The Committee was extremely pleased with the success of our first organised outing last month, we confidently went ahead with our July excursion to this venue.
The group this month was smaller, but no surprise as everyone needed to catch up with family and friends following Covid lockdown.
This month’s organiser was John Alchin arranging Members to leave Andover at 9.30am arriving at the D-Day Museum for 10.45am, for coffee and a quick catchup before pursuing our tour. We began with clambering around the last surviving Landing Craft LCT 7074 from D-Day. The conditions on board were very cramped, cold, and wet; being a flat bottom craft the trip across the channel must have been very scary with many probably suffering from sea sickness.
Click on any image to enlage it
There were visual displays and a running commentary explaining the equipment used and the landing at Arromanches as part of the Normandy battle.
We then went into the newly refurbished Museum which was divided into two major displays. Beginning on our right was the historical collection of artifacts of medals, guns, uniforms, flags, and photographs and much more all explaining their uses and connections with the war. There were many personal moving stories leaving us with no doubt in our minds what so many sacrificed for the following generations. By this time, we all felt we deserved some lunch and took advantage of the on-site Café facilities enjoying our refreshments outside in the sun.
Now refreshed, we moved onto the left side of the purpose-built building to house an embroidery exhibition. This was commission by Lord Dulverton in 1968 and really is a wonderful piece of art, in-fact it was mind blowing, not at all what was anticipated. This was 83 metres long, made into panels of 2.4 x 0.9 metres. It took 5 years in its making with each panel depicting a story telling the events of the D-Day from the U.K. to the Normandy beaches; this was outstanding. It is one of those things when you say, “seeing is believing”.
We all then took the short walk through the gardens to 1500c restored Southsea Castle built by Henry VIII; this was fun and interesting. In the Keep there were small exhibitions, a restaurant and shop giving an in-sight to its history. We then climbed the ramparts and parapets to the top to enjoy the wonderful views across to the Isle of Wight and the coastline. By now we all deserved a sit-down for an ice-cream and tea. The weather was still wonderful with a nice breeze, so we took advantage of this and strolled along the esplanade to the Southsea Pier and enjoyed a fish and chip supper. Thanks to John for planning a great day out.
Our next visit will be to Southampton Gallery – Thursday 26th August ‘21.
The theme for August is 'Garden/Park Birds' with, hopefully, a round table meeting on Monday August 9th at 10 a.m.
We moved on to tunnels described “as a bit of fun” where Sandy was experimenting growing red and white grape varieties that could harvest 2 or 3 years earlier than conventional vineyards.
The strawberry plants here were only a few weeks old, Sandy explained how he could tell the size of the crop from the emerging flowers.
Finally to the ripening strawberries where we sampled different varieties and noted the names so we could identify them in Sainsburys, Waitrose and Aldi.
There is an Automatic tilting system that makes harvesting easier and allows the pickers to use 2 hands
An enjoyable and fascinating visit and well worth the 2+ miles walked. We thanked Sandy for his time and he thanked us for coming with a large punnet of fresh strawberries for each of us.
Some facts about the farm
Both bumble and honey bees are introduced to the tunnels at the appropriate times to assist pollination.
All the plants are grown in containers off the ground and fed with nutrients from the extensive irrigation system. Sandy is experimenting harvesting the strawberries using a robot. He is also working to produce a snack product to make use of the small fruits not suitable for the supermarkets.