Saturday, 20 December 2014

Count the Ships on your Christmas walks

I have mentioned this before but I  have a theory. It runs something like this you can always count ten ships off the coast at Margate. I have to count the ships every time the sea comes into view. If I am on the Thanet way and as soon as the coast comes  in sight I scan the horizon. I only do it on the North side of the Island the Ramsgate side never has the same appeal but take me to Dover or Folkestone and I have the binoculars out in a flash my best count from Folkestone was over fifty ships plying their trade in the Channel.
The reason behind thing stupid theory is a single black and white snap taken about forty years ago at Barnes Car Park at Westbrook. Heather and I were boyfriend and girlfriend and we were on a Boxing Day walk to blow away the cobwebs and on the horizon of this old picture you can clearly see ten ships sitting at anchor on the Margate Roads a safe anchorage amongst the sandbanks and dangers of this part of the coast. Heathers Mum was fascinated with the pilot boats and

 lifeboats of this part of the coast. And the RNLI were always close to her heart with the brave work they do ensuring the safety of those who get into difficulty around our coasts.
So where ever you are and you can gaze out to sea think of me and think of the RNLI as you count the ships. Over the years the RNLI has rescued anyone who needed their help and has been doing so for  nearly two hundred and forty years. Started in 1824 it is still a charity and run mainly run by volunteers. Early life boats  were little more than open rowing boats and were manned by fellows sailors keen to help fellow mariners in difficulty. Margate's Friend of all Nations lifeboat suffered a disaster in 1899 when nine members of its crew lost there lives. A statue commemorating the disaster can be seen  by Margate Station it depicts a lifeboat man looking out to sea trying to catch a glimpse of the missing friends he is willing to still be alive but they are never to return.

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