lot physio stroll but encouraged Mr ST not to worry about monitoring container ships when he needed to rest. Tomorrow’s another day, and the weather forecast is better, too.

In today’s local news, two of the main stories centred on conversion of Felixstowe’s old police station (top photo) to a new restaurant/café, shop and flats, and construction by national UK/Ireland chain JD Wetherspoon of a new, two-storey pub in the town centre.

The police station, built in the 1930s, has been vacant for several years, since the officers moved across the street to join the fire service in a new base. The building has a lot of character, and we hope the new plans reflect that.

Meanwhile, after rejecting previous submissions and addressing various community concerns, the Felixstowe Town Council approved Wetherspoon’s plan. They’ll build their pub with a terrace and a beer garden in Great Eastern Square, next to the town’s Victorian-era rail station which now houses an East of England Coop and other shops. Apparently one of the reasons the new design was approved is that the arched windows reflect the character of the station.

Approved design for new pub in Felixstowe on Hamilton Road (photo Ipswich Star/JD Wetherspoon/KDPA)

A local councillor said the investments ‘signal a forward-looking confidence in the Felixstowe economy, providing employment opportunities … at a time of significant economic uncertainty.’ Whether, or when, the plans come to fruition, it’s nice to see indications people are looking beyond these challenging coronavirus times to a more positive future.

May we keep our optimism and our faith, and may everyone stay safe and well and tickety-boo.

Take care everyone,
xxxx with love from us to you

Isolating in England: Day 145, Happy Birthday, Princess Anne

Tree by the sea summer silhouette, 15 August 2020

Saturday hello from Felixstowe.

Today’s post is short, due to Mr Juggler and me both feeling a bit ‘under the weather’ (thankfully not connected with coronavirus) when we awoke this morning. A quiet day, a sadly-missed writing workshop and a rare skipping of our evening physio walk seem to have been the healing medicine.

Today the UK, with other countries, celebrated VJ Day, the day World War Two ended with Japan’s surrender. Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall attended a ceremony at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, and he laid a wreath on the Kwai Railway Memorial. He said of all who served, ‘Let us affirm, they and serving veterans are not forgotten, rather you are respected, thanked and cherished with all our hearts and for all time.’

Prince Charles at Kwai Railway Memorial, VJ Day ceremony (photo BBC/Reuters)

To conclude on a happy note, today Charles’ younger sister, Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, celebrates her 70th birthday. She’s one of the most dedicated royals, who performs hundreds of public duties every year. We admire her very much and saw her in person (from a distance) several years ago at the Suffolk Show. Happy birthday and many more, Princess Royal!

Happy 70th, Princess Anne (photo BBC/John Swannell/Camera Press)

Take care everyone and stay safe and well and tickety-boo, and we will too,
xxxx with love from us to you

Isolating in England: Day 144, Comings and Goings

Tree by the sea and container ship Maersk Kingston (by Clive), Friday 14 August 2020

Happy Friday from Felixstowe. We hope everyone’s weekend is off to a great start.

Last night’s rain lasted only a few minutes, but we still live in hope. The cooler temperatures are lovely and of course excellent for going on a daily physio walkabout. This evening we increased our time out to 40 minutes, and weather permitting will do the first of our daily 45-minute strolls over the weekend.

Today’s UK news is full of stories of British travellers rushing back from France. They’re coming home, or trying to, before the latest quarantine – announced last evening — begins at 4am tomorrow morning. The Eurostar trains sold out today. Everyone coming into the UK from France, the Netherlands and several other countries must isolate for 14 days. Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, seems to have spoken wise words several weeks ago when she said, ‘I wouldn’t be going on any foreign trips right now.’ She also said, ‘Keep the heid,’ (Day 117) meaning stay calm and don’t lose our heads. That, too, still seems like good advice.

