Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone

Merry Christmas Everyone and health and happiness throughout 2011.

This blog is from Rev Gail Souppouris, the Vicar of the Church of the Good Shepherd on Shoreham Beach. She apologies for not having penned something original but as Christmas is one of her busiest times, she's going to rely on the lovely words of another Reverend, Rev'd Dr Sara I Chandler.

"The Work of Christmas"
"When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost, to heal the broken,
to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among brothers and sisters,
to make music in the heart"
Howard Thurman
Following is based on a reflection from Rev'd Dr Sara I Chandler via The answer. St Margaret's Woodbridge, Virginia.
"This little piece reminds us that the real Christmas is not putting up a tree or taking it down, not in decorating or undecorating, not in shopping or in returning things to the store. Not in eating too much or singing too many carols. Rather the work of Christmas is recognising the meaning of Christ's coming for the world and us. To understand that the meaning comes from beginning to live it out.
By mending a quarrel...seeking out a forgotten friend.....dismissing suspicion and replacing it with trust....writing a letter...sharing some a soft answer...encouraging youth....manifesting our faith in word and deed...keeping a promise....Finding the time....Foregoing a grudge....forgiving an enemy...listening...apologising if you were wrong...trying to understand...rejecting envy as unworthy....Examining your demands on others...appreciating others...being kind and gentle...laughing a little...laughing a little more...taking up arms against malice...challenging complacency...Expressing your gratitude....Welcoming a stranger...speaking your love....
Speak your love again....not just to those who are close to you, but to each person you meet… speak your love to those you find it difficult to like…speak your love to those who don’t appear to like you … speak your love as if you were speaking it to the Christ-child – the baby we welcome today … speak your love, and his love … speak it, then speak it still once more!"

And here is a little something from me. 

Happy Christmas and see you in the New Year.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Only 8 more big sleeps to go.

Hello and welcome to my blog. It's lovely to see you again and I hope you've had a marvellous week. 
Mine has been more eventful than planned, but despite that I've managed to post all the Christmas cards and bought most of the presents. So Smug of Shoreham is just going to sit back and enjoy the Christmas messages from some of those featured this year.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone from the Friends of Shoreham Fort.
I would like to personally thank everyone for their support, whether they have given up their Sundays to help with the manual work, helped with fund raising or worked in the background making the project possible. I cannot thank you enough.
We have achieved so much this year, securing £48,000 to be spent on making parts of the Fort structurally sound; a section 17 from English Heritage after proving the quality of our work, which entitles us to carry out more than just "gardening and tidying" for the next 5 years, which is great news; and we have got a page on Facebook where everyone can have their say or keep up to speed with whats happening.
We are just about to launch our new merchandise and, depending on whether or not we can find a local company or person to sponsor the event, hope to secure a date of the 4th June 2011 for our next Military history day and cannon firing.  We are also making some massive improvements to the website in the new year, so watch this space.
All in all, being that this it is our first year as the Friends of Shoreham Fort, I could not have asked for more and I would like you all to give yourselves a big pat on the back!!!!
All the best,
From John Bradshaw, Chairman of Shoreham Beach Residents Association. 
"I know it is old but I still have never seen anything better; PEACE ON EARTH AND GOOD WILL TO ALL MEN."
From Liza McKinney, Marine Ward Councillor.
"A very happy, healthy and wealthy Christmas.  Keep safe and if you must shed blood, give it to the blood bank don't shed it on the road."
From Barrie Turner (Station Manager, National Coastwatch Institution, Shoreham).
Being the manager of a Coastwatch station makes me very vigilant, not just over the sea but in life generally. 
I find it fascinating that, when the Titanic struck that iceberg, the waters were not raging in a stormy tempest, neither was the rain pouring down on the ill fated crew and passengers. It was in fact a pure calm clear night with the stars visible in their thousands and the water like a mill pond, though dark and icy cold. Those who at first saw the incident from on deck, laughed and joked,  "Does anyone want ice in their whiskey?" As the truth emerged and the damage below the waterline was realised, the ship labeled unsinkable started to disappear beneath the inky black cold sea. Panic set in all too late, not enough life boats, not enough time, not enough help at hand. 
We sail through life on what some people call a voyage, when the waters are calm and the night is clear, be prepared, be ready, have friends and people who love you, have a belief and a faith. Then, when you see trouble ahead, the nine tenths hiding beneath the water waiting to sink you will hold no power, it will hold no destruction, it will not cause unknown damage beneath the surface that others do not realise and most importantly, help will come.  There is a verse in Psalms that says, 'Those who go down to the sea in ships know the power of God'.
Happy Christmas everyone.

From Dave Cassan, Press Officer at RNLI Shoreham Harbour.
"Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.  Be safe and be with your family this Christmas."

Next Friday is Christmas Eve, by which time I'd have realised that I'd forgotten something crucial and will be rebuking myself for my having been smug. So next week, I'll leave you in the gentle hands of Rev Gail Souppouris to give you the final Christmas message and indeed, the last blog of 2010.
Have a great week and see you next Friday.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Arrival of the new Tamar Class Lifeboat at Shoreham.

Hello and welcome to my blog. It's lovely to see you again and a thousand apologies for having gone AWOL for a few weeks.

I promise I've not been lolling around drinking coffee. Nope, I've been busy. Firstly, I completed an excellent course on play writing with New Writing South and have until February to draft a full length stage play; secondly, I've re-written the memoir of 95 year old Bill Earl, a Nursing Orderly during the Second World War; and lastly, I've been planning more blogs.

Hence this afternoon I joined a small frozen crowd who had turned out to greet our new Tamar Class Lifeboat, Enid Collett, which replaces the Hermione Lady Colwyn, an older Tyne Class Lifeboat which had rescued 458 people during her 19 years service.

The Tamar Class is the most advanced All Weather Lifeboat in the RNLI fleet, and she was escorted to the station by a small flotilla of lifeboats from Newhaven, Brighton and Littlehampton.After she'd gracefully manoeuvred herself into position, she was winched up the slipway to her new home. However before she'd even had time to unpack, she was out again and, much to our delight, was launched into the harbour.

I'll be dedicating a blog to the Enid Collett and our new Lifeboat station in the New Year, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy the clip.

