Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The return of The Pirate

High Tide00:30 (2.60m)
Low Tide06:23 (0.70m)
High Tide12:33 (2.90m)
Low Tide19:01 (0.30m)

Sea Temperature: pockets of cold and warm drifting about so impossible to tell
Sea conditions: calm with a good swell
Weather: still, brooding, Himalayan style clouds on the horizon
Joined by: not a soul

Topics of conversation:
Welcome back to The Pirate, who is delighted to be home, despite having had a wonderful holiday in Oxfordshire, attending the Folk Festival near Thame. Although he returned yesterday evening he couldn't wait to swim till this morning and had a quick dunk at very low tide last night. Normal service has now resumed.
DK battled his way home last night too, through the trail of devastation on the East Coast of the US, left by Hurricane Irene. We didn't expect him this morning, a rest is certainly needed after a journey which included roads blocked by fallen trees, driving cross country, through fields and floods and having to squeeze through a gap in a stone wall to get out of Middletown. No phone, power, internet etc. but, surprisingly, the flights were not delayed and they made it safe and sound home to a sleepy village slowly being deserted by second homers and holiday makers. Clearly The Pirate has been suspended in a wonderful world of folk songs and campfires, as he hadn't even heard about Hurricane Irene...  
One of the other bonuses of the festival was a presentation by Pat Ryan, who writes about the origins of the stories of Shakespeare, he is currently a research fellow at George Ewart Evans Cetre for Storytelling and he told the original tales from Scandinavia and Italy that were the inspiration for Hamlet and King Lear. They were supported by performances from Bruce Alexander and others. We talked about the power of storytelling and The Pirate's potential as such as well as the aural tradition of myths and legends. Storytelling is one of the things I miss most now that I no longer teach full time and the excuse to wallow in reading myths, legends and fairy tales many times in order to be able to tell them to a class, rather than read them aloud.
Folktales were on my mind as I finished A Summer of Drowning before my swim this morning, it's been an interesting juxtaposition over the last couple of weeks, reading about boys drowning in Norway whilst swimming with boys of norwegian ancestry, but in a good way!
We agreed that the water was cooler, however not as much as Mertz claimed on Monday. He's vowed that he's had his last swim and has packed away his trunks but we refuse to accept that summer is over, despite all the signs to the contrary. DK, The Pirate and I will not stop here. September is a good month and we have plenty of sunny mornings to come, even if the water is cooling...

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Catch up

I've been particularly lax on posting this week as we have been inundated with guests and swimmers, notably the Vikings. All 3 generations were in residence and they made quite a splash first thing in the morning with their whooping (younger generation) and Akvavit drinking first thing in the morning (older generation).

What with that and The Pirate taking off on holiday I have not been recording regular temperature, but in the last few days we've had 19, 18.9 and 18.6, not bad and generally good sea conditions.

This morning was the roughest it's been for a while and there were just a few of us. Had Erik the Viking not been there I don't think I'd have gone in. Emma was particularly brave, going in in a bikini... 

The tide is very high at the moment too and we'll be at the highest point tomorrow, but a dear friend with a heart condition arrives today so I hope the waves have died down.

Heard from DK last night, he's due back in a week so as of next Thursday I should have resumed normal service with DK and The Pirate.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

High Tide01:28 (2.40m)
Low Tide07:03 (0.80m)
High Tide13:22 (2.70m)
Low Tide19:42 (0.60m)

