Wednesday, 29 May 2013

High Tide02:12 (2.50m)
Low Tide08:04 (0.70m)
High Tide14:17 (2.60m)
Low Tide20:45 (0.40m)
Sea temperature: 11.7
Sea conditions: calm, brown and sludgy
Weather: warmer, but threatening to rain
Joined by The Poet, Artist and Light Entertainment
Topics of conversation:
The Pirate's trip to the British Museum - he'd seen the Ice Age exhibition (Ice Age Art) as well as the Pompeii show (Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum) which he'd been impressed by. He'd found a tiny flute, made from a bird bone particularly touching and was clearly miles away, or perhaps years away. I'd also heard from The Pirate's wife that she now has her ticket for the David Bowie exhibition and having watched the Five Years film last night I'd recommended it to her as it covers four of the best years of his work. There are lots of clips from The Man Who Fell to Earth in this BBC film, as well as interviews with the director, Nicolas Roeg, who gives a fascinating perspective.
One of my favourite photos of Bowie

One of my favourite photos of me - only just realised why
It's getting to that time of year when someone from the group is in London everyday, being cultured or social. 
Sea Kale - The L.E. sent me a link to her book Edible Sea Shore, which I intend to buy, and I'd found some growing on the beach earlier. I gave The L.E. a leaf I'd picked and Mabel decided she would rather like to try it and kept jumping up, finally succeeding in persuading her to tear a small piece off for her to try. DK then showed us her party trick (Mabel's, not The LE), he put a dog biscuit in his mouth and she jumped up and grabbed it, which resulted in lots of 'euuuuew' noises, both from DK and The Swimmers as he got a gob full of dog lick. Luna had been chilly this morning so she'd settled down on my coat and I'd covered her with my towel, this turned out to be of benefit to us both as she decided to come down to the sea's edge to greet me when I came out. She didn't shrug the towel off, but instead carried it down to me on her back - as if she'd been trained too. We were discussing having to wash the kale well before cooking as it would be likely that it had been peed on by dogs, when The Poet asked if anyone had any thoughts on how to collect dog urine, so we all puzzled over his conundrum - how to collect urine from a low squatting dog. There were some interesting suggestions, but if you google it you'll be amazed how many ideas come up - just be careful to put the word 'vet' into the search... How to collect a sample
The Artist had come down with no intention of swimming, but once we all went in she just couldn't resist and so she came in in her undergarments, spontaneity   being her middle name. She did admit to me later that she was pleased no-one had stopped her in the car on the way home.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

High Tide01:19 (2.60m)
Low Tide07:18 (0.60m)
High Tide13:30 (2.60m)
Low Tide19:53 (0.40m)
Sea temperature: 11.4
Sea conditions: choppy
Weather: Very warm inland, cold wind off the sea 
Joined by: The Artist and The Light Entertainment
Topics of conversation:
As I came over the dunes to the beach a tranquil site met me, despite the cold wind coaxing the tide back in rather more rapidly than usual, The L.E. was practicing Tai Chi and was silhouetted against the water. She was throwing shapes with gay abandon and as I approached some unconventional moves snuck into her practice - I wondered if she was listening to rave music in her head. 
The incident over the weekend, north of the river was our main topic of conversation. There had been a near disaster, when a swimming race had gone badly wrong and 58 people had to be rescued from the sea. I'd been on Mother in Law duty this weekend and had missed the drama, but it had been on the local news, as well as in the papers. My Mother in Law had been very concerned and made me promise I wouldn't swim on my own in North Norfolk as a result. The press reports have been widely varying:
BBC
Eastern Daily Press
Adnams Sponsorship
RNLI official info
I'd met The Village Oracles on the way down to the beach and they'd added another spin on the story - they had heard that the RNLI had not approved of the swim and this would make sense of some of the varying viewpoints, it's clearly hard when someone has a completely different experience of an event, and the organiser had certainly made some errors of judgement. Arse covering seems to be going on though.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Low Tide03:20 (0.60m)
High Tide09:54 (2.40m)
Low Tide15:42 (0.80m)
High Tide21:56 (2.40m)
Sea temperature: 10.4
Sea conditions: calm
Weather: foul - pouring with rain, cold (dropped to 5)
Joined by: just DK, The Poet and me today
Topics of conversation:
Where was everyone? To be fair The Pirate's Wife had texted first thing to say that The Pirate's cold had taken hold and he was feeling lousy and The L.E. had warned us that if the weather was foul she wouldn't come, Sara doesn't come when it's raining either so it was just the mad eccentrics. The rain was cold, hard and it was actually better being in the sea as the raindrops were piercing. We opened up the huts so that we could change in there and leave the dogs in the dry, although Jess was determined to make sure The Poet was safe and came down with us. As we went running in (the running in is worth mentioning as it doesn't happen often) I spotted a hunched figure on the beach, leaning against the rain - The Artist! She had braved the elements for a walk, but sensibly was not coming in, she needs to look after herself and keep safe.

