Saturday, 29 October 2011

Guest Chamber of King Henry II, Great Tower of Dover Castle, Kent, UK

A view of the Guest Chamber on the first-floor of the Keep, or Great Tower (night view), of Dover Castle after "a major transformation by English Heritage to re-create the splendour of a royal court in the late 12th century" (1):

Royal Palace Guest Chamber also used by garrison and Constable. Angevin Keep, or Great Tower, by Maurice the Engineer. Textiles by RSN. Musical instrument: harp; board game: backgammon. English Heritage Listed Building.
(Click this Palace Guest Chamber text link to see the largest size)

Entry to this representation of a medieval royal palace is via the Forebuilding and King's Hall on the second-floor. Adjacent to the King's Hall (Great Hall) is the King's Chamber (bedroom, or solar). The Guest Hall is on the floor below the King's Hall, and the Guest Chamber is below the King's Chamber.

Embroidered textiles throughout the four-room complex are by the Royal School of Needlework (RSN).

Above the chest at bottom-left is a bed on top of which lie a patchwork blanket, bolster, and two pillows. Next is the main bed which can be completely enclosed by drawing the hanging curtains along their rail. There are two other beds set against the far wall.

The beds are quite small by modern standards which I immediately put down to the average height being less in the 12th Century than it is today. A 2007 newspaper report, however, suggests otherwise (2):

Friday, 28 October 2011

Guest Hall of King Henry II in the Great Tower of Dover Castle, Kent, UK

A view of the Guest Hall on the first-floor of the Keep, or Great Tower (night view), of Dover Castle after "a major transformation by English Heritage to re-create the splendour of a royal court in the late 12th century" (1):

Guest Hall of Royal Palace also used by garrison and Constable. Keep, or Great Tower, by Maurice the Engineer. Backcloth by RSN. Troubadour music: Alexandra Buckle, Oxford University. English Heritage Listed Building.
(Click this Palace Guest Hall text link to see the largest size)

The Guest Hall, or lower hall, is shown being prepared for a feast, although it would have been a multi-purpose room (see below). Leading off this hall are the pantry and the buttery (2).

The Guest Hall backcloth above the 'high table', a powerful reminder to the guests of whose palace they are visiting, shows the mounted King Henry II (Curtmantle), ready for battle in mail, although without helmet so that all might see his face, wearing his crown and holding his sword aloft (3). The backcloth was made by the Royal School of Needlework (RSN):

2009 for the re-presentation of The Great Hall, Dover Castle. Six large pieces were produced in an extremely short timescale including the King’s Hall backcloth; a canopy and tester; the Guest Hall backcloth and a standard and altar frontal. These were completed with the help of volunteers from the RSN Certificate Course (4).

As part of the re-presentation of the Norman Keep, Alexandra Buckle, a junior research fellow in the Music Faculty at Oxford University, was employed by English Heritage as a music consultant for the project (5):

"Henry II was married to Eleanore of Aquitaine, a lifelong patron of the troubadours (composers and performers of Occitan lyric poetry during the High Middle Ages, 1100-1350) and someone who is credited with spreading the influence of the troubadours to England. Therefore we hear troubadour music in the Guest Hall, reflecting this." (The female equivalent of a troubadour is a trobairitz)

At other times:

Thursday, 27 October 2011

MS Saga Ruby Cruise Ship and a God of the Night, Dover Harbour, Kent, UK

At top-right, the fiery eyes of some departing God of the Night blaze down in rage as a last-minute prey achieves sanctuary upon entering the harbour:

(Click this MS Saga Ruby cruise ship text link to see the largest size)

The unsuspecting ship, the MS Saga Ruby cruise liner, is shown framed in the Eastern Entrance of Dover Harbour, formed by the Eastern Arm pier on the left and the Southern Breakwater on the right.

The structure on the end of the Eastern Arm pier is the Dover Port Control building; beyond the Eastern Entrance lie the dangerous waters of the Straits of Dover and English Channel.

The photo was taken from near the lighthouse end of the Prince of Wales Pier at 6.17 am on Wednesday the 11th of August, 2010.

Another Saga Cruises ship in port this day was the Spirit of Adventure (photographed during an earlier visit in June).

Later, the Saga Ruby left Dover at the start of the "Treasures of the Anglo-Celtic Isles" cruise that called at various ports in England, Scotland, Wales, Nothern Ireland, and Eire (Ireland).

Full itinerary (1):

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

MS Seabourn Sojourn Cruise Ship nearing CT1, Admiralty Pier, Dover Harbour, Kent, UK

An early morning view of the MS Seabourn Sojourn reversing towards Cruise Terminal 1 (CT1) on the Admiralty Pier of Dover Harbour:

Delivered to Yachts of Seabourn May 28th, 2010. En route from Genoa (Italy) to London for christening by godmother Twiggy Lawson. Call Sign C6YA5, IMO 9417098, MMSI 311027100, Bahamas Flag. Western Docks.
(Click this MS Seabourn Sojourn text link to see the largest size)

The photo was taken at 6.42 am on Thursday, 3rd of June, 2010 (1) from the southern end of the Prince of Wales Pier, part of the Western Docks.

The foreground structure on the left-hand side is the lighthouse (2) with the roof of the cafe at top-right. In the background are Shakespeare Cliff (part of the White Cliffs of Dover) and the ex-Dover Marine Railway Station (now the Cruise Terminal 1 building).

The Yachts of Seabourn took delivery of Seabourn Sojourn on May 28th from her builders at the T. Mariotti shipyard in Genoa, Italy. The ship then set sail for Greenwich in London via this stop-over in Dover.

