War Torn England in 1940 (Melissa Robbins and Wren and Connor Buchanan)

Hello, my name is Sergeant Wren Buchanan and Melissa asked me to give you a tour of my home. After signing the Official Secrets Act, you have been granted special permission to be here. Traveling to the English southern coastline is restricted. If any of you tried looking for Sandwick, England on the map, you won't find it. The name was changed for secrecy reasons. We don't want the Germans to know what we're up to. I hope all of you wore comfortable shoes. With petrol rations, we can't drive, so this will be a walking tour. Now, if everyone has their gas masks, I'll begin.

Sandwick, England had been the destination for holidays through the years, but the Jerries put a stop to that. Uniforms have replaced swimsuits, not that the women around here are complaining. The Royal Air Force airmen look quite dashing in their uniforms.

Here is my favorite spot, the cliffs of Sandwick that overlook the English Channel. Yes, they do resemble the famous White Cliffs of Dover. Just smell that salty air. On clear day, you can see all the way to France which means we may not be able to stay long if the Germans start shelling us. Sadly, the view is marred by the barbed wire. Please don't go down to the beach. It has been mined to discourage invasion. I would like to avoid showing the hospital ward, although the injured airmen would appreciate seeing a pretty face or two.

To our right, is the Sandwick Castle ruins. A perfect place for picnics in the summertime with all the wildflowers growing about. Down there nestled between this cliff and the Thaddington estate is the village. Don't you just love all the colorful buildings? We'll go down there next.

Many of us WAAFs, that's stands for Women's Auxiliary Air Force, have billets in Sandwick. Sorry billet means a place where we stay. I forget many of you may not be familiar with our RAF slang. It's like learning another language. Here is my billet that I share with two other WAAFs. Mrs. Cavendish, a Great War widow, owns the townhouse and allows the WAAF to use it. She decided to stay with her sister in Scotland during the duration of the war. I'm fortunate I don't live in a Nissen hut with several other women on the aerodrome. Beastly buildings made of steel and one lone wood burning stove to heat up the place.

If we walk down this road, we'll come to the Sandwick Library. Another favorite place of mine. Doesn't it look like a church instead of a library? The arched windows let in loads of light to read by. This brick building around the corner from the library is the village hall. That's where the town holds their dances for the service men and women.

Now, let's walk up this hill to Thaddington Hall. Air Commodore Nigel and Lady Evelyn Thaddington offered part of their large house to the Air Ministry at the start of the war. All sorts of operations go on here. Some so secret, I don't even know what they do.

The Bingham aerodrome has become its own little village. Our huts contain all sorts of facilities to accommodate the daily activities of running an aerodrome. Over here, this delightful thatched cottage may look unassuming, but it has been converted into the Royal Air Force Police station where my dear friend Seamus works. Don't break the rules while you're here. Seamus, God love him, will arrest you. He takes his job very seriously.

If we continue down this lane, we'll get to the airfield where you can see the Spitfires. Depending on what's going on, the pilots may be lounging on the ground or playing cricket waiting for the Jerries to attack.

That's the dispersal hut over there. We won't go in. Imagine a place ruled by men without their mums or wives to clean up after them. It's a disaster!

The hut isn't that bad at the moment.

Hello Connor. Everyone, this is my brother Flying Officer Connor Buchanan. Let me guess, the dispersal hut isn't a mess, because you just cleaned it for your Jankers. What naughty thing did you do this time?

Nothing was proven. They just assumed it was me.

I can't imagine why they would think that.

Who are these people? New recruits?

I'm giving a tour of Sandwick and the aerodrome. Fellow writers and readers wanted to see the scenery of our home.

The scenery?

Why are you laughing? Sandwick is a beautiful place.

You have a lot of women with you. I'm sure the 'scenery' they want to view is right over there in uniform. Let's see. We have several dark-haired chaps, myself included, a few blonds, and a couple of gingers if you like those freckled faces. Maybe you can introduce one or two to George. Fine chap, George is. A bit shy, but you didn't hear that from me. Too bad Mac isn't wearing his kilt today. He's always going on about how the fairer sex loves it. Such a shame I can't put that to the test.

You are so cheeky! Some of these women are serious romance writers that are interested in settings of stories.

Romance writers? I can help in that department.

They could teach you a thing or two about romance.

Ooo, is that a promise? Crikey! You didn't tell me Fran was going to be here. Hello Gorgeous! Big fat smooch. Did you get the picture I sent? Come with me and I'll give you a personal aerial tour in my kite.

You can't do that. You'll get in trouble again.

If you don't tell the Wing Co, I can and like you haven't flown in a fighter plane with a certain pi--

Shouldn't you already be in your Spit, alone?

Trying to get off the subject of you, eh? I'm on standing alert and may get moved to 30 minute alert any time now. Oh bugger! Of all the rotten luck!

That would be the air raid siren. The Germans are on their way here. If everyone will follow me, you'll get to see the inside of an air raid shelter. Be careful Connor.

I always am. My offer still stands, Fran! I'll see you later. Kiss, kiss.


Joan Vincent said...

Melissa, Thank you for the delightful tour of Sandwick. I love your approach and style. The drawings really add to the reality. Did you do them?
Have Wren give my best to Conner!

Tina said...

Pretty damn clever writing. I thoroughly enjoyed this!

Melissa Robbins said...

Thanks Joan and Tina. As soon as Rox mentioned this topic, I had the idea in my head and have been dying to post it.

Yes, Joan, I sketched all the buildings myself. I wanted to be an architect when I was little. I also like to sketch my characters. They look more like Disney characters than real life people, though. I'm currently working on another "scenery" sketch. This one has Connor and his pilot mates standing around the back of a Spitfire.

I'll have Wren do that, Joan. ;0)

Penny Rader said...

Too cute, Melissa! Wish I'd thought of doing my post this way.

Also, I love your drawings. I've always wished I had that ability.

Reese Mobley said...

Thanks for the tour, ladies. Loved getting a peek into your settings. Give Conner my best, would you?

Melissa Robbins said...

Thanks Penny and Reese. Penny, my drawings have gotten better over the years. Like writing, the more I sketch, the better I get or so I hope. ;0) Looks like Fran can add some fans to Team Connor. He'll be pleased.

Frances Fowlkes said...

*swoon* Please relay to Connor, that I am more than eager to take him up on his offer. ;) How can I resist?

Loved the post, Mel! Too funny! Sarah read it too, and she said she loved it!!!

Melissa Robbins said...

***Operation Cupid***

***Fran, meet Connor at the hangar at dawn. Mac and Finley will run interference with the wing commander and Sophie will distract Seamus.***

Thanks, Fran. Liza loved the post too. Cheryl said she has missed Connor. He'll be back in time for Christmas. You know he'll have mistletoe handy.