For those who already appreciate how glamorous the 1940s were, I send my apologies. For me it took a trip to a dockyard in Chatham, in Kent to have this lightbulb moment.
Men were dressed in outfits such as military uniforms, or suits and trilby hats, while American GI's whizzed around in jeeps looking a little bit flash, I have to admit.
Ladies with red lipstick were in heels and stockings with the seams up the back and their hair in victory curls.
Familiar songs from the era drifted across the site from the main stage while visitors wandered in and out of ships, stopped at vintage stalls and into the No. 3 covered slip with its impressive timber frame.
We headed towards the Commissioner's House built in 1703 in search of afternoon tea. Up the main staircase a man was pointing to a ceiling out of view. I couldn't help myself, I had to have a look too. Directly above the stairs a colourful Baroque scene emerged depicting Roman gods and figures holding symbolic objects representing justice and peace.
A moment later a lady called Theresa who works for the Historic Chatham Dockyard had swept us upstairs for a brief tour of the wonderful house. She informed us that the ceiling was a series of wooden panels that had been designed for the interior of a ship called the Royal Sovereign. Just before the ship's destruction, fortune preserved it however when the Commissioner took a liking to it and requested that it be installed at his house instead.
The painting is attributed to the artist Thomas Highmore, who trained Thornhill, who later became distinguished for his celebrated work at Greenwich. This ceiling of a slightly earlier period also makes an impressive statement.
Our talk finished on the balcony overlooking the garden where a four hundred year old mulberry tree, now propped up is still producing fruit. It is reputedly under this tree that Oliver Cromwell sat and looked across the Medway, when nearby Rochester was taken by the Roundhead army.
Outside again and we met a man called Joe who was collecting for a fund to restore the Medway Queen. Next to him was a replica of the boat that is currently docked at Gillingham pier. This local paddle steamer saved over 7,000 men after the battle of Dunkirk. For seven days the boat kept crossing the English channel to fill the boat with as many lives as she could carry back to safety. She even helped save men from a small vessel that was floundering on its return journey and packed with rescued soldiers. It's an incredible tale and it would be wonderful if they were able to raise the funds they need to restore this special piece of maritime history. Click on Medway Queen to go to their website and find out more about this vessel.
A little further on we passed HMS Cavalier, built in 1944 and once the fastest ship in the fleet. She looked resplendent with all the flags fluttering in the wind and I was sorry we didn't have time to board her.