Sunday, 28 October 2012

Mini post

Sea temperature: 10.4 a big drop
Sea conditions: gentle waves
Weather: first frost of the year
Sara's record swim.

- Posted from my iPhone

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Low Tide03:17 (1.00m)
High Tide09:18 (2.50m)
Low Tide15:44 (0.70m)
High Tide22:20 (2.40m)
Sea temperature: 13.7 on Thursday (last check)
Sea conditions: Full on surf, rollers, the lot
Weather: North westerly wind bringing a front of black clouds, but the sunrise was clear
Joined by: no-one, not even DK or The Pirate
Topics of conversation: None as I was alone on the beach for half an hour watching the sun rise. It's very unlike The Pirate not to turn up. I do hope everything is OK. I was also expecting to see DK regardless of the weather as he's been in London for the last week for the first rehearsals of his West End show and he got back last night. At least I hope he did because I returned Mabel to their house at 10.30pm ready for their return.
I didn't swim alone as there were some of the biggest waves I've seen on our shore, which were clearly being broadcast across the surfers' network as 4 turned up at a pace whilst I sat in the dunes, sheltering from the wind. 2 went in as I watched and that was the confirmation I needed that it wouldn't have been safe to go in. Watching them being thrown about on their boards convinced me to stay put. The sun rose from behind some horizon clouds and as I turned to walk home the contrast was remarkable, the sky inland was black with tiny whips of grey showing the wind direction - this way. I hurried home as the geese were struggling to fly overhead to the grazing fields below our house. They kept low and close to the rooftops, which I suppose must keep them out of the strongest winds but as the were buffeted over our lane it felt as if you could almost reach up and touch them, they were so low. The rain reached the house just as I turned on the porridge, what a perfect excuse not to do our Saturday job. Using a chainsaw on the fen in this weather doesn't fill me with joy, especially now that it's started hailing. Perhaps I'll light the sauna instead...
As I haven't had time to blog this week I'll try to remember some of the topics covered:
The sauna party - the latest Workshop project is complete and TPGF has done a wonderful job. He lit the sauna on Thursday afternoon for it's first proper burn and I kept it going till the late evening when it had it's first real test. I'm determined not to get the lurgie, which my student has been dragging into my home for the last 3 days and so the new Turkkilainen oil (rosewater, eucalyptus and lemon) was mixed in with the water which cleared any slight sniffle I might have had. It works, in fact it works well. My only concern now is whether I'm going to have enough firewood to keep it going all winter, so perhaps I do need to get the chain saw out after all. Legs and I are planning a sauna party for The Swimmers and their families for next month. She's a brunchmeister, being of American/Norwegian extraction and she used to host a weekly event at the local pub as her waffles are the stuff of legend. Happily she has offered to keep the kitchen going whilst those of us who are still swimming by then do, and I make sure the sauna is functioning at full speed. It's just big enough for 6 to sit in the fire room at one time but there is another space with a folding bench which will be for yoga and chilling (literally) so we can take turns.

Sara's assignment - we had a long and ridiculously deep conversation (for 7.30am) about her interpretation of a question about the interpretation of myths. It started with her saying "Plato doesn't know what he's saying most of the time" and grew from there. As it was just The Pirate, Sara and I we each had quite a bit to say on the subject, which then turned towards god shaped holes and whether there could be a 'shaped hole' if the thing that was missing had never existed in the first place, at some point The Pirate got into full flow as we'd mentioned Richard Dawkins, who he has little time for. We decided that had DK been here we would have ben steered away from the subject rather more rapidly.

Keeping in touch whilst travelling - The Pirate had an email from No.1 Son this week entitled "specially for Dad" but when he opened it the message itself was clear, as in empty. Very disappointed. Sara had similar experiences with her sons and we reminisced about the old way of having post boxes around the world from which you collected your family's messages. When Mertz was travelling for 18 months he had a friend following in his wake, on the same route, but 2 months behind so he'd leave messages for him too. 
Alf - we talked about Alf a lot. He's The Pirate's 'other dog', as in not Bosco, who is always with us in the mornings. Alf, on the other hand is a law unto himself. He is a small wiry terrier of some sort (I'm not even sure if The Pirate knows what sort) who is blind and crotchety and who decides whether or not he will grace us with his presence in the morning, which he has been doing more often recently. I adore Alf. He's got such character but he only adds to the delays in the morning as he can't see his way home and bounces of the sides of the roads like a pin ball. The Pirate has begun to bring a lead down to drag him back with but I suspect that as it gets colder I shall be tempted to take my life in my hands and pick him up.
Just had texts from The Pirate's Wife and DK, all fine, DK had a lie in and The Pirate forgot to say he was working in Essex today, well he probably mentioned it earlier in the week but he clearly said "see you tomorrow" as we parted company on the green.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

