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March in England
mr_obison
So March was very much more memorable than February.  Again, I'm giving a very retroactive update, so I will update this as I think of things. 

First Keynote, Heather's visit!  March 6
She came for a week and it was really really nice to see her.  I worked as usual, though I did cut my hours as much as I could to save my holiday time.  She arrived on Thursday, and flew out the following Wed.  I know it's not quite a week, but it was still a very good trip to have.  She now has a stamp in her passport.  On the weekend we went into the city and saw the major sights: Big Ben, Leicester Square, The Portrait Gallery, and the waterloo area.  Spent the day there and had a fantastic time.  Sunday was spent domestically, and Monday we took in a show, Avenue Q.  I think it was a really good trip that covered a few of the major points of England.  We even fed the squirrels in the park in the city.  Check the pics in Flickr.  Overall was really really nice to have her in for the week. 

March 28ish:

I went to Portsmouth with George and took some fun pics, which are up on Flickr for anyone who wants to see them.  George had a good time, and the sights were fantastic.  We went and saw the Mary Rose museum, HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, as well as a harbor tour of the active naval station down there.  Portsmouth was a really nice little place to go for a day.  The weather was cool and overcast, which really made it nice to be walking around in the bowels of really big, old wooden ships.  I will have to go back to see some of the other sights and the monitor (old iron ship) just to say I've seen it.  The drive there was really cool too.  One road that takes me all he way tere, no turns, and not motorway so there was actually something to see instead of 6 lane highway.   
 
The HMS Victory was neat to see.  It was a warship, and huge for what i was expecting.  It's amazing it had nearly 1000 crew on board.  Some of the decks were really short too.  While I was walking around I couldn't help but think how loud, smelly, and just really poor conditions they must have dealt with.  There was a huge cannon every 20 feet or so on every gun deck, so during battle I oculdn't imagine how they operated.  And the rigging was soemthing else.  I've never seen so much rope, or line, or cable (depending on size/era).  There are some cool pics from that, but it really was very fascinating to see just how it all worked.  Some of the ingenuity to put it all together to move the weight they did.  The curators did a very good job in signing the route to get through the ship and see most everything from the very bottom of it up to the poop deck.  They had people stationed through the ship to answer questions and give demos for some things, so they really had a nice little tour set up.

The HMS Warrior wasn't quite as well set up, but they did have it completely (90% anyway) opened up to explore and see.  The cool part for all the engineers out there is the propulsion system.  It had a massive steam engine on board that had a propeller that could be pulled up and out of the way while it was under sail. They give a good shot at the engine, which basically operates on high pressure steam being fed alternately to each side of a piston (2 pistons total), which were HUGE.  Each cylinder must've been 4 feet across. The pics just don't do it justice.   It also had iron cladding over it's timbers, which was neat to see.  I spent some time walking around that, before heading home.  I

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