Thursday, 29 March 2012

High Tide03:11 (2.20m)
Low Tide08:53 (0.90m)
High Tide15:28 (2.20m)
Low Tide21:23 (0.80m)
Sea temperature: not taken - but we staying in for much longer today, so it must have been warmer
Sea conditions: calm, low tide seem to be early
Weather: getting warmer
Joined by: no one
Topics of conversation:
Faces and Places magazine - interviewed DK and he brought copies for The Pirate and I this morning - it's a lovely feature on cold water swimming and has some lovely shots of the sea and swimmers, although all the others appear to be wearing wetsuits... DK did exaggerate by 0.1 of a degree on the coldest temperature though - it was 1.6, not 1.5! It also features Marc Brown, who swims in the sea just north of here and he is raising funds for Breakthrough Breast cancer by making an art project of his year. His images can be seen here: Marc Brown and you can sponsor him here:

The tide appeared to be lower than it should have been once more and there were strange little islands along the sand, I had walked to beach early this morning for some time at the water's edge and it was beautiful and no sign of anyone. As The Pirate pointed out, we are very lucky to be alive.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

High Tide02:30 (2.30m)
Low Tide08:18 (0.80m)
High Tide14:46 (2.30m)
Low Tide20:39 (0.80m)

Sea temperature: 7.8
Sea conditions: glassy calm
Weather: sunny with a light breeze - moving on weather
Joined by: The Poet, Jesse the Lurcher and Sara - now that The Poet has broken up for the Easter break he will be a regular
Topics of conversation:
The Pirate had forgotten his bag and so the morning started with working out if he had to go back for it - I lent him my 'stool bag' and we promised him second use of towels, until DK turned up calling him all kinds of names under the sun and carrying 2 bags. The Pirate's Wife had been on her way down to the beach with it. We agreed that she is wonderful and that the rest of us had husbands/wives who wouldn't even notice we'd left without.
The relationship between DK and The Pirate was then in the spotlight, they are constantly bickering in a predominantly friendly fashion but DK certainly has a more acerbic tongue and a well honed vocabulary of insults. I explained to The Poet that when I first started swimming with them on a regular basis I wondered if they had moderated their behaviour for me and that it took some while to become accustomed to their early morning banter, not being sure if it was in jest. The Poet told me that his son had been at an all boys' school and that when they had first started taking girls in the sixth form he had asked whether it had changed things, his son's swift reply had been "Yes! We can't fart in class anymore!"
Is there a wind farm off our shore? None of us had realised that it is there but it had been a very clear day yesterday and Sara and The Poet had bumped into a bird spotter who had noticed something out to sea and trained his binoculars on it. It's only visible as the sun swings around to the west. We all knew it was planned but the fact that it's now there without anyone realising was agreeably surprising. We all stood and stared but with the sun in our eyes nothing was visible.
There's a map here
The village webmaster lives in a house with unparalleled views of the bay and I had cause to visit her this morning, she is also a font of all knowledge and has been watching its progress through a telescope. She counted 58 turbines yesterday and says that there are many more to go up, mostly beyond our horizon.
I shall try to remember DK's joke, it is a joke that only he and his friend, a scriptwriter, find funny. His friend wrote with him but also for programmes like Minder and Shoestring so we were treated to a rendition of The Pirate's favourite George Cole lines followed by the joke: A man goes to visit his mate Harry and arrives at his house to find the blinds drawn and black at all the windows. He knocks on the door and is greeted by a woman dressed in black with tear stains down her cheeks. "Is Harry in?" he asks and the woman sobs, telling him that Harry has passed away and that the funeral will be in a couple of days. The Man asks "Did he mention a tin of green paint?"
No, me neither...

Jess the lurcher is going to the vet to have her teeth sorted and may have to have some removed, poor Jess. The Pirate had bumped into Sara and The Poet walking on the marshes and had had a conversation about this yesterday but had misunderstood, thinking it was Sara who had teeth problems. They only realised they were talking at cross purposes when The Pirate asked if she was going to an NHS dentist or private.