I'll definitely see you next week, when I'll be bringing you festive messages from some of the people featured during 2010.

Thanks for popping by and ta-ra for now.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

A day in the life of John Bradshaw, Chairman of Shoreham Beach Residents Association.

Hello and welcome to my blog. It's great to see you again and I hope you've had a good week.

I'm playing catch up after half-term so will take you straight into the next in the series of "days in the life of". This week its John Bradshaw and I'll you leave in his capable hands.

John Bradshaw, 74, lives on Shoreham Beach with his wife, Judy and Punch, their Jack-Russell cross. He has two grown up stepsons and has been Chairman of Shoreham Beach Residents Association for over 10 years.

“I always get up between 6-6.30 am. Always eat breakfast, and then the day starts. I listen to Radio 4 because I find that it gives me a lot of information. I always read newspapers. I walk the dog, usually on the beach in the morning and in the afternoon I walk Punch along the riverbank, Widewater or on the Downs. The weather is usually kind to us, but not always, but it doesn’t matter. Punch doesn’t like the rain. I’m not sure that I like it either.
In the summer I usually swim in the Harbour. I love it when the tide is in high at 6.00 o’clock in the morning and I can go and swim, usually on my own.
I’m retired, and it’s the best job I’ve ever had in my life. You can alter things; you can do things you like, not necessarily when you want to, but when it’s convenient, let’s put it that way.
I’m the Chairman of Shoreham Beach Residents Association. I’ve probably been Chairman too long, but it’s very interesting because it gives you knowledge of what is going on in the area, you can help people out, you can look at very interesting things. At the moment we are very heavily involved in the new footbridge which many, many people have got massive ideas on, a lot of which are not going to happen. It all comes really down to a question of costs. We have been consulted and we’re now waiting to find out from the engineers exactly what is going to happen. One thing that people haven’t quite realised yet is that the car park is going to close during the period of construction because it’s going to be used by the workmen. That is going to cause a lot of hassle and a lot of problems for people, but it’s going to have to be lived with I’m afraid.
I also do charity work. I was employed in the newspaper and magazine distribution industry and we have a charity called Old Ben or NewstrAid, it’s got two names. It was set up by Charles Dickens, so it’s been going for a long time. I’m the Almoner for West Sussex which means that I visit beneficiaries in the area. I’m also the Treasurer for the Sussex Committee which does fund-raising and things like that and on the National Welfare Committee. I find this very interesting and it gives me the opportunity to give something back to a trade that I worked in for forty-two years and gave me a good living.
I’m usually in bed by 11.30 and I go to sleep almost immediately.”
Next week is the last week in the series of "days in the life of" and I'll finish with our own Police Community Support Officer, Maireadh Knight.
Until then have a splendid week and see you soon.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

A day in the life of Rev Gail Souppouris, Vicar of the Church of the Good Shepherd.

Hello and welcome to my blog. It's lovely to see you again and I hope you've had a splendid week.

Well, the kitchen's virtually finished, just need to install the aubergine glass splash back and Bob's your uncle. Once the brick dust has settled, I'll compose a blog on my top ten tips for a painless kitchen installation, in the meantime, here is the second in the series of, "A day in the life of." I hope you enjoy it.

Rev Gail Souppouris, 57, Vicar of the Church of the Good Shepherd, worked in social care for twenty years before being ordained. She lives with her husband Kyri and has four children, one grandson, five chickens and two semi-feral cats, Amber and Nectar.

At the beginning of the day I pray. If I don't pray, perhaps because I'm rushing, I feel its lack by about 10.30!
I need to be up and breakfasted in order to open the church by half past eight. Opening the church every single day and making sure that it looks welcoming to everyone, whether they have a faith or not, is one of the most important bits of our mission.
A lot of people think of churches as somewhere that you have to go and do something, but to me, one of the joys of this church is that it’s a place for people to come and simply to be. Certainly in the summer, people will often use the bench at the back garden. If it looks as if they’d like me to come down and sit beside them, I will. You can usually gauge that by saying, “Hi. Morning. How are you?” If you’ve got the dog collar on it sort of gives an opening.
It’s very interesting when you’re on holiday. If somebody discovers that you’re a Reverend, suddenly you’ll find yourself in the corner of rooms being asked to listen to peoples’ problems. It could be that they’ve got a problem with God and they want to have a really good rail and sometimes its because they’ve got something really deep and difficult and you’re an anonymous person that they know is going to listen. The same thing happens with the bench outside the church.
My diary is divided into three bits for morning, afternoon and evening, and its really easy to say, “That’s a blank, I can fit an appointment in there,” but its important to keeps gaps. What you’ve got in your diary is a single thing but you need all that time around it. A school assembly, which might take 20 minutes, could have taken up to 4 hours to get organised. I’ll need an hour to start thinking about what I’m going to do, and then at least an hour to do the power point and sort out the songs and then just before I go, I need at least half an hour to get ready because I usually take practical things.
There’s also a matter of engaging. At St Nick’s they’ll all be from church families so you give a completely different assembly than you do in Buckingham School, where an awful of them probably wouldn’t know how to say the Lord’s Prayer. So what do you say to youngsters that brings out what I believe, but equally, touches them? So you’re going for morals, if you like, but I always try and include something from the Bible so they’ll get a little bit of information about what Christianity is about without thrusting it upon them.
For a funeral, I’ll need to do the visit, which will take one to two hours; I then need thinking and praying time; I then need to write the Address and sort out all the practicalities with the Funeral Directors. I might need to do a second visit, if there are any particular issues, and then you drive to the crematorium or the church and very often you’ll end up going to the wake as well.
Looking at my diary for the coming week, I’m going to Shoreham Airport to conduct a small ceremony to scatter ashes of somebody whose funeral I didn’t take. I’ve had to get to know the Chief Mourner and understand who the person was in order to put quite a short service together. But that will be good because I’m the Chaplin of Shoreham Airport. Then, I’ve got a wedding on Saturday and a big gig in the church in the evening. My husband and I are doing the refreshments for that because I don’t think anybody else can do it, and then on Sunday we’re blessing shoeboxes to go to Romania, which is brilliant. On Monday, we’ve got a meeting to try and clear the church porch. It’s amazing how much stuff comes through the vicarage letterbox so we’re going to try and organise the notice board, and in the evening we’ve got a Parochial Church Council meeting. Later in the week, we’ve got a Churches Together meeting which we’re holding here so I need to make sure that we’ve got refreshments organised and obviously I’m there for the meeting as well.
I love worship on a Sunday morning. We have a Healing Service once a month and that can be remarkable, a time just to minister to peoples’ souls. There are sorrows but there are so many gifts. I love that and Bible studies and Lent Groups and all the things that our church family do, but if you want to know what I am passionate about, it is about reaching out to people who think Christianity is rubbish.
When I speak to somebody who says, “I don’t come to church. I’ve got a faith but I can’t see any point in coming to church,” my eyes gleam. I don’t want to say to them, “You’ve got to come to church; you’ve got to believe in this or that or the other creed,” I’ve got to say to them, “Isn’t there a space inside of you where you need something spiritual? Isn’t there space inside of you that aches for something that is beyond you? Where are you finding that? Are you finding that in New Age mysticism? I love science fiction myself, if you looked in my DVD collection, I love science fantasy, but we all need, deep within us, an understanding of something that is beyond us. When I do a funeral or a baptism visit or when I prepare couples for a wedding, I’d like to be able to reach out even if they only say, “Well, I really liked that Vicar because she listened to me.” So when they have a trouble, maybe their teenage children are being an absolute pain in the backside, maybe they lose a baby, maybe they lose a parent or a partner, if they can then identify with that person who actually listened and seemed to feel that there was something important that God could offer, they might say, “I’ll go and speak to them now because I’m in trouble.”
My days finish at very different times because very often I have evening meetings. If it’s all finished by 9 then that’ll be the time to slump on the sofa with a cup of tea and watch something mindless on the television. If the meetings don’t finish ’til 10 – 10.30 then it might just be something quick and without caffeine before going upstairs. I prefer a shower. My husband prefers a bath, so we negotiate each night. Before I settle down in bed with my book, I use whatever Bible notes I'm currently following just to read a short passage of Scripture and think a little on it. It only take about 3 - 5 minutes, but it rounds the day off perfectly. I usually switch off the light somewhere around midnight.
Next week, I'll be featuring John Bradshaw, Chairman of Shoreham Beach Residents Association. Until then look after yourself and see you next week.

