Stuck in an edit suite all day yesterday, I was sad I had missed the return of the QE2 to the Clyde on the most beautiful of autumn days.
A chance meeting with a neighbour in the evening however saw the two of us jump in the car and drive over the back road to Greenock to send the grand old lady off for the final time.
And it was one of those special moments when you really feel you are witnessing history.
As we drove through Greenock, the crowds were pouring out of every side street, making their way down to the river.
In fact, the parking was so bad, the first free space was nearly in Gourock.
But there was a sense of excitement and anticipation as we walked down to the esplanade and along towards the star attraction.
Thousands of people lined the railings.
Small children on parents’ shoulders marvelled at the spectacular fireworks.
Beside them, grannies who remember when shipbuilding was the lifeblood of the community, marvelled more at the great presence and beauty of the ship itself.
Young and old joined together in the occasion.
At 41, the QE2 and I are the same age.
Launched from John Brown’s in 1967, she was built in a very different era.
Back then we had record players and one black and white TV with just two channels, and my parents had a VW Beetle.
Thousands of jobs depended upon the Clyde shipbuilders’ order books.
Back then laptops, MP3 players and mobile phones would have been unimaginable.
Here is a great archive of QE2 being built, launched and interiors from her early days at sea.
Four decades on however the media is one of the biggest employers on the Clyde.
While sadly we may have lost many of the skilled craftsmen who made the QE2 the world’s leading luxury liner, we have a new breed of journalists and programme makers who have the potential to make waves around the world too.
Instead of honing their skills in one media, the new generation of reporters are beginning to work across all platforms, and are experimenting with new technology to engage consumers...
And even the MOD was twittering as the frigate HMS Manchester sailed alongside her fellow Falklands veteran.
This combination of citizen journalism and mainstream media has created a unique snapshot of a memorable day.
Best wishes to the Pride of the Clyde for her future in Dubai.
WITNESSING HISTORY: "AT 41, THE QE2 AND I ARE THE SAME AGE"
A very sensitive post about the feelings of the journalist Claire Dean in her blog, one witness of the QE2 last visit to Clyde: