I sometimes drop in on HMS Victory when I visit Portsmouth, not to go aboard, but just to pay my respects and pass the time of day. She doesn’t look her best at the moment, poor old love, with her topmasts out, swathes of planking removed to show her ravaged frame timbers, and vast sheets of plastic (the last indignity) flapping untidily all over her.
Today there was a huge street market and fair going on, and a strange rabble of who-knows-what filled the Dockyard. Rotating teacups flanked Victory on one side, and thunderously amplified music boomed from the other. She looked like a great-granny who has been over-persuaded to go on a raucous hen night with the junior members of the family, and, having been dumped in a corner, has taken her shoes off and her teeth out to be comfortable while the girls party.
I tipped my hat to her in commiseration and tiptoed unobtrusively away.