Ark Royal Visit to Liverpool:

I've never been a great fan of military matters, but I visited the Ark Royal when she recently docked in Liverpool. There is a family connection in that the original Ark Royal - if one discounts Walter Raleigh's ship - was built and launched in Birkenhead. My grandfather - a contemporary Ragged Trousered Philanthropist - was a painter at the shipyard and worked on the aircraft carrier. He also claimed to have painted the Mona Lisa ( Isle of Man ferries had names such as Mona's Isle) but I digress. The story of the boat's service is interesting from a historical perspective.

The tour of one of its successors was very interesting. I noted that there was less searching of bags and confiscating of items than at the McCartney concert; not that many people would argue with the gun-toting marines on board.

One aspect I did find unsettling was the glee in allowing very young children to hold enormous weaponry without placing their use in context.