artyartie: (Default)
Our Trafalgar commemoration went wonderfully, far better than I had hoped, when I feared that we would have all of five people there. There was a mix of work friends, fellow Welsh learners and a good number of Scots all there to mark the occasion, and at most we had fifteen people at one time, which I think counts as quite a success. For a half hour or so, we had Tim, the director of a very good local choir, and his sweet and witty wife with us, and they were an utter delight. Tim is also quite enamored of the Age of Sail and the Aubrey/Maturin novels especially. There is something about O'Brian fans and our ability to gush - we had this almost schoolgirlish glee reminiscing over how we fell in love with the books in a matter of pages, which further convinces me there are two types of people - O'Brian fans and those who aren't fans yet.

We held the toasts while Tim and his wife were there. Simon (our wonderful "token Brit" from work), bless him, did the Loyal Toast on very short notice, after I asked him this afternoon if he wouldn't mind doing it. He did a lovely, humorous and educational toast on the history of the practice, which involved recounting several royals nearly knocking themselves senseless on low ship beams and the curious meanings of toasting with water and over it. We toasted the Queen, though only one of us was one of her loyal subjects, as was wittily pointed out.

Then it was time for me to make the Immortal Memory toast, which was an exciting but frightening prospect I had only been aware of since earlier in the day thanks to a Google search on Trafalgar toasts. Thankfully, my recent reading, especially Seize the Fire (thank you, Adam Nicholson!), gave me a very good base for a short speech that managed to embrace the contradictions of a day that is both a cause for celebration and lamenting. Writing our last two Seders helped immensely as well as to give the speech the proper balance and gravity. And perhaps the port helped with the stuttering, but I believe it was the spirit of the occasion that gave strength to my voice. As we toasted and drank to the immortal memory, I felt a warm gratitude from my head to my toes, with a flush of honor. I let them know just how very grateful and happy I was to them for their presence. Tomorrow, when I am more conscious, I'll write up the toast I used.

Incidentally, it's quite likely Denver will soon have an Age of Sail club, as many of the people tonight expressed a strong interest. I think a dinner party of sorts will be on the horizon very soon - minus the salt beef and hard tack, of course.

The rest of the night was filled with warm, pleasant conversation - recollections of trips and books and the battle, of course. [ profile] cygna_hime, we even chatted about Lord Peter for a while! Around 9:30 we began to leave; I got a sweet peck on the cheek from Simon, whom I believe could be a dear, favorite uncle sort of person. I still feel the warmth of the evening still, and the camaraderie we shared for the night, even in this landlocked place.

And indeed, thanks to you - [ profile] wanderingfool, thank you for sparking this interest that has grown into a passion. [ profile] mayara13, [ profile] chaosotter and [ profile] xeiga for unexpectedly (and delightfully) sharing those same interests, all my new Age of Sail friends who share the passion and whom I hope to know better soon, and to all the rest of you for toleration my latest obsession. You may have to bear with me a while longer, I rgret - my NaNo main character is a naval historian.

And lastly, peace to all those souls who perished at Trafalgar, peace in aeternato all those who perished in war. May you find the peace you so fervently sought, and may you find comfort and solace, amidst immortal memories.
artyartie: (Default)
And now I have Popham's flags (which Nelson used for his famous signal) stuck in my head after making the signal in Word - which sadly took more time than it did to hoist the original signal. All I can say is I'm really, really glad he decided to go with "expects," which was in the signal books, not "confides," what he originally wanted, which would needed to have been spelled out letter by letter.

And now it's time for bed - perhaps to have another dream with my nephew! I dreamed about him last night - can't imagine why he would have been on my mind!


Sep. 8th, 2005 10:32 pm
artyartie: (BritishNavyOwnzU)
I wanted to answer this week's [ profile] tsukimineshrine challenge, but while Nakuru and Spinel were begging Eriol to go to the Fleet Review, and Kaho looked so pretty in her frock, he just didn't want to leave his new chair. And then I tried to convince Naoko and Tomoyo to come out and play, but they just wanted to stay inside and read. Or so they said.

In what I hope isn't a fruitless act, I've tried to round up fellow Age of Sail fans in the Denver area for a Trafalgar 200 event - otherwise known as going to one of our British pubs and raising many a toast to Nelson. I'm hoping there's an answer, or two, in the next few days! If not, maybe I'll accost some people at a signing in a week. The author of Seize the Fire, a book on Trafalgar, Nelson, and the definition of heroism, is coming to the Tattered Cover next Friday. I'm a quarter of the way through the book and it's just brilliant - there's a discussion on Greek vs. Roman heroes I know some of you would love. And one of our choirs is doing a concert on October 18, but I want to do something on the day itself, no matter how small. I spent a while at the official site and again found myself wishing I had gone for the Fleet Review - the next time I'm in Great Britain I will certainly be spending a day in Portsmouth. With much wistfulness, I found Web sites for companies that do tall ship excursions and even working vacations. I can't even imagine how incredible an experience that would be. And then there's this little voice that says when I get married (after that tricky bit of finding a prospective mate and all) that it should be a shipboard ceremony.

Interests with me aren't just interests - they're full-blown obsessions.


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