Regardless of the cold, the rain and the wind we had a good swim, staying in perhaps a little longer than we would have if it had been nicer out and we joked and larked about regardless. The law of sod dictated that just as we were getting dried off the rain began to ease, and by the time we were dressed it had stopped altogether. My hands were so cold that I couldn't do up the shutters and DK commented that it's almost back to hand warmer weather. I was too cold to run, even though I have some aloe heat lotion to rub on my hamstrings so that we don't have a repeat of last year. There had been a wonderful rainbow at about 6.30 this morning, and as I took the dogs out I'd manoeuvred myself on the grazing fields so that one end finished in my garden - I could do with a pot of gold. 
DK had had a round of golf yesterday and got soaked to the skin, fortunately Legs had planned ahead and brought him dry trousers as they had been out for and early supper with friends straight after the game. They had had a lovely evening, the wife is s Norwegian garden designer and the husband is, amongst many other things, creator of Rutland Weekend Television and a Rutle. Having spent my formative years in Rutland he's a bit of a hero and I had forgotten all about the Rutles so I've just spent 15 minutes reminiscing over my porridge: Rutles compilation
The Pirate had sent me this image yesterday saying he thought that perhaps the boys needed new outfits, I'm quite relieved they hadn't splashed out.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Low Tide02:31 (0.60m)
High Tide09:12 (2.30m)
Low Tide14:51 (0.90m)
High Tide21:06 (2.30m)
Sea temperature: not taken but we stayed in for longer than we have this year, so it must be warming up
Sea conditions: deep and still holding on to a swell
Weather: glorious but see below
Joined by Sara and The Poet, The Artist, The Light Entertainment
Topics of conversation:
The weather - The L.E. had seen a number of forecasts which all said it's going to change, and it has already (as I type). The village has its own micro climate, so I seldom listen to the forecast but I also have a constant commentary when Mertz is home as he's obsessed with it - I'm not as I go by the 'if you really can't change it, don't worry about it' way of life these days. Still, we all made the most of it whilst it lasted.
The lucky pebble - Sara saw it by my feet and thought I must have found it but I hadn't spotted it yet so she claimed it for the day as she has a dissertation meeting later. We agreed that its luck could be shared around amongst all the swimmers whenever we needed it, and that Sara would be the custodian. I've never found one before, nor have I found any of the ones I've thrown back into the sea. Occasionally I use pebbles to label food when I'm serving lots of unidentifiable dishes (this doesn't sound appetising, I realise), writing the name of the dish on the pebble and placing it by the dish. Then I return them. I wonder if any one has ever found a Bumbu Bali pebble?


The deli tasting evening had been a huge success, a great turn out from the village and further afield. There had been fabulous food, including the most delicious chicken liver pate I've had for a long time as well as quiche, humous/hummus and chocolates that they had made. The meats and pork pies look good and the coffee was the best I've had in Suffolk. We've already agreed to have the village website AGM there tomorrow! 

The L.E. has a new stool, it's bright green and very smart, goes rather well with the pink shoes. She kindly leant it to The Artist, who approved as it didn't squash her bottom when she sat on it! 
There may have been lots more interesting topics but I wanted to get off for a quick run, trying the new routine for the first time today and it was a success, so hopefully I'll have a couple of months of running regularly again before it gets too busy in the village and too warm for the dogs.
POST SCRIPT - forgot to mention that the seal had gone by the time I returned, so hopefully it just needed a rest.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Low Tide01:40 (0.70m)
High Tide08:27 (2.20m)
Low Tide13:57 (1.00m)
High Tide20:14 (2.30m)
Sea temperature: 11.2
Sea conditions: deep with a swell
Weather: Dreich
Joined by: The Light Entertainment
Topics of conversation:
A woman joined us on the beach and was concerned about the health of a seal further up, towards the harbour. It seemed to be wanting to rest on land. I'll go down later to see if it's still there.
Under Dub Wood - the rehearsals continue...and there was some continued rehearsing on the beach too. Whilst DK's No. 1 Son has completed the soundtrack for the village performance I thought that the others might like to hear this version: 
https://soundcloud.com/caughtbytheriver/under-dubwood

Wild food - the Black Dog Deli has a tasting night tonight, before the official opening tomorrow, we are all very excited and crossing our fingers for the weather. The Pirate's Wife had been in touch to see if I could source some wild garlic again this year for pesto. As we passed the Alexander plants by the bridge we The Pirate reminded me that last year No. 1 Son, patron of the deli, had tried cooking the roots, which had not been a success. The Light Entertainment told us about a book she was given when she moved here that is a wild food foraging/cook book aimed at coastal plants. Whilst I never give away the location of my favourite samphire spot, I may pick her some this year so that she can try the poached egg and samphire dish. 
Alexanders

The Gower Peninsula - close to The Light Entertainment's heart, we discussed it's beauty and the wonderful walking thereabouts. I've never been so was fascinated to hear about the coastline.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Low Tide00:40 (0.80m)
High Tide07:37 (2.10m)
Low Tide12:49 (1.10m)
High Tide19:14 (2.20m)
Sea temperature: Not taken
Sea conditions: deep and murky but see below
Weather: Grey, damp, not quite raining
Joined by no-one
Topics of conversation:
I swam alone this morning, earlier than the others, but have received an update from The Light Entertainment, who has just found the blog and kindly wanted to keep me up to date: 

  1. The proper term for the weather is apparently "dreich", in fact today it was a dreich swim and it got dreicher.
  2. She observed that DK and The Pirate are like the Odd Couple, this is not the first time this has been mentioned, and she is quite right. The Pirate still doesn't know the film and wondered if it was 'the one where the men wear dresses?" He was thinking of Some like it Hot. 
Here we have 3 pictures, one of The Odd Couple, one of Some Like it Hot and another of The Artist and The Light Entertainment trying out their new pink shoes (the video on my phone didn't work because my fingers were still wet but I'll get some one day). I leave it to you to decide which is which.






Saturday, 18 May 2013

High Tide05:10 (2.00m)
Low Tide10:16 (1.10m)
High Tide16:56 (2.20m)
Low Tide23:26 (0.80m)
Sea temperature: 10.5
Sea conditions: Deep and murky
Weather: grey and murky, creeping cold
Joined by: Sara and The Poet
Topics of conversation:
Rabbits -  I'd been in the hut first thing, when Luna and Willow came tearing in - I thought it was because they heard the biscuit barrel being opened - but when I looked round Luna deposited a dead (well almost) rabbit at my feet. The Poet said I should be grateful to her for bringing me food but I don't care for rabbit for breakfast. They were very pleased with themselves and it is the 3rd one they've caught by the huts this week, so I guess I am grateful as there is a concern that they will destroy the ridge which protects the huts, and ultimately the village, from sea surges.
Why are you not grateful?
Drinking in the local - we'd had a lovely evening celebrating with Sara, very relaxed, lovely atmosphere, wonderful company, great conversation and delicious humous. We all love our local, we're so lucky to have such a great place in the village but we discussed price of the drinks, 5 glasses of wine and a bottle of beer - £36. The owner is a friend and we'd had a text exchange first thing about the delicious humous and she'd asked how she could encourage more 'regular regulars', the true answer is that getting a cheap house wine in would help for those of us who'd struggle to pay for a couple of rounds for 6 people on a regular basis. We hadn't been late and I'd surprised to find that Mertz was in bed snoring when I got home, he'd been out with a football friend to another pub in the neighbouring village and clearly the wine there is considerably cheaper...
The Local 