Friday, 15 October 2010

A life in the day of Liza McKinney, Marine Ward Councillor.

Hello and welcome to my blog. I hope you've had a splendid fortnight. Mine's been mixed. Apart from a fascinating three days interviewing for the blog, and celebrating our NCI's successful application for Declared Facility Status, I've spent the whole time wrestling with the kitchen re-fit. We're back in now, albeit without a floor, blinds or tiles, but we've got an oven and hob. Believe me, if you'd spent three weeks living off microwave meals, you'd mention it too.

Last time we met, I mentioned that Liza McKinney would be featured today. She is the first of four 'a life in the day of,' blogs which will also feature Rev Gail Souppouris from the Church of the Good Shepherd, Maireadh Knight, our Police Community Support Officer, and John Bradshaw, Chairman of Shoreham Beach Residents Association.

I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed getting to know them.

Liza McKinney, 77, has been a Shoreham Beach Residents Association Councillor since 2000. She lives alone and has two sons, Damien, 50 and Julian, 49, eight grandchildren and 3 step-grandchildren.

“As a Councillor, I’m afraid to say I’m a very early riser, so I’m normally up around 6 o’clock in the morning. I suppose that’s from the days that I commuted, when I had to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning to catch the train to London. I used to cycle to the station, put my cycle on the train and then I’d cycle from Victoria to the Treasury in Whitehall. People have often said to me, “How did you dare to ride in London?” In actual fact I only got knocked off my bike twice.
By 7 o’clock, I’ve had breakfast and then there are papers to be read. I’m afraid to say that the paperless society, as far as the Council is concerned, is a laugh a minute. The size of some of our reports are absolutely gynormous. Sometimes my dining room table looks more like an office desk. I then turn on my computer and see if anything has come in.
I re-read the papers for meetings that day with a fine toothcomb. It takes up a lot of time during the morning and I sometimes have to seek briefing because you’re not an expert on everything just because you’re a Councillor. You need to understand what is being suggested and what it will mean in reality to our residents out there.
I’m not one to have lunch to be honest. Coffee and a biscuit will do me because I have a serious weight problem so I struggle to keep the weight down. I do go to the gym. I go three times a week so if it’s my day to go, I’ll go roughly at 2 o’clock. I will spend at least an hour and 15 minutes. Once a week I go to Pilates which I find absolutely wonderful.
About 5 o’clock in the evening I will listen to all my telephone calls. I have an ansaphone and there could be residents with problems. Then, of course, Council meetings are held at either 6.30 in the evening or 7 o’clock. Sometimes they’re short and end at 8 or 8.30, sometimes, like on one particular day recently, they didn’t end until half past ten. There is many a week when I don’t have an evening at home.
I’m Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and alternate Chairman of the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee for Adur and Worthing as well as on a number of sub-committees.
As Chairman, our Committees have the right to look at most of the decisions that Cabinet Members are going to take. This is important because if you’ve got individual Cabinet Members making decisions, as you might say, behind closed doors, you need a backstop to say, “Hey wait a minute we don’t think this is a very good thing”, or “Look at the money you’re spending” or “Is it economical?” or “Is it in the best interests of the residents?” We are, if you like, the voice of the residents making sure that what is being agreed is right.
As well as being Chairman of the two Committees, I also attend Cabinet meetings, not just as an observer, I can speak up to defend whatever recommendations we might have made as a committee to the Cabinet.
I also attend Joint Strategy Committee meetings which means that where there are joint services between Worthing and Adur those come before a Joint Strategy Committee where Councillors from Adur and Councillors from Worthing sit together to decide on policies and strategies. Again reports that go to them, come to the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee giving us a chance to put our five pennith in. We have also just completed research into facilities for the disabled throughout Adur.
They are important meetings so when I come home I have to turn on the television otherwise I’ve found that when I go to bed, I’m going over the matters discussed and what should be done about them. Before I going to bed, I check my emails to see what’s new or if a meeting's been cancelled.
You always hope that on Saturday and Sunday you may have some peace. But very often, particularly in the summer, I’ve got residents ringing up on a Saturday or a Sunday evening. Sometime because the street light outside their house hasn’t been on for a time and they worry about security; others because rubbish has been scattered all over the road or the bins haven’t been collected round the shopping areas. Also, of course, in the summer I do get a lot of calls if people on jet skis have been encroaching into the swimming areas. I have been called out because a party’s been going on and it’s got rather noisy. Against advice, have tended to put my clothes back on, if I’ve been in bed, and go down. I’ve found that whenever I have been called out late at night, and at 1 o’clock in the morning on one occasion, if you go down and speak kindly to the people concerned you can get the noise turned down. If there is a problem with noise, which is, after all, the most common thing we get called out at night for, you can actually do something about it. Very rarely do you have to resort to getting the council and the police involved.
I do have long days. Most of the time, I don’t get to bed before 11 or 12 o’clock at night. No matter how late I get to bed, I have to read and I’ve always got books on the go. At the moment I’m reading “The Cobra” by Freddie Forsyth which I can recommend to everybody. It’s absolutely fantastic. I can’t put it down. So I probably read until 1 o’clock some nights, which is really not very good for me but I don’t need, like a woman Prime Minister not so long ago, a lot of sleep.”
Shoreham Beach has returned independent Councillors since the 1950s.
Next week, we'll spend a bit of time with Rev. Gail Soupppouris but until then, have a great week. Ta-ra.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Adur Voluntary Action