High Tide02:55 (2.50m)
Low Tide09:14 (0.70m)
High Tide15:45 (2.40m)
Low Tide21:30 (1.00m)
Sea temperature: 13.4 yesterday - not taken today 
Sea conditions: deceptive, got in and realised that The Pirate was crutchless (as in had no one to hang onto, not, you know, without - oh never mind) so went to drag him in as it was all over the place.
Weather: 50 shades
Joined by Sara and the Poet and Abs
Topics of conversation:
Welcome back Abs after such a long time away. She returned on a high, having come straight from an overnight meditation and was on flying form, but very hungry! She's had a really busy time recently and has been driving all over the country, one of the results being a speeding ticket, which she felt was only fair. She was so excited to be back that she ran to the shore with her red cashmere cardie still on over her swim suit, so we all called her back in chorus, apparently she was only going to test the water.
The happy camper - a few days ago I got down to the beach and realised I'd left my gloves in the beach hut and so went over to get them only to find a tent blocking the way. A young woman had found the sheltered spot in front of it ideal to pitch her tent as it had been so windy overnight. I'd had to step over her to get to the door and she had woken and been so embarrassed that she'd 'taken a liberty' in her words. She was very sweet and so apologetic and I'd assured her that I'd have done the same in the circs and then I'd had to apologise to her as the dogs tried to get into her tent with her. I told her that we really don't mind campers like her, it's the ones that destroy the fences, pull bits off the beach huts to burn and leave 45 smashed bottles in a pile on the beach that cause us grief, and showed her where the wood had been snapped off the side of the hut. Yesterday, when we had used the hut to change in because of the lashing, I'd found a tiny scrap of paper stuck to the door. The snails had eaten most of it but I was able to make out "... enjoyed your swim...thank you so much for being.... very much appreciated... the night!" I can only suppose that it was from her, I only wish I'd found it before the snails and that I'd seen her the evening before and offered her use of the stove.
The sauna's progress - it's nearly done and The Pirate's granddaughter's father has done a great job so far, he lit it for the first time on Friday and I kept it burning nearly all night to see if I could break a sweat, but as the door hasn't been fitted yet it wasn't easy. I also discovered that I don't get a mobile signal in there because it's so well insulated, which is a bonus. It's based on the shed in the mountains owned by our Sami friend Per Nils, so is very basic, we've clad the inside of an outhouse with cedar (smells amazing) and the woodburning stove is made from an old gas canister. I found a DIY sauna blog and TPGF has adapted it a bit, even giving it a monkey tail handle to match the window fittings.  Once it's finished I think he should patent the design.
The beach clean - today was the day and the weather got much worse as the morning progressed so we returned in full waterproofs an hour later to scour the sand and dunes with bin liners and pick-up sticks. As usual DK took the whole thing with a pinch of salt and came dressed as Paddington bear. The tides have been so hight that there wasn't nearly as much rubbish as usual and most people found they didn't even fill a bag. I found a strange fossilised bone, which seems to be tooled to form its shape. I'm going to see if my archeologist friend can shed any light on it.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