Friday, 17 May 2013

High Tide04:03 (2.10m)
Low Tide09:23 (1.00m)
High Tide16:03 (2.20m)
Low Tide22:18 (0.80m)
Sea temperature: Not taken
Sea conditions: deceptive - looked calm but there was a helluva swell
Weather: deep, dark grey, moody (me too)
Joined by: Sara and The Poet, The Light Entertasinment
Topics of conversation:
Happy Birthday to Sara, we sang. (Happy National Day to Legs and The Viking too and good luck to B for her last exam this afternoon - what a day of excitement)
Sara and I had a long conversation about dogs and their levels of communication. Having taken care of Luna and Willow whilst we were away she had a new insight into Luna's head, and the differences between the 2 dogs. She's used to a dog that thinks she's human and Willow is a dog, through and through, but Luna had revealed her empathetic qualities during her stay. A psychoanalyst friend of hers believes that we project these qualities onto dogs and that they are not capable of such emotions. I beg to differ.
Sizewell - and it's glow last night. Had it been the moon, the construction lights or some sinister accident, which we would begin to feel the effect from any moment? The Pirate knows how cross I get when he doom mongers first thing in the morning but this is something all of us must have thought at some point. The nuclear plant is so close to us that it is always visible on the horizon, a constant presence. My Father said that he would rather be near enough to be annihilated if something went wrong than slowly die a painful death. The Light Entertainment felt that it was not something the estate agents would use as a selling point and I don't expect this map to be appearing on any tourist brochures either.
The swell was surprisingly powerful, we struggled a little to get in and the waves were much deeper than they looked from the shore. On the way out we got caught by a combination of a wave from behind and the shingle ridge action like quicksand, and The Pirate was knocked over. It's so deceptive from the shore.
DK had had a surprisingly lovely evening with champagne, good wines and food and was therefore in a fine mood, but as we left the beach he muttered "you little bugger' at me and I was quite shocked, till he reassured me he was talking about to the dog. I often use that as an excuse though, so I'm still not 100% convinced it wasn't me he was addressing.
The Yogi is updating her yoga studio website for her shiny new premises, and Wolfie had been taking pictures in class the other day, she had sent some to us for approval and I had returned this one edited, as the original showed my face with an expression that could have been interpreted as pure pain on it. I didn't think that would be a good advertisement. Sara had seen some he'd taken with the dog joining in, surely a demonstration that they are capable of emotion - or is it that we are capable of tapping into our animal side...which reminds me of a conversation I had with the Pirate the other day about the animus and shaman, must revisit that one. The Yogi is going to be doing a 'daily yoga pose' slot on Blyth Valley Community Radio and we all have been wondering how that might work. We discussed Listen With Mother and Sara revealed that she had always spoke to the nice lady in the radio who was talking to her, and only her. The Black Dog Deli was due to be on Blyth Radio too, as they are opening next week and as The Pirate and I were walking back The Pirate's Wife came rushing out to tell us it was about to start so we all went into their kitchen to listen. The interview was great, and it was good to know it was the lovely JC interviewing them as I'd never heard her show before. She'd been down to the beach the other day to 'test the water' and is hoping to join us later in the year. 

Thursday, 16 May 2013

High Tide03:15 (2.10m)
Low Tide08:38 (1.00m)
High Tide15:15 (2.30m)
Low Tide21:26 (0.80m)
Sea temperature: 10.2
Sea conditions: pleasant but a bit too choppy for proper swimming
Weather: Cool, sun and clouds
Joined by: The Usual suspects, it's getting to be such a big group that I need to cut and paste!
Topics of conversation:

Under Milk Wood - The Pirate, The Poet and The Light Entertainment are all involved in a production of the 'play for voices' in a couple of weeks and rehearsals are playing havoc with their social lives, but we are all hoping to support them in one way or another. The Pirate reckoned it should be re-christened Under Soya Milk Wood, whether that was a comment on the health obsessed village or the standard of the performance remains to be seen.
The Pirate was in good spirits this morning and "glad to be alive", we both agreed that this time of year is good for swimming, but that we need to be wary of staying in the water for too long and freezing our cores. The air is warming up but once the inner body is cold you have no hope.
Would I Lie to You? er.... lets not go there. DK had been asked to appear on the show and wasn't familiar with it. I'm not sure that the producers would be happy with our description but it was clear enough to him that he had made the right decision to let his brother go without him. Uncle Mike will be perfect, it's right up his street and DK can stay here, where he's comfy!
I recommended A Late Quartet which I'd seen last night, and enjoyed enormously. Admittedly there were some clunky moments but the premise is a good one and led to Babs and I discussing it all the way home, which is usually how we rate a film; if we can't stop talking about it for the 35 minute journey home then we've either loved it, hated it or been or been puzzled or incensed by it. I had known nothing about Beethoven's String Quartet No. 14, opus 131, a piece that is played non-stop, preferably with no notes as he requested. I'm not a sophisticated lover of classical music, god knows my dear friend Liz tried to introduce me many times, she even presented me with 40 tapes which she had recorded and made covers for, along with a thesis on each composer included, but I never allowed myself the time to sit and listen for long enough to appreciate the music. I never appreciated the hard work that she had put into it either,until it was too late to start afresh because by that time tape players were defunct, I still have the thesis, complete with her delightful descriptions of the composers such as "syphilitic womaniser with no money and bad taste in wigs". Having said that, being immersed in one work for the duration of the film hooked me and when I got home I played it very loud, in the dark. The audience was full of people who clearly knew a lot more than me but as one critic said: "It is cerebral, yes, it is best appreciated by people who are involved in some way with classical music even if that be solely as an audience, but the dynamics of this little 'community' of people drawn together by a lasting contract to rehearse and perform for the better part of their time and the effect of physical proximity and the risks of intellectual/artistic distances have rarely been so exquisitely painted." 
The Fall - a recent drama with Gillian Anderson in the lead role and a Met Office DS, I'd watched the first episode and regardless of the fact that  I enjoy psychological thrillers, horror films and Scandi noire, this had scared the living daylights out of me. It's one of those 'women as victim serial killer' shows, but with the added creepiness that you are introduced to the killer and his loving family early in the first episode. This means you watch him stalking, planning stalking and obsessing in minute detail and I found myself not wanting to walk the dogs in the dark, not a feeling I've ever had before. I shall not be watching.

We discussed the Alternative Limb Project, which produces prosthetic limbs with style and show that they don't have to be pink and uniform. My Grandmother refused to wear her first one when it arrived. She had had amazing legs, slim and defined, with great ankles and this thing was more like a tree trunk made from shiny plastic the colour of Germaline. She would have loved the designs by Sophia Oliviera Barata. There are some made to look like robotic arms and others with plants climbing up them. 

She creates bespoke limbs with skin that metamorphosises into what she calls 'other species' and some even have snakes coming from within the limb, then wrapping around it. She actually has a choice of 'real', 'unreal' and 'surreal', all of which are art.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

High Tide02:33 (2.20m)
Low Tide08:00 (0.90m)
High Tide14:32 (2.40m)
Low Tide20:42 (0.70m)
Sea temperature: not taken - see below
Sea conditions: one of the strongest currents we've experienced
Weather: wind speeds over 30mph
Joined by: The Poet and The Artist
Topics of conversation: 
Was it going to be possible for anyone to get in? The wind was so strong that Jesse was blown into a sitting position at one point, we could lean into it. I'd had a text from The Pirate's Wife at 6.45 asking if I thought it was swimmable as she knew I would have been out. First thing I'd been lulled into a false sense of security by the forecast but I'd seen a crow trying to fly south and it had given up and landed in the field as I was walking the dogs and I could hear the sea so I must admit I'd been tempted not to even venture out. By the time I'd girded my loins and got down to the grazing field I realised how wild it was, the cows had tucked themselves round into the west corner of the marsh, hiding from the wind and we struck out into it. The Pirate came down anyway (in his posh trousers) as did The Artist and they made like sails, whilst DK and The Poet tried to get in. They managed to get to waist height, and I must admit I was still contemplating going in when DK lifted his feet of the ground and was propelled north, both by the current and the wind. They battled against it for a minute or so and then came back shaking their heads, saying it was the strongest they'd experienced. 
Looking deceptively calm but the wrecked wind break gives it away

