Part 56  

In April 1918 a British Tommy, my father Herbert Hodgson, was going 'over the top' in battle near Messines in Belgium when he stumbled into a shell hole and fell upon a mud-encrusted book. He stuffed into his tunic pocket and climbed out of the hole when he was knocked unconscious by a shell exploding nearby.  Regaining consciousness later in a field hospital he examined the book and was amazed to find it was a Bible. He showed it to an officer asking for his advice. The man, doubting he could find the owner, told him to keep it adding, ‘it might bring you luck'. Dad did keep it and it certainly did that.  Although he survived the war and lived a very full, interesting and rewarding life he died in 1974 aged 81 not knowing the identity of the Bible's original owner or what happened to him.  One of my brothers remembers Dad holding the Bible and musing 'I wonder what happened to the poor b….r who lost this'?  The mystery continued for the next 92 years and was finally solved in 2010.   

  During his retirement years Dad had written his memoirs and due to the help, editing and sheer dedication of one of my brothers these were published in August 2010, ‘Impressions of War'  – The Memoirs of Herbert Hodgson 1893-1974. Although Dad's finding of the Bible was only a small, albeit intriguing, incident in his life-changing experiences on the Western Front, the publisher of the book, Geoffrey Hodgson (no relation), was fascinated and wanted to find out more. So, with the help of what looked like a service number written across the closed pages of the book he trawled the wonderful internet. His painstaking searching finally paid off when he matched the number as belonging not to a British soldier as we all assumed but to a certain Private Richard Cook from Colac Bay, Southland, New Zealand who was serving with the Otago Regiment of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in France and Belgium at the same time as Dad in the Royal West Surrey's and later The Irish Fusiliers. More detective work strongly indicated that Cook had lost his Bible around June 1917 in The Battle of Messines Ridge, the same area where Dad found it ten months later!  Sadly, it also showed that on October 4th 1917 Richard Cook received two gunshot wounds in another battle near Passchendaele. He informed his parents on October 7th back home in New Zealand that he was wounded in his left hip and right shoulder and was in an Army Hospital in Etaples France. Tragically, the next day October 8th he died on a stretcher from loss of blood and was buried in the Military Cemetery in Etaples.  

 So, finally, we knew the identity of the Bibles original owner and what had happened to him.

We were able to find information about Richard Cook's family and descendants still living in New Zealand and these wonderful revelations were quickly passed on to them. Naturally, they were amazed and thrilled to hear the story. It became known as the 'Lost Bible' story in the media in both New Zealand and Britain, with newspaper headlines such as ‘British Tommy finds Kiwi’s Bible’

My brother Bernard and I decided we wanted to pay our respects to Richard Cook, so on October 8th 2010, which was the 93rd anniversary of his tragic death, we, along with members of our families plus publisher Geoff Hodgson and his wife travelled over to the Military Cemetery at Etaples. Here we met up with two of the fallen soldier’s descendants, great-nephew Richard Cook, (named after him), who had flown over from Australia where he works, and great great niece, Devon Jenkins from her workplace in Paris. With the Bible and television cameras from Britain and New Zealand present, we held a very moving short service at his graveside. A very special and emotional moment and one which we think both soldiers would have appreciated. 

     Readers, particularly in the U.K. and New Zealand, may remember reading the story in the press and seeing the televised broadcast of the ceremony from Etaples in France.   

  After Etaples we visited many of the Battlefield sites including High Wood on the Somme, where my brother and I, responding to a request from the guide of a party of British schoolchildren also visiting the site, had the pleasure of showing them the Bible and relating its story. It was so nice to find youngsters genuinely interested in the story, asking questions and even wanting to touch the Bible. From there we moved on to Messines, where the Bible was lost and found and then to Passchendaele and Ypres where we attended the nightly ceremony of Remembrance at the Menin Gate.

 Because Richard Cook had never married there are no direct descendants so we, as a family wanting to return the Bible to its rightful and final resting place, suggested to the Cook family, that we donate it to the National Army Museum in New Zealand where it's very poignant story could be read by future generations of the Cook family as well as other visitors to the Museum. So, in March 2011, my brother David and Geoff Hodgson travelled to New Zealand and in a televised ceremony, attended by some of Richard Cook's descendants, the Bible finally came home and was handed over to Colonel Raymond Seymour, Director of the Museum in Waiouru, North Island, New Zealand.

  This heart-warming finale to the story only came after my father's book was published but you can read it and see the full story including newspaper and television coverage plus still photographs taken at Etaples and a short video film made by Geoff Hodgson and myself by visiting    click onto  IMPRESSIONS OF WAR and follow all the links

Alternatively, Google ‘Herbert Hodgson – The Bible in the Mud’ and follow all the links. 



 The story of this Holy Book is one of death and blood,

A tale of two brave soldiers and the Bible in the mud.

They never met, these defenders of the Crown,

A soldier from New Zealand and one from London town.

They rushed to join the battle with a loyalty inbred,

To fight for King and Country, just as the posters said.

The Empire's men responded as alarm bells briskly rang;

Their kitbag's packed with troubles, they marched and smiled and sang.

But the battlefields of Europe were soon a sea of blood,

As waves of men were slaughtered into a human flood.

The Kiwi soldier lost his book in nineteen seventeen,

It fell into a shell hole near the battle of Messines.


For months it lay, in weary clay, amidst the killed elation

Of shattered dreams and final screams, this book of revelation.

The Kiwi fell in battle, from wounds he later died,

Because he'd lost the Bible, its comfort was denied.


The British Tommy found it whilst going o'er the top:

He fell into the shell hole and quickly tried to stop.

With arms spread out to ease his body's thud,

He fell upon the word of God, the Bible in the mud.


He put it in his pocket, before a shell nearby,

Exploded with a vengeance that made his senses fly.

He woke up in the hospital, a little worse for wear,

But relief soon overcame him to find the Bible there.

He showed it to an officer – after cleaning off the muck,

The man said, “Better keep it, it might even bring you luck”.

The Tommy took the book and carried it with pride,

He made it through - to the end, the Bible by his side,

Was this just luck, a mere coincidence?

Or the unseen hand of God, an act of providence.

The Tommy brought the book back to London town;

He tried to trace the owner from a number written down.

But its secret stayed a mystery for ninety years or more,

Until another Englishman decided to explore.

His labours were rewarded through trawling through the 'net',

He found the Bible's owner in army records set.


The soldier was the Kiwi from far across the sea,

A world away from battlefields, death and misery.

Could it be that now we see God's message all too plain,

That the life he took stayed in this book for other soldiers gain.

