Born in Canning Town, in the heart of London's teeming dockland, red-headed Lily is a true Cockney in her zest for life, her natural humour and her instinct for survival. With the outbreak of World War II, husband George goes off to fight for King and Country and into the close-knit East End community bursts Kasie, a Dutch seaman who quickly falls for Lily's bright curls and ready smile. His romantic ways make Lily go weak at the knees, and although she sticks by her husband, her heart belongs wholly to her flying Dutchman. Torn between his native homeland and his yearning for 'Lily, my lovely', Kasie sweeps in and out of her life throughout the post-war years and the swinging Sixties, always on a tide of storms and passion. Only when that tide finally recedes does an older and wiser Lily settle down among her adored grandchildren to remember fondly her adventurous life.