Hello and welcome to my blog. It's lovely to see you again and I hope you've had a great fortnight.

I had hoped to write, "a great week," but I've foolishly spent the last 7 days trying to maintain order during our kitchen re-fit. Pointless, totally pointless. So I'm back in the study and the broom's backed into a corner.

Before the house became a campsite, I had a thought-provoking meeting with Keri Hamblin, Centre Manager for Adur Voluntary Action, (AVA). Up until then I was unaware that Adur is poorer than much of West Sussex; in 2007, 14% of the area was ranked in the lowest 20% in England for deprivation; the proportion of residents whose qualifications are below NVQ level 2 is well below national average; there is a highish suicide rate amongst older men and many of our older residents find independent living a challenge for practical reasons such as transport, shopping, house and garden maintenance and isolation. (source: Adur Voluntary Action Development Plan 2010-13.)

On the upside, there is a strong sense of local community with over 400 registered voluntary organisations in Adur, some of which respond to the needs underlying those statistics.

Whilst AVA does not have them all on its' register, it does help hundreds of small voluntary organisations with very limited resources.

AVA is a registered charity and limited company which succeeded Adur Council for Voluntary Service. It is funded by West Sussex County Council, Adur District Council and covers Shoreham, Lancing, Fishergate, Southwick, Sompting and Kingston-on-Sea.

Margaret Riddell, Keri Hamblin (second from left), Karen Lewis, and Peter Upton (Homefront).

Its' primary function is to act as an information point for voluntary organisations and volunteers saving organisations the costs of recruiting, and volunteers the time to find something suitable.

AVA's services are generally free and it has a broad reach. It has an internet presence; can be contacted or visited in person; attends outreach projects and gets into the community. Indeed Keith Phelps, Head Launcher and Lifeboat Visits Officer at Shoreham Lifeboat, used them for the first time recently because, "People don't necessarily look at the website or drop into the station to ask if they could help." With the help of a poster campaign and AVA, they now have a compliment of guides waiting to start when the new Station opens. Pat Marshall, a Senior Contact Officer from 4SIGHT is a regular client and says "some of the best and most consistent volunteers have come through AVA."

That's exactly what Keri wants yet she will never turn people away, and does not discriminate against anyone, be they professionals, unemployed, retired, disabled, or mentally ill.

There is no upper age limit, but increased regulation has reduced the number of opportunities available for those under 16. She finds this frustrating as, during the summer holidays, they are often approached by school children offering to help.

That aside, Keri cannot imagine someone coming in and not being able to find something suitable. That's understandable considering the variety of opportunities they have on their books. Here are just a few advertised this summer:

AB625 Companion to help ease isolation and provide friendship and support to an elderly person

AB630 Allotment volunteer needed one or two days a week to head and co-ordinate allotment and some gardening with a small group of adults with mental illnesses

AB377 Box Collector to spare 3-4 hours every 4-6 months to empty charity collection boxes in shops, pubs and local businesses

AB43 Befriender to a disadvantaged child (4-16) for at least 2 hours per week over 2 years to help build their self-esteem, confidence and introduce them to new interests and opportunities. Weekend visits preferred.

AB631 Dog Walker for Cinnamon Trust a charity for the elderly, terminally ill and their pets.

AB651 Big Yellow Bus Driver

AB239 Qualified electrician needed to test electrical equipment sold through Adur Furniture Network

AB328 Prince's Trust Mentor to keep young people motivated after completion of their training programme.

AB388 Guides for Historic House Tours needed from 1st April to mid-October

AB624 Helping disabled people enjoy sailing by rigging, launching, recovering, washing, putting away boats and assisting disabled people in and out of boats

AB301 Visit and befriend a visually impaired person in their home, to assist with reading, accompanying on journeys and most importantly simply having a cup of tea and a chat. Time commitment 1 hour

AB57 Home visitor for Home Start to offer regular support, friendship and practical help to young families under stress in their own home helping to prevent family crisis and breakdown.

AB18 Answering helpline calls from women sexually abused in childhood, giving support and information.

AB502 Readers needed to read local news for audio tapes on an occasional basis.

If this inspires you to volunteer then please contact AVA and have a chat. One word of caution though, due to the nature of some of the vacancies, it can take up to 6 months to complete all the checks so please be patient. Alternatively, one could always volunteer for something else in the meantime as, "your time and effort will matter to someone, whatever you choose."

Next week I'll be changing gear with a series of "a life in the day of" blogs featuring some prominent beach residents. First will be Cllr Liza McKinney, one of our most long-standing Ward Councillors.

