Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dad’s Navy Days: “Passing the Needles” (1)

For years a very rare water colour print hung in my basement, and only last week did I place it upon the fireplace mantel while my wife wasn’t looking.

[“Cunard Line, Canadian Services, circa 1920s”]

My father gave it to me at least 20 years ago and one friend loved it so much - “love at first sight,” Meeker said - he jokingly stole it out of my house one evening and, once caught, tried to make me at least swear to make him the beneficiary of the print in my will. No, I said, thinking seriously of my own sons.

[“Heading west passed The Needles”]

Resting upon the mantel, the ‘two-stacker’ appears to be travelling west toward the dining room, and because the print is entitled ‘PASSING THE NEEDLES’ I’ve learned the Cunard ship is on the north side of the Isle of Wight, UK and heading west into the English Channel and toward the Atlantic Ocean. Likely destination: Halifax or Montreal, Canada.

And I feel I now know why another man, my father, had to have this print as well when he first laid his eyes upon it as a young man.

More to follow.

[Above photos by G.Harrison]

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The Needles are the western most point of the Isle of Wight and are a series of chalk stacks which protrude into the sea at the end of which is a lighthouse. Nearby is Alum Bay, which is home of the famous coloured sand... The sea around the Needles was notorious for shipwrecks. The first lighthouse was built in 1785 on top of the downs, the current one during from the 1850's. Photo and more information @ Alum Bay and the Needles, Isle of Wight


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