Large ships brings back memories of the Napoli disaster

The Napoli which ran aground in 2007

The Napoli which ran aground in 2007 - Credit: Simon Horn

I wonder how much notice you took of the two big container ships that were anchored off Sidmouth recently. They were difficult to miss due to their size. They looked huge and that is what they are. One is just under 400 meters and the other is 366 meters. They left the area in the middle of last week having been at anchor as they awaited an arrival slot at their destination. One was HMM Hanbada and the other was HMM Algeciras. Further information on both vessels is available on the internet. Sheltering in Lyme Bay was obviously a good place before they continued their onward journey to Rotterdam. Their last reported destination before that was the Suez Canal. Seeing large vessels of this takes me back to January 2007 and the MSC Napoli episode. One of those events you are unlikely to ever forget especially if you happened to acquire a BMW motorcycle!

By the time you read this article it is likely that you will have driven up or down Four Elms Hill this week. It was due to have double white lines put on the road with overnight works due to have started last Monday. Before the speed limits changed it was always a good place to test your car’s acceleration but that changed once they’d reduced the speed limit to 40 miles per hour! Unfortunately the number of accidents in recent years made this change inevitable which has to be respected. We’ll all now have to be patient behind slow vehicles and cyclists going up the hill.

On the sporting front I went to Cheltenham races last Saturday to see a top class national hunt card that included the Paddy Power Gold Cup. The weather was kind and we had an enjoyable day. It felt great to be back watching top level sport again in front of a big crowd.

On the football front Exeter City won 2-1 against Oldham last Saturday to continue their magnificent unbeaten run in all competitions. This stood at 18 games before they played Bradford City in the F A Cup last Tuesday evening. Hopefully they will have progressed by the time you read this. The league unbeaten run stands at 14 games which is a club record. Hopefully my attendance at this weekend’s game against Carlisle United won’t put the mockers on it! Across the city Exeter Chiefs lost a second successive home game this time in the cup against Bristol Bears. This weekend they have another cup game as they travel to play against Gloucester. Sidmouth returns to league action with an away game against Bridgwater.

Finally, last week I joined the vast number of dog walkers in Sidmouth as I exercised a friend’s retriever. Back when we had dogs, in my childhood, it wasn’t always expected to pick up after your dog. Disgusting I know. I have to admit this wasn’t something I was especially looking forward to doing. On the first walk a deposit was made in The Byes and let’s say it was an easy pick up. Better still, a red poo bin was literally a few yards away. At this stage I thought this isn’t too bad at all. On the next walk my companion performed again in The Byes near a poo bin. Perfect. I then took him up the path from Milltown Lane towards Salcombe Hill and then, to my amazement, he performed again! I picked it up but this time no poo bin was likely to be seen for a while. So there I am walking for a good mile and a half with a swinging poo bag for company! No issue for the experienced dog walker but a difficult situation for a novice. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the walks and one day it would be great to have a dog again. But unfortunately they are a tie besides which our 20 year old cat does not need the stress!

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