Sea temperature: not taken
Sea conditions: very calm
Weather: fluffy clouds, sun breaking through like a Turner
Joined by: The Buddhist and two horses (with riders)
Topics of conversation:
The lack of Vikings this morning - there was an apologetic text about lack of sleep etc.
The beauty of the sea and its medicinal properties. The Buddhist isn't a regular swimmer and was asking if it really feels warmer if you swim regularly but I'm not sure that he was reassured when I told him it did, and that it makes you feel well, whatever the weather - The Pirate may have to convince him. 
Family photos - The Buddhist and I knew each other when we were kids, living in South America, and coincidentally met again recently as he is one of The Pirates oldest friends. We mused on whether there may be photos of us in each other's collections, when we were children, and this lead to a wider discussion of family photos and members who may no longer be identifiable by the current generation as their connections have been lost in time. Coincidentally I had been late this morning as I'd bumped into Freddy the Fish, who can talk the hind leg off a donkey and we'd got involved in a discussion about photos of the old boys of the village and his photo collection, some of which have been reproduced in a book. He has noticed that his father, who milked cows, always carried the pail and stool in the crook of his arm, rather than at arms length. None of the others he's seen in photos did this and we wondered why this might be. He knows my Mother well so I told him about photos of her on the beach, by the beach huts, with a huge white bow in her hair, I wonder if that will come back to bite me on the arse...
Water walking - one of my morning habits. Both DK and The Pirate have commented on my water based aerobics i.e. running or walking with the water at about waist level, suggesting it looks a bit peculiar, but now that he's tried it The Pirate concurs that it feels as if it's doing some good. It's not always possible and depends on the sea bed and the current but this morning, I later discovered, there was a water walking conversion. Not only did The Pirate have a go but a group of the LOTV's, who now swim further down the beach as one has moved to her holiday home on the harbour, all tried and enjoyed it. Perhaps we could have a sponsored water walk.
A level results - The Buddhist is going home today as they are due tomorrow.


High Tide05:34 (2.20m)
Low Tide11:19 (1.10m)
High Tide18:14 (2.10m)
Low Tide23:58 (1.10m)

Sea temperature: Not taken
Sea conditions: Slightly choppy
Weather: sunny with a gentle breeze
Joined by: 3 Vikings
Topics of conversation:
Vikings approach
Congratulating the Vikings for turning up - it's their first morning swim and there was much squealing from the younger 2 and I'm not sure that it will become a regular thing for them, judging by the shivers.
The Pirate's ship - there's a tall ship moored off the harbour and it looks just like a pirate ship so the obvious question was whether our very own Pirate was the captain. It's a stunning boat but this is a pretty murky shot as it was taken on my phone in a bit of a hurry.

Abseiling down the lighthouse on Sunday. I completed my latest challenge by getting down in one piece and raising £200 for the RNLI. It was far easier than I imagined and the only problem was that we had to wear shoes like the CSI team to stop our feet marking the white walls of the functioning monument. It was wonderful to see our village from the top too.
August light and how different it is. The Pirate and I have very different reactions to this change in the smell of the air and the colours in the sky as September is my favourite month, whereas he has a sense of impending doom as winter approaches. I chose September to get married as I love the evening light so much.
The four temperaments and whether the weather was something that could be connected to temperaments. We talked briefly about how my tutor helped our class to identify their own temperaments by imagining you are given an extra day, out of nowhere, in which you have the freedom to do exactly what you want and deciding what you'd do with it. The Pirate said he'd lie in the sun - I suspect that makes him phlegmatic. Wiki info here

Monday, 15 August 2011

High Tide00:21 (2.40m)
Low Tide06:03 (0.80m)
High Tide12:12 (2.70m)
Low Tide18:38 (0.50m)

Sea temperature: 18.7Sea conditions: smooth and silky
Weather: sunny with a gentle breeze
Joined by: Mertz and The Pirate's niece.
Topics of conversation:
Minimal chat today as we were in a hurry but the most important was the party. It had been The Pirate's mother's 90th birthday party on Saturday and we hadn't seen him since. We had been holding our breath for them as the weather had been really awful in the morning but the forecast had said it would clear in time and for once it was right - sound like a good time was had by all.

I had word from DK and Legs over the weekend - they are have huge fishing success and the weather looks amazing, clearly DK can't stay out of the water for long! They sent these photos to share.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Low Tide03:08 (1.00m)
High Tide09:23 (2.40m)
Low Tide15:47 (0.70m)
High Tide22:21 (2.40m)

Sea temperature: 19.4 in the evening
Sea conditions: rollers breaking on the ridge
Weather: windy with clouds breaking through
Joined by: No-one

Topics of conversation: 

To swim or not to swim.... we need to have a clear run to get out of the sea and unfortunately the combination of the tide coming in and the waves breaking just at the drop of the ridge meant that whilst we'd probably have been able to get in, getting out would have been quite a different matter though. After much deliberation we decided to play safe and didn't go in today - the first time this summer. There had been a real blow in the night, but hopefully it will all calm down and The Pirate and I might have an evening swim instead. Sorry DK, if you are reading this from afar, I know you would have called us wimps and gone in yourdelf, but without you we felt safer not doing so. I don't want to have to type "sadly reader, The Pirate is no more" as he suggested as we left the beach.

