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Steaming into the past…

Some days are really amazing. Some days you pause at Steamer Point while you try to look back in time and see how it’d have looked when the steamships were taking holidaymakers on trips and across to Wales and the Isle of Wight. You imagine Poole Quay full of sailing ships and steamers and then you glance across and see a steamship.

No, I wasn’t hallucinating and I hadn't slipped back in time. It was a really, truly steamship, the SS Shieldhall and you can find out about it here if you’re interested. So, obviously, we had to walk down there to have a good look at her and a chat with one of the lovely volunteers that's given me all sorts of ideas before we got home rather later than planned. That didn’t matter, because lunch was in the slow cooker so all I had to do was stir in some cream cheese and cook the rice and vegetables. (It was a Nom creamy chicken recipe if you’re interested and it doesn’t taste anything like as well-behaved as it is!)

But coming back to the point, it sums up the fact that when I write about coincidences and apparently strange things, they really aren’t in this place where I’m lucky enough to live. Everything that I write has a truthful trigger. There really was a nursing home in Christchurch where they had pole dancing lessons for the residents, and a hairdresser's in Parkstone attached to a sheltered living complex where people got drunk and a fight broke out.

And there really are beautiful, beautiful places called Kimmeridge and Tyneham where time goes more slowly and it’s quiet even at the height of tourist season. As far as I know, no dead bodies have been found there, but they are, sadly, washed up along our gorgeous Jurassic Coast and people do die every year because they don’t understand that the sea and cliffs are not their friends, read the warnings and follow them.

Now the tourist season is almost over and soon it’ll all be mine again. (I’m not actually rubbing my hands together and gloating because we do welcome nice visitors, but there’s no denying how lovely it is on a cold winter’s day when you’ve got the place almost to yourself. Or how nice it is as you walk along Harbourside and stop to chat with the regular dog walkers and cyclists and runners, then go and sit by the fisherman’s haven and see what they’ve brought in while you watch the little boats go by and look across to Corfe Castle which is trying to keep an eye on us, but never has succeeded and probably never will either.)

I do take liberties with the landscape by inserting towns and villages but Poole and Corfe Castle and Studland are definitely real and the people in all those places are so nice that how can I do anything except believe in happy endings?

So have a good week, and maybe have a look at the new Amy Hammond book when it comes out on Wednesday. I’m really excited about it, so I hope you’ll enjoy it. Till then, here’s my picture of the Shieldhall…


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