Monday, 20 February 2012

Low Tide02:14 (0.70m)
High Tide08:54 (2.30m)
Low Tide14:41 (0.90m)
High Tide20:46 (2.30m)
Sea temperature: 3.4
Sea conditions: very high tide calm sea
Weather: sunny, crisp, frost on the ground and the sand was frozen solid
Joined by: The Poet
Topics of conversation:
The tide, one of our high ones today, I'd had to walk the long way around as the bridge was underwater at each end and the waves were making strange pools on the shoreline. This meant that the swimming was good though, nice and deep straight away, a bonus in this icy weather as the cold doesn't creep slowly up your body.

No sand!
Waterlog: A Swimmer's Journey Through Britain by Roger Deakin. Deakin was a nature writer and filmmaker who also taught English and co-founded Common Ground, the arts/environment organisation, his writing has always been close to me - especially Waterlog and so I was intrigued by an event this weekend:

Taking the Waters

18-19 February
A Weekend Navigation
Aldeburgh Music’s new cross-arts winter weekend takes to the waters this year with a wide-ranging and fascinating exploration of the meanings of the marine, the estuarine and the waterway in film, art, literature and thought.
Starting from Roger Deakin’s modern classic on swimming, Waterlog, acclaimed writers, artists, film-makers and thinkers will reflect on the paramount importance of the fluid spaces of the planet, in this unique location shaped so profoundly by the tide and its impacts.

A day-long enquiry into the cultural meanings of water, featuring exclusive presentations from prize-winning author Robert Macfarlane on the late Roger Deakin and folk songs of the Waterways performed by Olivia Chaney.

Acclaimed writer Jay Griffiths (Wild, an Elemental Journey, described in The Observer as ‘a profound and extraordinary work’) will speak on the sea and its mysteries, while, alongside the photography of Jason Orton, writers Jules Pretty (The Luminous Coast) and Ken Worpole (350 Miles) will trace the  Eastern Coast.
Noel Burch will introduce the UK theatrical premiere screening of his pioneering documentary essay film The Forgotten Space (2010). Made with Allan Sekula, it follows the high seas global supply chain our consumer lives so depend, and the lives left in its wake. 

Roger Deakin
Roger Deakin
I hadn't had the courage to go on my own, fearing all sorts of potential for disaster after last week's destruction of a classic, but discovered that The Poet and his wife had spent Saturday there so I was intrigued to hear about it. The Poet felt that the presentations from the writers were overworked and rather turgid, perhaps not as relevant to Deakin's work as he had hoped. He summed it up nicely by saying that he just wished Roger Deakin himself (who died in 2006) could have popped in to tell them to get on with it! DK is also a fan of his writing and we all mused that as he didn't suffer fools gladly it would have made him weary - his writing has a beautiful simplicity about it. I'm not feeling so bad about missing it now but am resolving to re-read Waterlog. I loved Wildwood - A Journey Through Trees and my copy is falling apart from re-readings whilst travelling through Asia on a train and loosing my thread but I still have Notes From Walnut Tree Farm in my Amazon wish list so perhaps that is next on my growing list of must reads. I drove past Walnut Tree Farm on my way to work for about 8 years and many of those who were involved with my school knew him well - I suspect that is why I haven't actually read it yet.
The Noisy Neighbours - Following a very cordial meeting with the aforementioned neighbours it sounds as if DK has had a result, the trampoline is going! We can all sigh a breath of relief and hope that they also forget about fireworks next year. The Poet hadn't been aware of the dispute and we discussed how dreadful such things can become. I remember someone saying "it's always the wives with the knives" and I suspect it was The Poet, but as he then told this joke he may be forgiven:
At the height of the Intifada the Israelis and Arabs realised that, if they carried on as they were, they would end up destroying each other so they decided to settle the matter with a dogfight. Whoever won would earn the right to rule the world.
The Arabs found the biggest, meanest Rottweiler they could find and crossed it with a wolf, fed it steroids and then trained it to be a perfect killing machine. Only its trainers could handle it.
When the day arrived the Israelis turned up with a strange little creature with short legs that looked like a dachshund. Everyone felt sorry for the Israelis but placed their bets on the huge creature winning. The cages were opened and the two dogs faced each other. Within seconds the little dog had not only killed the beast, but had eaten it all up.
The Arabs, shaking their heads in disbelief, approached the Israelis "We don't understand. Our dog was developed and trained to be a killing machine! How could this happen, what kind of dog is that?" "Ah well.." replied the Israelis "Before the nose job, he used to be an alligator."

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