Saturday, 24 September 2011

Low Tide02:02 (1.10m)
High Tide08:18 (2.40m)
Low Tide14:36 (0.80m)
High Tide21:20 (2.40m)

Sea temperature: 16.4
Sea conditions: Calm with a swell, deep and clear.
Weather: Sunny and bright
Joined by: Mertz (he's really getting into this but still says "this is going to be my last swim of the year" every time he swims).
Topics of conversation:
How beautiful the mornings are and how we've had some of the best swims of the year in the last couple of weeks. It really has been glorious weather and as we were leaving the beach we bumped into one of the Lurcher Girls who told us she'd just been listening to a radio report on the theory that it's going to be a long, warm Autumn, despite the Daily Wail's scaremongering about snow storms next month.

These are few of my 7.30am phone shots from the last few days.

Mable - DK and Legs and The Twerp were going to meet Mable this morning, she is a Parson's Jack Russell and they just might consider allowing her to be their new four legged friend. We wait with baited breath, but I know where my money lies...
Strictly speaking we spoke about this yesterday but as we talked about evening swims I feel within my rights to note that The Pirate and I had a close encounter of the naked kind. We had agreed to get in touch at the end of the day if both of us were free and the weather was fine enough. When I hadn't heard from him by 5 I decided to call but got no answer so set off in the direction of the marshes to walk the dogs with my swimming things on my back. As I got near to the beach I saw the unmistakable silhouette of The Pirate on the horizon so quickened my step to see if I could catch up. As I got to the dunes I shouted his name (his real one not "The Pirate" as that could have been seen as odd by the couple walking towards me on the beach) but the wind was in the wrong direction and he was on a mission. Then I twigged - he was heading south, to the unpopulated section of the beach - clearly not brought his trunks. So I turned smartly around and went in the other direction, where I swam in a calm and warm sea, without embarrassing a blissfully unaware, naked pirate. Of course it was too much of a story not to wind him up with it the next day though.
Another thing we talked about a few days ago, but which keeps being mentioned is New York breakfasts. DK described, brilliantly, his discomfort at being in a New York breakfast bar for the first time in the late 60's and trying to decide what he wanted, too late and in front of a breakfast chef performing to the crowd. He worked out that saying "do you think I possibly could have some eggs" was not really the right way to go - "Possibly?? EGGS?! EGGS?! Howdya want 'em? Come on! Come on!" and so on was the response and DK did his impersonation with gusto. It's now become the way in which he chivvies The Pirate up when he's not taking and doing. In fact both he and Mertz were still hanging about be the beach huts this morning whilst the dogs and I were nearly by the sea because they couldn't walk and talk at the same time.
Trappist beer - The Twerp had been drinking some serious beers with us in the pub last night and we had all been tasting them, one in particular was amazing, it almost tasted like and espresso and was 11.3% proof, our local serves some really unusual beers but we seldom try them.
Willow the dog was a bit under the weather this morning, she and her mother had a head on collision in the garden first thing when they both tried to catch the neighbour's cat and she's really not herself, she was allowed to lie on Mertz's coat.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

High Tide02:26 (2.40m)
Low Tide08:12 (0.90m)
High Tide14:40 (2.40m)
Low Tide20:33 (0.90m)

Sea temperature: 16.4
Sea conditions: low tide, calm
Weather: sunny, clear, crisp and no wind
Joined by: Mertz, Purdy and family
Topics of conversation: 
The weather and how lucky we are to be having such wonderful clear days so far into September, it really was a beautiful morning.
The view from the dunes
DK sang the praises of his supper, Legs had made a broad bean risotto with scallops which sounded amazing and I have to admit that it was on my mind from the moment he mentioned it and made me so hungry that I've just eaten the biggest bowl of porridge ever. We discussed the recipe and how perfect it sounded and this afternoon I had the recipe sent over - Legs is so good at sharing!


-   NOTE: buy scallops enough for however many people you’re serving, figure about 3 very large or 5-6 small/medium; they will rest on top of the risotto

handful of chopped onion, red or white
50 g extra virgin olive oil
320 gr arborio or canaroli rice
1.5 liters hot chicken stock
half a glass of white wine
40 gr freshly grated parmesan
40 gr butter, room temp
1-2 sm cloves minced garlic
60+ gr broad beans, skinned
(gratings of summer truffle..yeah right..)

SAUTE onion in half the oil.