High Tide00:40 (2.60m)
Low Tide06:45 (0.60m)
High Tide12:57 (2.80m)
Low Tide19:11 (0.60m)
Sea temperature: not taken - guessed at around 13. 
Sea conditions: Looked worse than it was once we were in
Weather: warm and windy
Joined by: Sara and The Poet
Topics of conversation:
The tide - it was turning as we went in and the pull was tremendous. We began to be dragged out quite quickly as it was rough and low but it was perfect for washing away the night and jumping the waves. The Pirate, having said we ought to get out really, and not get too cold, then turned around and threw himself back into the froth. When I asked if he was getting out or not so that I could get on the right side of him he did it again, shouting JUST ONE MORE! he's like a kid in the waves.
Sara and I had both had sleepless nights and speculated about whether this was because neither of us had swum yesterday, she'd wimped out, having looked out of the bedroom window and found the sight of the duvet more appealing than the sight of the 'lashing' as DK would call it. I notice that his son uses the same term to describe rain of any kind when he'd been round at the weekend - as in "we can still go to the driving range if it's lashing". It hadn't actually been lashing when we got to the beach yesterday but The Pirate and I waited for DK to test the water and he ended up half way to Scotland when he took his feet off the ground and swiftly got out, shaking his head. The Pirate was very cross with the sea and shouted at it, waving his stick and looking like The Wild Witch of the East, according to one of the Vikings, who saw this on Instagram.

I had an owie today (see previous post), having fallen over and damaged my knee and hand and it stung like hell as I got out, I guess that means it's doing it good. The friend who had helped me up when I fell had said that she always finds it encouraging when someone young and fit falls over, I'm not young or fit but The Pirate reassured me that it's all relative, and we do live in a village known by some as God's Waiting Room, so I should hang on to that thought.
Falling asleep whilst reading - Sara had been ploughing through research for her course and fallen asleep so we discussed ways in which we gather information and often do so till the late hours (probably another reason for the lack of sleep at night) The Pirate says he's a luddite and doesn't use the internet so his reading is always books whereas Sara's son is the opposite and has had to install software on his computer to stop him surfing whilst working. I wonder if I can install it secretly on Mertz work PC, which seems to stream live football when he's working? Actually I'm just as bad and I'd got carried away catching up with stuff online last night, having gone to bed to get an early night I found that an hour and a half had passed, must leave iPad downstairs. It's all Brainpicking's fault - here's the link for you Sara: Brainpickings

Monday, 15 October 2012

Low Tide04:29 (0.80m)
High Tide10:41 (2.70m)
Low Tide17:00 (0.50m)
High Tide23:20 (2.60m)
Sea temperature: not taken
Sea conditions: sweeping rollers and a powerful drag south
Weather: stunning sunrise
Joined by: Sara and The Poet
Topics of conversation: 
Swim time - DK was shot down in flames when he suggested we start our later swim times this week. The Pirate and I were having none of it having just sat and watched the sun rise from behind the tropical topiary of clouds on the horizon. We argued that the clocks go back in a couple of weeks and then the mornings will be lighter again so there is no point in chopping and changing. We really were rather forceful about it and poor DK looked a little crestfallen, he also pointed out that we might not feel the same way if it were raining and windy, which it wasn't. In fact we really had the best of the weather this morning, as I walked down to the beach across the grazing fields the weather front was just visible in the south but by the time we walked home again it was over the village and now, as I type, it is really rather miserable. Yet another reason to catch the beach early DK!
Puddings and porridge - The Pirate has just returned from his mini holiday and had been delighted by the food at his hotel, particularly a pudding which sounds right up my street so we discussed it at length: creme caramel with little bits of sesame crunch, pomegranate seeds, tiny squares of turkish delight and pistachio nuts. Apparently this constituted the word 'salad' being used in the pudding menu, as in creme caramel with turkish salad, hmmm not sure about that. I speculated about whether this would be a suitable Christmas day pudding and was severely reprimanded for using the C word in October. The hotel had also been porridge experts and we exchanged views on how we like our porridge, discovering that it is quite a personal thing - salt or sugar? Cinnamon? Cooked with water, cream or milk? Soaked or not soaked?  The Pirate likes to be able to slice his with a knife, I don't.
Sea shanties - the purpose of The Pirates trip was to attend a sea shanty festival as he really is a bona fide pirate, not a Captain Jack Sparrow type, and as a result he and I walked into the waves with him singing at the top of his voice. I couldn't join in as it wasn't 'What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor?' which is the only one I know the words to and is apparently frowned upon as being rather common. 
India - The Pirate's No. 1 Son and his girlfriend arrived this morning and he'd had an email first thing telling of their experience of the culture shock, starting with seeing a man with a barrow full of coconuts pushing it the wrong way along a motorway. Sara and The Poet shared their experiences of arriving in the dark and being lulled into a false sense of calm, only to be woken to the reality. I can't wait for him to return with his chef's take on the food, hopefully they'll let him and Izzy loose in The Anchor kitchen on curry night.
Urban vs rural foxes - we've discovered the reason for little piles of feathers along 'the back passage' each day, we seem to have a resident fox. It's a big one and Mertz was on the phone to his mother last night when he spotted it and came dashing in to check the 2 dogs and I in front of the fire, which meant it wasn't Willow, who looks like a fox at 50 paces. It was rather large and was sitting under our oak tree watching a squirrel. The Pirate reminded me of a tale, spread as gospel by a certain person, of urban foxes being released onto the common in large quantities years ago. It turned out to be an urban myth. 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Low Tide03:43 (0.90m)
High Tide09:57 (2.60m)
Low Tide16:15 (0.60m)
High Tide22:42 (2.50m)
Sea temperature: fluctuating between 12 and 14 over the last week
Sea conditions: mostly calm recently, but a mean and nasty sea on Tuesday
Weather: much cooler but the sun has been shining and mists have been rising
Joined by: Sara and The Poet and Mertz today 
It's been a busy week one way or another, with no time to blog and I can't begin to recall our many conversations and observations about the weather and the sea but they have included: golf, the Parish Plan, The Pirate's mini holiday and why the dogs go on holiday too, geese, shall we or shan't we let Mabel off the lead? Will we move our swimming time this year? Fish pie, the beach clean, having Jess to stay, the wild artichokes have survived the weedkiller and flowered, the joy of the sea, the temperature of the sea, the condition of the sea, The Sea, The Sea...
DK and I have been in fine voice with My Kinda Town the last couple of mornings, inspired by this.
Some of the phone shots from this week.


