I have lived near the South Coast for a while now, and thought I had visited all the interesting places.
Then last week, my son arranged to take me out for the afternoon, to a place he said I hadn’t seen before. It turned out to be the Southsea Rose Garden, just a short distance from the Rock Garden, one of my all time favourites.
Right on the sea front, tucked in between some buildings, was an enclosed area dedicated to England’s favourite flower. Only when we went, the season was nearly over and most of the roses had finished flowering.
It was a lovely peaceful place, and I imagined what it must have looked like a few weeks ago. Then I started to notice the strange buildings all around the edge, all odd shapes and angles, and unusual openings and windows. Not residential dwellings, I thought.
I forgot all about the roses and walked around the edge of the garden again, fascinated and curious. I had to find out what I was looking at.
And this is what I found out…
Certainly, almost nobody knows it by that name. That’s because Lumps Fort doesn’t really exist anymore. The fortified walls remain, as well as a few mounts for defensive guns and the like. These days, however, the fort is better known for being the home of Southsea Rose Garden.
The “current” fort was built in the mid-to-late 1800s, but it has been a fortification since at least as far back as 1805, possibly dating back centuries. Part of the semaphore line between London and Portsmouth ran through Lumps – but as a good chunk of the fort fell into the sea during this period, it doesn’t seem like it was particularly well-looked-after even then.
The fort’s main claim to fame was serving as the training facility for Operation Frankton, where, in 1942, a team of Royal Marines executed a daring commando raid on the German-occupied port of Bordeaux. The mission led to six ships being successfully sabotaged, at the cost of the eventual deaths of all but two of the marines. A plaque outside Lumps Fort commemorates the “Cockleshell Heroes” (named after the “cockle” kayaks used) involved in this imaginative and courageous raid. A film of the same name was made in 1955.
The majority of the old fort is now occupied by Southsea Rose Garden. In bloom, the garden is stunning, and is said to have up to forty varieties of roses on display.
The Rose Garden also contains what seems to be the only clue that Portsmouth is twinned with the city of Maizuru, in Japan. The “Japanese Garden” might be a little dilapidated now, but it stills possesses a bit of the charm it must have had when it was new.
A week from hell…
They say that everything comes to those who wait…
But do we ever get what we really need?
Do we even know what that is?
Why is it that some people seem luckier than others… getting rewards without really trying, while others strive until their fingers bleed… and still not achieve much?
This week I have been battling what appeared to be a multitude of problems and frustrations, diluted here and there by moments of glorious inspiration, followed by what seemed to me at the time, a major achievement. Some of these achievements however turned to dust as I realised that I had not accomplished any way near what I had hoped for.
The most frustrating one was my attempt at entering Scarlet Ribbon on Story Cartel, the book review site. The first obstacle I came across was that the book file had to be in .mobi format. Several attempts later (and you have no idea the trouble I have doing anything complicated with my PC), I managed to upload all of Story Cartels requirements. Relatively happy, with a small glow of competence beginning to reassure me that I was not completely stupid after all, I moved on to something else.
These beautiful roses turned up just when I needed something pleasant to cheer me up, and they definitely did!
At least I was having more joy with my writing. Ideas were flowing and a lot of plot revision was being done. All in all I was quite pleased with my progress. 45,000 words and rising, I was beginning to feel like a real writer!
Then followed two days of attempting to solve a delivery problem. I had returned some cushions bought to replace the saggy ones in our couch, as they had sent the wrong ones, but they were adamantly stating that parcel had not been delivered. I sent it with Hermes, who I have used many times before and thought were pretty efficient. It turns out I was mistaken, as the only security measure they take with a delivery, is that someone scrawls their signature on one of Hermes funny little machines. No name of this person on record. Obviously not good enough for a parcel insured for £100!
After many telephone calls and filling in of forms, I now await the result of my claim, wondering if the firm I bought cushions from in the first place was in the habit of doing this. It was beginning to seem quite likely.
Then I received an email from Talia at Story Cartel. Apparently Scarlet Ribbon failed to upload, as format was wrong and there were what they called ‘hard returns’. She might as well have been speaking a foreign language. Well, when it comes to me and computer speak, most of it is a foreign language!
So much for that idea, as it now seems far too complicated for my old brain. Oh well. That’s another thing, there have been far too many ‘oh well’s’ this week. I am fast approaching the time when I can see myself giving up all this marketing and promoting lark, as I am obviously no good at it!
Something usually stops me from doing this, for without some kind of promotion your books will go nowhere and you might as well give up writing. But I am enjoying writing too much to give it up, so it is a shame that I cannot manage to learn to do something that would help.
I do thank God for the words what if and maybe. They always seem to pop into my head just when I’m on the verge of giving up…
Hopefully I will have a better time of it next week,