“That’s where they sat.” My sister pointed to lawns edging Plymouth Hoe Promenade. I had strolled there often, been to the top of nearby Smeaton’s Tower, and written about the area, but had never noticed the imprints of the famous fours bottoms moulded in copper on the ground before.

I’ve been a Beatles fan since childhood and knew about the iconic photograph taken in 1967 where the band members sat gazing toward Plymouth Sound, but I always missed seeing the artwork before. It was created by renowned sculptors, Thrussells, to commemorate George, John, Paul and Ringo’s trip to the city while filming ‘The Magical Mystery Tour’.

Many people have a favourite from the group and mine is Paul McCartney. So imagine how thrilled I was in 1980 to meet my idol when staying in The Mermaid Inn, Rye, Sussex.

I listened in disbelief when my friend rapped frantically on my room door. “Paul and Linda McCartney are downstairs,” she rasped, as I pulled it open.

“That’s a coincidence,” I replied cynically, thinking she was joking. On our journey to the six-hundred-year-old smugglers’ den, we had sung at the top of our voices along to Wings numbers, such as Band on the Run, blasting from the car’s music system.

The hotel receptionist confirmed my friend’s revelation and told us the celebrity couple was in the restaurant. We crept downstairs for a sneaky peek, but they weren’t there. Disappointed, we headed back upstairs and suddenly realised they were sitting in the snug bar opposite after finishing their evening meal. They must have witnessed our odd antics. Embarrassed by our juvenile behaviour, we scuttled out onto the cobblestone lanes.

Composing ourselves after a stroll, we wanted a drink and were elated to find the McCartneys still there on our return with a few other guests. Everyone spent a blissful half hour chatting together, but I was so star-struck I just nodded along to the conversation and tried not to smile too broadly. The rockstars were friendly and kind, and happy to give their autographs before Linda collected a doggy bag with surplus leftover food from the waiting staff as they left.

I’m so pleased I didn’t miss seeing the Beatles’ bottom prints on my latest visit to the Hoe. It certainly sent me on a trip down memory lane, and after writing this, I’m going to have a browse through The Lyrics by Paul McCartney. Very apt, indeed!

Until next time,
Sue. X