We live on an island, as Shakespeare reminds us:
“This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,…
This precious stone set in the silver sea.”
But we don’t appreciate it! What do we do when we need/want to travel? Do we use the lovely stuff that is all around us? No! We rush off to wait for hours in queues in the likes of Heathrow and Gatwick and cram ourselves in metal boxes to be flung across the sky. How much better to travel by sea? To enjoy a relaxing time on the ocean watching the sea, the weather and the sea creatures.
Once upon a time travel by sea was the normal way to get around. (I don’t juse mean in the days of the Vikings!) In the 1900s if we are to believe the tales of P G Woodhouse people travelled from Liverpool to New York by steamer. It must have been pleasant – at least if you were one of the upper class waited on and cossetted.
At one time you could get a train from London to Fleetwood and then board a boat to Scotland. If only that were still possible!
You could go further afield too. Kipling writes of:
“Great steamers white and gold
Rolling down to Rio.”
It’s such a shame we no longer have vessels like these.
Now I’ve reached retirement I have time, time to spend as I want and travel as I please. I am not constrained by a nine-to-five job or family commitments. I’d love to travel by sea in a slow comfortable vessel something like the lovely Calmac ferries sailing to the Shetlands. But there aren’t any transatlantic ships now only cruise liners, huge floating hotels with hundreds of staff and thousands of passengers. Not a pleasant prospect. Such a shame.