So, rejoice in this their story and proudly hand it down,

Of the soldier from New Zealand and the one from London town.

Though strangers in the battles, through death and holy blood,

Are comrades now forever, through the Bible in the mud.

 Ivor Hodgson

 The website also gives full details and reviews by eminent people of my father’s book which, covers his life growing up and witnessing the social injustices in London during the early 1900s, his life as a printer before and after WW1, his vivid account from the viewpoint of a Private soldier of the horrors of trench warfare,  then after the war his association with T.E. Lawrence  (Lawrence of Arabia) and printing the original, subscribers only, copy of  Lawrence's book 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom' which in turn led to him moving to the world-famous Gregynog Press in Montgomery, Mid Wales where during the years 1927-1936  his wonderful fine art book printing he did there earned him the accolade of  'one of the finest printers of the twentieth century'. Not a bad epitaph for a cockney who described himself as 'just an ordinary bloke'! 


 --End of Part Fifty-Six –

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Ivor's Insights
Part Fifty-Five

In late summer 1992, we had another trip to Canada. This time to Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was a welcomed shorter flight for us. Kathy and I had a look around the old historic seaport of Halifax for a day or so before joining up with our son Chris and his family, who had driven from their home in Ontario. After a two day drive, they were happy to meet up with us. Kathy and I rented a car, and together we toured around the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia. It started out as a beautiful day, but as night time came so did the fog. It was so thick I recall following Chris’s taillights the best I could, as we drove for our accommodation. Long since forgetting any sightseeing!
 We also visited Baddeck, which is located in the lower part of Cape Bretton Island, in Nova Scotia. Like much of Nova Scotia, it is very picturesque and it is also where Sir Alexander Graham Bell, first settled in Canada, after leaving Scotland.

 After our time in Nova Scotia, we drove to New Brunswick where we could take the ferry to Prince Edward Island. PEI, as it is known in Canada, is the smallest province and is very lush and green It's small and quaint, and is also the home of the world-famous Anne of Green Gables. We toured the area and fondly remember the lobster dinner which is very popular with many tourists. The island also has red soil, almost unbelievable until you see it. It’s a deep reedy brown, which also grows the great tasting PEI potatoes. Another wonderful place on the island is Cavendish with its beautiful long sandy beach. It was very peaceful, as we walked along to the sound of the surf. We returned to New Brunswick, and a quick trip to see the local phenomenon of Magnetic hill. You park on the hill and sitting in your car, you get the illusion of reversing backwoods up the hill. It’s a strange experience. As we now wrapped up another great Canadian trip, we parted with Chris and his family as they drove back to Ontario and we returned our rental car. Flying back to England we had more created more memories.
 Four years later we came to Canada again, Kathy and I decided we would like to visit for a longer period. After some research, regarding our travel planning, and organizing our UK affairs, we finally made our way to Ontario for 3 months, in the early summer of 1996. We found house rental accommodation that worked perfectly for us. The owners were often away driving a long-distance transport truck to Mexico, so they were more than happy for us to stay in their house. They became friends, and a year or two later come over to stay with us in England for a holiday. Chris found us a 1978 Pontiac Le Mans car, which was old but serviceable and became affectionally known as the “Jolly Green Giant Car”. Resplendent in its Sage Green Livery”. Spending this length of time in Canada, gave us a much better feel, of local living, than just the normal two weeks holiday. We used the car for local trips to Stratford, Goderich, and as far as Peele island three hours away.  We also took a coach day trip to Muskoka to visit the Cranberry fields which was an eye opener, we imagined cranberries grew on bushes not just under the water in lakes. One of the things we got used to was watching the local 6 pm Kitchener news on the television and still recall looking for the weather report from Dave McDonald. Funny how a name can stick with you. Our friend Joy flew over from England for two weeks holiday during this time and stayed with us. We visited Niagara Falls and never fail to be awestruck when seeing this wonderful site. Not wanting to drive any further, we booked a few coach trips. The biggest one being when we went across the border to Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New York State. Once we went across by ferry to a place called Sandusky which is in Ohio. The wonderful panoramic views we saw on these particular trips reminded us very much of Austria. We also visited the biggest shopping mall, named Carousel, in Syracuse, New York state. This gigantic carousel housed within the complex gives hours of pleasure to the children visiting. We also took Joy to view a newly built housing estate for seniors somewhere not far from Shakespeare if I remember correctly.  I think it had a Scottish name. Anyway, the whole layout was fantastic, houses, bungalows all beautifully appointed with luxury fittings throughout. The whole complex was surrounded by luxurious gardens and a very inviting golf course. We wished we had a place like that near us in England. One of the best places we enjoyed was Algonquin Park. I have some lovely footage shot on my camcorder of the beautiful colours with added appropriate music to fit the scenes.

 It was great to be near our eldest son Chris and his family, as we had a real taste of Canadian living. As we boarded the plane to return to England, it was with mixed emotions. We were sad to leave Canada, but looking forward to seeing our youngest son Martin and his family again. For the next month or so the feelings of mixed emotions continued as we, on one hand, welcomed back the very familiar to us in England, but missed what had become our 2nd home some 3000 miles west.

                                               End of Part 55 

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Ivor's Insights
Part Fifty-Four

We were also very happy to find that living in Chard was only a short drive to the lovely seaside resort of Lyme Regis where we spent many happy hours searching for fossils. Lyme Regis also had a Silver Band which occasionally performed from their bandstand situated along the promenade. To sit there on a beautiful summer evening with the ozone smell from the sea vying with the flavour from your bag of fish and chips and a glass of cider in your hand and at the same time trying to avoid the seagulls stealing some of your food was indeed a very pleasant pastime to remember and store away in your memory box for future retrieval. Lyme Regis was also featured in the film “The French Lieutenant’s woman” with some great shots of its famous harbourfront Cobb.

 During our time in Somerset, Kathy worked part-time in a care home, and I pursued my love of golf by playing twice a week and also working as a greenskeeper at the Windwhistle Golf course.

 Throughout this time the daily pace of the world seemed to really increase. I had used telex machines for many years, with my employment at Shell centre in London, however, the advent of the internet changed everything. Like so many, I struggled with the understanding of it at first, but my years as a telegraphist at Shell helped me. Now as I write this at age 88, I use it daily and appreciate the vast volume of information available in seconds. Its absolutely Mind-boggling compared to the technology available at the start of my story.