Ta-ra for now and have a great week.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Old Fort Charity

Hello and welcome to my blog. It's wonderful to see you again on this bright, dewy autumn morning. I'm reminded of Ode to Autumn which is a mixed blessing as I can only remember,"mists and mellow fruitfulness" and it's driving me bananas.

Apart from enjoying this lovely weather, this week I've been meeting people who'll be contributing to forthcoming issues of my blog. First I met Elizabeth Mienert, one of the Old Fort Trustees, who'll feature today. Then I spoke to Keri Hamblin from Adur Voluntary Action who explained how they bring voluntary organisations and volunteers together, and finally I visited the Old Fort with Martin Taylor, a director with MDA Consulting Ltd, who raised some thought-provoking ideas about the beach.

Elizabeth Mienert is an Artist, Community Development Worker, and Trustee/Director of the Old Fort Trust. She was born in Shoreham and apart from a brief spell at university reading Art and Film, has spent all her life in the town. She knows it well and is extremely proud of it. So proud, in fact, that for the last three years she has been one of a team energetically seeking to celebrate all aspects of the towns' past and present.

This energy has been focused on the derelict coastguard tower which the owners, Shoreham Port Authority, planned to demolish in 2007. Elizabeth was one of those who originally objected to the demolition arguing that the position of the tower on top of a scheduled ancient monument was "an interesting juxtaposition between old and new" and that the building could provide an ideal focal point for a diverse range of projects. Three years on, the tower is still standing and Elizabeth is now one of five trustees of the Old Fort Charity which has a clear vision of why it should be renovated.

Old Fort Charity Trustees, Fozia Khaliq, Elizabeth Mienert (second from left), Gabby Allen, Meg Booth and Ole Mienert.

"Our vision is for Shoreham Fort to be a vibrant, inspiring, diverse and cultural educational place where everyone has the opportunity to get involved. We need the renovation of the coastguard tower in order to use it as a base from which we can organise events and activities to take place in the Shoreham Fort parade ground. We envisage music theatre and arts events, history projects and natural history activities taking place on the Shoreham Fort site. We wish to make it easier for these events to take place by allowing the coastguard tower to be used as office/studio/workshop/education space and for storage of equipment etc, and exhibition space in the lower magazine part of the tower and a kitchen area with a hatch to serve light refreshments to the outdoor space." (Old Fort Vision summary)

It has gathered over 400 signatures in support and has attracted enthusiasts from the world of arts and entertainment, (Nick Cave, Demuth Photography and Revolutionary Arts Group), education and conservation. Indeed, Richard McFahn, Humanities Adviser for West Sussex County Council said, "I fully endorse the concept you have for developing Shoreham Fort. Local history is vital in helping school pupils understand their sense of place, sense of time and sense of self...Promoting local arts is also vital in helping create well rounded people to live and thrive in the 21st century."

The charity has just published the results of its' options appraisal which lists 10 possible options for the site and seeks responses from all interested groups and residents.

Some already feel strongly that the coastguard tower is an eyesore and should just be demolished. Yet what does and does not have architectural merit is subjective, so it's unlikely that those with strong views will ever agree. Furthermore, is there an underlying problem of perception which should be tackled first?

Shoreham Fort and the site it occupies have become synonymous. To even describe the area as "the Shoreham Fort site" takes a leap of the imagination. If the site and fort cannot be distinguished because it's too deeply embedded in one's consciousness, then to encourage more visitors onto a scheduled ancient monument which is already "in slow decay," is verging on the reckless. But what if you can distinguish between the site and the fort, what would you find?

At it's most basic level, the site marks the end of the Beach and the place where Friends of Shoreham Beach meet for rock-pooling. It also marks the point at which, in 1760, Shoreham's merchants took effective action to stop the longshore drift further damaging the harbours' business. The resultant act of Parliament created a Port Trust (the 250th anniversary of which was celebrated this year), and piers were erected to protect a new harbour entrance. From that point on the Old Fort site became significant for it was there that the eastward movement of the river mouth was halted.

With the creation of the piers, Shoreham, at last, had a stable harbour entrance and the port was thrown a life line. Surely it is no coincidence that Shoreham Fort, a WW2 searchlight tower (now the NCI Watchstation), and the coastguard tower were all built behind the western harbour arm, it being an ideal position from which to protect and assist shipping and defend the harbour against the threat of invasion. So when the Fort was built in 1857, the site was already important. So, arguably the location of Shoreham Fort is far more important to Shoreham's history than the Fort itself for it represents man's successful attempt to control his environment and protect the town's future.

Thus it is only when Shoreham Fort is separated from the location, and the location itself is placed in its' historical and geographical context, that we can really judge whether the Old Fort site is the best location at which to celebrate Shoreham past and present. Then we can decide whether the coastguard tower is the best building in which to honour our town.

I'll see you next week, but in the meantime, I'll let Keats can have the final word.

Ode to Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Courtesy of

Friday, 10 September 2010

So how was it for you?

Hello and welcome back. It's lovely to see you again.

So how was your summer? Just like the Camerons, we stayed in England but rather than have a baby, we went on family days out. I have to say, I was stunned by the beauty of parts of East Sussex and ashamed of my ignorance.

Camber Sands came top of my list of the child friendly locations, but next time we'll eat our picnic in the car park, sand and ham sandwiches being an acquired taste. Also if you go, beware of the Weaver Fish and if you step on one, don't be brave and hobble back to your towel. Stand still and holler for help otherwise the sting will be dismissed as a mere shrimp nip. Shrimp nip my @*!! I could've died.

There were no Weaver Fish at Pevensey Castle, just our lively 5 year old to contend with. We expected him to clamber over the ruins and dismiss efforts to educate with an imperious, "I already know that," but once he'd seen the dungeon, he was captivated. We walked hand in hand around the castle listening intently to the audio tape. As I tried to work out which way next, Tom was off, leaving me to wonder whether our off-spring was a genius or was I behind the curve, again.

