Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Christmas catch-up

High Tide00:57 (2.60m)
Low Tide07:24 (0.50m)
High Tide13:49 (2.30m)
Low Tide19:16 (0.90m)

Sea conditions: Bizarre, so much deeper than yesterday
Sea temperature: 6.4 last time we checked
Weather: windy
Joined by: no-one today but Christmas day was another story...
After a break there's a bit to catch up on: It's traditional that people swim on Christmas day here but the unseasonably warm weather meant that the beach was almost crowed at 11am, the allotted hour. There were twice as many spectators as swimmers, but at least 100 people actually went in. It was warm once we were in too and the three of us took our time. Looking back at Mertz's video footage I can clearly hear someone say "there go the hard core" as we swam out - that's us...? Hard core?! I certainly wasn't feeling hard core, in fact I nearly didn't make it at all due to having overdone it in a major way on Christmas eve and being very, very, very hungover. Actually I think I may still have been unsafe to drive, let alone swim. But the idea of not swimming didn't bear thinking about and I felt a lot better for it.

Since then DK has been the only consistent swimmer, both The Pirate and I have been away, but he keeps our appointment with the waves. We were so nearly joined by 3 more on Tuesday, but apparently Mertz had put the fear of god into them at dinner by talking about heart attacks, undertows and strong currents, this was after we'd polished off a couple of tons of herring, ham and akavit. The Visiting Girls were so game then that they even been provided with a selection of swim suits from the cupboard but we suspected they might not make it when they set off for the local at 11 with the promise of "a DJ from London on the decks" (sure...) and as Bill the Birder had predicted a text arrived at 7.55 the next morning instead.
The Pirate told us about an encounter with a little boy from the village whilst carol singing, he had approached him to say how brave he thought he was. The Pirate needs a stick to get about and says that occasionally children will comment and make assumptions about his disability but this was a first, the child had assumed that as he needed help in and out of the water he must be blind. Now he wants to be called The Blind Pirate because it sounds more romantic!
Alice is the new love of my life - she's a bike and I love her. She was my Christmas present and I've been cycling her down to the beach, even though I don't need to, because she's so wonderful. I haven't taken her very far yet as I haven't had time but hope to get a chance at the end of the week if it stops pouring with rain as it has been for the last couple of hours - they threw in some mud guards but they are a little on the thin side...

Wonderful food. As well as being served wonderful festive food by Legs, both DK and I agreed we have had great meals at our other nearby pub, which has restored my faith in eating locally. The Anchor has been very busy, with a wonderful crowd over Christmas but the team behind the bar and in the kitchen have done a stirling job. For lunch yesterday I had an amazing piece of cod with chorizo, puy lentils and curly kale, followed by pear pannacotta with lemon biscuits and a lemony coulis thing. We'd seen the shellfish being delivered so Mertz had the mussels, (which I had to try and then wished I'd had a starter portion) and a friend at a nearby table said the oysters were amazing. He was about to get on a train to London and we later discovered that it had been delayed by 3 hours, so I hope they gave him strength. The chef/patronne was keeping everyone happy and fed, flitting between the kitchen, restaurant and bar - such a contrast to our last experience over the river. As always the bar staff managed to cope with a massive influx of people and still managed to take the mickey out of NCFC as well as coming to fetch me when I bumped into an old friend, who I hadn't seen for 25 years, and haul me back to my table because my pannacotta was melting! We are very fortunate.

