I remember the big drama in London on March 20th 1974. Princess Anne, with her husband Mark Phillips, escaped being kidnapped when a Rolls Royce Limousine taking them down The Mall back to Buckingham Palace was overtaken by another car which forced them to stop about 200 yards from the Palace. The driver of this overtaking car was Ian Ball, a man suffering from a mental illness. Many people witnessed the scene including three policemen, some protection officers assigned to princess Anne and other members of the public including a journalist, a former boxer and two chauffeurs. Despite the standoff and general pandemonium, the Princess remained very calm throughout the ordeal. Four men were shot, one of them being inspector James Beaton, one of the protection officers who, despite being shot three times by Ian Ball, survived the ordeal and was later awarded the George Cross for his bravery.
In April 1974 the government announced big sweeping changes to the Town and County map of England and Wales. Despite their long history of being recorded in the Domesday Book, certain county and town names disappeared in the biggest reorganisation of local government since 1888. Counties such as Huntingdonshire, Rutland, Cumberland and Westmoreland in England were swallowed up or incorporated either into other counties or into counties with completely new names. For instance, most of the East Riding area of Yorkshire ceased to be a county but was now part of a new county named Humberside.
Similar changes also occurred in Wales, for instance, my own birthplace of Bettws Cedewen was in the county of Montgomeryshire but that County name was changed to Powys (Powis).
I also remember 1974 was the year when Prince Charles made his maiden speech in the House of Lords and thus became the first Royal for 90 years to perform that function.
Another man who also made history for a completely different reason that year was a male streaker who charged onto the hallowed pitch at Twickenham during a rugby match. It was here that the crowd found out that a British policeman’s helmet is more than a protection for his head. This revelation came to light when one gallant officer of the law removed his helmet and chased after the streaker. Upon catching up with him the constable removed his helmet and, to the great amusement of the crowd, used it to cover the intruder’s vital statistics. It was said that the match ended with a score of Metropolitan Police 1, The Streaker 0.
**THIS INSIGHTS WAS WRITTEN SOME TIME AGO, BEFORE THE CURRENT PUBLIC HEALTH SITUATION.**
Kathy and I fondly remember the early seventies as the time when we went on our first cruise. We took Chris and Martin with us on a P and 0 Ferry/Cruise ship named EAGLE. We sailed from Southampton on a six-day cruise to Lisbon -Algeciras (Spain) – Tangiers (Morocco) and back to Lisbon before returning to Southampton. It was the beginning of a lifetime of cruising for Kathy and I which, at the time of writing this (2020), has reached a total of 36 cruises which has included cruising to celebrate our Silver, Golden and Diamond Wedding Anniversaries. Our accommodation on that first cruise was an Inside Cabin (no windows or portholes) just four bunk beds and a bathroom, all for the princely sum of £49 each for the return trip. As the years passed and our finances increased, we upgraded to booking an outside cabin with either a porthole window or a larger picture window. This eventually moved up again to the next option which was to book an outside cabin with a balcony. Just imagine sitting out on your balcony with a drink (or two) on a warm sunny day gazing at the white fluffy clouds making their own patterns against the azure blue sky as the ship gently glides across the Mediterranean or the Caribbean. To my mind cruising is a wonderful leisurely way to travel and explore beyond the blue horizons. You learn so much by meeting different people, seeing their countries and cultures as you visit many of the wonders of the world. It's not only enjoyable but also very educational.
--End of Part Forty-Nine--