Today I felt like writing about lighthouses. Why? Maybe it's the stormy weather. The fact is I live about as far away from the coast as it's possible to be in the UK, almost exactly in the centre of the country, and every so often I get a hankering for the sea.
There's something about lighthouses that is part of the British consciousness. We're an island race and for thousands of years we were reliant on trade at sea and lived in fear of death by shipwreck. Lighthouses are inspirational, offering a guiding light across treacherous waters. They are also lonely and the role of the lighthousekeeper is a fascinating one, solitude in wild and empty places.
Here are a few historic British lighthouses to celebrate the spirit of altruism of the lighthouse: I read this week that patents were traditionally never taken out on any lighthouse inventions as they were deemed good for humanity as a whole.
At the top is Leasowe Lighthouse, the oldest brick-built lighthouse in the country, built in 1763 and one of four lights on the North Wirral foreshore. Then Bell Rock, the oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse in the world.
And this is Lundy Old Light, which was built on top of the island only for the authorities to realise that no one could see it because it was frequently obscured by fog!