Thursday, May 03, 2012

Azura Letters

The MS Azura passes Titanic in Southampton Sound
I came across a new audio podcast series this morning and downloaded it so I could replay some of the episodes during my morning walk with Amy. It is called "Titanic Letters" and has been produced by BBC Radio Ulster to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. The format is delightfully simple : each short programme (two or three minutes on average) features a reading of a letter sent by someone on the maiden voyage of the Titanic or someone associated with the ship. Following each reading we are told the fate of the writer. It is podcasting at its best and all 43 short episodes can be accessed on the BBC website - you don't need an MP3 player, you can listen to them via your computer if you wish.

Returning from my walk, with the words of the ill-fated passengers still in my mind, I met the postman who handed me an envelope containing the tickets and joining instructions for my holiday in June. It is on the MS Azura, one of the latest ships in the P&O fleet. Like the Titanic, it will take us out of Southampton Harbour but we will head south and through the Mediterranean rather than across the Atlantic. And with all the publicity about the Titanic anniversary and the reports into the recent sinking of the Costa Concordia still fresh in my mind,, am I worried? Not a bit of it. Driving down to Southampton will be by far the most dangerous element of the holiday.

It is a shame that blogging, texts and Facebook updates were not around in 1912; it would have been fascinating to read what the Titanic passengers had to say about their journey. Perhaps I will send a series of letters - or blog-posts - from on board Azura. It will give me something to do as I lie back and slowly steam towards the sun. And, just in case, if the worst comes to the worst, the BBC will be able to make a series of podcasts based on them in 100 years time.


  1. Hello Alan:
    It is extraordinary that, 100 years on, the ill fated Titanic continues to fascinate people not just within the British Isles but across the world. Was there ever a ship better known?!

    Your own cruise sounds most interesting and we are sure that when the time comes you will be glad to escape from the continuing bad weather.

  2. That’s funny, I was telling my friend about that this morning. I found those last week. The problem was that each podcast was so short, and still had the obligatory ‘downloading’ message at the beginning. I think I found one that was about 30 mins long, with several letters in it. Very poignant.

  3. Oh my, I've often thought the same thing, about what if we had high tech back in those days....what would Custer have said, or what enriching photo would we have amongst us?!

  4. Enjoy your voyage! I know the trip will lead to many good posts.

  5. What a fascinating series you are listening too!

    I didn't see the Titanic in your photo at first! lol! I read the photo title and did a double take! haha.

  6. Personally, I say thank God that there was no Facebook back in earlier years. I find all the social media stuff makes us all more machine like and less sociable overall. However, blogging is more like writing letters to each other and I consider it good since I don't have to suffer through my handwriting.

    Anyway, happy cruising of the Mediterranean.

  7. What an interesting series. Amazing, I think, how fascinating the Titanic continues to be. Have a wonderful holiday!


Black Friar

For a time, during the late 1970s, I had a job leading parties of foreign visitors on tours of historic London pubs. One of my favourite sto...