Thursday, 26 July 2012

26/07: FIREWORKS (of all sorts)

A fellow Blogger from Canada  Jo Wake  wrote a post today including the possible find of the wreck of a U Boat in the Churchill River in Labrador.  If the wreck is found to be a U Boat it will be left in situ as a war grave.

That reminded me that on our recent sailing trip on the Thames Barge, Greta, we glimpsed the wreckage of the SS Richard Montgomery which was wrecked off the Kent coast in 1944 (at Sheerness)
It was carrying 1,400 tonnes of explosives when it grounded and broke in two.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said a 2009 structural survey showed "accelerated deterioration".
Its report concluded that collapse was "not imminent" but "getting closer".

They found that although the hull appeared to be "reasonably stable" a crack in one of the vessel's holds was "of concern".

The section contains 2,000 cases of cluster bombs, nearly 600 500lb bombs and more than 1,000 1,000lb bombs.  Previously experts have said if the wreck exploded it would cause a metre-high tidal wave.
The Richard Montgomery lies in 50ft (15m) of water off the mouth of the River Medway, with its masts visible above the surface - which is the only bit we could see.



In August 2004 a report in the New Scientist magazine said if the ship exploded it would be one of the biggest non-nuclear blasts ever and would devastate the port of Sheerness.  As long ago as 1970, government tests on the site suggested a blast would hurl a 1,000ft wide column of water, mud, metal and munitions almost 10,000ft into the air.

So we could have that to look forward to ......   :-)      But I hope not ....



On a slightly different note, in Whitstable tonight we will be treated to a Firework Display off the shore by the Harbour.     Traditionally the Whitstable Oyster Festival which is running till tomorrow finishes with a Grand Firework Finale.    But ... with the Olympics officially starting tomorrow night the Fireworks in the East End of London are likely to upstage anything we'll see here .... so Whitstable have sensibly brought their display forward by one day.

Its a nice evening ... not quite as warm as the last couple but good enough that we can take a stroll down to the harbour (about 20mins walk) to look at the Grotters built today on the beach by local children - these are  hollow mounds of sand and shells.   As darkness falls, Grotter-builders are invited back to illuminate their creations by placing a candle inside.

In bygone days, children used to build these and beg 'a penny for the Grotter' like 'penny for the guy'.

A Grotter ... photo courtesy of Whitstable Oyster Festival website:


Just before the Grotter-lighting, the Blessing of the Waters will take place nearby - a traditional religious service of thanks for the bounty from the sea. It's organised by the Whitstable branch of the Association of Men of Kent and Kentish Men and is always held near to the feast day of Saint James, 25th July. James was a fisherman.


The fireworks kick off at around 9.45 ... should be fun!

13 comments:

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

really hope that doesn't explode! can't believe it is just sitting there and no one has done anything with it

have fun at the fireworks!

Jo said...

Yes, I do remember that ship although I didn't know its name.

By the way, not to cause confusion, but my name is Jo Wake - for some reason Blogger wouldn't let me use my name so chose a family name instead.

Never heard of Grotters, how interesting. Matt used to dress up his little brother and put him in a wheelbarrow for Guy Fawkes LOL

Send me some oysters, I miss them.

sue said...

Hi Jennifer
Well, 'they' seem to think its safer to leave it be for the moment and just keep an eye on it. Unexploded WW2 bombs are forever being dredged out of the sea round here and destroyed in 'controlled explosions' but this is a much bigger problem.

Sorry Jo - have changed your name in my Blog Link. I was born in Kent but never heard of Grotters till we moved here. I believe it was confined mostly to Whitstable and spread along the Thames River but the custom died out. It was reintroduced in Whitstable as a way of preserving some of the old customs.

Local kids still get to celebrate Guy Fawkes (Bonfire Night) on 5th November though.

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

unexploded bombs are found on the beaches here too. they just blew on up a few weeks ago. the councili was moving dirt around and found it, lucky it didn't go off then since they were use big diggers to move everything o.0

Jo said...

Thanks for changing it. I just asked hubby and he doesn't know Grotters either. Odd. We both lived in Kent for 30 odd years, longer for him in fact. Medway Towns area.

Jo said...

Where's 'here' Jennifer?

sue said...

In case Jennifer doesn't see your question Jo .... her Blog describes her as a Canuck in Haggis Country so I guess she's a Canadian living in Scotland (but not sure which part of Scotland).

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

angus area :) there were a few found in arbroath and on a few other beaces in the area. i don't live near a beach but about 15 minutes from a few.

Jo said...

Well I'm a limey in Canuck land.

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

@Jo, where about, if you don't mind me asking?

sorry Sue for highjacking your comments ;)

Jo said...

Yes, apolgies Sue. Kitchener, ON

sue said...

That's fine ladies .. carry on :-)

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

been there a few times when i was younger, i grew up in hamilton and port dover in ontario and then small town alberta :p