19th December is always the date that marks the start of the Christmas period for me as it is etched on my mind as the return date from the 6-month tour to The South Atlantic in my RN days aboard HMS Amazon (a Type 21 Frigate).
Our arrival back at Devonport, Plymouth in 1985 was truly memorable - the sense of relief that we could now relax and enjoy the festivities, freed of our duties. Although it was post-conflict, there were still some "interesting" moments during the deployment; a couple of Action Stations, and a challenging time as the Islands' defences and infrastructure were being newly established. It was also a worrying time for families back home as the precarious diplomatic situation meant everyone was in no doubt what might happen.
In those days, crowds still lined the jetties to welcome returning ships back, although it was mainly family and close friends. I'll never forget the proud look on my dad's face as he spotted me on the bridge wing as we came alongside, and along with hundreds of others, raised his hands and applauded the whole ship's company.
Here is a gratuitous pic of San Carlos Water in The Falklands, taken from the foc'sle (the pointy bit at the front of the ship) with a Sea King hovering in the distance. One of my best photos of the tour...
Back in the now, it simply remains for me to wish all readers and visitors to my little corner of the virtual world a very Merry Christmas. I hope there are plenty of hobby-related toys under the tree for you this year.
Merry Christmas and best wishes for the coming year.