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.

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