Well… this is my final blog about Armed Forces day, and to be honest I’m not quite sure where to start or how to explain the day but I’ll try.
On Saturday morning on my way to work I overheard someone explaining that Portsmouth had a power cut. I didn’t know then quite what effect this was going to have on the rest of the day. I walked into work with nerves and excitement, only to be met by some very worried faces. The power had cut off on the Friday night and the dockyard had no power. Now out of everything that could go wrong that had been running through my head over the days before, all the double checking I’d done, the last thing I expected was a power cut! No power meant no event right? My heart was pounding as we waited to for any news. We kept ourselves busy and started the set up, but I couldn’t get the thoughts out my head, how disappointed will the public be, will I be, or even worse, the veterans be? How could we let no power stop us remembering and thanking the people that have fought for us. As we all grouped together and got everything ready there was a sense of unity and Britishness.
Finally the news came in that the event could go ahead. I don’t think the word relieved does the feeling I got justice. Now the manic rush to get everything sorted. The field kitchen didn’t need electric, so that could go ahead, the band (bar the electric piano) could play, which meant the lindy hopper dancers would still be able to come. Unfortunately it meant no cups of tea and coffee could be served (just when a cuppa would have gone down nicely!) but we had squash and drinks at the ready. Thanks to the many volunteers we had everything was ready to go.
At about half past one I glanced down the dockyards to see swarms of people walking up, this is it I thought, the past few months hard work was about to pay off. As the event got into full swing with the lively music and the dancing, everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves, young and old alike. The arena seemed full of life, and excitement. The rationed food went down well, with many people willing to try the war time recipes, and the field kitchen kept people intrigued. The veterans got the chance to share their experiences with the public, which was the main point of the event, and I got to chat to a few of them as well.
The event was a huge success with over 1000 people coming down, and yes the weather held out for us! Armed forces was all I’d expected and more, and from the comments and feedback we have had everybody seemed to enjoy it, it was certainly bigger and better. Anyway, better go and start planning next years!
National Museum of the Royal Navy