Lists and grammar - this has been an ongoing conversation for the last week. The New Yorker, who writes for pleasure, and The Poet had been talking about commas, colons, and lists. Or is it commas, colons and lists? Teaching primary school age means that the foundations of grammar are crucial to my lessons and I was concerned to hear that the 'laws' have changed, but who (we wondered) changes them? Perhaps Lynne Truss or the Grand Grammar PooBah?

Only children - both Legs and The Pirate's Wife are, as am I. We discussed the responsibilities and relationships that are associated with parents and children in such circumstances, especially as the parent ages. None of us have the experience of sharing such responsibilities, whereas DK and The Pirate have close siblings and we wondered if one is able to understand the other's viewpoint. I suspect this one will run too.
Although I was not related to my friend who died last week, I was her only executor and 'beneficiary' and, I now discover 'good friend' can be added to that list of onlys. I also discovered that she had a daughter, who left her when she was 8 or 9 to live with her ex-husband. This, along with the bureaucracy and financial ramifications has made for a difficult week of hard decisions but what has really helped me to cope has been this small and wonderful group fools, sorry, swimmers. They've helped me with their care, legal advice, humour and strength. Without them things would be a lot harder.
What would I do without them?

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Low Tide03:39 (0.50m)
High Tide10:06 (2.30m)
Low Tide15:51 (0.80m)
High Tide21:54 (2.40m)
Sea temperature: 7.2
Sea conditions: smooth and calm
Weather: sunny, air temperature was just into double figures
Joined by: Abs yesterday and The New Yorker today
Topics of conversation:
Welcome back to Abs and The New Yorker, Abs swam at Christmas so it wasn't as much of a shock to her system as The New Yorker's, but they both seemed to enjoy their return and the weather was good to them, although Abs' had clearly felt the cold and had used words which The Pirate frowned upon first thing in the morning. This led to a debate on the different forms of Buddhism and their attitudes towards swearing - her boyfriend is in charge of a centre in Ipswich and The Pirate asked which kind he practiced, I can't remember which it is but his response was "Ah - the modern kind" It's all relative I guess.
Neither girls had seen Mable since she has grown up and become a teenager so she was the topic of conversation for some while as she performed for her audience.
DK's son has been mugged - the poor guy ended up in hospital yesterday evening and doesn't look quite as lovely as usual. They took his phone, wallet etc. but fortunately he wasn't carrying his laptop with his original music stored on it, which is usually in his bag. All The Swimmers send our love.

It's actually not been a great week all round, hence my erratic blogging. My friend Liz died on Monday and my time is rather taken up with dealing with things practical and emotional. She didn't want a funeral of any kind so I wrote a tribute to her in the sand at low tide and it was swept away with the sea. I hope that once all the complications have been sorted out I may be able to take her ashes out on a boat as my father took her mother's, and give her to the sea too.
Liz Kennedy 1941 - 2012

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Saturday's swim

Low Tide00:52 (0.70m)
High Tide07:44 (2.30m)
Low Tide13:27 (1.00m)
High Tide19:26 (2.20m)
Sea temperature: not taken
Sea conditions: higher tide and little wavelets
Weather: breezy
Joined by: The Poet and his lurcher Jess, The Pirate is away in London seeing Billy Elliot and bringing home his No 1 Son's caboodle
Topics of conversation:
Dinner the night before - The Poet and his wife had had supper with DK and Legs and we had had friends staying who always bring excellent wine so we compared menus and hangovers. I think I won the hangover competition as a combination of an rather horrid week and being the only one drinking white meant I'd drunk more that I am accustomed to. I later had a text from Legs saying she had done the same. Our friends had promised to come down to the beach but as I'd left there had been no sign of life.
The magazine man had been twice as his memory card had corrupted and had brought the sun with him the second time, he got a lovely shot of Luna watching us as we swam and some pretty hysterical ones of us all coming out of the water trying not to look self conscious. He had brought his lovely dog Darcy and she had probably enjoyed the whole experience more than any of us.
Adrain the magazine man with Darcy

Luna keeps watch
The use of poo bags - we are all mortified that dog owners seem to think it is better to bag it and leave it on the beach than to either bury it or 'pick and flick'. This morning there were three bags in the sand and last week someone actually hung one on the fence, open...then it rained...not nice. The Poet had the courage to pick up the ones we nearly stepped in and put them in THE BIN PROVIDED!
DK is suffering - he seems to have a chest infection and as usual he feels that the cure could be in the sea, so he gave it a try but it didn't work and as I type this on Sunday he has not swum today and will be visiting the doc tomorrow.