The tides have been most odd, we've tried to work out how they can have been so very different over the past 4 days, it doesn't seem normal. At first we speculated about the winds up north having an impact and then the moon, but ultimately DK and I agreed that we are ignorant and don't understand. I shall have to ask one of the village elders.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Low Tide03:26 (0.70m)
High Tide09:40 (2.50m)
Low Tide15:46 (0.70m)
High Tide22:01 (2.60m)
Sea temperature: 5.7
Sea conditions: calm and very high
Weather: Sunny, with the sun rising as we went in
Joined by: 3rd Constable and Murdo
Topics of conversation:
The weather - as always, we're English for crying out loud (although, to be fair, neither The 3rd Constable or Murdo are) and it was just glorious this morning. Having discussed recent nightmares at length yesterday, due to a particularly terrifying one which stayed with me all day, waking to this kind of a sunrise lifted the spirits. The tide was very high and I'd only just managed to jump over the water as it whizzed around the bridge, still rising - this made for excellent swimming conditions.
Welcome to The 3rd Constable and Murdo - the Constable's wife had mentioned that she didn't like the idea of his swimming on his own and so I'd given him our swimming times - it was lovely to see them and both are regular cold water swimmers. Murdo had been for a splash yesterday, after a long shingle run, so knew what to expect. There were serious discussions about techniques to help the body to become acclimatised and whether or not the fishing stool was of benefit, how shoes or boots make life easier on the stones and whether gloves is the way to go.
Welcome back The Pirate also, he'd had to dash up north due to a rapid deterioration of a dear friend's health, which has saddened the whole family. So hard at this time of year too. We all endeavoured to cheer him up but this time he really had reason to be Eyeore.
The Pirate's No 1 Son has returned home, and the list of culinary delights being prepared in the house made me salivate - having a proper chef in the house must be amazing, perhaps he could rent him out?
Mabel had managed to sneak down without her collar this morning, and the 'time to go home' game had an added twist. In order to catch her without a collar on you have to either trick her into coming over (she wise to this, so it seldom works) or tackle her to the ground. I think we probably need to work on an easier way.... she simply doesn't want to leave the beach. Mabel has her own heart on the Christmas tree and I think I'm jealous.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Low Tide
01:21 (0.90m)
High Tide
07:37 (2.50m)
Low Tide
13:58 (0.70m)
High Tide
20:26 (2.40m)

Sea temperature/conditions: Calm, and feeling much warmer
Weather: Slight breeze, sunny
Joined by: The Shaman - The Pirate is away
Topics of conversation:
The solstice - which was yesterday. Having planned to salute the sun as we did in the summer, The Pirate had made me have second thoughts, being versed as he is in all things eastern. He was concerned that the cosmic 'fluences would be disturbed by the Gayatri Mantra and sun salutations at the close of the day and I had missed the sunrise due to power cuts and Mother. It all worked out for the best; just as I was about to leave for the beach this morning The Shaman sent me a text and so she and I went down to salute the sun as it rose. She brought her own ritual, which she shared with me and I completed a number of salutations, which the dogs got involved in too. (I wanted to put the recording of the mantra with a video clip here but have discovered that my old version of iMovie has been screwed by my latest upgrade so I can't edit video at the moment, hours have been spent trying to get everything aligned - but clearly my technology is not in line with the sun's axis...).
Today's sunrise

Today's sunset
DK and I had a wonderful swim after the salutations, the temperature has risen we are sure, and we then talked in a very grown up fashion (for us) about religion and spirituality, which is far too bizarre and personal to go into here. Suffice to say that we both agreed that the sea provides us both with the kind of constant solace that others find elsewhere, just when we need it most.

STOP PRESS: You Tube and I are back on talking terms:

Sunday, 18 December 2011

High Tide03:10 (2.50m)
Low Tide09:44 (0.70m)
High Tide16:10 (2.20m)
Low Tide21:38 (1.10m)
Sea temperature: 5.5 degrees
Sea conditions: perfect
Weather: icy, a little dusting of snow still remaining from last night's flurry
Joined by: Abs, The Photographer, Blake, BooBob, Mertz
Topics of conversation:
Welcome back Abs! For various reasons Abs hasn't been able to join us recently so it was lovely to see her back and she had chosen the perfect day for her return. Although it was so cold that the shingle had frozen solid and the dunes were as hard as concrete the sun shone over the cloud bank just as we began to get undressed.
Going in