Jesse, just before the wind blew her bottom to the ground

The Pirate and The Artist blowing in the wind








Tuesday, 14 May 2013

High Tide01:54 (2.20m)
Low Tide07:26 (0.80m)
High Tide13:55 (2.40m)
Low Tide20:02 (0.70m)
Sea temperature: 10
Sea conditions: waves breaking out to sea, so coming in with less power
Weather: very breezy, little fluffy clouds
Joined by: Sara and The Poet, The Artist and The Light Entertainment
Topics of conversation:
The Pirate had finished reading The Boy With The Top Knot by Sathnam Sangera and was in that frame of mind one gets when finishing a book which has had you in its thrall; not knowing whether you are glad to have finished it or wanting to still be reading it. He had found it profoundly moving. There's a delightful short film by Sathnam here: http://www.sathnam.com
I have only just realised that I've read it too as it was first published in hardback as 'If You Don't Know Me By Now', no wonder it sounded so familiar when he first spoke of it. He now has Al Alvarez to look forward to as his finishing this means that Pond Life has gone up his list to No 2.
There was more chat about pink shoes, The Light Entertainment had been rather disappointed by the arrival of hers as they are really rather tasteful and chic, she was expecting something a little more garish. The Artist joined us but wasn't swimming, so there was no tap dance this morning, although there was singing, rather bad singing from all of us. We were trying to remember the name of a song which DK began, I'm not sure why he began it, something to do with the colour of the sky. It could have been the shoes, I wasn't really listening, but we couldn't work out the name of the song. The lyric goes through all the colours, which we did, badly, but still couldn't work out that it's called "Colours"! And it sounded nothing like that on the beach this morning.
DK's son and I had been to see Woodkid last night, it was even better than expected, but I've promised The Viking that I won't bang on about it as he couldn't come, so instead I'll mention the other unexpected pleasure of the evening. We found, totally be chance, a Japanese restaurant which neither of us had been to before. It certainly wasn't there when I lived in Norwich but it looked well established and they were very, very busy for a Monday night, there was one non-Asian couple there when we arrived but every other table was occupied by young, mainly Japanese groups. The food was perfect, I had a soft shelled crab dish which I could eat everyday. They have Sushi Night every Monday and Tuesday - all you can eat sushi for £24 a head, and having read the small print this morning they do a student discount on a Monday. I guess that could explain why it was so busy, but so could the standard of the food. Our bill was still only £26 for two and we couldn't have eaten any more. Actually we were glad we hadn't as we ended up having to run across town, having gone to the wrong venue, (reminder to self - trust instinct, don't always listen to other people when they say "it's not at the Royal it's at The Playhouse"), and one more salmon roe roll could have pushed me over the edge.
It was quite a gathering this morning and the cold breezed made us all huddle together - as we each got dressed we somehow seemed to gravitate towards The Pirate, who was still sitting on his stool, dressing at his pace. We realised we may have looked rather like a religious gathering, and all began intoning at him. In turn he replied with the sounds of Tibetan chants (or The QE2). What must we have looked like?

Warming up
I had been a little late down having spotted one of my favourite cars down by the harbour yesterday, it was still there this morning so I'm crossing my fingers that it may have been abandoned so that I can take possession. DK told us that John Barry had owned one in the 60's with a Maserati engine, it had cost £4000 then, so maybe this one isn't going spare, shame.


Monday, 13 May 2013

High Tide01:17 (2.30m)
Low Tide06:58 (0.80m)
High Tide13:21 (2.40m)
Low Tide19:27 (0.60m)
Sea temperature: not taken
Sea conditions: very low, a long wade out
Weather: windy, sun trying to break through
Joined by: Sara and The Poet, The Light Entertainment
Topics of conversation:
Luke
We'd had interesting weather all weekend and I'd been about a third of the way through a long walk when the heavens had opened and I'd turned to shorten the walk as I passed Sara and The Poet's house. As I got to the marsh the rain turned to hail and the dogs ran into the reeds for shelter, refusing to come out. It's May for crying out loud, I wasn't dressed for it. I started running, they finally followed and we made it as far as the pub just as it turned back into rain, heavy very wet rain. The dogs ran in to the bar and so I followed them, as you do, looking like a drowned rat. I'm not enamoured by the new bar manager who didn't wrap me in a towel, give me a hug and a pint Adnams as Luke would have. I miss him. He's due home next weekend, it's not a moment too soon.