The answer came when we visited the Long Man of Wilmington. It was with some trepidation that we laced up our walking boots because our little one is not known for his stamina and is often too tired to walk 10 feet from the car to the house. Thus as we gently ascended the hill, I anxiously checked whether he was OK. I shouldn't have bothered. The moment we got to the steep part, I slowed down and he shinned up, as sure-footed as a mountain goat. He paused occasionally to shout back, "Come on Mummy," as I contended with the joint problems of exhaustion and vertigo. To add insult to injury, when we reached the top he still had enough energy to dance round singing, "This is brilliant!" He's since made mince-meat of the Fulking Escarpment and I've stopped carrying him from the car to the house. Nevertheless the writing is on the wall, I have to shape up to keep up.

Talking of keeping up, I recently spoke to Elizabeth Mienert, one of the Old Fort Charity trustees, about the Options Appraisal for the Old Fort site. It has been completed and tomorrow there will be a picnic from 1.00-5.00p.m on the old parade ground to demonstrate its' potential as a community venue. Everyone is invited and next week I'll report back on what they're proposing.

In the meantime, have a great week and see you next Friday.


Saturday, 24 July 2010

A great day out.

Hello and welcome to my blog. Nice to see you again.

It's been another glorious week down here and it got off to a cracking start last Sunday with Shoreham Port's Open Day.

Over 15,000 people attended, (up 5,000 on the previous one), and we were treated to a display of vessels, stands, exhibits, and entertainments.

Whilst we mooched along the quayside admiring the view, we learnt that the Port handles around 2 million tons of cargo a year, and employs 1,400 people at Shoreham itself with another 10,000 within a 50 mile radius.

Just in case you didn't make it, here's a small sample of what was there.

HMS Shoreham, a Sandown Class Single Role Minehunter.

She was launched in April 2001, commissioned in September 2002 and is claimed to be "..the world's most capable and sophisticated minehunter."

She's built almost entirely from non-magnetic materials and has a speed of 13 knots (diesel) or 6.5 knots (electronic drive).

She was one of only 22 100 - Class High Speed launches used by the RAF to rescue airmen ditched in the sea during World War II. This boat alone saved 38 airmen during the Battle of Britain in 1940.

Apparently she was also one of the Shoreham Houseboats but nowadays she can be chartered for a variety of purposes such as corporate events, weddings and day trips.

Peter Emery, dressed as a member of the Air Sea Rescue Service RAF, on board HSL 102.

These are used to transport the Port's Pilot to ships wishing to enter the Harbour. Once on board, the Pilot uses his local knowledge to guide the vessel safely to the quayside, whilst the Pilot Boat stands by to collect him when it's docked.

Keith Laker, coxswain of the Pilot Boat, explained that Shoreham was a tricky harbour to negotiate as it has a small entrance which quickly divides into two channels. As one leads up a tidal river and the other to a lock, an in-coming vessel has little room for manoeuvre.

The All Weather Lifeboat, Fisheries Protection Vessel, and Moonlight Saunter were some of the other boats on display and there were boat trips up and down the canal. If you didn't manage to get there this year, do make the effort next year because it's well worth it.

I've decided to take this summer off so this will be the last blog until 10th September. I'll be back then with a line-up of new interviewees and issues to discuss. So have a great summer wherever you are, and I look forward to meeting again in early Autumn.


Friday, 16 July 2010

Shoreham Port Open Day

Hello and welcome to my blog. Nice to see you again and I hope you've had a good week.

It's been glorious for weeks on our shingle spit but now the wind's picked, up the kite-surfers are back and seem to be having a wail of a time.

Talking of wind, did you know that one of the consequences of the prevailing south-westerly wind profoundly affected the fortunes of the port and town for centuries?

Shoreham has long been a notable port, yet until relatively recently, struggled with the effects of longshore drift. Basically longshore drift occurs where waves hit the shore at an angle, (due to the prevailing wind), moving beach material up and along the beach in a zig-zag pattern. Where there's a break in the coastline, for instance at a river mouth, the waves deposit the material, forming ridge or islands which can develop into a Spit. The actual size and shape of the Spit will be determined by nature and can change dramatically over time. In our case, the waves moved the beach material eastward until it reached the mouth of the River Adur, and dumped it there. This created an obstacle at the river mouth, forcing the Adur to change direction and find another exit to the sea.

This effected Shoreham Port in two ways; the Harbour entrance moved with the river mouth and shingle deposits were created around its' approaches. Indeed in 1698, when shipbuilding was Shorehams' main industry, the Navy Board commented, "whether you go in or out, you meet with great difficulties and hazard." Five years later, this problem was exacerbated by two major storms, the debris from which choked the Harbour. Subsequently a new Harbour entrance was cut through at New Shoreham in 1703. Unfortunately, the natural process of longshore drift continued unchecked, so fifty years later that entrance had moved almost 4 miles east.

This situation caused local merchants enough concern to petition Parliament, and in 1760 an Act was passed to construct a new Harbour entrance protected by piers. Sadly, due to inadequate workmanship, the piers were undermined during a storm. Hence, the Harbour entrance began to creep eastward again and by 1815, was 1.5 miles east of its' 1760 position. Thus in 1816, a further Act of Parliament was passed declaring that the entrance should be re-built. Work commenced on a position immediately south of Kingston Church, and the new Harbour entrance was opened five years later. It's remained there ever since and Shoreham is now a busy and vibrant commercial port and England's number one port for scallop landings.

This Sunday, 18th July, Shoreham Port has an open day to celebrate 250 years as "part of the local community." Co-incidentally, it's also 250 years since the passing of the 1760 Act.

The event starts at 10am, ends at 4pm and includes:

an air-sea rescue demonstration,
catamaran trips along the canal,
nautical and diving displays,
live entertainment,
display of various ships, such as the steamship Shieldhall and RN Mine
Countermeasures Vessel,
exhibition shed,
and children's activities.

All proceeds from car-parking charges and programmes will go to selected local charities.

I regularly hear the sound of ships horns in the garden, so I'm looking forward to taking a closer look at the port. I hope you can join us, but if you can't, I'll show you what you missed next week.

Have a great weekend and see you next week. Ta-ra.

Friday, 9 July 2010

"Tombstoning = natural selection at work."

Hello and welcome to my blog. It's nice to see you again and I hope you've time to relax in this lovely weather.

I'm sorry I didn't publish last week, I was at a funeral. Ironic really as the proposed subject was, and is, Tombstoning.