Coming out - taken by Mertz as they joined us

The Killing - I made DK swear he wouldn't tell; we missed the final 2 episodes last night, he kept teasing me with suggestions, it was unbearable. I'm almost tempted to put the day's plans to one side to watch now, but the weather is so glorious that it would be churlish and I don't think I'd be popular. I just wish that I hadn't gone onto Facebook this morning to wish a friend happy birthday as The Killing is one of my 'follows' and it did give a little something away. The reason I missed it was that we had the worst meal I've eaten in ages. A group of us went to The Harbour Inn in Southwold last night and it was shocking, truly shocking. The dover sole was so badly cooked that I couldn't get the fish of the bone on one side and it was almost raw on the other. We all tried Mertz's squid with chorizo and some people had to spit it out it was so bad. The haddock chowder seemed to have been made with condensed milk and the potatoes were new and overcooked, in December. They failed to clear our plates after the first course but in an attempt to salvage the meal The Wolf ordered a bakewell tart thinking you can't go far wrong with that... you can! He couldn't even get his spoon through it. To make things worse The Wolf had had reason to send food back last week as they had fish pie that was cold in the middle, so he felt duty bound to give a discreet but full report of our disaster to the Manager (we weren't charged for the sole or the wine). It's such a shame as it's run by the same team who run our local The Bell and we gave up eating there some months ago too. We'd cycled over and as we left the wind and snow/sleet was lashing in but fortunately we had the wind behind us on the river bank on the way home. It wasn't quite as extreme as being on a sled in a blizzard in - 40 but I can't say it was enjoyable. I was stupid to have eaten that fish which I could get off the bone and had a horrible night with little sleep as a result, but that's the wonderful about these morning swims, however bad you feel when you get up you always feel better after a swim. The difficulty is getting dressed quickly enough to keep your fingers working, and whilst my wonderful gloves, bough for Arctic adventures, are toasty warm they are quite hard to get on if I haven't dried my hands properly!
Swearing quietly

Saturday, 17 December 2011

High Tide02:21 (2.50m)
Low Tide08:48 (0.70m)
High Tide15:07 (2.20m)
Low Tide20:41 (1.00m)
Sea temperature: not really sure, DK dipped the thermometer in the shallows after we'd go out and it fluctuated between 6 and 7, but it felt much, much colder.
Sea conditions: Beautifully calm - had it been warmer it'd have been proper swimming weather
Weather: icy and cold, not too much of a wind though
Joined by: Mertz, but not to swim, he had been walking the dogs and found us
Topics of conversation:
The sunrise -  the above is an optical illusion, I wasn't going into the sea with my phone, the sun was just getting bigger and the waves were coming in. It was so wonderful to have light as we swam again, it's been so dark this week, (both the weather and our collective moods).
The Christmas swim  and weather we should prepare a synchronised swimming performance to show our toughness. This conversation was brought about by my shouting as we went in and The Pirate calling to me as I waded into the thigh high water with "STOP! we've gone far enough! We can just lie down here!"
Masterchef -  at length.
Mabel and Bosco had a very loud chat, we couldn't understand what they were talking about, but we decided there was quite a lot of bad language involved...