En Route

The sand looking like gold

DK running with Mabes instead of letting her off

Hundreds of geese

The Swimmers

Sunday, 7 October 2012

High Tide03:14 (2.40m)
Low Tide09:12 (1.00m)
High Tide15:47 (2.20m)
Low Tide21:21 (1.10m)
Sea temperature: 13.7
Sea conditions: calm, moody with wisps of mist floating across the surface, air temperature 4.2
Weather: crisp, no wind, stunning skies and sunrise
Joined by: Sara and The Poet, The Shaman, albeit briefly.
Topics of conversation:
The brewery - Sara and The Poet were first down to the shore and were speculating about the wisps of mist as there was a strong smell in the air and we are all so fire conscious now, having had a house in the village burn almost to the ground a couple of months ago. The smell was the brewery and it had hit me as I'd taken the dogs out at dawn, before the mist had risen and when the smell was much sweeter. I really don't like the smell of beer but the smell of the hops and burnt sugar is totally different and reminds me of staying with my Aunt in Southwold as a child, her house was near Adnams and we'd wake to that smell and then Uncle Harry would take me to see the dray horses in the yard.

Winter kit - Sara, now that she's been well and truly bitten by the swimming bug, has been shopping for kit to keep her going through the winter. Whilst she already has a range of wetsuits with different length arms, legs and necks, as well as the Twat Hat and gloves, she's realised that it's almost more important to be able to get changed into warm clothes once the weather starts to get cold. We had long discussion about handwarmers as DK is the expert, his hands need to be looked after for all that ivory tinkling. There are so many options and his certainly work well, they are the kind which need to be boiled and then they cool, and stay cool till you click the metal disc inside, making them instantly hot again. Clever stuff. Mine is great but last year I often had trouble getting it to light in the morning (also i have put it in a safe pace and can't find it) so I might consider some new ones. I gave my new winter costume it's first outing this morning and was very happy with it, it's got short legs and it makes the entry into the cold water much easier. It's not one of the proper posh triathlete ones but I may have to invest in one of those later as I've decided not to put on weight in order to keep my arse warm this year. I've got past the age when Barbara Cartland said that "a woman has to chose between her face and her ass" and my "ass" won this year. Sara has already taken delivery of dry sacks and a wonderful garment, I don't quite know what to call it, but it's a robes/kaftan thing made of towelling, inside which she can change when it's cold and windy, it has a hood and is rather stylish (although we decided that the arm holes were a tad exposing, being so large). 