After spending the day berthed at Cruise Terminal 1, the Seabourn Sojourn left Dover at 8.38 pm and continued to London where she moored mid-river near Canary Wharf early on Friday, the 4th of June.

Later in the day, the British supermodel and fashion icon Twiggy (Twiggy Lawson) became godmother to Seabourn Sojourn and officially named the yacht during an onboard ceremony.

On Saturday the 5th, the company donated Seabourn Sojourn to the non-profit Breast Cancer Haven as the venue for a gala fundraising event to celebrate the charity's 10th anniversary. (3)

On Sunday, 6th of June, the MS Seabourn Sojourn embarked on her maiden voyage of a 14-day "Iceland Cruise" and a 28-day "Northern Europe Cruise", initially calling at Invergordon (Scotland), Thorshavn (Faroe Islands, Denmark), Reykjavik (Iceland), Heimaey (West-Man Islands/Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland), Olden (Nordfjord, Norway), Bergen (Norway), and Amsterdam (Holland).

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Louis Bleriot Memorial from South-East Northfall Meadow, Dover Castle, Kent, UK

Prior to the July 2009 Centennial of Louis Bleriot's historic first flight across the English Channel, the immediate area had been landscaped and new access pathways laid. Even so, the location is still hidden from view and not a place visitors would find by acident. This view is from the south-east:

A post-2009 centennial view from the south-east. Louis Bleriot completed the first aeroplane flight across the English Channel on Sunday 25th July 1909. Northfall Meadow is located behind Dover Castle.
(Click this Louis Bleriot Memorial text link to see the largest size)

The inscription on the 'Cockpit Stone' between the propellor and fuselage reads:

After making the first Channel flight by aeroplane
Landed at this spot on Sunday 25th July 1909
This memorial was presented to the Aero Club of the United Kingdom (1) by Alexander Duckham

The memorial is located in Northfall Meadow, now a wooded area, behind Dover Castle.

Extract from an Aviation Online Magazine article (2):

July 27, 2009, Edmond Salis a Frenchman restored a Blériot XI Monoplane and flew it from Calais to Dover on Saturday to commemorate the centennial of the first airplane to cross the English Channel.

Other news articles about the anniversary can be found at The New York Times, Life Magazine, and The Observer (UK).

Bleriot XI Video Links

MS Asuka II Cruise Ship berthed at the Admiralty Pier, Dover Harbour, Kent, UK

The MS Asuka II passenger ship berthed at CT2 (Cruise Terminal 2) on the Admiralty Pier of Dover Harbour, her bow pointing in the direction of the Western Entrance and English Channel beyond:

MV Asuka II operated by Nippon Yusen Kaisha NYK Line, ex-Crystal Harmony of Crystal Cruises. Berthed CT2, Western Docks. World Cruise from Yokohama. Call Sign: 7JBI, IMO: 8806204, MMSI: 432545000, Flag: Japan.
(Click this MS Asuka II Cruise Ship text link to see the largest size)

The Asuka II is in the Inner Harbour (ex-Commercial Harbour), part of the Western Docks, that is bounded to the left by the out-of-shot Prince of Wales Pier.

To the left of the passenger ship is the Southern Breakwater and DHB David Church dredger, a Dover Harbour Board vessel.

Towards the bow on the right is the Cruise Terminal 2 building; near the stern is part of the Admiralty Pier Turret base (alt. Dover Turret), an enclosed Victorian armoured turret built in 1882.

The photo was taken at 1.05 pm on Monday, 16th of May, 2011, from the upper level of the Admiralty Pier.

The MS Asuka II (飛鳥II, alt. MV Asuka 2) "changed to foreign trade" on Sunday, 3rd of April, and departed Yokohama (横浜市, Yokohama-shi, 日本, Japan) at 4 pm on a World Cruise (1) and then called at Singapore, Port Louis (capital of Mauritius), Cape Town (South Africa), Walvis Bay (Namibia), Dakar (capital of Senegal), Lisbon (capital of Portugal), and Rouen (capital of Normandy, France) before arriving at Dover, England (nb this itinerary may not include tourist ports of call).

Sunday, 23 October 2011

MS AIDAsol Cruise Ship in Dover Harbour on her Maiden Voyage, Kent, UK

The MS AIDAsol cruise ship entered Dover Harbour on Wednesday, 13th of April, 2011 (closely followed by fog!) via the Eastern Entrance and is shown in front of the White Cliffs of Dover and Eastern Arm pier:

AIDA Cruises's AIDA Sol in fog at the Eastern Arm Pier and White Cliffs of Dover on April 13, 2011. Arrived from Oslo, Norway; going to Le Havre, France. Call Sign ICPE, IMO 9490040, MMSI 247302900.
(Click this MS AIDAsol cruise ship text link to see the largest size)

The passenger ship is now heading towards the Admiralty Pier of the Western Docks to berth at CT2 (Cruise Terminal 2).

The photo was taken at 8.49 am approximately 1300 yards away from near the lighthouse and cafe end of the Prince of Wales Pier (eastern side).

In the English Channel, sea fog can occur at any time of the year but seems to be more common in the late Spring and early to mid-Summer when the water inshore is still fairly cold (1).

The maiden voyage of the MS AIDAsol had the following itinerary: Kiel (Germany), Copenhagen (Denmark), Oslo (Norway), Dover (England), Le Havre (France), Amsterdam (Netherlands/Holland), and Hamburg (Germany).