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...