If you haven't heard of it before, tombstoning is, "the practice of jumping into the sea or similar body of water from a cliff or other high point such that the jumper enters the water vertically, like a tombstone." Jumpers risk death or paralysis. Some get away with it. Tragically others do not like, Sonny Wells, Sam Boyd, Jamie Sutton, Dean Mason, and the 14 year old who recently jumped off Shoreham's Eastern Harbour Arm sustaining two broken ankles and a compressed spine.

The RNLI accept that some people can't resist the temptation, (or peer pressure), to tombstone so have issued guidance on risk reduction. The Student Room, a internet forum for students, is less charitable and I owe the blog title to Charlisquigs's entry. Amusing but, ouch, particularly when some of our locals go a step further.

I'm talking about the people that tombstone off the Eastern or Western Harbour Arms, and then swim across to the other side. "It's suicidal," says Barrie Turner, NCI Station Manager and his reasoning is chilling.

1.  Once in the water, swimmers look just like flotsam. Boats don't often sail around flotsam; they sail over it. If a skipper realises that what's ahead of him is not flotsam but a swimmer, he may take evasive action by slamming the engine into reverse. Sadly that may suck the swimmer into the engine's propellers. Enough said. 

2.  The distance between the Harbour Arms is deceptive. Swimmers cannot swim straight across the Harbour mouth due to a combination of tidal and river water flowing in and out. They are therefore forced to swim in a horse-shoe shape, increasing the distance they have to cover, exhausting them, and leaving them exposed for longer. Thus, in reality a quick fun dash across the harbour mouth is really a long, slow, dangerous slog. 

3.  On average a swimmer swims at 2 knots. Commercial vessels travel at 6 knots. They may look slow on the horizon, but certainly not close up.  Jet-skis can travel at 60 knots. In short, a swimmer is too slow to swim out of the way of either.

4.  If a swimmer reaches the other side safely, they either have to swim back, or face a 3 mile walk to collect their stuff.  

If tombstoning alone is natural selection at work, what is tombstoning plus a swim across a busy commercial shipping lane? Barrie's right, it's suicidal. 

At last week's funeral, I was reminded that life is very precious and very precarious. No-one should throw it away, just for a laugh.

Next week, I'll be talking about Shoreham Port's forthcoming open day on Sunday 18th July. In the meantime have a glorious week.


Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Here's what you missed.

Hello and welcome to my blog. It's lovely to see you again and sorry I've skipped a week. I've been busy writing everything except this!

Well isn't the weather fabulous? The beach is in bloom and the sea is calm. You must come down, but don't forget your beach shoes, otherwise it's the knock-kneed shingle shuffle for you.

In my last blog, I mentioned two highlights of the Adur Festival, Beach Dreams and Sussex Yacht Clubs' Open Day. Just in case you couldn't come, here's some of what you missed.

West Beach parade led by Hamish and the samba band with parents and children from Buckingham Park Primary, Buckingham School, St Mary's and St Nicolas's School and Peebles pre-school.

East Beach parade lead by Neptune and the Beach Bateria with parents and children from the Beach School.

One of the live bands which entertained us.

Captain Jack Sparrow, who entertained himself.

That was Beach Dreams.

Over the footbridge was Sussex Yacht Clubs' Open Day where the Lifeboats, the Fisheries Protection Vessel, Watchful, and Moonlight Saunter were open to visitors.
RNLI Sarah Emily Harrop, a 47 foot Tyne Class all weather lifeboat (ALB).

RNLI Barry Lazell, a 16 foot D Class inshore lifeboat (ILB) in front of Watchful.

It was a super day so thanks to the army of volunteers who made both events such a success.

Next week I'll change into a different gear and focus on the breath-taking risks taken by local teenagers as summer gets under way. In the meantime, have a wonderful weekend and see you next week.


Thursday, 10 June 2010

Our big weekend is here again.

Hello and welcome to my blog. It's lovely to see you again.

Now don't despair, it may be overcast today, but the weather forecast for the weekend is warm and sunny. Thank goodness, because this weekend, Shoreham-by-Sea comes into its' own.

On Saturday, Beach Dreams bursts into life with two parades, one from Shoreham Beach Primary School lead by the Beach Bateria Samba Band, and the other from the Church of the Good Shepherd. Both start at 11.00 a.m and converge on Beach Green at 12 noon. Their arrival marks the official opening of Beach Dreams, a two day festival of live music, dance, displays and entertainments. A full line-up of acts is on the Beach Dreams Festival link. Refreshments will be available in the marquee and around the Green, or you could just bring a picnic. Saturday's Dream ends at 9.00pm and Sunday's at 8.00pm. Parking will be a nightmare, so it's probably best to walk, cycle or park in town and walk over the footbridge.

In town, there's the Big Food Event in the marquee on Coronation Green, and in East Street, the award-winning Farmer's Market, which has teamed up with the Italian Food Market. Meanwhile, just down from East Street, Sussex Yacht Club has it's annual Open Day.

It's on from 10.00 a.m - 5.00 p.m during which time you can wander around Shoreham Lifeboat, the Fisheries Protection Vessel "Watchful" and "Moonlight Saunter" featured in the Royal Escape Race blog. Dinghies and powerboats will be on display on the river; sailing section heads will be on hand to talk about what they do, and they'll be free tea, coffee and biscuits if you start flagging.

If you've got any energy left on Sunday, the Revd Gail Souppouris, from the Church of the Good Shepherd, will be leading a service at 10.00 a.m in the Beach Dreams marquee. Then you can either wait for the start of day two of Beach Dreams, or head over to Shoreham Airport for a Family Fun Day.

All you need to do is grab a sun hat, head to Shoreham and be entertained courtesy of Adur Festival 2010.

See you next week. Ta-ra.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

The RNLI at Dunkirk 1940

To mark last Friday's release of Dunkirk the movie, I'm re-publishig a blog I wrote in May 2010 on the RNLI's role in the rescue. It's an eye-opener and I hope you enjoy it.

Last week, I featured the Royal Escape Race, and on Friday went to Brighton seafront to watch the start. It was surprisingly exciting to see the flotilla glide from Brighton Marina, assemble, turn towards the sea as one, then BANG, race off to the west.