I know you are hungover but I want another walk - GET UP!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

High Tide01:23 (2.60m)
Low Tide07:39 (0.50m)
High Tide13:50 (2.30m)
Low Tide19:50 (0.60m)
Sea temperature: 6.9
Sea conditions: Calm and very, very low (see above)
Weather: Grey but not much wind to speak of
Joined by: no one (except Lyla the dog, but she's family)
Topics of conversation:
Timing - we need to start moving to our earlier swimming time and we shall start this gradually over the next few days, tomorrow it'll be 7.45am and then we'll go to 7.30, but this might have to be readjusted once the clocks go forward later in the month. The idea is to make sure that the sun has risen and to make the most of our day. Once the weather warms up then The Pirate and I will often go for a second swim and this timing depends on a number of factors - weather, tides, dog walk and workload.
Places and Faces - a glossy magazine, whose title says it all, are running a feature on cold water swimming and have approached DK to see if he'd contribute his anecdotes. He'd already given them this blog to look at but now they want to come and take photos of us in the morning. Our reactions to this suggestion were pretty typical, DK is very relaxed about the whole thing, The Pirate has suggested that he might put a few pebbles down the front of his trunks for the full frontal and I've asked to be left out. DK was very kind and showed surprise that I wasn't happy to be photographed half naked when it's still winter body time, and mine will be 50 next year. He has since asked various other women's views and has found that it's not just me who feels uncomfortable! By way of a practice run this is a phone shot of The Pirate and I exiting the water without pebbles.

The dogs were very entertaining today as we had such a lot of sand. Lyla tried to eat my latest find - she thought it was a stick but it's actually more like half a boat and will be installed in my new Derek Jarman styled garden. DK very kindly helped me get it home as it was rather heavy.
Luna inspecting

Saturday, 3 March 2012

I lied - I had to look to see if there's an old Marylin - viola:

Friday, 2 March 2012

High Tide04:49 (2.00m)
Low Tide10:18 (1.10m)
High Tide17:19 (2.10m)
Low Tide23:33 (1.00m)
Sea temperature: 5.7
Sea conditions: Calm
Weather: thick fog, cooler - air temperature 4.6
Joined by: The Poet who was not expected as it was cold and foggy - he thinks he may have the bug
Topics of conversation:
The temperature drop - the air temperature had been 11 degrees yesterday and the sun had been out most of the day but today the forecast is for fog/mist all day and it certainly looked set. I forgot my phone but photos would have been pointless anyway as all we could see was grey, no differentiation between the sea and the sky, just a gradual fade from brownish grey to greyish grey. The BBC weather forecast showed a pretty similar colour palette. I suspect I may become slightly more weather obsessed now that I have my very own thermometer - a present from DK - thanks DK! I can use it for the sea, air and cooking, as its range is so great: -20 to 200 degrees C.