 We continued our enjoyment of travelling throughout this period with quite a few trips to Canada to see our son Chris and his family. Another memory recalled includes trying cross country skiing for the first, AND ONLY, time, we spent more time on the ground and getting long scarves tangled up in bushes than on our ski’s but we had a good laugh and came to no harm.

 We have also seen quite a lot of Canada and the United States of America.  As I have said before our love of cruises has always been there and this period also saw us taking many trips.

  My passion for photography has never left me and I still try to take a “good snap”. The contrast and shades of colours in any picture have always fascinated me. The crisp defines of the forefront and background subject’s coupled with various lighting, can convey such a powerful timeless image, and often very moving. This never-ending desire to capture such an image is always with me. I always appreciate a great Photograph. When I turn a page in a magazine or see a quality photograph anywhere of this nature, I take a second look and admire the work of the photographer.

                                                           End of part fifty-four

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Ivor's Insights
Part Fifty-Three

As my story approaches its mature years, so of course does this writer. Like many other people who still see all the wisdom of the good that there is in our present world, with the vast increases in technology and just the sheer speed of life today, we also yearn for the ‘good old days'. I can recall the early 1950’s as if was yesterday. The sounds, news and sights of those days are still vivid to me. Some might say that I am still stuck in the past but I would disagree with that judgement. It is a true fact that as most people get older their memory will diminish a little but they will also find that they will still have fond memories from events they have lived through.

 The trick to remember is that the lessons they have learned from those far off days, both good and bad can be passed on to help establish future decisions. Sadly, in some cases, we charge forward and make the bad mistakes again just in a more modern variation. I have always found humour in many things, especially in times of trouble and hardship preferring to laugh a little at what life throws at me and remember the lyrics of the song ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ and ‘Count your blessings’.

 As I sum up the last part of my story, it seems to have passed so quickly. The mid 1980s to the present day are not in the realm of my heyday so, although more recent, they are perhaps harder for me to recall.

 But I can recall the year 1989 for the following reasons. This was the time when Kathy and I decided it was time for us to retire. We both had worked hard all of our lives. Kathy from a student nurse to an SRN, to a part Midwife and finally to the role of an Occupational Health Nursing Sister in a factory in Basingstoke. My working life started when I left school aged 14 and started work assembling furniture in a factory which I didn’t like and left after a week. This was followed by being trained as cobbler which lasted for four years. I then served my two years National Service in the Royal Air Force where I was drafted into the signals section and trained as a telegraphist. The knowledge gained there stood me in good stead which after demobilisation led to me getting a job in the Communications Department of the American Embassy in London. This, in turn, led to me joining Shell in 1952 where I continued plying my RAF communications expertise for the next 36 years starting as a Telex/Teletype operator moving up to a supervisor position and finally retiring from Shell as a unit head of the communications telex department.

 So Kathy and I decided this was the time for us to retire and after careful study and discussions we resigned from our posts and moved from Church Crookham Hampshire to rural Somerset settling in the old market town of Chard where we ran a small farm food shop at the Cricket St. Thomas Wildlife Park for a couple of years, (also the filming location for the BBC series “To the Manor Born”). Naturally being in Somerset the shop sold cider, wines, cheeses, local fudge, biscuits and cakes as well as various items of other Somerset ware tea towels and trinkets. We were lucky in so much as we had a local cider maker named Perrys who kept us well supplied with his cider. Amongst the many other makes of cider we stocked were two others with names which always amused the customers when they read the names on the bottle i.e. one was called ‘Merry Legs’ and the other one was ‘Cripple cock’.(which had a logo of a chicken on crutches). Many bought these two choices and walked off with their merry legs and a merry smile on their faces. Kathy and I really enjoyed our time meeting the many holidaymakers and day-trippers with their varied personalities proved very entertaining and for us, it was a world away from commuting daily to the hustle and bustle of smoky crowded London for me and also a relief for Kathy who drove daily to Basingstoke to carry out her work and face the ever-present big responsibility as the occupational health nursing sister in a factory.

 Whilst we were working at the farm shop, we had a bit of a mishap! I made us a lovely cup of tea, which we enjoyed with the usual satisfaction a classic British cuppa brings. Sadly, I unplugged the freezer instead of the kettle, after the beverage festivities had concluded. The freezer was full of Ice cream. You can imagine the sight the next day when we opened the shop for a new day. We had to pour it all down the outside drain, and what a frothy mess it was. It would have made a good backdrop for a 1950s science fiction film “Ice cream Invaders from Mars” anyway in due course it was all eventually washed down the drain. Another of life’s lessons learned.

 We loved the slower pace of Somerset taking to the locals and their wonderful west country expressions. For instance, If you find something which someone is looking for, you don’t say ‘Here it is’ you say ‘YER TIZ’.

Another one refers to reversing your car which comes out as ‘You gotta back backwards’ and the final one you’ll note is that many Somerset men refer to their wives as ‘My little maid’. Another aspect of Chard was they had a light operatic society which I, although not an operatic singer, I joined and performed in productions such as HMS Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, Oklahoma and other popular ‘Old Time Musicals’. Whilst I was doing this Kathy joined the local W.I. and made many friends by doing so. It gave her a lot of satisfaction including going on spring and summer holidays which I, along with other husbands accompanied them.

End of part fifty-three

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Part Fifty-Two

It came as no great surprise when our youngest son, Martin, followed his older brother Chris and became interested in the world of motorbikes.  It was 1976 when Chris aged 17 bought his Honda CB125. Martin was 14 at that time. I recall Martin coming home one day on his pushbike and as he cycled into the rear garden of our house at Church Crookham, he was confronted with the sight of Chris’ nearly new Honda CB125 all alone, resting and shining in the sunshine. At that point, Martin had a Walter Mitty moment and after climbing onto Chris’ bike he drifted into a dream world where he was cruising along the leafy lanes of rural Hampshire and Surrey. This land of OZ was suddenly shattered when he was bought down to earth by the sound of someone banging on a window. That, someone, was his mother, Kathy, and she was ordering him to ‘remove yourself from that unpleasant contraption now’ or words of similar meaning but, shall we say, of a little more impolite nature? The sight of her youngest son following her eldest son down the motorbike route was just too much of a worry for her at that time.

