This being National Heritage weekend when usually hidden things are open to the public, I signed up for a guided tour entitled "Behind the Scenes at the National Museum of the Royal Navy". There were about eight runs of this over the weekend. The curator took us upstairs to the second floor and attic of the Museum. The tour took about an hour. Up there, it's like Aladdin's Cave but for sailors. Rack upon rack of ship models (often amazingly detailed) spanning three centuries, gangway lifebuoys, ship's bridge badges (the big ones), battle honours boards, uniforms, flags and ensigns, Ark Royal's Officers in and out board, the odd binnacle, gangway foot plates and all manner of other RN mundungus awaiting its turn to be exhibited. We were also shown some albums and other papers including the punishment book for HMS Leviathan 1804 and an album of water colours of the commission of HMS Pearl which was diverted to the Indian Mutiny. One plate showed elephants pulling the ship's guns with Jack riding on the limbers (coxing an elephant is a specialist skill so locals were recruited for that). An hour very well spent and strongly recommended to any RR near Portsmouth next September. Oh and tours are free. Antique shop worth a half-hour browse in one of the old buildings. Last year I took the tour round the bottom of Victory's dry dock which was fascinating. Now her yards and topgallant masts have been struck and she will go on looking a bit forlorn for some time while she is re-rigged. I walked the length of the main yard which is laid apart adjacent - it is quite an effort from that to imagining laying out on it to hand and reef. Sadly the Jack was not properly close up, about four inches of holiday between the headstick and the truck of the jackstaff - oh well, it's only 2SL's flagship. Illustrious and Dragon on the wall, the former with a huge ark thing covering the entire after end of the flight deck, I imagine she's not going anywhere soon.