Seals - yesterday The Canadian's Wife and I had walked further down the beach from our swimming spot on the hard sand at low tide, the water was like glass, smooth and hardly showing any evidence of movement, except as her chocolate lab approached the water. Then, from nowhere, a seal bobbed up in front of her and they were almost nose to nose - perhaps a meter apart. The dog moved towards the seal into the shallows and, as if it wanted her to follow, the seal turned and flipped its tail at her playfully but at this stage both the dog and owner became a little nervous - it was a very big seal. We carried on walking and it kept level with us, surfacing more often than not till we turned back. It was magical, the still water adding to the surreal experience of walking with a seal. The Poet told of a seal he had encountered in Barnes, where the slipways alongside the Thames make perfect basking spots for the seals. He found himself chatting to one, as close as we sat to each other on the beach this morning. He said he spoke in the language that we all (yes all of us, even those who are superficially cooler than cooler) reserve for our dogs. I'm not sure whether he knew why he used that language to talk to a seal.
This led on to a discussion about The Pirate teaching his students about Muhammed, who is the seal of the prophets - the last prophet, but I won't repeat the detail here for fear of fatwas.
Goan mussels - DK and Legs had tried a new recipe from Madhur Jaffrey which had been a huge success and so I am going to check our 4 Jaffrey books when I get a moment to see if we have it, otherwise I shall checking this link: Mussels in Thrisi  it sounds wonderful. We all get our mussels from different places and there followed a long discussion about whose were the best; Bancaster mussels brought in from North Norfolk by our fishermen on the harbour; the ones delivered to the Anchor, which come from the Deben: those which The Pirate used to pick off the harbour wall here. He said he hadn't seen any since 1976, when a local, bad tempered Bunkum had told him that he'd be going home in a box if he ate them. Not all the Bunkums are bad tempered - in fact he's the only one, the others are delightful.
Scrabble - The Pirate's Wife and The Poets sister-in-law are experts, being able to lock the board down and use three letter words to score more than most can with a whole rack. I've never been any good, although my grandmother was an expert who would attempt to insert swear words whenever she could. In fact I think the last time I played was probably with my grandmother, who died in 1987, so I certainly won't be considering taking either of them on. It's amazing the things you find out on the beach in the mornings.
Englebert Humperdink - he's this year's entry to the Eurovision Song Contest, which we all agreed was ludicrous. DK knew him in the day and had some tales to tell about his hypochondria, which was legendary and reported by his camp assistant who would refer to the antibiotics needed to treat imaginary infections as strapyourclipson and fetchyourbikein. Apparently he's been picked because he'll be the oldest contestant ever, although he is quoted as having said he thinks his age has nothing to do with it. His musical ability certainly hasn't either. None of us were clear about the selection process, especially why the BBC make the decision but we suspect that there are very few who would accept the challenge, Enge seems to be delighted.
Inevitably we also discussed the death of Davy Jones, another of DK's circle "before he was a monkey" (oh...perhaps that should be Monkee). I'd only been watching an interview with him this weekend - he looked so well. I remember being totally devoted to him as a child, he was the 'cute one' in the band, as per the formula of cute one, wild one, head boy, shy one and of course - gay one. I'm not sure which one DK is... DK had been engaged to an identical twin at one point and Davy Jones had been seeing the other one, we joked that they probably both dated the same one at some point, without knowing. Everyone agreed that he had retained his looks and aged gracefully, as has DK, unlike Cliff Richard, whose face is wrong and had certainly been fiddled with, even though he denies it apparently.
RIP Davy Jones
 Famous people growing old gracefully - Or not - There have been a number of shots of Raquel Welch doing the rounds this week and she has looked stunning, clearly not entirely natural, but more so than some of her peers. Joan Rivers really beats them all with her stretched and filled face. We wondered how Marylyn would have looked in her 70's, there's bound to be someone who has taken shots of her and aged them - I'm not interested enough to google that though. The Poet and I had enjoyed My Week With Marylyn and I'd read about Michelle Williams using a bottom double, as hers is too slim and perfect and at this point I was accused of turning the conversation "girly". About time...

Audi TTs - friends are taking delivery of one today and had promised to take me for a spin this evening, but in this weather I suspect I might not be as keen as it's convertible, even though I've always fancied one myself. It's always hard to find a fantasy car that has style and quality and the TT certainly has some of the required elements. We talked about their ability to stick to the roads as I had experienced when driven through blizzards at high speed by my ex business partner. She'd had a fling with a well known sports personality and we talked about this until The Pirate said that DK and I should write a gossip column (The Pirate's knowledge/interest in the celebrity circuit is stuck in the middle ages) but the blog will suffice.
Violence on screen - The Pirate's Wife has kindly viewed the new ITV drama Those Who Kill, starring Troels from The Killing for us and I'll be watching that next week on her recommendation. She and I both have a higher violence threshold than our husbands, but even I had found Coriolanus a little stomach churning. It's visceral and unadorned, with shots in big close up of people being shot through the head and a very high body count but its still a wonderful adaptation and Babs has found that it had such a profound effect on her that she has returned to the original text to get even more from the experience.