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I must go down to the sea again…

To the Lonely Sea and the Sky

I left my socks and knickers there

I wonder if they’re dry!

Okay, that’s the tone well and truly lowered, so I shall wander to somewhere vaguely approximating the point.

I am lucky enough to have a choice of seaside within easy reach. There’s the working port on the Quay, the world-famous beaches at Sandbanks, and my personal favourite down at Whitecliff, which is a Nature Reserve with nice wide level paths and separate cycle lanes alongside a yacht haven. You can watch the ferries and the boats sail past and talk to the dog owners and, at least if you’re me, stand and look out and go time travelling in your imagination while the ducks and swans and geese glide across the water like the flying boats once did..

During World War Two the only air link from the UK to the US took off and landed on that amazingly calm stretch of water. It flew from Poole to Ireland and then people flew on to the States from there. Roosevelt travelled from it. So did Churchill and King George (who was Queen Elizabeth’s father.) So, obviously, it came under enemy fire.

And, far less obviously, those flying boats were flown by unarmed civilian pilots. Just think about that for a minute. Under enemy fire and not so much as a pistol to defend yourself… And also think about the women who took the boats out to the pontoons to ferry the pilots and passengers to and fro. Also brave, gutsy and tough.

This is a story that hasn’t been told, and I know some people wondered about Lavinia, the ghost of Lavender House’s story so I’m currently happily up to my ears in research because I think the perfect way to round off that series would be to give her a happy ending of the sort she’s given everyone else whose stories I’ve shared.

And yes, I know they’re fictional, but they’re real to me. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I loved my cold, windswept walk this morning and seeing in my heart’s eye as much as my mind’s eye the start and ending of a love story…

And here's what I was looking at...


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