The black dog - not The Pirate's own canine companion but the low feeling that creeps in when you are not expecting it. There's a campaign to raise awareness of depression which uses the metaphor.
The Black Dog has been used as a metaphor for depression from antiquity to the present day. To bring the campaign to life we have designed visually striking Black Dog statues (soon to be unveiled).  The physical presence of a Black Dog will help people to define their experience of the ‘invisible’ condition, which characterises mental illness, as well as promoting more open discussion, understanding and acceptance. In order to deliver a positive message of support, the black dogs will have a ‘collar of hope’ and wear ‘coats’ designed by celebrities, artists and members of the public.

“The shadow of the Black Dog touches us all, but it is possible to master and live with your mental illness so that it no longer dominates your life.”Marjorie Wallace, founder and CEO of SANE

Saturday, 6 August 2011

High Tide03:48 (2.30m)

Low Tide
09:32 (0.90m)
High Tide15:57 (2.60m)
Low Tide22:23 (0.70m)

Sea temperature: 19.2
Sea conditions: Waves and quite a drag north
Weather: pouring with rain* 18.2
Joined by: No-one to start with due to the above*

Topics of conversation:
Started by text from The Pirate's Wife at 7am whilst having coffee in bed watching the rain pour down the window - "Are you swimming this morning? The Pirate is still up for it" "Absolutely - especially as it's his last swim till Wednesday" "You are all quite mad"
The Pirate having the wrong legs on. He was sore this morning, possibly from having worked on the allotment all day yesterday, but Doctor Sea soon put him right.
What we'll all be like in our dotage -The Pirate mused upon what he might be like at 82 if he was like this at 52 and when I asked if he meant mentally or physically I was threatened with a dunking. I asked if he sang to himself an a distracted way as Mertz does - it always makes me think his father has been reincarnated as I hear dumdedum dedeum coming from another room. Apparently when The Pirate was at a friend's house he thought he was alone and was clearly doing the same. The friend said it was like having Dougal from the Magic Roundabout in the house.
The church tower - our tattooed friend joined us whilst we were swimming, along with one of the junior LOTVs, and he was supposed to be opening the church tower, but the rain may well have put a stop to that.
Buddhism and the Victorians - their interpretation of Tibetan Buddhism and their likening of the Dali Lama to the Pope - typical Victorians...
The next few days I'll be swimming alone so there will be few topics of conversation.

Friday, 5 August 2011

High Tide03:00 (2.40m)
Low Tide08:46 (0.80m)
High Tide15:06 (2.70m)
Low Tide21:34 (0.50m)

Sea temperature: Forgot to take it, but we all agreed that it was very warm
Sea conditions: Small waves and foaming 
Weather: sun and a breeze
Joined by: 1 LOTV, Purdey's family and Purdey

Topics of conversation:
Why the black dog wasn't there today - we swam early and The Pirate didn't want to risk running into his nemesis (the dog's, not his), Luna was most concerned not to see him, they are such friends now. This is odd for her as she doesn't like big black dogs, having been attacked by three as a pup, but he has such a lovely nature that she's overcome her concerns. 
Chat in general and whether we chat less when DK's not here...
Swimming costumes/trunks - I want to get one that isn't black, inspired by my neighbourly LOTVs, who have brightly coloured things to swim in and put me to shame in my 15 year old black 50's type, but The Pirate reassured me that it wasn't necessary as he has 2 identical black pairs - one on, one on the line. This was a relief as I spent about 20 minutes looking in shops today for something a bit more interesting, but everything was very old lady bling stylie, lots of turquoise leopard print and gold bits. Never mind.
Coastguard - whilst it hasn't been entered on the incident site, the village telegraph has reported that there was actually a casualty on the receiving end of the coast-guard's attention. Reportedly a woman had fallen on Spong Bridge and broken her hip. She couldn't be reached by the ambulance crew as it is deep into the marsh and so they had to drop a medic in and circle till she could be lifted out, hence the 15 or so circuits over the village.
Purdey and her family joined just as we were getting into the sea and it was lovely to see Purdey, who is a chocolate lab, swimming straight out to see us. She is a very strong swimmer and clearly loves it in the water. At one point she swam into her owner's arms so that she could have a rest and as he's about 6ft 4in he was able to stand in the water and hold her up.
The taste of the air at 6.45am, is it really different? Is it different at different times of the year? I stupidly said the words, 'now that the days are getting shorter' which met with scowls from The Pirate, who actually likes having the campers here as it's a sign of summer and hates to see them go, leading as it does to colder seas and weather. We also agreed that swimming all year round really makes you appreciate the warm seas so much more, it's wonderful to feel the temperatures start to rise in April.