ADD rice and saute until hot and translucent.

ADD wine and let rice absorb, the ADD stock a few ladles at a time until liquid absorbed, then add more etc (general risotto method: about 20-25 min in all) a small skillet....

SAUTE garlic briefly in rest of oil (and truffle if you can tell me where to buy the sucker) then add broadbeans and a splash of stock, and let simmer until tender. Remove from skillet, tent with foil, rinse skillet, return to heat, ready for scallops.

Keep stirring that rice and adding stock.


Dry the scallops, heat the skillet until HOT, add a touch of oil, and sear those scallops, browning beautifully but do not overcook: about 4 min should do for med, more for large.

When rice ready, add broadbeans, then butter and parmesan. Salt & pepper.

Serve risotto topped with scallops, squeeze over a bit of lemon, and throw on some rocket. Delish.

Our supper of smoked haddock chowder seemed like peasant food by comparison but we still regalled DK with the huge list of ingredients that went into it - haddock, spuds, carrots, shallots, spring onions, chili, spinach, cream, parsley and the secret ingredient, pureed sweetcorn. I'd only done this as I'm struggling with my cracked tooth at the moment and found a recipe which uses the method of pureeing the sweetcorn before adding it to the chowder. It made a huge difference as did the four pepper mix (green, white, pink and black).
Cricket - Mertz and DK had a very long chat about cricket yesterday, little of which I understood and I admitted to having made a short documentary about cricketing memorabilia with no knowledge of the sport when Mertz had to help me out and conduct the interviews. There was more cricketing talk today.
Western Ireland - DK has Irish ancestry and we discussed the kindness and humour of the people of western Ireland in particular. I've never been but would love to go, especially after hearing them talk about it. Mertz told a story of ordering a drink in a bar which had some smut surrounding the request for Black Bush Whisky, and probably doesn't bear re-telling.
Clive's bike - he's a serious biker and very, very tall. He swam with us today and whilst he was swimming we rudely speculated about the cost of his road bike - it's a serious bike.

Friday, 16 September 2011

It's been a while since I last 'blogged' as I've had other things on my mind. Rather than posting a normal day today I'll try to sum up the last week:

The water was rough for at least 4 days and there were 2 No Swim mornings for The Pirate and I, although DK insisted on a baptism each day. He was dragged down the beach for a bit, got out shook himself down and carried on with the day. Mertz has joined us whenever he's been in the village and he also braved the high winds and rough water in the hope, I am sure, of clearing his name and not being referred to as 'The Jessy' any longer. The Pirate and I felt so hard done by that when the evening brought sun and low tide we went in then instead, and whilst it was rough, the light was amazing, crisp and twinkly at the same time. It was still choppy and we actually ended up being thrown together by a wave at one point, no serious injuries, just a tangle of limbs.

By Wednesday the sea had calmed down and the temperatures had settled, with the sea remaining at around 16.5 for the rest of the week. Thursday brought what, on reflection, was my favourite swim of the year. The sun was low, the moon was still up and having completed my sun salutations in the dunes I found that once I was in the calm sea I could swim a good distance and also stand motionless in the water. I cast a shadow with my arms, which pointed directly at the moon. I was so tempted to swim that night to see if I could cast a moon shadow too, but felt that would be too risky on my own and after 2 glasses of Sauvignon Blanc...

The conversation has been shorter as it's been so much cooler and we don't hang about much on the beach after our swim, but below are a few:

  • How to loose weight on doctor's orders without giving up booze
  • Tea addiction - The Pirate drinks at least 8 cups a day
  • Dogs that poo on command
  • Forming your own opinions about people, rather than listening to anyone else
  • The Killing (actually that's a daily topic at the moment, what with the US series ending and the Danish one about to start)
  • Churches and their supporters - flower festivals included
  • The Panto, (it's not a panto)
  • The need for gloves, or not. I've just ordered my new ones.
  • The joy of Autumn

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Low Tide01:52 (1.10m)
High Tide07:58 (2.30m)
Low Tide14:29 (0.80m)
High Tide21:18 (2.40m)

