Does this childhood memory of skimming stones ring any bells with you? Growing up near the North Sea, I often watched as my father skimmed stones over water. A marine engineer by trade, he taught me about Barnes Wallis, the much more famous marine engineer whose invention of the bouncing bomb made such a contribution to Allied efforts in World War II.
With a flick of wrist & finger, my father—
Ankle deep in shallows or in shingle—
Sent those round, flat pebbles
Bouncing, scudding, skimming, skipping
Over the waves’ grey curls and ribbons,
Over their fleece-washed foam and crashing combs
While I—well, all I could do was stand
Marooned on sand, marvelling at his skill;
Or play at hopscotch on the sea-wall.
© Lizzie Ballagher