 In May 1978 Martin turned 16 and was legally allowed to ride a 50cc motorbike (called a moped). In March that year, a neighbour of ours had a 4 stroke Honda ss50 moped which he wanted to sell for £100.  He also had a Haynes workshop instruction manual for the vehicle priced at only 50p.  We purchased both vehicle and manual for Martin who spent the next two months reading the manual and tinkering with the bike before he ventured onto the road.  As we lived near Aldershot it was fortunate that Martin was able to practice his skills on an army road in the woods behind our house. He became very proficient with his balance, clutch, throttle control and gear changes. The only downside was the army road was about a half a mile straight road which limited his chances of practicing his cornering skills. However, once out on the open road, after his 16th birthday, he soon mastered that skill too. Passing his motorbike driving test first time only a couple of months later. Indeed, one year later he also passed his car driving test at the first attempt. As indeed he did his advanced motorbike test several years later. A hattrick of firsts. What was his mother worried about? 
 His interest and love for motorbikes grew alongside Chris’ and they travelled many times together around the UK and Europe. At this point, I, like many parents, know it can take many years before we learn of some of the escapades their children got up to during their teenage years. Thankfully we all survived and followed the dictum that ‘boys will be boys’ and moved on.

 It’s just as well Kathy didn’t know about some of the escapades he and Chris got up to on their many motorbike rides. She would have had a fit. The longest single ride Martin ever did was from his home in Hampshire to Montpellier in the south of France. This ride totalled 820 miles and he did it all in one day AND it rained all the way!

 Another activity Martin and Chris got involved with was acting as ‘beaters’ on some pheasant shoots which were carried out locally. They were happy to receive £4 a day for their efforts but were a little disappointed when at the end of the day’s shoot the shooters divided the pheasants between themselves.

Besides Martin’s passion for motorbikes, he also took after me in his love for sport.

 He played football, tennis, squash and golf. He also embarked on many outdoor activities such as fund-raising challenges, like hiking 130 miles of the pilgrim’s path of the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain, a section of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia, America and even Abseiling the spinnaker tower in Portsmouth. He once joined a crowd of 325 people at Canary Wharf in London, to complete an assault course all dressed as penguins. Making it the largest human penguin colony in the world. For this feat, a Guinness World Record.

 But his greatest achievement was done more recently in 2015 when he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro which is nearly 20,000ft high. This feat and all the other charitable work he did for so many deserving causes has, so far, raised over £40,000 for many people young and old.  It should be pointed out he has achieved all of this despite being an asthmatic. If you wish to see a short video of Martin’s climb up Killi, please click on the link:-

 After his early schooling days were over, he went on to serve a four-year apprenticeship, which included one day a week attendance at Basingstoke Technical College. At the end, he attained a City and Guilds Distinction in Mechanical Engineering. During his apprenticeship, he was employed as a Mechanical Engineer at Pilcon Engineering in Basingstoke, past of the Richard Costain Group. After qualifying he was promoted to section manager of the drilling department. 

 Other jobs he did later in his career included working for two years as a Pest Control Officer for W.H.Groves, Surbiton, Surrey. This interesting work may have been a somewhat unpleasant task in the eradication of various pests but it was a necessary job of vital importance for the health of the general public.  

 As the years passed Martin became interested in the world of finance. He studied and worked hard to gain many professional qualifications and awards. This led to him becoming a qualified Financial Advisor. These qualifications were put to good use when, in April 1996, he started his own business, opening an Estate Agents and Financial Services company called Chapplins. His business partner runs the estate agency, whilst Martin focuses on the financial services side, as well as the business structure itself. Today, Chapplins have four branches in Bordon, Fareham, Havant and Liss. All four are in Hampshire, Martin is located it the Bordon office.

 At this point, I would like to say that both Kathy and I are immensely proud of our two sons for what they have achieved in their lives. They both studied and worked hard and by showing talent, enterprise and great initiative they eventually owned their own businesses. Chris had led the way by having the vision and courage to take the historic step of emigrating to Canada in April 1982 to work as a Chef. Chris later followed Martin’s ambitions of owning his own business by founding The British Touch in Shakespeare, Ontario.

 Kathy and I are also very grateful for all the help, kindness, consideration and love our sons have shown us over the years. They have often surprised us by secretly arranging a celebration get together whether it’s to mark a birthday, anniversary or for some other event.  We are so grateful and appreciative for all the time and trouble they take in arranging these outings. In addition to the above, we must also say we owe them an even bigger display of our very heartfelt gratitude for the part they played in giving us Nicole, Laura and Michael, our three lovely caring grandchildren, who are a credit to them.


--End of Part Fifty-Two--

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Part Fifty-One


 History was made in the UK in 1979 when the daughter of a shop keeper in Grantham Lincolnshire named Margaret Thatcher who, not content with upsetting many of the ‘old school diehards in their ‘Men Only’ clubs by becoming the leader of the Conservative party in 1975,  went even further in 1979 when she beat her rival candidate, Ted Heath, and became the first woman to be elected as the Prime Minister of Britain.

 One can only imagine what some of the old boys thought of this as they spluttered over their G and T’s  ‘There you are Carruthers, I told you no good would come of that Thatcher woman being put in charge of our party. Mark my words young man, the damn fillies will be taking over the club next. Fill my glass and pass my pills, there’s a good chap.   

 Margaret Thatcher was a lady of strong character and resolve. This feature was bought to the fore in 1982 when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands. There are two British Dependent Territories in the South Atlantic, the Falkland Islands and it's Territorial Dependency South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. 

 When Argentina invaded these Islands it didn’t take long before Prime Minister Thatcher retaliate in defence of the British people living on these islands. After lengthy discussions with the Ministry of Defence and various Military Chiefs she instructed that a Military Task Force of British Forces should be assembled as soon as possible and sent on the 8,000 miles journey to the South Atlantic to repel this invasion of the Islands by Argentina. The Task Force included the Royal Marines, the Parachute Regiment, Scots and Welsh Guards and those fearsome fighters, the Ghurkha’s amongst many others. Air cover and other help was provided by the RAF when needed.    

 Whilst Kathy and I were naturally sorry when this invasion happened we also had a personal issue relating.  It so happened that at this particular time we had a cruise holiday booked to take Kathy’s mother with us sailing from Southampton on P and O’s Canberra cruise liner going to the Canary Isles and Madeira. Unfortunately, and disappointedly for us, the Government requisitioned the Canberra and included her as one of the 54 vessels to sail to the Falklands in the battle against Argentina. As Canberra was a cruise liner and obviously not fit for fighting battles it underwent a complete conversion into a  troop carrier which eventually departed from Southampton carrying 9,000 personnel, 95 aircraft plus fuel and freight. 

