As we meandered through my beloved Hampshire on this beautiful summer’s day, he said, “Southwick, where the D-Day landing was planned. The Allied commanders moved out of London so that they can be closer to the troops. Eisenhower, Montgomery, Ramsay. They were here, planning the assault. Their headquarters were hidden somewhere in these woods. They had to change the date, delayed it, because of the weather. Bloody English weather!”

“Uhhm,” I mumbled, drowsy with cider and love. He was smiling, the corners of his eyes crinkling.

“Going further back, which I suspect interests you more, the Romans marched through here. From Chichester, I think, as they rampaged through southern England. Some time in AD 46. Can’t remember exactly when though.”

I gave him an admiring look. “Not bad. For a boy  who’s not from these parts. Why, you are almost as knowledgeable as my brothers!”

He grinned. “That’s what happens when one was educated in Winchester. We were forced to learn stuff like this. For how else could we impress Hampshire girls like you?”

It was my turn to grin back at him as I led him through a secret path I knew from my distant past, reminiscent of bygone summer days. “Come lie down on the grass with me, Sassenach.”

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For more information about Southwick’s Roman past, click here.

For a lovely walking route around Southwick, click here.