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

High Tide
00:15 (2.60m)
Low Tide
06:30 (0.60m)
High Tide
12:48 (2.40m)
Low Tide
18:27 (0.90m)
Sea temperature: between 6 and 7 degrees, the thermometer kept changing
Sea conditions: Shallow and choppy with a channel to swim in
Weather: Cold wind, air temp. 5
Joined by: no one
Topics of conversation:
Screaming nightmares - The Pirate had passed a dead rat on the way across the bridge and he has a perfectly rational fear of them, he described it as innate but he also has had a nightmare about one crawling over his face which made him scream in his sleep. We talked about how dreams can do this to you and the problems for anyone sleeping in the same bed.
Greta Garbo - Luna is doing as a good a job at channeling Greta as Rooney Mara was at Lisbeth and would not even make eye contact with anyone this morning, she stayed in the dunes looking miserable till I went into the sea and then suddenly got worried - I think I may have squealed as I went in - and dashed down to the shore. She is feeling the cold, so it's coats from now on. The two young dogs. meanwhile tore up and down, attacking each other and having a lovely time. We've worked out that when Willow has had enough of Mabel jumping up at her she simply clamps her jaws around her head and holds her still.
The Killing - we are all on the same page now as DK and Legs caught up yesterday so we were finally able to discuss it. All of us are confused, as we should be, and three are now only 2 episodes left so we are wildly speculating about the outcome. The Pirates Eeyore take is that we are going to be disappointed of course, and we have not yet placed our bets, in fact last year we did a sweepstake but this year its hard to know who to put in the frame. There was much discussion about the most tense kiss/almost kiss on screen this year between Lund and her partner, who we have started to refer to as Perk (is that what they want us to do? after all his real name is Strange). The Pirate can't watch on Saturday and Mertz and I are out, but we've arranged to be home nice and early, maybe we'll be back in time to watch.

I've just previewed this before posting and realised that we are a bloody miserable bunch at the moment... bah humbug.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Low Tide05:48 (0.70m)
High Tide12:07 (2.40m)
Low Tide17:47 (0.80m) 
Sea temperature: not taken
Sea conditions: we decided it was 'swirly' - the current was very strong and the waves were all over the place
Weather: changing all the time.
Joined by: no one
Topics of conversation:
Whether it was swimmable. As DK arrived after The Pirate and I we had the chance to discuss how suitable the waves were for going in when the wind was blowing without him calling us both Jessies. The unpredictability of the wind, waves and sky always makes us nervous, but little seems to unsettle DK. He did arrive saying - just a quick in an out today - though, and indeed it was. The current was strong and the water shallow. I spent most of my time water walking whilst the other 2 attempted proper strokes. As we got out we were hoping for a sunrise over the cloud bank and were rewarded. In true Pirate melancholia he announced snow to be on its way and that we would pay for the site that met us as we got dressed; a stunning double rainbow, rising over the village.
Other topics of conversation were kept short as we are now swimming later in the morning, to ensure we get some light, but methods of catching Mabel remain high on our agenda (which reminds me - I must refresh the supply of dog treats in my swim bag) as she seems to have developed the habit of turning the last 10 minutes into a gam of hide and seek around the beach huts. Although it is hysterical watching DK dashing in and out of the row of huts shouting "come here you twerp!" and then attempting to rugby takle her to the ground, it does hold him up somewhat. I'm afraid that the other day, when 2 nice men where watching the ritual with amusement, they asked what she was and I replied "a pain in the arse" I feel bad about that Mabel - try proving me wrong?
David Fincher - The Viking had taken me to see a BAFTA screening of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, followed by a Q&A with the cast and crew on Sunday night. DK and I have both read the books, seen the first film etc and The Pirate's wife has also read them, so The Pirate knows the gist and the discussion developed into one about casting in general and in particular the difficulty of finding the right lead when the character is superficially simple but ultimately complex. Daniel Craig doesn't do it for me (as he seems to 'do it' for so many of my female friends) and he didn't achieve the depth I wanted for the character of Blomkvist. I was blown away by Rooney Mary though - she inhabited Lisbeth and seemed to be channeling her at the Q&A!
The darkness of the story was developed beautifully in this version, David Fincher really got that right, as he did the lack of hope. Hope was in short supply that evening.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Low Tide00:58 (1.20m)
High Tide06:57 (2.30m)
Low Tide13:27 (0.90m)
High Tide20:19 (2.30m)
Weather: Frost, cold south west wind
Sea conditions: Big swell but calm
Sea temperature: fluctuating between 6 and 7 degrees. (air temperature was rising from 2 degrees)
Joined by: No one
Topics of conversation:
How long we'd stay in for, as the sun hadn't come up yet and the sand was frozen. The sea temperature has finally started to drop and whist the getting-in/swimming/getting-out experience is still exhilarating, the sudden drop once you are out and getting dressed is not. All of us struggled with cold fingers this morning, after the swim. DK has resorted to hand warmers and The Pirate is finally wearing gloves to swim in. It was my ankles that went today - Father always said I have 'larks legs', by which he meant skinny ankles - there's no flesh to keep them warm. My thighs seemed fine though... strange that!
Panto related injuries - Mertz has one. Whilst he's not involved in the panto in any way he has still managed to put his back out for the cause. He insisted on a show of strength when helping to move the stage extension in the village hall, I suspect he was trying to impress The Pirate's Wife and No. 2 Son (henceforth to be known as Ratty, due to his role in the panto, a crucial one, for which I am hunting for a suitable moustache), but should never have lifted a section on his own. Now he's having to lie down to work. If he's not better by Thursday, when he's due to go to London for his annual Christmas lunch with the boys I shall insist that he stays home.
Luna's ability to look pissed off - it's legendary and this morning I had brought her coat down to the beach so that she wouldn't have a sudden temperature drop having been rabbiting in the dark and then sitting still on the beach, and she was singularly unimpressed. Willow and Mabel couldn't care less as they now spend the entire time we are there going bonkers and chasing each other around the dunes. At one point they were on the top of a dune and we saw Willow 'doof' Mabel so that she rolled all the way down to the fence. Mabel shook herself down and tore straight back up for more. Willow used to be too aggressive with little Mabel but now she is much more gentle as she's realised what fun she is and that she's not a scary beast. Legs and I had a later discussion about how this can be the same in humans. We know that Mabel misses her canaine friends when they don't come down to play as on Sunday my two had stayed in bed and The Pirate doesn't swim on Sundays so she had been alone and spent most of her time waiting and looking for her friends. A forlorn sight and one I identify with.

