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Heroes to the rescue

I got out for my walk in the end on a blustery spring day where, for some strange reason, the flood warning for the Harbour didn’t arrive in my inbox till after I’d gone out. I could see why it had been issued, because it was a spring tide and the sea was busily reclaiming the path and the wind was throwing up the waves and spray so they came crashing over the path at what I know as Steamer Point, (although it may not be, because there’s surprisingly little information about this area, probably because a lot of it is only fifty years old.) Anyway, it’s a spot where I like to pause and look at Corfe Castle in the distance, but today the mist was so thick that there was only white to be seen.

I was good and sensible because I didn’t want to cause more work for the Lifeboats who are based at Poole, so we walked well back from the edge and through the car park, then went onto the Quay, where, again, it was very windy. In the distance, almost hidden by the mist, was one of the Yellow Boats that heads across to Brownsea or on tours round the harbour and upriver to Wareham during the summer. Then it stopped dead in exactly the same place that I’d seen a Sunseeker very expensive motorboat stop the week before in the same spot. And then, to the rescue, just as they did last week, came 5 lifeboats. 2 little ones, two medium-sized ones and one great big one.

So I held on tight to the railing (yes it was that windy) and watched and thought of all the times when the boats go out in bad weather when it isn’t a drill or a practice. When someone has been daft, or fallen sick, or has engine power failure or the boat is sinking or, like my brother-in-law, has had an accident on a boat. They’re volunteers and heroes too, as far as I’m concerned, and that very much includes the lifeguards who’ve taught me and my family so much about water safety over the years. If you’re interested, I can summarise it as don’t get into trouble in the first place. Respect the sea and the weather conditions. Listen to the life guards and swim in lifeguarded areas and away from groynes and piers where rip tides form.

And then, with an inward sigh of relief, I put my loose change in the collecting box by the old life boat museum and turned my face to the wind and headed for home and hot chocolate and warmth and settled down to write about the make-believe heroes.

So when you ask where my ideas come from, here you go. The beautiful place I live in, the amazing people I meet, and my lifelong nosy streak that means that I always ask ‘what are you doing?’ People are almost always happy to tell me, so I now know how hard it is to get a fishing boat out of the water for maintenance, even at an unusually high tide and with a good workhorse of a Land Rover. The words two steps forward, three steps back came to mind, but Poole people aren’t the sort who give up at all, let alone easily, so next time I walk past I shall have a look at how they’re getting it ready for the summer fishing and learn a little more which will come out in a future book…

Till we meet again, have a good week, and stay safe.

Today’s picture, inevitably, is of the lifeboats I saw that day. I hope I never, ever need one for real, but it was amazing to watch them at work.


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