I loved stepping into history - but I’ve got a fried front

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I sit here typing this with burnt breasts. So before I forget and get lost in a whimsical yet entertaining account of something, I wanted to mention how painful burnt breasts are.

Always remember to wear sunscreen as everyone tells us every day, be they relatives, friends, the media or even Baz Luhrmann. Oh how I wish I would listen.

It’s stepping into history, but fresh history that’s alive with poignancy and import

It’s my own fault about my well-done chest. I was trying to look, well, as if I had a cleavage worth exposing.

I’d bought a beautiful new dress designed to reveal a certain amount of flesh, but I was attempting to build the illusion of having more chest than I actually have with a bumper bra.

Now the sorry state of my frontage shows what a mistake that was. I have a white crevasse down the middle. A snow-filled canyon. A glacier between two burning sunsets.

The reason I was wearing a vintage dress? It was a D-Day Revival day in Southwick.

What a glorious village and what glorious villagers. I can’t believe how much the sun shone on those who had made an effort to recreate the atmosphere of life 71 years ago.

Vintage outfits, vintage trucks, cars, steam engines, vintage fairs, vintage dancing, vintage singing. It was extraordinary and so worth a visit.

What made it really special was being able to visit the Map Room at Southwick House from where D-Day was planned.

The site of the Allied Naval Headquarters is now used by the Defence School of Policing and Guarding, but the original map of both the south coast and northern France is still there – made of wood so that scaled-down boats could be pinned in place and moved. And there were thousands of pin pricks.

We were told about the characters who had lived, worked and plotted in that room, about the smoke which filled up the upper half of the air so thickly that it couldn’t be seen through, and about the serving women and men who worked ceaselessly to ensure the plan was the best it could be.

Please take time out to visit Southwick House and its map room. It’s stepping into history, but fresh history that’s alive with poignancy and import.