National Express and its inability to keep the trains on time. We had such a rant. DK and I have both recently nearly missed connections and the last fiasco that Legs experienced resulted in compensation so we speculated about why the straight through trains had been cancelled and sounded very much like Daily Mail reading commuters, which we clearly couldn't be, even if we tried really hard. I don't think they allow tree-huggers in that club. Especially as we had just been discussing traditional vedic invocations. On the winter solstice (shortest day, longest night) Yoga Girl and I plan to complete 21 moon salutations, as we did sun salutations on the beach at the summer solstice. The Pirate has provided us with a great CD of the Gayatri Mantra, which were listening to at the weekend. We hope the weather will hold so that we can complete them at sunset and play the mantra as we do.

As we dressed and prepared to leave the beach the sun rose from behind the cloud bank and although we were all complaining of bits about to drop off we did stand and stare for a while.

A poor life this, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

High Tide01:18 (2.60m)
Low Tide07:44 (0.60m)
High Tide14:16 (2.40m)
Low Tide19:42 (1.00m)
HURRAH, HURRAH!! Back to normal, the original team all present and correct again, for the first time in weeks. The sea was perfect, the temperature was 10.2 degrees and even though it was a long way out we all managed a goodly swim. The topics of conversation were predominantly HURRAH and isn't it great to be together in the sea again. The sun rose above us and there was a single sun dog, shining larger than I've ever seen before. I couldn't quite capture it on the phone camera but I did get the geese as they flew over. Which reminded me of this, which I shared with The Pirate:

Sense of a Goose
Next Autumn, when you see geese heading south for the winter, flying in a “V” formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.
People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily, because they are travelling on the thrust of one another.
When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front.
If we have the sense of a goose, we will stay in formation with those people who are heading the same way we are.
When the head goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.
It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs, whether with people or with geese flying south.
Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
What message do we give when we honk from behind?
Finally – and this is important – when a goose gets sick or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out of the formation, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly or until it dies; and only then do they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their own group.
If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

A lonely swim this evening - although The Pirate did appear on the horizon. I start work too early to swim with the team in the morning at the moment, but on Thursdays I get home early and can be on the beach by 4pm. Today was magical, but no company so no conversation to report. I took my camera for a dip though.