 All of this resulted in Kathy and I contacting our travel agents about this change of plans. Luckily for us, they were able to get us a similar booking and Itinerary on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth II (Q.E.2) cruise liner, which was also scheduled to leave from Southampton.  Naturally we were delighted to receive this second chance but our euphoria was short-lived because a couple of days later the Government stepped in again and this time they requisitioned Cunard’s Q.E.2 Liner also to join the Canberra in the Taskforce leaving for the Falklands as soon as she was also converted into a troop carrier.  
 So, once again, Kathy and I turned to our travel agents for help. They were very sympathetic and unbelievable as it may seem they got us yet another identical replacement offer. This time it was a booking on the Black Watch, one of the Norwegian Fred Olsen’s fleet of cruise liners.  The only drawback to this ship was that it didn’t sail from Southampton but from Tilbury in Essex. This meant we had to travel by train to London’s Fenchurch Street station then catch another train to Tilbury then find a taxi to take us to the Docks. You can appreciate that this journey with Kathy’s mother in tow plus our luggage was a bit exhausting but we made it safely and eventually boarded the Black Watch. Kathy’s mother, who incidentally had been cruising with us before on the Canberra took all of this upheaval in her stride, in fact, she was quite excited by the whole adventure. 

 The Black Watch was a much smaller ship than Canberra or Q.E.2 and the facilities on board were not so plentiful or grand. I do remember the dance floor was very small and the necessary music for dancing was provided by only one pianist, but I must say he was the kind of pianist I like. He just sat at his piano night after night and in a very easy, casual style, which I envied very much,  played many of the classic popular dance ‘sing-along’ songs written by the likes of George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Rodgers and Hart or Hammerstein, Jerome Kern etc.  Kathy and I danced (or shuffled) around the floor whilst her Mother watched us from her nearby chair with a smile on her face and a glass of sherry in her hand.  

 The best part of the ship was the restaurant. Being a Norwegian vessel the food on offer was smorgasbord style i.e. helping yourself from a lush display of every variety of food one could wish for.  It was a wonderful mouth-watering display. 

 When the ship docked at Teneriffe on the Canary Isles we took Kathy’s mum on a coach trip around the island which she enjoyed very much. She was such a lovely lady and it was always a pleasure to see the joy we could provide for her and she never failed to show her genuine gratitude for our efforts. 

 When we arrived in Funchal, the capital of Madeira, we took mum on another coach trip. This one had a special feature. It involved getting off the coach at the top of a steep hill where we found a toboggan and two Portuguese men waiting. These men were there as our ‘drivers’ responsible for the steering of the toboggan down the winding downhill road facing us. They did this by holding onto some ropes attached to the toboggan which acted as an aid in holding the vehicle back when, or if, it was necessary. As we descended down the winding cobbled road some of the local children ran alongside the toboggan holding their hands out for money in exchange for the flowers they offered us. Mum sat there with a look of apprehension and wonderment on her face. She was glad when she reached the end of this ride unscathed, clutching her flowers and thankfully all in one piece. 
We visited other islands on this trip and the overall view was one of great satisfaction.  The whole experience of cruising for Kathy’s mum was such a joy  to her that not only did she come with us on another cruise later in life, we were also were able to take her sister, Kathy’s auntie Lily, with us as well.

 By this time both of them were in wheelchairs which presented Kathy and I with the task of wheeling them around the ship. Whilst this wasn’t always easy, especially in bad weather, we never minded because both of them never failed to show their appreciation. To us, it was a labour of love and we all had some happy enjoyable moments on these holidays I can tell you. 

 The Falklands war, which had started on the 2nd of April 1982, finally finished on the 14th of June 1982 when Argentina, after having around 650 troops killed, surrendered. The British Military Personnel had 260 casualties plus 3 of the Falkland islanders were also killed.   

 With the conflict finished it was time for our two cruise liners, both of whom had been of vital importance to Task Force, to return home. The Q.E.II arrived back in Southampton on the 11th of June 1982 and the Canberra, which due to its white colour earned the title of The Great White Whale, arrived back on the 11th of July 1982.  

Kathy and I will never forget the memorable day of Canberra’s return home. 

 We were on a caravan rally near Portsmouth on that day. We had a small (9 inch) television set in our caravan which I put in our car and drove down to Southampton to await the arrival of Canberra. There were hundreds of people waiting along the shoreline waving their Union Jacks, which made a wonderful sight against the blue summer sky. There was a great patriotic feeling of warmth and relief filling the air.  I switched on our TV which was on the grass in the shade under my car and was able to see Canberra, who had slowly sailed around the back of the Isle of Wight, hove into sight as she entered Southampton water and progressed to the docks and her berth.

 The sound she received from the rapturous crowd made the 'Welcome Home' all the more welcoming by all of us honking our car horns and flashing our car lights. It was a magical and proud emotional historical moment in our country’s rich history.  (This historic sight can be seen online (YouTube – Canberra ship arriving back at Southampton after the Falklands War July 1982)

 The Canberra carried on cruising for a few years after the Falklands War and Kathy and I were lucky to enjoy two cruises on her. You only have to mention her name to any lover of cruising and will immediately respond with their stories and fond memories of this ship. It has a special place in the hearts of all who sailed on her.  

 Eventually, the time came when this lovely ship reached the end of her voyaging days. She was sold to a ship breaker in Pakistan on the 10th of October 1997 and finally scrapped on the 31st October 1997. 


--End of Part Fifty-One – 

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 Part Fifty

    The 1970s bought changes to our family life. Our eldest son Chris had developed an interest in motorcycles and wanted to buy one. His cousin Michael had bought a Honda CB125s model which Chris also yearned for. I wasn’t particularly interested in Motorbikes (not as good as a ‘Green Flash’) but after a lot of thought, and a test drive on Michaels bike I relented much to Chris’ delight, we followed Michael’s lead and bought Chris a Honda CB125s.

It was during this period of time that Chris had finished his normal schooling days and decided that he wanted to become a chef. He enrolled as a student and began a training course at Basingstoke Technical College in the Art of Catering. He worked hard and progressed so well that he won a heat of the Regional final of a cooking competition.  This led on to the National final which was held at Westminster College in London. Kathy and I attended this event and we were so proud to see Chris come 3rd in the country. After this triumph, he started working for Bateman’s Catering Company as a mobile relief chef.

Due to the Mobile requirements of this job it was very fortuitous that we had bought Chris his Honda CB125s motorbike.

Like most teenagers Chris loved riding his bike but, like most parents (particularly) mothers, there is always the worry of their child having an accident. We were no different. I remember we could never relax and go to sleep at night until we heard the sound of Chris’s bike coming down our road and we knew he was safely home. His love of motorbikes never left him. He, along with many of his friends travelled all around the UK and throughout Europe, on their motorbikes.

