Research, research

m33

Phil: I’ve never been in the navy. In fact most of my ideas about our senior service are planted by listening to many episodes of The Navy Lark.

When writing “Kate vs the Navy”, it occurs to me that I ought to do a little more research to try to, if not be wholly accurate (this is fiction after all) at least base some of the story in reality.

As it happens, last weekend was my dad’s birthday and so the family went to the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth. Once there, your ticket allows access to all sorts of interesting places. Number one was the Mary Rose, which I remember watching emerge from the deep while I was at school. It’s now dried out and on display, although no progress has been made on restoring it so no chance of a trip around the bay…

storageRather more use was a visit to HMS M.33, a Monitor, or small battleship with a flat bottom and big(ish) guns. While not exactly the sort of ship we have in our book, it’s better than nothing and certainly more relevant than any ferry I’ve been on.

Wandering through the steel corridors and rooms, it all looked exactly as I’ve seen in countless old war films. Not welcoming in any way and with some interesting, and from a narrative point of view, useful places for those not in the navy to come unstuck.

This wasn’t the main useful nugget of information that came out of the visit however. Did you know that Portsmouth dockyard used to be home to 300 cats? No, we didn’t either, but now we do, ideas are flowing…

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