Friday, 4 November 2011

High Tide04:32 (2.40m)
Low Tide11:25 (0.80m)
High Tide18:20 (2.30m)
Low Tide23:46 (1.30m)

Sea conditions: ROUGH and full of flotsam and jetsam
Sea temperature: 36 degrees, DK's thermometer had jammed.... the new one has arrived but it was too rough to take it in
Weather: Very warm for November but blowing a very strong wind and raining hard
Topics of conversation from the last couple of days:
Mainly Mabel - she has quite an impact on the group as she is so very entertaining. She has decided that Bosco is her very own play thing and tries to climb onto his back, whilst fighting him for the ball. He is probably 50 times bigger than her, her entire body is just bigger than his head - which is a good thing as you're not supposed to eat anything bigger than your head. Willow is terrified of her and is slowly edging closer, she even sniffed her tail, hopefully they'll find their level soon and Mabel will learn that dogs stay on the beach then Legs won't have to accompany her every morning. It's a bit scary to think that she could just follow DK into the sea.

Being back - I'm not quite sure how to describe the joy of immersing yourself in the cold sea, in November, having been landlocked for 5 days. There is coming home and then there's this. Even though the walk was a long one on my first day back, wading through thigh high water to get to enough depth to swim, I wasn't in any rush to dive in. Allowing the sea to take you into it's waves at its pace is part of the pleasure. The Pirate was making the most of his last swim for a few days as he's off, but he was sensible about not going in too far. He's hoping to swim in a river where he is going.
Potatoes and their hallucinogenic powers. The Pirate said that Walter Raleigh would not have been able to get them past health and safety committees if he had tried to introduce them in this century. The Viking had a very nasty experience with an uncooked one at college, when he thought his belly was a VW Beetle.

Westonbirt Arboretum, which Mertz and I had visited the previous week. The trees were spectacular and fiery, and we'd had a great experience as the weather had been perfect too. DK and legs know New England well (Legs being from that part of the world originally) and we discussed the 'fall' there, I've made Legs promise to help me plan a trip. We decided it could be a John Irving themed journey although I'd hope not to have too many Irvingesque experiences of my own.

The state of the sea. This morning it was particularly bad, although it's been getting worse all week. The tides have been high and the current strong, which has brought all the long seaweed up to the shore and we were swimming in amongst it. Some clumps were thick and floated about like monsters with very long arms wrapping themselves around our knees, not pleasant. We do have to be slightly vigilant for larger bits of crap floating about too. This morning there was a large boot washed up - that could have given us quite a surprise if it had been carried by a wave in the water.
An evening with DK - last night we all went to see DK perform at a theatre nearby. It was wonderful. DK is a consummate pro and has some wonderful tales to tell of his life and work, I knew this already but the format was great and I had such fun. Think Parkinson in the old days, with a piano and a host who could sing too. Mark Stratton is an old friend of DK's and with his broad experience of film, TV and theatre he and DK kept the audience in thrall with stories of showbiz and the characters involved. I haven't laughed that much on a damp Thursday evening for ages!
My pathetic, but crafty dogs were really unimpressed by the weather, they hate rain and wind. Just as I was about to get into the sea today I looked round and they had gone. DK whistled his loud whistle but they didn't come so I trudged up to the dunes and there they were, hiding in a dip, sheltered from the wind and rain by marron grass. We need a beach hut...

Monday, 24 October 2011

Low Tide02:20 (1.10m)
High Tide08:33 (2.50m)
Low Tide14:56 (0.60m)
High Tide21:35 (2.50m)
Sea temperature: not taken, didn't feel we should get the human cork floating again
Sea conditions: rough
Weather: very windy, 30 MPH winds forecast
Joined by: Mertz, Abs and Boo Bob, her next door neighbour and his dog Blake, Legs and Mabel
Topics of conversation:
Introductions were clearly needed with such a crowd on the beach. Abs' neighbour had come to photograph the sunrise and I hope I may be able to put some of the results up here at some point. Legs has to rise early now that Mabel is able to join us because she is too curious to be left alone on the beach whilst we swim, especially in this weather. Mabel had joined us for the first time yesterday and spent the first few moments huddled in Legs's coat shaking, but after watching Boo chasing a stick for a bit she fond her own legs. It was a bit of a baptism by fire, wind, sea and dogs for the tiny thing, but she did brilliantly, even remembering to sit for a biscuit.

