Cabo Trafalgar In The Moonlight
Pen & Sail: My life with Dudley Pope
The Observer newspaper once wrote of Dudley Pope that he was an author who really knows Nelson's navy, whilst the Guardian maintained he had an 'expert knowledge of naval history'. Imagine, therefore, his heightened emotions and sense of history as he sailed his yacht past Cape Trafalgar one moonlit night. Moreover, standing beside him was his wife Kay; friend, constant companion and much loved, whose support and encouragement he relied upon. Dudley Pope later encapsulated the moment in a doubly romantic dedication in his book Ramages Challenge, the fourteenth in the acclaimed series:
For Kay who crossed a rubicon with me and sailed past Cabo Trafalgar in the moonlight.
In her book Kay Pope goes beyond a simple description of her life as the wife and confidant of a famous author sailor, and manages to capture for herself and her readers the atmosphere and idiosyncrasies of the places they visited and lived awhile, along with the humanity of the many people who crossed their paths. It is a gripping tale from a first mate whose powers of observation and description will delight her audience, whether or not they are familiar with Dudley Popes works. Kay Pope shows herself to be an accomplished author in her own right, with a revealing story of real interest to impart.
Author biography:Kay Pope was born in London in the western suburb of Ealing in 1935, but when her parents bought a small hotel in partnership with friends after World War II, she lived the latter half of her childhood on the sea front in Bexhill. She attended Battle Abbey, a boarding school a few miles inland from the nearby seaside town of Hastings, before moving on to Secretarial College in London. It was this that led to a life changing event as shortly after taking up her first job on The Evening News she met Dudley Pope. They married a year later when Kay was just eighteen.
She had always wanted to travel and had dreamed of faraway places when, as a child, she could see the Royal Sovereign Lightship flashing on the horizon out of her tiny attic window. When Dudley told of his dreams of writing whilst cruising the world on his own sailing boat, she was ready to sign on as first mate. For nearly thirty years the couple lived on board, along with their daughter, Jane.
Besides typing all Dudleys books, acting as teacher to her daughter and painting the boat Ramage, Kay began collecting seashells after they first sailed to the West Indies. This became a family hobby, as the family snorkelled among coral reefs together, and one new species found was named after her. She also wrote articles describing their seashells in two magazines devoted to malacology, both for amateur collectors like herself, and marine biologists.
The best part of this life, however, was being with Dudley and together meeting new people as he sailed and researched his books, and of course the sailing itself, particularly in the Mediterranean and her much loved West Indies. Widowed now, Kay lives on the Island of St. Martin.