The Escape Race commemorates the flight of Charles 11 from England to France. Today, I'm featuring another flight, but this time going the other way; the flight of the British Expeditionary Force, (BEF) from Dunkirk to Dover.

When war broke out on 3 September 1939, the newly created British Expeditionary Force (BEF), was sent to take up a defensive position along the Franco-Belgian border. Its Commander-in-Chief was John Gort, and by early May 1940 he had 394,165 troops, and 200 tanks in place.

It didn't' last long. On 14th May, one German army group attacked the BEF, pushing them back to the French frontier, whilst another invaded France through the Ardennes. It left the BEF surrounded on three sides and after Gort's unsuccessful counter-attack at Arras, the order was given to withdraw to Dunkirk for evacuation to Britain.

It was a massive undertaking. On 26th May, Operation Dynamo was launched. An order was issued on BBC radio to all owners of self-propelled pleasure craft between 30-100 feet in length to send all particulars to the Admiralty. Their role was to assist the Navy and RAF in the evacuation of the BEF and allied troops. Up to 900 vessels were involved including 39 Destroyers, 36 Minesweepers, 77 Trawlers, 26 Yachts, one of which was skippered by C.H Lightoller, a former officer on the Titanic, and some smaller craft. Between them they took 338,226 troops off the beaches at Dunkirk, including 40,000 from the French Army and 220,000 allied troops from Cherbourg, Saint-Malo, Brest and Saint-Nazaire.

Dunkirk was repeatedly described as hell by those who were there. They were constantly attacked from the land and air as they waited helplessly on the flat sandy beaches. The sea was strewn with shipwrecks and bodies. The air stank of burning oil and buzzed with the sound of Stukas. Over 5,000 soldiers were killed, 235 vessels were destroyed, 106 aircraft were lost. Over 100,000 men were left behind and the tanks and large guns were abandoned. Despite the selfless courage that was shown throughout those 10 days, on 4th June 1940 Winston Churchill described what happened in France and Belgian as "a colossal military disaster."

Inevitably, the lifeboats were amongst the smaller craft involved in the evacuation. They had 145 motor lifeboats in their fleet and at 1.15 p.m on 30th May, received a phone call from the Ministry of Shipping asking them "to send as many lifeboats as possible as quickly as possible to Dover."1

The Ramsgate lifeboat, the Prudential, and the Lord Southborough from Margate, sailed direct to France. Another 17 lifeboats, including the Rosa Woodd and Phyllis Lunn from Shoreham, assembled at Dover.

As today, in 1940, the lifeboats were manned by skilled and experienced volunteers who knew the limitations and capabilities of their specially designed boats. Thus when the coxswain of the Hythe lifeboat, the Viscountess Wakefield, was told that he should run his 15 tonne lifeboat on to the Beaches, load up with troops and bring them back to England, he told them it was impossible. He also pressed for written assurances that their families would get pensions, should any of them be killed during the evacuation. The coxswains from Walmer and Dungeness supported him and they were in good company. This was one of Sir William Hillary's concerns when he originally founded the Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck, (which became the RNLI), in 1824; that the bereaved families of the lifeboatmen should not be left destitute.

This apparent awkwardness was just too much to bear, "the harassed and overburdened Naval officers were organising..a complicated and perilous operation. They wanted boats. They wanted men. They wanted no more argument."2 They sent the coxswains packing and appropriated their boats. Fearing further arguments from the other coxswains, all the lifeboats answering the call were commandeered and sent to Dunkirk with Royal Naval and RNVR crews.

Eighteen lifeboats worked the beaches at Dunkirk. The nineteenth lifeboat worked in the English Channel rescuing men from ships and boats sunk en route by German aircraft.

James Hill Staff Captain, The Royal Fusiliers, recalls "a great big lifeboat came in, a lovely one...they all got on, and looked over the top and then, of course, the thing stuck on the sand with the weight of them... the Brigadier.. and half a dozen other good chaps got out, and they pushed and shoved, and gradually the lifeboat went off." The Thomas Kirk Wright from Poole, fared better as it was a surf lifeboat with a draft of only 76cm, still, one of her motors was put out of action by a crew unused to her propulsion system.

Turning to the two lifeboats that were manned by the RNLI, the Ramsgate lifeboat rescued 2,800 men and the Margate lifeboat crew were described as "an inspiration to us all as long as we live" by the commander of Icarus, a destroyer with which she worked on 30/31st May.

Apart from the Viscountess Wakefield, the lifeboats returned safely but damaged from Dunkirk. The Viscountess Wakefield did run around on the sands of La Panne and was the only lifeboat to be sunk during the operation.

Regarding the contribution made by the RNLI to the evacuation, "two facts are beyond dispute. The lifeboats did magnificent work at Dunkirk. But if they had been manned by RNLI crews they would have achieved even more."3

So, what happened when the men finally left the hell of Dunkirk? I'll let James Bradley, Gunner, The Royal Artillery, tell you;

"I fell asleep, and I don't know how long it took to get across the Channel, because I slept all the way. And the next thing I knew was a sailor standing over me shouting, "Wake-up!, wake-up! are you going ashore or aren't you going ashore?" ...Where are we?" I said, "where are we?', he said, "Dover, you bloody fool!" And I thought, "well, I don't even mind him swearing at me, it's Dover." So I pulled myself up and went off, went down the gangplank.

And I knew I was back in England..they'd got tables there with loads of tea and buns, and so forth, and I was ravenous. I think I ate six buns, which was greedy really. But I, my stomach was so empty! And then the military police where there too, and they were saying, "Keep moving, Keep moving! And they had the train in the station.

And I said, "Where's the train going?" Nobody knew, but anyway, "Get on the train, you must get out of here, must get out of here!" - because there were masses of troops coming off, although we were now very much the tail end. And then we drove across England and stopped at side stations, and people were all waving...the WVS.. and I thought, "Oh, this is England, you're worth fighting for!"

Ta-ra for now.

1 Riders of the Storm by Ian Cameron Weidenfeld & Nicolson 2002
2 Storm on the Waters by Charles Vince Hodder and Stoughton 1946
3 Riders. ibid