Sea temperature: 16.5
Sea conditions: High tide and large waves
Weather: rapidly deteriorating as we swam
Joined by Liz, Patrick, Mertz, Soot and Misty
Topics of conversation: 
Being joined by Liz, Patrick, Mertz, Soot and Misty! We seldom have company midweek, but having come home early this week and been tempted by promises of waves and high tides Mertz was keen to have another "last swim of the year" and at first The Pirate and I didn't notice that Liz was carrying a towel, but they both joined us in the water. Patrick was far too busy looking after the stools, towels, dogs etc to come in though... Liz felt that if she could sing in a gale force wind on the beach then swimming would be a doddle and she stayed in for longer than Mertz, who shall henceforth be known as The Jessy, DK's term for those who either wear wetsuits, splash and pat, swear and shout or stay in for seconds (the measure of time, not second helpings - just to be clear).
The pub and dates - DK and Legs frequent the same pub as us and seem to actually have moved in recently. Last night they all went for supper and had a wonderful meal, we are being taken there tonight for a meal by friends by way of thank you and so are looking forward to the same quality and enjoying the company of a new romance. The Pirate was nervous about this as they are thanking me for setting them up on a blind date 3 weeks ago and he was concerned that is was too early in the relationship to be making dinner plans. I have confidence, however, that this one could be a laster.
We all said goodbye to DK's friends, who are leaving the village today, so won't be swimming/guarding clothes tomorrow and look forward to seeing them next year.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Low Tide00:34 (1.10m)
High Tide06:50 (2.30m)
Low Tide13:17 (0.90m)
High Tide20:02 (2.30m)

Sea temperature: 16.5 and falling...
Sea conditions: Deep rollers, with a shelf - slightly treacherous 
Weather: Sunny but with an unmentionable chill in the air
Joined by: Liz Robertson - actress/singer and owner of Clever Soot and Misty
Topics of conversation:
The Pirate battles the wind yesterday
Relief that we could swim today - yesterday was so rough and windy that only DK contemplated it, in fact he did get in but was swished up-tide immediately so got out again as can be seen in this clip. Today we had to move up the beach as the waves in our usual spot were too high.
Yesterday's shoot - Liz had braved the wind and torrential rain yesterday afternoon to perform on the beach for DK - and she thinks we are mad to swim in the sea everyday...! Hopefully the resulting video will be online shortly so that I can a) see it and b) link to it here. It sounds rather as if the weather was perfect for the song.
The Pirate's wife's role as props designer for the village panto and the red shoes in particular. When working on The Wizard of Oz she needed to create the image of the witch under the house, red shoes and all so decided to use a mannequin's leg. Unfortunately only male legs could be sourced and so shoes could have been a problem but no, apparently size 12 red stilettos are not that hard to find in Suffolk and were soon attached to the legs. Not only did they feature in the show but The Pirate's wife saw fit to 'store' them under their son's bed, he was taken by surprised and has claimed he was scared for life as a result. Not only did they have an impact on him but later the whole mannequin was being transported, covered in a blanket in the back of the car when they were picking Grandma up from church. Inevitably the mannequin's arse was revealed whilst making room for an additional passenger, just as the LOTV's were leaving church. History doesn't relate their reaction.
Too rough yesterday

Soot's litter - I'd never heard of a black lab having a mixed litter before but she is very special as she produced a tri-colour brood, black, chocolate and yellow, Clever Soot!
I shouted at The Pirate, I know it was wrong but he really has been banned from his morose mumblings about winter's approach and I had to stop him before he began to tug at his beard and wail about the days getting shorter, the water temperature dropping and the air cooling as we spoke. Admittedly the water temperature is dropping, but it is still warm for the time of year and warmer than the Thames, according to the news reports of David Walliams turning blue in the river yesterday - where the temperature was down to 15 degrees. We all scoffed at that of course and DK and the Pirate claimed 3.5 as the lowest recorded temperature for swimming last year. I didn't make it through the year as I had an operation in September, which stopped me from being able to experience the temperatures lowering gradually and I didn't get back in till October and then January. This year I will do my utmost to make it through with the boys. 

Monday, 5 September 2011

All present and correct

High Tide01:10 (2.60m)
Low Tide07:05 (0.70m)
High Tide13:17 (2.90m)
Low Tide19:43 (0.40m)

Sea temperature: 17.2 
Sea conditions: calm with a breeze and a long wade out
Weather: glorious
Joined by: The Vicar's Wife as we were leaving the beach
Topics of conversation:
The return of DK and his wanderings. He's been on the East Coast of the US for 4 weeks and even though he's endured hurricanes (both Irene and Peg) and earthquakes, he's on flying form. He told us about the different swimming he's been doing in rivers, lakes and the Atlantic.