For today’s tree by the sea photo, Mr Ship Tracker reports: ‘Having missed nearly all of last night’s rain, the off-shore haze maintained its presence off the coast of Felixstowe today. It also turned out to be a quiet day in terms of shipping movements. Patience was rewarded at about 6:30pm when tug activity suggested movement was imminent. The Container Ship Maersk Kingston decided to wind in her mooring ropes and depart for Bremerhaven, Germany. She was built in 2003 and is 304 metres in length. The clearer photo is a still from the HHA camera and the other photo (top of post) was taken approximately 12 minutes later as she passed the tree by the sea.’

Thank you as always to Mr ST. I did notice an impressive level of multi-tasking on his part for today’s photos. While monitoring tug movements, subsequent movement of the ship in the harbour and then its arrival at the tree by the sea and dealing with some paperwork on his desk, he also managed to watch the late stages of a snooker (Day 72) world championship semi-final. Keep up the great work, Mr ST!

Container ship Maersk Kingston at the exit of the Port of Felixstowe (still image from HHA camera), Friday 14 August 2020

Take care everyone and stay safe and well and tickety-boo and #KeeptheHeid,
xxxx with love from us to you

Isolating in England: Day 143, A New Physio Walkabout Goal

Felixstowe Thursday flowers and beach hut (photo Visit Felixstowe)

Thursday hello from Felixstowe.

Today the sun shone, beach-goers made the most of it and Mr Ship Tracker once again faced the haze. We’ve yet to get a drop of rain, but thunder is rumbling and lightning flashing. The oft-used weather-report phrase ‘Sunny in the East’ may temporarily become ‘Damp or Wet in the East’ over the weekend. Any rain will be a blessing for the parched flowers and gardens.

In knee rehab excitement, on this afternoon’s video consultation with the Ipswich Hospital physio, after answering many questions and demonstrating my latest abilities, I received an ‘Excellent progress’ assessment. The updated regime includes an increase in the daily number of several current exercises; one new, harder exercise; and a gradual increase in daily walkabout time from 15 minutes to 45 minutes. Eek!

Clive and I agree the longer walking time will be good for both of us. I’m looking forward to circling more than the public parking lot and the few blocks around our apartment. This evening, to initiate the next 3-week cycle, we walked a larger loop for 30 minutes, albeit on flat roads only. Inclines and steps are still a challenge, but the knee is getting stronger. Progress! I’m so grateful for Clive by my side and for every NHS angel, friend and family member who has helped me get this far. Heartfelt thanks to you all.

For today’s tree by the sea photo, Mr Ship Tracker reports: ‘Our hang-around haze was a little less today, so I was able to take a mid-evening photo of the Container Ship BG Ireland arriving from Immingham (Hull). A clearer picture emerged as she entered the Port. She was built in 2007 and has a length of 140 metres.

‘BG Freight Line is a long-established European shipping line that runs a fleet of 23 fully-containerised vessels from its headquarters in Rotterdam. It focuses on northern European, UK and Ireland connections. Ports are served at least twice per week. Recent additions to their fleet include; BG Jade, BG Diamond and BG Emerald. So far they have resisted the temptation to name any of their vessels Barry, Maurice or Robin.’

May everyone have a great Friday coming up, and may you stay safe and well and tickety-boo.

Tree by the sea, looking rather autumnal, and container ship BG Ireland barely visible at top right (by Clive), Thursday 13 August 2020

Container ship BG Ireland entering the Orwell River to the Port of Felixstowe (still image from HHA camera)

News flash: As we go to press, a few raindrops are falling. Yay!

Take care everyone,
xxxx with love from us to you

Isolating in England: Day 142, Turning Around

Midweek on the beach, Felixstowe (photo Visit Felixstowe)

Midweek greetings from Felixstowe.

The UK’s heatwave is diminishing, though according to the BBC, London has had its longest stretch (six days) of temperatures above 34C/93F since 1961. Thunderstorms should cool off the country tonight.

We haven’t had any rain yet in Felixstowe, but our evening physio walkabout was blessed by a beautiful breeze.