 During those days Kathy used a car for transportation to and from her workplace but even she, who had no great desire for a motorbike decided a small moped might be a more economical vehicle for her so she bought a Raleigh run-a-bout. This was a lightweight vehicle combining pedal power with a small petrol tank. Once you climbed on the Raleigh you pedalled away until a certain speed was attained and then switched over to the petrol option which gave you enough speed to relax, sit back and forget the pedalling. I remember there was one day when Kathy, for some reason, used the car to go to work and I rested my Green Flash bike and borrowed the Raleigh to travel down to Fleet Station. It was a frosty morning and the roads were a bit icy. As I approached a T junction intending to turn right I slowed down because of the icy road surface and rather than turn right and risk sliding on the ice I went straight across the road and up a dropped kerb turned right onto a pavement. I travelled along the pavement for a few yards to the next dropped pavement, that fed right again back to the road surface, turned left and continued my exciting journey to Fleet Station. It was a good job this pantomime took place around 6.15 a.m. and there was no one around to witness my run-a-bout star turn. Unlike the Green Flash, at least I didn’t come off or tear my trousers or hit the back-cluster lights of a stationary parked car. 

End of Part 50

This is a cherished favourite, previously posted. All past insights can be found on our website.

Cornwall, England's most Southerly county is a magical land of legends and tales of the sea, fishermen, pirates, smugglers and tin mines. With a population of over 500.000 at the 2008 census it has a coastline of 250 miles. Called Kernow in its own language it is fascinating to know that at their peak during the 1800's the Cornish tin mines supplied half of the world's requirements of tin. Although this industry has long gone it is still possible to see some working mines and learn a little of the important role they played in the life of Cornwall, the country and indeed the world. The Cornish people are of Celtic origins, fiercely independent, with their own flag called St. Pirin, the Patron Saint of Miners.


     Cornwall enjoys a very temperate climate thanks to the influence of the Gulf Stream from across the Atlantic. Its rugged coastline and the picturesque villages and harbours are a magnet for thousands of visitors every year making it one of Britain's most popular holiday destinations.


Take a visit to Lands’ End the County's most south-Westerly point and see the many Bronze Age standing stones, relics from grave sites and religious buildings. It also boasts the 'First and and Last Shop' in England. The town of Penzance, made famous by Gilbert and Sullivan's pirates, is also worth a visit and from which there are transport links by air or sea to the Scilly Isles, which lie some twenty-five miles south-west off Lands’ End.


Other places worth visiting are Marazion where you will see St. Michaels Mount with its Castle and Heritage museum. The Mount is reached either by boat or at low tide by walking across the sandy beach. Sailing enthusiasts are well catered for in places such as Falmouth and Fowey, (pronounced Foy), whilst surfer’s head for the North coast where the Atlantic rollers come thundering in at Newquay and Polzeath.


Pretty fishing harbours such as Boscastle, Polperro and Mevagissey bring many visitors, as does the Eden Project, a relatively new attraction located near St. Austell.  It is a massive geodesic domed structure housing flora gathered from around the world. Equally, another nearby popular horticultural site is the reclaimed Lost Gardens of Heligan.


The city of Truro is the only city in Cornwall and as fitting with its attractive cathedral is the county's capital.  Another interesting and very popular spot is St. Ives, the Mecca for all painters and artists who flock here every year to paint and soak up the creative atmosphere.


Talking of art, I recommend a visit to the Minack Theatre located near Porthcurno. This amphitheatre, cut out of the rock and overlooking the sea is very unique. Weather permitting you can have the unusual experience of watching a play performed whilst seeing and hearing the sound of the sea crashing on the rocks below.   St. Mawes, Bude, Padstow, Looe all lhave their own attractions as does Tintagel with its connections with King Arthur. . Head off to the most Southern part of England and you will find The Lizard Point with its two lighthouses towering above the small sandy bays below.  Another attraction is the harbour of Port Isaac which shot to fame in the UK as Port Venn, when it was used as the setting for a television series starring Martin Clunes as Dr. Martin. Talking of harbours Falmouth has the third largest natural harbour in the world and also worth visiting.  If it’s quiet coves you seek have a trip to Mullion Cove and Sennen Cove where you can relax and recharge your batteries.


History was made at Poldhu, also on Cornwall's south coast back on December 12trh 1901 as the place where Marconi became the first person to successfully transmit a radio signal across the Atlantic Ocean when the Morse code letter S was heard in St. Johns Newfoundland. 


If you visit Helston at the right time of the year you will hear a familiar song, known worldwide as 'The Floral Dance' but referred to here by its original and true title, 'The Flurry Dance'. Visitors come every year and watch the residents of Helston dance through the streets of the town celebrating this ancient ceremony.



One of my favourite spots is St. Enodoc with its pretty church which nestles with Daymer Bay on one side and the golf course on the other – what more do you want? - Have a wander around the graveyard and you will see the grave of one of my favourite’s poets, the late John Betjeman. Look further and you will also find the name Harold Smart on another headstone. Does anyone, like me, remember him, the Organist of that name from around the 1950's time?


There are many moorland regions throughout Cornwall which come alive in Spring and Summer with wonderful displays of wild flowers. Probably the most famous being Bodmin Moor. This is where you will find Jamaica Inn immortalized in the novel, and film, by Daphne Du Maurier who incidentally lived for many years at Fowey.


Other well-known people form Cornwall who made their mark on the world include the remarkable seaman  Captain Bligh of Mutiny on the  Bounty Fame,  Bob Fitzsimmons, Britain's first World Heavyweight boxing champion, Sir Humphrey Davy, who discovered sodium and potassium and invented the miner's safety lamp and Richard Trevithick who in 1801 became the first man to build a steam locomotive.


   No history of Cornwall could be complete without reference to the Cornish Pasty. There are many variations about the ingredients for this delicacy. The main ones are chopped meat, usually steak, one or two chopped potatoes. After this it varies, some people put half a turnip, others half a swede or even carrot. There should then be some onion, salt, pepper and water.  All of this is enclosed in a short or flaky pastry casing and cooked in the oven until golden brown.


Originally ate by Cornish fishermen, tin miners and farmers it is still extremely popular today and synonymous with Cornwall.  To me one of life's simple pleasures is, at the end of a summer's day sitting on the wall of a pretty Cornish harbour and watch the colourful fishing trawlers returning with their days catch. Overhead the ever-present squawking, and always hungry seagulls circle ready to swoop down for any tasty morsel that might suddenly become available. On the horizon the setting sun is bidding us good night and ever so slowly dispersing from view leaving you sitting there with a 'tattie oggy'  (what the Cornish people call a Cornish Pasty), in one hand and a cool glass of beer in the other it’s time for me to say 'Cheers my hearties'  from all of us who love and enjoy that old British Touch. 


