It is fascinating when connections appear. We are in the process of saying many goodbyes in Gloucester as we prepare to finish in St Catharine's parish and also a chaplaincy ministry that I've done for nearly three years. Goodbyes are difficult, even knowing that friendships will continue as ministry moves on.
But the connection? The staff for whom I was chaplain made a lovely presentation of various bits and bobs - including a book of images of Dunoon and Cowal (but not Bute - which is equally part of the future!). The book is super, even as I reflected on the fact that I will have those images live in front of me in just over a week. It is also a very useful local history book, a good way of reading into Cowal and that element of where we are going.
In the section on Kirn, there are photographs of some Clyde shipping. These include a tall ship and cruise liner, both seen off the coast at Kirn. The third image, to show something a bit stranger, was a ship's bow on a barge, being towed by a tug up the Clyde. This last one was, of course, a Type 45 'Daring' class destroyer bow. I can't say that I designed it - that was done by one of my junior naval architect colleagues, along with VT hydrodynamicists on the T45 PCO in 2000-01 or so, but I worked on so many aspects of the form, the layout, the content, the detailed integration of the internal and external systems that I can honestly say that I know it very, very well indeed. Even seven or eight years on, I feel that I invested a lot of myself in this lump of metal (and the other bits that weld together to form the finished product). And it finds its way into a book of images that define Cowal.
There can often be a tension between our personal histories and futures. The story of a warship-designer turned Anglican priest is an interesting one (I think, anyway), and one that demands some rigour in the ethical sub-texts. I plan to go and see Duncan, ship 06, when she is launched in October 2010, and explore some of those tensions of pride, history and ethics in more detail.