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Monthly Archives: November 2013


French Navy Ship Eridan in West India Dock


FS Eridan M641

After welcoming the HMS Tyne into West India Dock this week, today we welcome another visitor the FS Eridan  (M641) a French Navy Minesweeper.


The Eridan is Eridan class and is known as a Tripartite Ship that is because  they were part of joint venture of the navies of France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, the Tripartite class of minesweepers were conceived in the 1970s and built in the 1980s. France built the mine-hunting equipment, Belgium provided the electronics, and the Netherlands constructed the propulsion train.


The Eridan was built in Lorient, launched in 1981 and entered service in 1984.
Her home base is Brest.


This class of minesweeper is mainly used for detection, localization, classification, identification and destruction or neutralization of mines funds from 10 to 80 meters.
But they also guide convoys under threat of mines.

Eridan and HMS Tyne

ship 6


HMS Tyne in West India Dock



Today we welcome the HMS Tyne (P281) into the West India Dock, her arrival is timed to coincide with the run up  to Remembrance weekend.


HMS Tyne was part of the three ships that attended DSEI defence and security exhibition at Excel in September, when she berthed in the Royal Dock.


HMS Tyne is a  River-class patrol vessel  built by Vosper Thornycroft in Southampton in 2002 and is based in Portsmouth.
Her Length: is 79.9 m with a beam of 13.6 m.


The ships main task is to safeguard fishing stocks in the UK and her main role is to enforce national and EU fisheries laws. She also undertakes  environmental protection, search and rescue and maritime security.


As part of the Remembrance celebrations the crew will be selling poppies on Thursday at London’s train stations,

Some of the company will go to Twickenham for another collection at the England and Argentina match on Saturday.


On Sunday they will head to St Paul’s Cathedral and St Anne’s in Limehouse for Remembrance Sunday services.

An open day will be held on board the ship at Canary Wharf on Friday between 10am and 4 pm.

She will be leaving on Monday 11th November.

Laureen’s Bonfire Night


After surviving Halloween, we now celebrate Bonfire Night. I have often wondered what people from overseas think of this rather peculiar British custom. Fortunately to help to answer this question I have enlisted the help of Zimbabwe born Laureen.

Laureen who has lived on the Island for a decade, in words and pictures gives us her impressions of one of our most longstanding traditions.

To me, Bonfire Night signifies the advent of winter, along with the cold and darkness that comes with it.  It brings a bit of cheer and a celebration that has not always been part of my life.  Being from Zimbabwe, in Southern Africa, it was not an event I had celebrated before until I moved to London ten years ago.  I knew about the ‘Gun Powder Plot’ after reading about it in a history book.  As a former British colony, Zimbabwe adopted its fair share of British customs but Bonfire Night never made it to my part of the world.  I had never heard of it, although I have recently learned it is celebrated in South Africa, but probably only by a minority.


 In the first two years of my life in London, I did not go to any Bonfire  Nights even though Tower Hamlets probably held them in the borough.  I had no idea such a peculiar custom existed. I assumed the fireworks in early November were a continuation of overzealous Halloween celebrations because the two events take place within a few days of each other.  One evening, while watching the BBC news, there was a piece about Bonfire Night celebrations all over the country with a special focus on the ones in East Sussex and Devon.  The sight of men rolling barrels on fire seemed quite bizarre but was unlike anything I have ever seen before, coupled with the burning of an effigy.  I put it on my list of things to do.  I had no idea that most London boroughs have their own firework events to commemorate until I read about it in the East End Life newspaper.  I have been a fan ever since.


 I usually like to go alone, with my camera for company to capture the moment and share with friends all over the world.  It is usually cold and sometimes a very miserable wet evening, but that does not put me off or any of the local families.  Children seem to enjoy it the most.    There is usually an atmosphere of expectation as everyone stands there wearing their warmest clothes to ward off the cold.  Other friends from the southern hemisphere think I am mad to brave the cold for fireworks but I love the atmosphere.  It brightens up an otherwise bleak period leading up to Christmas.  The symbolic purpose of Bonfire Night is probably lost on some people but who cares when everyone acknowledges it is tradition! It has become a tradition for me too over the years.


Last year I watched the fireworks held on the Isle of Dogs at Millwall Park when the Council decided to spread them out.  This year, I decided to enjoy the Blackheath fireworks from the bottom of the island at Island Gardens.