It was very rough this morning and so we did hem and haw about whether to go in. The Pirate, Mertz and I had gone in after lunch yesterday, when it was windy enough for the kite surfers, but the tide was low so we could swim. The beach was heaving again as it's half term now, but no one else seemed mad enough to swim. I was actually mad to swim, having been to my Mother's for Sunday lunch drinks, at which I'd consumed far too much alcohol on an empty stomach as usual and then we'd had a curry for lunch, but The Pirate says it's an old wives' tale that you shouldn't swim after eating so I went for it and didn't get cramp, throw up or any of those things you tell children.

Th Pirate didn't go in at all this morning, which was very sensible, Abs and I had a go but she fell over and I felt my legs go so we got out but off went DK, the human cork, bobbing south down the shore. I felt very nervous, especially with Legs and Mabel there! It's an optical illusion as it looks OK till you get in:

The Killing - it's coming back, that will change this blog as all we will talk about on a Sunday morning will be the last episode. It's how we all bonded in the first place - our mutual obsession with the series. Sarah Lund (sorry Sofie Grabol) was on The Culture show this week talking about it and it has just been announced that it is back on 12th November, thank goodness for Facebook in these circs. We may not be able to wait that long...

Saturday, 22 October 2011


We're hoping that the famous Mabel will be joining us tomorrow as she's had all her jabs, I went to see her today and she is very excited:

High Tide06:27 (2.30m)
Low Tide13:07 (0.80m)
High Tide19:57 (2.30m)
Sea temperature: 12.4 yesterday
Sea conditions: rough, huge swell, big waves - scary
Weather: glorious
Joined by: Abs
Topics of conversation:
The sunrise, it was magical - we were stopped in our tracks by the sun appearing over the horizon and stood watching till it pulled itself away from the sea and that thin strip of sky snuck underneath it, separating it from the water and throwing its colours across the waves towards us. We all agreed that if we were to paint the sky exactly as it was this morning, we'd be accused of romanticism, no one would believe the tiny fluffy blue clouds, positioned exactly the same distance apart, the slate grey of the sea as the red sun changed it purely by contrast and the green glow above it all. I didn't have my phone or my camera this morning though, so you'll just have to take my word for it. There's a great passage in The Art of Travel where Alain de Botton talks about taking photos of places you visit and how the process removes you from the experience as you don't feel the need to remember what you see, I'll remember this sky for ever.
There was a great deal of discussion about the sea conditions. We couldn't really decide if it was do-able. In the end Abs and I had a go, got in up to our waists/head/waist/head (as the waves crashed at us)  and got swept north. The Pirate sensibly stayed on the shore and DK did his human cork impersonation for about 3 and a half minutes. It was exhilarating but I certainly wouldn't even have tried on my own. I got hit in the shin by a stone again and have a massive bruise - shame I'm having my legs waxed on Monday... ouchy.
Tracksuits - The Pirate's son has bought him one, it's not pink unfortunately and he's praying that it isn't covered in logos. It's hard to find ones that aren't - mine has DADA written on it for some reason, which led to the whole "DADA wouldn't buy me a Bauhaus" conversation, The Pirate took it to the next level and almost issued a challenge by saying that "Dada wouldn't buy me a Bauhaus because it might create the wrong Impression". Any further contributions gratefully received.
NIMBY's (not in my back yard) who complain about things in the village - one has really excelled himself by not only objecting to every single planning application but now he's complained about a fruit and veg stall on the street, which is run by 2 young boys who are home educated and the stall is part of their education and also about a Greek flag, which is flown in a garden on the green by way of tribute to the widow's deceased husband, who passed away in Greece. You really couldn't make it up. I'm afraid I was rather rude about him - even The Pirate raised his eyebrows.
Log splitting - Abs had an unfortunate experience with an axe, which resulted in loss of vision and loose teeth - we talked about the merits of axe vs splitters but now that I am typing this in the afternoon I can say that I really am erring on the side of the Logmatic - it's changed the way I look at the log pile. Matthew has leant us the full kit: splitter, basket, gloves, and we are trying it out it this weekend to see if we want to invest. So far so good. I managed to split a very large elm slice and a number of smaller logs in half the time I would normally take, but more importantly, nothing got stuck, I didn't jar my weakened back and was able to split logs on the 'not splittable' pile. And no, I'm not sponsored by Logmatic - but I could be...!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