I found a moon on the beach.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

High Tide00:55 (2.50m)
Low Tide06:43 (0.70m)
High Tide12:57 (2.80m)
Low Tide19:25 (0.30m)

Sea temperature: 19.7 degrees - guessed correctly by DK
Sea conditions: Small waves, current pulling south
Weather: very hazy - mist inland
Joined by: 3 LOTVs

Topics of conversation:
DK's departure to the US - this was his last swim here for a month and we will all miss him very much, we discussed calling the blog something else in his absence but decided he'd be here in spirit so it shall remain. There was speculation about the water conditions in Cape Cod and the lake in Connecticut, which will be his holiday swimming.
The Vicar's Wife was with us today and we discussed the delights of beach huts for breakfast as she has her hut just by our usual swimming spot but rarely uses it as it has no view. As she seldom swims in the winter she offered us its shelter should we need it for changing etc. in foul weather, very kind!
Sky dogs/sun dogs - they had appeared as if to honour DK's last swim this summer and we discussed the origin of the name and their properties, Wiki gives lots of info: Sun Dogs but does not refer to the story I've heard, which links the Norse creation myths to sun dogs through the wolves who chased after Sol and Mani. Maybe we made it up at school, although I do like the idea of the rainbow lights chasing around the sun being wolves.
Found glasses - it transpired that they didn't belong to anyone swimming yesterday morning so DK took them to the village shop who have placed them in their box marked 'found glasses' - it's quite full.
MOT's - I had to get off in time today to get me Landrover for an MOT, (it failed) and we had previously discussed how The Pirate's father had lamented the changes in the village by saying that to used to be full of 2CV's and now it's full of BMWs. The Pirate said that having to rush to get your Landrover MOT'd was very much in keeping with the village.
Not discussed but of note was that during the afternoon there was a coastguard helicopter circuiting for 40 minutes, which is always a bit frightening but I read about it this evening:

261Callout 39/2011 15:35hrs Tuesday 2nd August 2011Full Team PageJust as we returned to station following the previous incident, were tasked to Southwold with reports of a person in difficulties in the water.01; 06; 07; 14;Southwold Lifeboat launched and discovered that the possible casualties were indeed oil drums which were recovered onto the lifeboat.Lowestoft & Southwold Coastguard; Southwold RNLI; Southwold Beach Rescue

I went for another swim after work this evening and the beach was quite a different place. We are so lucky to be bale to have it to ourselves in the morning.

Song of the cannot be repeated in polite society nor can some of the Carry On comments.

Monday, 1 August 2011

High Tide00:15 (2.50m)
Low Tide06:01 (0.70m)
High Tide12:16 (2.70m)
Low Tide18:42 (0.40m)

Sea temperature: 17.9 degrees
Sea conditions: Choppy and swirly
Weather: glorious (technical term)
Joined by: Mertz and 2 LOTVs and 3 cormorants flying over

Topics of conversation:

I was early today as I go to yoga on Mondays over the river so our chat was short but the most noteworthy thing was that The Pirate brought a scrap of paper with the sanskrit for 'see you tomorrow' written down. We all tried our best to pronounce it tomorrow: Svah but I didn't write the see 'you' bit down. The Pirate admitted that he wasn't sure if it was 'see you' singular, paired or plural though.
Cricket - there was much chat between DK and Mertz about the cricket but The Pirate and I kept out of it.
I found a pair of glasses on the beach, which really makes a change from loosing things on the beach, which is my default (the 15 year old favourite dog lead being the latest to be swept out to sea). As we were leaving before everyone else I called to those still in the water to see if anyone had lost them, the exchange was typical of a Monday morning - "Are these your glasses Charlotte?" "umm... not sure, I can't see them, I haven't got my glasses on."
The appropriateness, or not, of using "Ying Tong Tiddle I Po" as the slow dance at the end of an evening.

Song of the day: Tomorrow, tomorrow, I'll love you tomorrow" sung with Svah substituted (and very loud "Ying tong tiddle i po")