In today’s local news, popular Suffolk native and resident Ed Sheeran and his wife Cherry Seaborn announced they’re expecting their first child this summer. They have spent lockdown in their Suffolk home, after Sheeran announced a break from music last December. We can only imagine how stressful it must be to be pregnant during a pandemic, and wish all new mums, dads and babies a safe, happy and healthy future.

Cherry Seaborn and Ed Sheeran at Ipswich Portman Road Football Ground (photo Ipswich Star/insta@teddysphotos)

As I’m winding down these ‘Isolating in England’ posts (last one will be Day 150), coronavirus numbers are going up in many countries around the world. Today surges were reported in Germany, France and Spain. Clive and I may be out and about a little more, but the numbers remind us the virus is still out there, too. Like many of our family and friends, we’ll continue to be cautious. We’re thankful Suffolk numbers are low.

For today’s tree by the sea photo, Mr Ship Tracker once again did a great job given the impossible off-shore haze. He reports: ‘Container Ship CSCL Venus has arrived in the port of Felixstowe from Singapore after a voyage of 20 days and 4 hours. She was built in 2011 and has a length of 366 metres. On her way in, she passed the tree by the sea and entered the port while remaining invisible to the naked eye.

‘When she was close to her berth, I managed to grab a photo of her from an HHA camera, though the overall quality of the shot is impacted by a lesser level of heat haze. Nonetheless, I decided to experiment by using that same camera to capture CSCL Venus as she was turned around and then nudged into her berth. I don’t think I will be doing that again, unless weather conditions are much better and the camera is a little more cooperative. So from left to right, here’s the result – unfortunately, the camera has cut off the bow of the vessel when she was berthed.’

Merci, Mr ST! This is the first time I’ve seen a ship turned around like this.

Container ship CSCL Venus (HHA camera photos), Wednesday 12 August 2020

Take care everyone, and stay safe and well and tickety-boo,
xxxx with love from us to you

Isolating in England: Day 141, Almost Invisible

Tree by the sea and container ship Maersk Gairloch (by Clive), Tuesday 11 August 2020

Tuesday hello from Felixstowe, where we’re expecting one more day of heat, haze and 30C/86F before the temperature drops.

Today in the UK, Scotland’s schools reopened for the first time in five months. England is currently planning to follow suit in September. We greatly admire all the teachers, families and staff who are working so hard to make everything safe and successful at this difficult time.

Due to the heat, Mr Ship Tracker and I had a slow day, with an evening stroll to snail-mail a card and give my knee a pavement walkabout. On Thursday, during a video consultation with the physio at Ipswich Hospital, I’ll find out if I need to do more or different exercises to keep progressing.

Mr ST did a superb job of spotting several container ships in today’s haze. I couldn’t find most of them until he pointed to their exact position. He reports: ‘The off-shore heat haze was even more ‘hazy’ than it has been for the last few days. Consequently, the Container Ship Maersk Gairloch was almost invisible as she approached the Port of Felixstowe. I took a photo anyway (top of post) and rather than give Specsavers extra business, I have placed an arrow on the photo, pointing approximately to the centre of her hull. She was built in 2003 and is 290 metres in length. Her previous port of call was Bremerhaven, Germany and there is no truth in the rumour that her next destination will be the Bermuda Triangle.

‘I thought I would also provide a photo of her as she travels up towards a wider and quieter part of the river. She is just in shot on the left of the photo (below) and still has two tugs attached. Just out of shot, the tugs will turn her around 180 degrees and escort her back down river. They will then complete a series of ballet moves as they gently ease her into her berth. It might take a bit of imagination to visualise this but give it a go.’

Container ship Maersk Gairloch in the Port of Felixstowe (still image from HHA camera)

May our vision be clear, even if the visibility is hazy. May school re-openings be safe and successful for everyone involved. And may all of you stay safe and well and tickety-boo.

Take care everyone,
xxxx with love from us to you