Queen Mary

I was six when another memory imprinted itself in my being. My Mum and Dad and I and several neighbours used to holiday at Totland Bay in the IOW. We all went by train and then ferry across to the island. It happened every year and all our tents were stored in a farmers barn. We also jointly owned a gypsy caravan with no wheels which remained in the camping field. My father cycled down to Lymington from Didcot where we lived (some fifty miles or so).  He had made a sidecar in which he carried all the rest of our equipment.

We were gathered outside the tents talking as it got dark. Someone called out ‘Look’. We turned round and there was a magical sight The Queen Mary liner. She was lit all over with hundreds of lights,  sailing through the Solent on her last voyage before the war. She became a troop ship. It was like a fairy tale, the last beautiful dream before the hardships and carnage. On our way back through London I saw barrage balloons in the sky like great elephants. War was declared in September. A year or two ago I drew this scene (sadly I haven’t got the drawing any more) then  I made this textile piece with a printed wood cut of an old tiny photo, finally embroidering and printing the liner. It probably doesn’t mean anything to anyone else but it means a lot to me.

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