Thursday 13 May 2010


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.


  1. Then, of course, there were the Type 45 bunks, consoles, chairs and footrests, fire-fighting access and a whole meeting dedicated to making the surgery 2 inches wider.


  2. Meanwhile ( well, no - earlier: there's that age gap again!) one of your future flock was lying in the road protesting against the US base in the Holy Loch!

  3. I know. These things are never straightforward. Had my mother been able to escape and do it, she would have been at Greenham Common.

  4. I went there too! We could have met ... and they came to Holy Loch once, in 1984. A cold coming they had of it ...

  5. ....welcome to Scottish Land when you arrive. You will be in one of the most beautiful areas in the world.

    As an irishman who has been in Scotland nearly 50 years, I can say that they always seem to welcome (or certainly accept!)us foreigners!

  6. Thanks, Harry! Hope to bump into you...

  7. Andrew,
    We thought of you last week when Robert had a tour of HMS Dauntless at Portsmouth. We hope that all is well with you, Mary and the family.
    Wilf H.