High Tide04:12 (2.30m)
Low Tide10:25 (1.00m)
High Tide17:04 (2.20m)
Low Tide22:32 (1.20m)
Sea temperature: 13.4
Sea conditions: good, calm but with a swell, which was stronger in the evening
Weather: the air temperature was fluctuating between 3.4 and 4.2, and there was a hard frost, even on the wooden walkway
Joined by: No one
Topics of conversation:
The Pirate was late...again.
Exercises for the back - DK's an expert in daily exercises and we discussed the merits of stomach crunches for supporting a weak back, I had planned on doing some daily on my return from the swim, but as DK pointed out, they need to be done before the swim, hmmm... that means less time snuggled up on the sofa with a dog on each foot checking my mail and reading the news, but I suppose it's worth it not to have this reoccur. I shall endeavour to start tomorrow - in the hope that I'll get a washboard stomach in the process, yeah, right.
The frost and it's grip on the village, we all have different journeys to the beach and had experienced frozen ground, frost on windows etc. and had I brought my neoprene gloves I would have worn them. DK wore his and even The Pirate is considering it. We are also trying to persuade him into a fleece tracksuit, the kind which associated with American coaches or carpet carriers and he is very resistant, preferring to still wear his dressing gown with a raincoat over the top, but as neither he nor I were able to do up the zip on his coat and the poppers have rusted it may finally be time for him to give in. We wear them, not just for warmth (and it's certainly not for elegance) but for ease of changing back after the swim, as it gets colder it's so important and The Pirate nearly ran home today due to the cold getting into his bones.  If he doesn't get one soon I am going to buy him one a la Vikki Pollard, in pink velour although I won't be able to call him The Pirate any more.
The strange land out to sea - this had appeared this morning and looked as if some Terry Gilliam world was coming up, far out to sea.

The last evening swim? The Pirate, Matthew and I went down this evening as the weather was glorious, The Pirate had been for a long dog walk late afternoon and got hot, yes, so he said, and so he called to see if we'd like to join him. Matthew and I had had the fire going all day, so we were toasty and although Matthew's initial reaction was 'no', he didn't take much persuading. It was beautiful on the beach and we had to pick our way between the fishermen as it was a lovely deep, high tide.
The Neopolitans

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

High Tide03:19 (2.40m)
Low Tide09:23 (0.90m)
High Tide15:53 (2.20m)
Low Tide21:32 (1.10m
Sea temperature: 13.2
Sea conditions: ripples
Weather: sun, crisp and a very slight frost
Joined by: no one
Topics of conversation:
The irony of by having done my back in doing something I try to persuade everyone to do, because it's good for you, e.i. yoga. I've never damaged it before and have no idea what I did wrong but having tried to brave it out yesterday I decided that swimming in the cold water wasn't going to help. The boys were very sympathetic, especially as it was my kind of sea this morning. We chatted briefly and then I wandered off, feeling sorry for myself, and took a few photos as I've usually been in the sea with them so haven't had any shots to prove that we actually do swim.  I'll have to wait till tomorrow to find out what the other topics were!