There was more chat yesterday about the Black Dog Deli opening soon, in fact it's been the talk of the town. A friend emailed me this morning saying that he was looking forward to it and that we'd all be fatter but happier as a result, and there's an article on the village website now: Black Dog Article 

The Light Entertainment's new swimming shoes still haven't come, she's very disappointed. The Artist had received hers on Saturday and been down to try them out yesterday, they are indeed very pink and we joked that as the two of them are tap dancers we must have a beach performance. If there is I promise there will be pictures.
Sara and I discussed the condition of Body Dysmorphic Disorder, and the obsession with make up and hair at length. It was bizarre to be talking about people whose lives are ruled and often ruined by their need to achieve a kind of unreal perfection in their everyday appearance as we sat in our swimsuits/wetsuits, make up free and goose fleshed with hair in disarray first thing in the morning. 
DK and I made plans for me to meet No.1 son in a lay-by this evening, which is not as dodgy as it sounds. We're going to see Yoann Lemoine or Woodkid perform in Norwich, and I'll be half way there already. I'd been able to play music loud for the first time in ages this weekend as Mertz was away, and had the album on repeat, it's a big sound and needs to be as loud as possible so I'm intrigued to see what he can do in the venue, which is not big. He has been touring with a full orchestra and visuals on large screens so either it'll be scaled down or the experience will be even more amplified. 



Saturday, 11 May 2013

Low Tide05:58 (0.70m)
High Tide12:17 (2.40m)
Low Tide18:19 (0.60m)
Sea temperature: 10.5
Sea conditions: little choppy waves
Weather: Typical May day - sun and cloud, cool breeze, rain later
Joined by: Sara and The Poet, The Light Entertainment and a seal
Topics of conversation:
The Seal - it was very close to the shore as we arrived but soon disappeared. The Pirate was concerned that I was comparing Sara to a seal, but she confirmed that she didn't mind and we both agreed we've been called worse.
My complete ignorance about Christianity (as I'm typing this I'm realising that I don't even know if it should have a capital C when referring to the different branches or brands as Sara called them) - I need a quick lesson from The Pirate, who is an expert, and he's shocked, stunned and horrified by my secularity. He's promised to provide me with one of his tutorials as I'm struggling to edit some work for one of my 'joblets', who is writing about the AA 12 Steps program for recovery. She is analysing the 'God as we know Him' references in relation to her upbringing through Catholicism and current Buddhist practice. It's right up The Pirate's street but perhaps I should discuss it with him away from the beach as we got rather delayed in the changing process as a result!
One of the hazards of swimming in the sea it the detritus we encounter on the shore and in the water. This morning The Pirate, Sara and I became tangled in fishing line and were very lucky not to have been hurt as the line was still weighted and had a rusty hook attached. I wear swimming shoes all year round for this reason.
Fishing bollocks
The wounded soldier, as Mertz has been called all week, has gone on a walking break with his best mate. Having really overdone it in the first week after his surgery he's been on prescribed rest since being hospitalised with infection so I was really not happy about his intention to drive 3 hours and walk the planned 20 miles today with the wound still having to be packed with seaweed and dressed every 2 days, but I've heard from him and he promises he's fine. His friend is very responsible and has agreed to carry supplies, take stock regularly and call a taxi if Mertz shows signs of tiring - I'm not sure what they would be as he's always huffing and puffing, regardless. The nurse at the surgery has been brilliant and agrees that he will have a pretty loud scar for the rest of his life, but like me she thinks he should claim its a war wound from a gun shot or shark bite. That'll be amusing when he gets back to swimming, I can just imagine him telling visitors to the beach that he's been attacked in the water...
Sara came over to approve the hut and it's quickly become my second home, I'm hoping to get a metal supplies cupboard for food and bring the canvas folding stretcher down for afternoon naps, till I can find the right kind of hammock. 

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Low Tide04:47 (0.60m)
High Tide11:11 (2.40m)
Low Tide17:06 (0.70m)
High Tide23:16 (2.40m)
Sea Temperature: back down to 10.4
Sea conditions: choppy
Weather: sunny but with a stiff breeze
Joined by: Sara and The Poet, The Artist, The Light Entertainment
Topics of conversation included transvestism, tap dancing, apps to help you find boats and dates, feudal lords and hypnotism for cats. It doesn't really matter what the day holds after that.




Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Low Tide04:06 (0.60m)
High Tide10:36 (2.40m)
Low Tide16:26 (0.80m)
High Tide22:32 (2.40m)
Sea temperature: some discussion here as I took my thermometer in and couldn't believe it so DK tried his, which did actually show a 0.2 difference, but even so we were amazed that it had risen to 11.2/11.4 overnight
Sea conditions: calm
Weather: weird
Joined by: Sara, The Poet, The Artist and The Light Entertainment
Topics of conversation: 
The Weather - a thick sea fret was enveloping us as we arrived and had brought the temperature down. I'd been out and about at 5am and there had been a beautiful sunrise, with a white sky but no mist or fog to speak of. The marsh had been teeming with birds and 2 swans were circling the harbour as I walked down to the grazing - by the time I'd left for the beach at around 7 the fret was rolling in though. We discussed the wind direction and the sea temperature and speculated about the forecast change in wind direction or the rise in water temperature causing the fret. Sometimes you can be approaching the village from the water tower, where it's clear and sunny, and see the fret rolling in across the common, as it does over San Francisco. A friend is a regular visitor to SF and sends me pictures, but I found this wonderful time-lapse from a webcam in 2008, which shows the fog at sunrise: http://hd-sf.com/gallery/fogrise/player.html
The seal was with us again today and seemed to be playing, flicking it's tail and diving, only to resurface closer. Watching Sara watching it was spooky, I'm sure it must think she's a seal in her black wetsuit and sleek hood and her smooth swimming style. I called to her to say I thought he might be flirting with her, to which The Poet shouted "She's MINE!" So romantic.
The wound had suffered again overnight, so we are off to the surgery for more seaweed today but Mertz had been well enough to come down to the hut in Wolfie's beast of a car yesterday evening to raise a glass by way of hut christening. We'd tried to call The Pirate over, when we spotted him walking the dogs back from the beach, but he'd been preoccupied by Alf.
A friend, who was part of our 2011 Arctic team, is entering the Marathon de Sable and we discussed the horrendous conditions he will be contending with. The group joked that I would only last about 2 hours before I'd need marinading. Here's the article we've been putting together to help him raise awareness, and a link to his fundraising website, any support would be gratefully received, and he's looking for a commercial sponsor:


Press release May 7th, 2013:

Fitness Instructor pushes himself to the extremes.
Having braved Arctic temperatures in 2011, now Mark Nussey is heating things up to raise funds for MENCAP by racing across the Sahara.

Nussey, 44, lives and works in Lowestoft as a fitness consultant and sports massage therapist. He has already run 3 London Marathons and trekked across Northern Scandinavia for charity, but this is his biggest undertaking yet. In April 2015 he will be competing in the 30th anniversary of the Marathon de Sables, the toughest footrace on earth. According to the official MDS literature The race is a gruelling multi-stage adventure trough a formidable landscape in one of the worlds most inhospitable climates.

He will fly to Morocco 2 days before the event in order to acclimatise, then travel by bus and cattle truck to the start where the temperatures will be in the region of 50 degrees centigrade, a stark contrast to the – 44 experienced in the Arctic. Regardless of the dangers, places in the race are much sought after and Mark is not only committed to training his body and mind to endure the baking heat and huge distance of 156 miles in 5 days but he has also signed up to raise £10,000 for MENCAP, a charity close to his heart.  His stepdaughter Ella, who is 20, was born with Downs Syndrome and her mother Paula Lambert has worked for, as well as being supported by MENCAP through Ella’s life and she is in turn supporting Mark in his challenging undertaking.

Once the race starts he’s on his own though, he will have to carry everything he needs to survive on his back, the only support in the desert will be the checkpoint and the end of stage tents. The mental strain on a race like this, with the intense heat and nothing but sand and dust for mile upon mile, cannot be underestimated. It is not unusual for competitors to hallucinate whilst running and many are withdrawn due to dehydration.  Having started his career in the RAF and worked in the fitness and motivation business for the last 15 years Mark is well placed to cope with the long distances, the scorching Moroccan sun and desert mountains, even the occasional sand storm should not break his stride - but the most challenging aspect of his target is the fundraising.

£10,000 is a lot of money for one man to raise but he’s already started by setting up a fundraising page on Just Giving: http://www.justgiving.com/Mark-Nussey and his programme of events so far includes a 12 hour endurance run on June 29th and a ‘Spinathon’ at The Waterlane Leisure Centre, in Lowestoft on September 28th. He is actively searching for sponsorship from local businesses and his blog will chart his physical and fundraising progress over the next 2 years as well as sharing his fitness and endurance tips: http://markshottotrot.blogspot.co.uk

For further information on the Marathon de Sables: http://www.marathondessables.co.uk
To contact Mark Nussey: mark.nussey@btinternet.com Mobile: 07973 511250