Nature writing - The Poet has a project. He explained that he's chosen a particular walk, which I know well, to record and write about, including pictures and we discussed the various methods he could use to present and record it. Regardless of the route he takes I hope he makes it accessible to all so that I can see it. He'd seen some interesting mushrooms on it yesterday and there was much debate about whether they will be eaten or not. The Pirate's Wife had asked me to investigate their fridge yesterday to see if the ones she'd found on her allotment were edible, which they would have been had their fridge not frozen them solid. We are all becoming a little mushroom obsessed, I've even bought an app to help, although I've been a mushroom picker for years I still like to have back up. It has the most wonderful disclaimer.

Maths - I've got 4 hours of maths to do today, not just marking homework but completing my own for my course, I've got an exam coming up next month and I've got a couple of blank spots - upper and lower bounds being the biggest hurdle I've yet to jump, so I'd better stop blogging and get on with it. I've got to make the most of Mertz being away for a few days though - taptaptaptaping away to my heart's content and playing loud music...

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

High Tide00:24 (2.50m)
Low Tide06:15 (0.80m)
High Tide12:28 (2.60m)
Low Tide18:40 (0.60m)
Sea temperature: 14.8 yesterday
Sea conditions: gentle waves, and a little murky
Weather: clear skies above but cloud over the sea, the sun was trying to break though, giving wonderful light over the water.
Joined by: Sara and The Poet
Topics of conversation:
I was late and got a ticking off. There were a couple of reasons, mainly that I had been picking breakfast. The field mushrooms are at their best at the moment and I like to pick them early, before the worms rise and whilst their is still dew on the caps. I offered to pick some for The Pirate tomorrow and he was understandably concerned that I knew what I was picking. I reassured him that not only had I been eating them from that field for about 25 years but that Wally and I used to race to get them. It's a sad fact that I will have less competition now that he's no longer with us, so I intend to share my pickings with his family too.
The other reason I was late was because I'd bumped into the Chairman of the Parish Council. There had been a momentous meeting last night, at which the entire Council had resigned and he was understandably in a bit of a tizz. It's been a long time coming and happened as a result of a campaign by 4 people who either live in the village or have holiday homes here. They have been causing problems for the council for 3 years now but their efforts have recently increased with the aim of destroying the council, which they have now done, so hopefully they will now 'go away', having no one to harangue. The councillors will hopefully start to get some sleep at last too.
The Pirate feels the events are akin to a plot of The Archers, yet again, and informed us that this would have caused the special theme tune to be dusted off and played at the end I think. Having since seen a notice on the board outside the village hall I think he's right - it is like a soap opera.

Tankers - The Pirate, on full melancholy form took one look at a large boat out to sea and proclaimed something along the lines of "One day there's going to be a massive disaster out there and one is going to leak oil into our water, ruining our lives!" He was told to stop but this only served to rile him further and he began speculating about the seaworthiness of various countries' vessels. He's really on form this morning, as we were leaving the beach he sang his alternative version to "All Things Bright and Beautiful" (I'll have to get the words from him) which involved worms eating things alive from the inside. Oh Joy, we've got another couple of months of this.
The naked runner - as I'd arrived on the beach a runner, still clothed at this stage, had followed me over the dunes. He's not a regular on the beach, I'd have noticed him before. As he saw the others in the water and me stripping off and running in to meet them he was stopped in his tracks. You could almost see him thinking "now there's an idea..." By the time we were getting out it was obvious that he'd only run a few hundred yards further and decided to throw caution to the wind. His naked form was just visible as he got out and both DK and Sara were surprised, having not seen him get in. Well I think they were surprised, they were staring and pointing...
My blogging is slightly curtailed as a result of my refusing to upgrade my keyboard, call me old fashioned but I like the 'delete right' key so I still use one which apparently is irritatingly noisy. So much so that Mertz has asked me not to type when he is around. Yes, I'm serious. The Pirate has offered to lend me an old fashioned typewriter to remind Mertz what it used to be like. This week he's even home on a Tuesday, so I shouldn't really be typing but as work on the sauna has started and there is a nail gun going off as well as Kiss FM blaring from the shed I've told him to go into his office and stick his headphones on. I've got 3 week's worth of house work to do this morning, so he'll have to put up with Radio 6 and the hoover too.
Must ask Sara and The Poet what Freud made of dreams which continue the next night from where they ended. They've been on a course and are now the authority in the village.