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     Part Forty-Nine

 I remember the big drama in London on March 20th 1974. Princess Anne, with her husband Mark Phillips, escaped being kidnapped when a Rolls Royce Limousine taking them down The Mall back to Buckingham Palace was overtaken by another car which forced them to stop about 200 yards from the Palace. The driver of this overtaking car was Ian Ball, a man suffering from a mental illness. Many people witnessed the scene including three policemen, some protection officers assigned to princess Anne and other members of the public including a journalist, a former boxer and two chauffeurs. Despite the standoff and general pandemonium, the Princess remained very calm throughout the ordeal. Four men were shot, one of them being inspector James Beaton, one of the protection officers who, despite being shot three times by Ian Ball, survived the ordeal and was later awarded the George Cross for his bravery.

 In April 1974 the government announced big sweeping changes to the Town and County map of England and Wales. Despite their long history of being recorded in the Domesday Book, certain county and town names disappeared in the biggest reorganisation of local government since 1888. Counties such as Huntingdonshire, Rutland, Cumberland and Westmoreland in England were swallowed up or incorporated either into other counties or into counties with completely new names. For instance, most of the East Riding area of Yorkshire ceased to be a county but was now part of a new county named Humberside.

Similar changes also occurred in Wales, for instance, my own birthplace of Bettws Cedewen was in the county of Montgomeryshire but that County name was changed to Powys (Powis).

I also remember 1974 was the year when Prince Charles made his maiden speech in the House of Lords and thus became the first Royal for 90 years to perform that function.

Another man who also made history for a completely different reason that year was a male streaker who charged onto the hallowed pitch at Twickenham during a rugby match. It was here that the crowd found out that a British policeman’s helmet is more than a protection for his head. This revelation came to light when one gallant officer of the law removed his helmet and chased after the streaker.  Upon catching up with him the constable removed his helmet and, to the great amusement of the crowd, used it to cover the intruder’s vital statistics. It was said that the match ended with a score of Metropolitan Police 1, The Streaker 0.

Kathy and I fondly remember the early seventies as the time when we went on our first cruise. We took Chris and Martin with us on a P and 0 Ferry/Cruise ship named EAGLE. We sailed from Southampton on a six-day cruise to Lisbon -Algeciras (Spain) – Tangiers (Morocco) and back to Lisbon before returning to Southampton. It was the beginning of a lifetime of cruising for Kathy and I which, at the time of writing this (2020), has reached a total of 36 cruises which has included cruising to celebrate our Silver, Golden and Diamond Wedding Anniversaries.  Our accommodation on that first cruise was an Inside Cabin (no windows or portholes) just four bunk beds and a bathroom, all for the princely sum of £49 each for the return trip. As the years passed and our finances increased, we upgraded to booking an outside cabin with either a porthole window or a larger picture window. This eventually moved up again to the next option which was to book an outside cabin with a balcony. Just imagine sitting out on your balcony with a drink (or two) on a warm sunny day gazing at the white fluffy clouds making their own patterns against the azure blue sky as the ship gently glides across the Mediterranean or the Caribbean.  To my mind cruising is a wonderful leisurely way to travel and explore beyond the blue horizons. You learn so much by meeting different people, seeing their countries and cultures as you visit many of the wonders of the world. It's not only enjoyable but also very educational.


--End of Part Forty-Nine--

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                                                       Part Forty-Eight

 As well as my interest, and partaking in music particularly Trad jazz and Skiffle, I also became equally interested in photography. I should point out that this interest was long before the digital age of photography arrived. I bought magazines and read all I could to learn more about the art.  I started with a fairly basic Kodak camera using Black and White 35mm size film which was the most popular and easily obtainable at that time. I also bought all the necessary photographic equipment and learnt how to develop and print my own films.

   By using the loft of my house in church Crookham as a darkroom I was able to develop my films and then print the images of my choice. The only snag with this method was that I had no supply of water, a key element in this process, in my loft. I overcame this by filling a bucket of water downstairs and carried it upstairs to where I then carried it very carefully up a step ladder into the loft. After my developing and printing activities were finished, I repeated the ladder and bucket operation in reverse with one difference. The last part of the printing process requires the print to be doused into a tray of water. This tray of water and prints was then emptied into the bucket of water I had taken into the loft and then very carefully taken back down the ladder and emptied into a bath of water in the bathroom. This allows the water to wash away, and neutralise any of the developing fluids used in the whole process.

  Kathy didn’t appreciate coming from work sometimes only to be confronted with a pile of photograph’s lying in a bath of water in the bathroom!

  In time I decided to upgrade my camera and bought a second hand Rolleiflex T Camera. This camera is a classic which, in its heyday, was used worldwide by professional wedding photographers and press cameramen. It uses 120mm size film which gives you square 2-1/4in (6x6 cm) size negatives which are about 3 times larger than negatives from 35mm film... The larger negative gives you a stronger foundation to build on to produce a better resolution and sharper clarity, especially when printing enlargements of any photograph.

  I must say, with all due modesty, I, armed with my Rolleiflex T (T for Tesser Lens), camera became quite proficient, thanks to the brilliant quality of the camera especially the Tessar Lens. I was even asked to take the wedding photographs for a neighbour of ours whose daughter was getting married at a local church in Aldershot. Not only did I take the black and white photographs, develop, and successfully print them afterwards, I also used my own car to drive the bride and groom to and from the church.  

  Being asked to take someone's wedding photographs was a labour of love for me and as an amateur photographer, the only charge I made was to ask for my expenses i.e. cost of films, developing fluids and printing paper to be covered.

  This, my first wedding assignment, was successfully repeated a few months later when I was asked by Kathy to take the photographs for a working colleague of hers whose daughter was getting married in Basingstoke. I was happy to accept the request but there was a problem this time because, not surprisingly, the bride and groom wanted colour photographs which I was unable to do because I didn’t have the right equipment or expertise to print colour.

 I got over this hurdle by getting a Professional Photographic Library in London to do all the necessary printing. Naturally using colour film and their services put the cost up quite a bit but it was worth it. The quality of the images was brilliant, my expenses were covered and the recipients of the photographs were delighted with the end results.  

