The story goes that in 1588 Sir Francis Drake saw the approaching Spanish armada from just about where I am having my breakfast this morning. I suspect our breakfasts would have been quite similar! And just as he was, I am sitting here watching the Royal Navy messing about in boats in wonderful natural harbor that is Plymouth Hoe.
The technology of Sir Francis’ day was state of the art. But over 400 years later seems primitive to our eyes. The WiFi that let’s me write my blog today as I eat my breakfast is also state of the art. But you and I both know it will seem primitive in just 400 days.
Yet there is something romantic, nostalgic, even heroic in thinking about Elizabethan technology. That so much was achieved by so few with such simple tools. It’s often said that the English (and the Cornish) are all sailors at heart and I have to confess to envying those officers and crew out there for a day on the water.
All morning a small frigate has been navigating the inshore waters under the watchful eye of the great war memorial that commemorates the sacrifice of Royal Navy seamen in two world wars.
As one war ends today in Libya I hope that those young sailors out in Plymouth Sound have an extra lightness in their step and I am grateful that they are a little further distant from the memorial.