The image above (Little Channel 3, 2008) was painted by Paul Winstanley, part of a series of views over the English Channel. The precise view is taken from the garden of a house perched on the top of the White Cliffs in a small village called St Margaret's in Kent. The garden is approximately half a dozen metres long and terminates in an abrupt and unprotected drop to the Straight of Dover three hundred and fifty feet below.
To choose to live on the White Cliffs, or perched on the loose shingle at the edge of the channel, is to associate yourself with a very particular kind of national identity. It's amusing to speculate on the scene as various extrovert and extravagant British actors strolled the grounds of their houses on the edge of England, preparing to defend the country through whimsical lyrics and amusing voices. Whilst Ustinov manned a literal gun emplacement, Noel Coward's propaganda was a more subtle and possibly effective form of warfare. After the war, he sold his house to Ian Fleming, another even more vociferously xenophobic writer who based one of his Bond novels, Moonraker, on the White Cliffs. In the book - far removed from the even more ludicrous film - a bitter ex-German Army officer who has assumed a new identity as a British millionaire builds a rocket on the White Cliffs with which he intends to destroy England. The launch-pad for the rocket is facing inland, not out to sea.