  As the day of the wedding approached, I was a bit nervous because of the responsibility facing me and not knowing any of the people didn’t help. But when I saw the church and the surrounding wedding venue any tension I had was eased by the sight of lush green gardens, tables, chairs, and blossoming trees all bathed in the summer sunshine. It was an ideal setting to take colour photographs for any bride and groom’s wedding. The big question at that moment in time was would my efforts be satisfactory. Thankfully they were and everyone, including me, was very pleased with the end results.

 Another wedding I covered was when one of Kathy’s nephews got married in Shropshire. This happy occasion was also captured successfully on Kodak Colour film by my trusty Rolleiflex camera.  I used the same Professional Photographic Library in London with the same perfect results. As an extra present to the happy couple, I purchased a photographic album for them to put their day’s memories into.  

 My camera and I were constant companions. I proudly took it on all our holidays. One holiday I’ll never forget was one of the many we’ve had in the Tyrol region of Austria when, as I got off a coach with my heavy Rolleiflex around my neck, I stumbled and fell a few feet down the side of a hill. Kathy, our two sons, Chris and Martin plus our nephew Michael couldn’t help laughing because as they recall saying to me ‘Dad, one minute you were with us on the coach and the next minute you were disappearing over the edge of a cliff’. But, as soon as I stumbled, my first thought was to hold on to my beloved Rolleiflex which I did. 

 My Rolleiflex and I were ever-present throughout our caravanning days. Kathy undertook the task of Editor of the Monthly East Hants Magazine and wrote various articles supplying information and news for the members. I remember we worked together once when I took some portrait photographs of various club members and deliberately cut off the lower half of the print so that only the top part of the head, eyes and hair were visible. These mutilated prints were then inserted into the magazine as a quiz, asking people to identify the subject. I also wrote various articles accompanied with photographs for the National Caravan Club magazine.  It’s always nice to see your efforts in print.

 During these days I was still working at Shell Centre where it was customary to have a Farewell Party, which was organised and supplied by the company, for anyone upon their retirement. I was asked, and agreed, to cover many of these happy occasions with my camera. The 10x8 inch photographs my Rolleiflex produced from these occasions were always well received by the people present.

 Finally, the day came when it was time for me, to shut the shutters for good, on my Rolleiflex.

I didn’t want to try to sell it. I wanted it to go to a good home and someone who would appreciate it’s history and quality so I gave it to my eldest son Chris who still has it. These camera’s and similar ones are still used by devotees to film photography rather than Digital and fortunately 120mm film is still obtainable if you look hard enough.   

 During my happy photographic days, other things not so pleasant were happening in the UK.

Such as the conflict between the IRA and Britain was never far away. There were many terrible incidents in London and other parts of the UK. The nearest one to us happened when the peace and tranquillity of leafy Guildford in Surrey were shattered on October 5th 1974 when bombs killed 5 and injured 65.

 I have written about these awful days before and all I can say is that I take no sides. I only report the facts of the events that happened. I have met and worked with many Irish people over many years. I have visited their country and there is no doubt that the vast majority want nothing more than to live normal peaceful lives. But the bitterness and all-consuming hatred shown by a minority have ensured that their dream is still not a lasting reality in this beautiful land.



---End of Part Forty-Eight--

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Insights Into Ivor

   Part Forty-Seven

As you will already have read I was interested in sport from a very early age, playing football, cricket, tennis and golf. My youngest son Martin, born in 1962, followed my sporting interest when he was older but our eldest son Chris wasn’t particularly interested in ball games. Football or cricket left him cold. He much preferred to sit by a river, canal or pond with a fishing rod and cast his line, with some poor innocent maggot attached, into the water and then wait for a hungry, unsuspecting fish to take the bait.

I suppose you could say Chris had fallen for fishing, hook, line and sinker. Talking of maggots Kathy had a fright one day when opening the fridge she saw a plastic container of wriggling maggots looking at her.

 You can imagine she was, shall we say, not very pleased,  To Chris, it was sensible to put the maggots in the fridge and thereby have fresh live maggots for the hungry fish. Boys will be boys.

 Fortunately, there was a pond within cycling distance from our home in Church Crookham. We bought Chris a new bike (no, it wasn’t the Green Flash) and off he’d go with one of his friends on their bikes complete with rods, maggots, folding seats, a large umbrella, a sandwich or two and drinks for themselves.

It was on such a fishing trip one day when Chris was hit by a car and sustained a broken leg.  He was hospitalised and eventually came out with his leg in a plaster caste and a pair of crutches. The car driver was summoned to court for dangerous driving but was found not guilty.

I remember Chris’s incapacity didn’t stop us going away on a weeks holiday to Mevagissey in Cornwall. There were echoes here of Long John Silver as Chris walked along the harbour walls. He only needed a parrot on his shoulder and uttering the time-honoured phrase ‘shiver me timbers Jim Lad’ to complete the image.

 Despite the accident, it didn’t stop us, as a family,  going to Mevagissey many times after the accident. We had found a very friendly couple who ran a Bed and Breakfast business in their house a few miles outside Mevagissey. I remember one trip we did when Chris and Martin wanted to fish off the harbour wall. Chris caught a fish or two but Martin couldn’t even get a bite. So, unknown to him, when he wasn’t looking I took a fish of Chris’s line and transferred it to Martins. He stood there completely unaware until Chris and I shouted out to him ‘Look, Martin, you’ve got a bite’  the look of surprise and delight on his face was a joy to behold as this shimmering fighting tiddler rose from the water into the summer sunlight.

 Mevagissey is like so many fishing ports in that you can pay to take a trip on a fishing boat out beyond the harbour wall and try for bigger fish like Mackerel, So, one day we decided to give it a try. Kathy got on first and I followed with the boys. I deliberately sat with my arms around them just in case one of them might fall over the side of the boat. The water was calm and everything went well as we left the harbour and headed out to the not so calm open sea. But after about 15 minutes I told the Skipper of the vessel that I felt a bit queasy whereupon he signalled me to move from the back of the boat and take a more stable seat in the middle. At that point, I felt so sick that I just had to take his advice and move to the middle. I was so relieved when we returned to the sanctuary of the Harbour. 

 The Skipper had caught quite a lot of Mackerel and as we staggered off his boat, he said to us ‘How many would you like to take home’?   At that moment in time, I never wanted to see another Mackerel or any fish again  But Chris and Martin wanted to have some so I gave in and they left the boat and proudly walked through the village back to our car with 4 or 5 mackerel tied around with string and took them back to our B/B house where they were gratefully received by our friendly hosts. The irony is that now I love Mackerel.


--End of Part Forty-Seven--

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