Every Night Something Atrocious


This morning we set off to spend the best part of the day on a trip to Hurst Castle.

We began with a drive to Keyhaven to park the car and take a ferry to the castle, perched as it is on a spit in the middle of The Solent.

Yachts being prepared 1Yachts being prepared 2

A youthful group were preparing for a sailing trip in the harbour.

Children on ferry boat

Our small boat could take twelve people with weight evenly distributed on each side. I caused some amusement when I asked one small boy how much he weighed. There was keen competition to sit in the front.


A yacht sped past us on our way over.


We disembarked after our short trip,

Hurst Castle walls 1

Castle Walls 2

and were soon confronting the castle walls

Children running

along which a couple of children ran freely.

Calor gas consignment

A delivery of Calor Gas was in progress.

Hurst Lighthouse 2

Maybe it was destined for the lighthouse.

People on shingle bankJackie viewing Isle of Wight 1

We walked past this to the shingle bank

Breakwater, Isle of Wight, The Needles 1

that is the nearest viewpoint to the Isle of Wight and The Needles.

Wing battery, breakwater, Isle of Wight, The Needles, gull

Here a Wing battery forming coastal defence from late Victorian times flanks the Solent, and a gull takes a rest.

38 ton gunGun barrel

The 38 ton guns that fired from here are capable of firing a 12 1/2 inch shell, weighing 820 lbs, nearly 3 1/2 miles.They became part of the castle’s secondary armament and were kept permanently loaded.

Hurst Castle was built between 1541 and 1544 as one of a chain of artillery defences protecting key ports and landing places round southern England from Continental attack. It was sited to guard the Needles Passage, the narrow western entrance to the Solent, and gateway to the trading port of Southampton and the new naval base at Portsmouth.

The castle soon developed into powerful fortress. On occasion it was also used as a prison. King Charles 1 was briefly held captive there during the Civil War.

Jackie walking through arch

Having begun our tour in the Victorian section, we turned back and walked through the gateway to the Tudor original building.

Stone steps 1

The stone steps leading up to the first floor were reasonably manageable.

First floor walls and window 2First floor walls and window 1

We wandered around the large circular room with its stone floors, mixed material walls,


and reinforced windows.

Sailor figure

A young sailor had been left behind by his ship.

Stone steps 2

Ascending the outside wall was a further set of steps that were much more daunting;

Spiral staircase

through a door at the top of this flight, a spiral staircase became ever steeper.

Toby in doorway

Having reached the highest level a notice advised us to lower our heads. This involved almost crawling through the doorway. Young Toby, probably the only person up there who could stand upright, was delighted to provide my photograph with a sense of scale. He was rather chuffed to learn that his photograph would go round the world this evening.

The Solent currents


From this viewpoint Jackie notice a peculiar meeting of currents in The Solent;

West Wing

and we were able to look down on the West Wing, where we then enjoyed a wholesome lunch in the café.

Lighthouse parts

Of the many other exhibitions and displays of information, were a number on the lighthouse;

Bofors gun

a Bofors 40mm gun, designed in the 1930s, which was still in service in 2013, making it one of the longest serving artillery pieces of all time.

Garrison theatre

We were fascinated by the Garrison Theatre which is possibly the last such establishment to survive from the Second World War.

ENSA notice

ENSA, or the Entertainments National Service Association, was known to the squaddies as Every Night Something Atrocious.

Apart from signing off in my usual manner, I have to leave the trip there, and report on the return home tomorrow.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid penne pasta arrabbiata with which she drank Hoegaarden Anno 1445, and I drank Giulio Pasotti Bardolino Classico 2016.











58 responses to “Every Night Something Atrocious”

  1. Enjoyed that visit. I am fascinated by the Isel of Wight and looked forward to each view of the castle.

    The wines/beers (never sure which…) always sound good with such pleasant names. Have a small sip for me the entirely sober gal, if you would! 🙂

  2. The children running free makes the castle wall look even more like a prison. We are all prisoners of our own defence, aren’t we?

    Good photo of the Isle of Wight. 🙂

  3. This was a great tour, Derrick. I have often wondered about the castle out there. I thought Mons Meg in Edinburgh Castle was large, but those guns with Jackie for scale are quite something. And of course, Toby was a charming yardstick as well!

  4. Thanks for the pictorial thriller of a time travel. The very first impression the Fort had on me was that of a prison. It is a well preserved slice of history with still functioning canons, guns and theatre promising every night something atrocious. I loved the boy standing in the portal just his size. And I await the conclusion of the trip tomorrow.

  5. Thank you for the wonderful trip, Derrick. The photos were splendid. I could almost feel the wind in the girl’s hair at the top. I’m fascinated by the history of this castle–Tudor era to the present. Toby and the door, the treacherous steps, the reinforced windows, the guns and views–all so fascinating. The Garrison Theater was interesting, and I’m glad you explained your title because I was a bit worried when I first saw it! 🙂 I can imagine the soldiers saying that–but still probably eagerly attending.
    Your dinner sounds delicious, too! 🙂

  6. there seems to be endless things to do for you so close to home, great images, I often wonder when walking on worn through the ages stone, who tread there before I?

  7. It’s one of my all-time favourite days out and I’ve been there several times. That little boat trip is unmissable and an absolute necessity to avoid the shingle on the long walk along the spit. In fact we were there today- pictures to follow!

  8. As soon as I saw the post after this one, where you and Jackie left the castle, I came back to read this one. Thank you for telling the history as well as your photos. Fascinating!
    And of course, just reading Isle of Wight (birthplace of my Grandfather and family), made me smile, too.

  9. Ah, yes, the Hurst Castle in all its glory! Toby is absolutely perfectly fitted for that doorway 😀 What a great idea to carry blog cards, Derrick. I’ll have to get some, as well.

  10. When I first saw the title of this post I thought

    “What the hell has Jackie cooked up for dinner tonight!”.

    Had that young sailor appeared before his CO looking like that, he’d have been strung from the yard arm, and justifiably so!

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