My marvellous Kent Claret vine ... I bought it from Victoriana Nursery to keep my ever-faithful calendulas company. Friend Wendy recommends the grapes for grape jelly.

Happy harvesting … my Great Auntie Bee's watercolour of farming life as it used to be, painted in 1950.

The creative mind in action … Coppicing days, Pheasants Coppice, Bishopsbourne.

History …In the garden of Serre de la Madonne, Menton. Seems I wasn’t the only admirer.

Happy birthday! ... My 50th Birthday Party 9th September 2010 at Jenny's, also with Hilda, Becca, Vittorio, Robin and Yvonne and Bianca - Caprese Michelangelo, Toscana. A very special day.

Birthday girl ... Mrs G picking flowers on the morning of her 80th Birthday, a few seconds before she realised that I had arrived.

All the facts in this poem about Ella Harding, RFC (later RAF), and her work at the aerodrome and the gifts given to her, are sourced from her diaries at the Imperial War Museum. Other dates are historically accurate, too.

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Image of part of a HealingGardens co dot uk webpage to illustrate the article.Ponderous ... The slow, all-too-stable BE 2c was still in service in 1916, literally a "flying target" for German pilots. It was probably a fighter that Ella knew well. Thanks to Wikipedia for the view.

And, courtesy of You Tube and the Historical Aviation Film Unit, here's the sound of a real World War 1 1917 Sopwith Camel >>>>>

Ella

In the year after Queen Victoria died,
Early Edwardian Ella was born -
The year before those first men flew,
When Wye's chalky crown was white as new.

She and flying grew up together.
Her photograph shows a young lady with a modern face,
Intelligent, vivacious with large, round eyes,
That some men might later fly into by accident.

She made the 'sails', the Camel's cloth,
And on the runway would repair,
Death-defying canvas tears.
She saw the thrills above the hills,
And knew the accident that kills.

Sometimes, high above the fields of Wye,
She'd see her writing - in the sky,
Roundels, she'd painted on the wings,
The part of her that flew - her rings.

Some airmen made their friend, our Ella,
A little silver brooch propeller,
And a wooden jewel box from the same,
In which her memories too, remained.

For when she wore one, or saw the other,
She thought of all her flying brothers,
Her brave young friendly flying boys,
And heard the loud propeller's noise.

And again, see roundels in the sky, above the whispering fields of Wye.

-

Robert Graham 7 x 2016
Robert Graham's HealingGardens.click | Email | Wye, Ashford, Kent TN25 5DD | © 2000 - 2018