Tuesday, 30 July 2013

High Tide05:10 (2.20m)
Low Tide10:23 (1.00m)
High Tide17:01 (2.40m)
Low Tide23:25 (0.90m)
Sea temperature: not taken but felt very warm
Sea conditions: rough with a strong current
Weather: strong cool wind from the south, clouds
Joined by: The Usual Suspects
Topics of conversation: 
Jellyfish - there had been an article on the BBC News website about the rapid increase in jellyfish blooms around the UK coast over the last couple of weeks. There were no conclusions drawn as to why the increase was sudden, other than the poor weather earlier in the year and apparently there are regular surges in the population, which is entirely natural. Earlier in the month the Foreign Office issued travel advice for Greece warning that there had been large blooms in their clear waters, on the South west coast of the UK there are reports of growing numbers of Lion's Mane, our largest ones which can reach 2m wide. They are so big that they eat the Moon jellyfish that we get here, which don't have a powerful sting and are quite, quite beautiful. I'd been stung yesterday, and whilst it's not pleasant it's not worse than a nettle sting but the sea was rough and the idea of getting one in the face didn't fill me with joy. Sara opted to keep her long legged suit on and I took my mask out incase it was swimmable. It wasn't. As The Artist pointed out, it looks safe from the shore, but once you are in the undertoad was strong and the waves had real power in them, knocking us off our feet in turns. All in all it wasn't one of the best swims of the year.
The Trip to Echo Spring - by Olivia Laing, which is published tomorrow. Whilst the book is predominantly about the relationship between writers and alcohol she had also written an article for the Times at the weekend about not only their struggle with alcohol but the common link for Hemingway, F Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Carver, John Cheever, John Berryman and Tennessee Williams to swimming. She refers to their need to quell anxiety and the desire to drink being akin to the desire to be immersed. "Liquor and swimming, Tennessee Williams said in an interview in the 1960's "is all that keeps me going.." Hemingway writes about some black impulse to empty his lungs of air, as he swam in the mile and a half deep waters of Key West, and letting himself drown whilst Fitzgerald wrote about immersion as a life saving practice (for a man trapped in an unhappy marriage) in The Swimmers:
When difficulties became insurmountable, inevitable, Henry sought surcease in exercise. For three years, swimming had been a sort of refuge, and he turned to it as one man to music or another to drink. There was a point when he would resolutely stop thinking and go to the Virginia coast for a week to wash his mind in the water. Far out past the breakers he could survey the green-and-brown line of the Old Dominion with the pleasant impersonality of a porpoise. The burden of his wretched marriage fell away with the buoyant tumble of his body among the swells, and he would begin to move in a child's dream of space. Sometimes remembered playmates of his youth swam with him; sometimes, with his two sons beside him, he seemed to be setting off along the bright pathway to the moon.
For Kierkegard, anxiety was the hallmark of the creative mind, and it's certainly true that anxiety causes the mind to wander, with worry about the future being identified as the predominant thought pattern prior to suicide attempts. This illustration, by Andrew Kuo shows how his worries were structured in 2010, to lighten the mood.




Sunday, 28 July 2013

High Tide03:13 (2.30m)
Low Tide08:51 (0.80m)
High Tide15:11 (2.60m)
Low Tide21:37 (0.60m)
Sea temperature: not taken (see below)
Sea conditions: really rough 
Weather: windy, fluffy clouds scudding across the sky
Joined by: DK, The LE, Mertz
Topics of conversation:
The storm - we had a massive electrical storm in the village last night, causing a power cut. DK and Mabel had joined us with The Yogi and Maisie for supper and we'd managed to cook and eat outside before it broke. This was a close run thing due to a 'timing issue', the same timing issue we always have when Mertz and I try to cook together, especially when a barbecue is involved. The Yogi and I had Legs's famous planked salmon, the idea is to get the charcoal hot enough to allow the soaked cedar wood to cook the salmon but not burn. The burning wasn't an issue as the coals weren't even hot enough to singe the splinters, the language was scorching though - apologies DK and Yogi. Once we were up to temperature the fish was done to a turn and the steaks took no more then 2 minutes. 
Planked salmon - recipe below
Candlelit evening

We ate in the final few moments of warmth before moving into the house when the heavens suddenly opened and the sky lit up every 5 minutes till there was one final flash and the power went out. This lead to a flurry of texts from our neighbour, who loves a drama, and he informed us that another villager had called him from the other side of the river, where he'd seen our substation 'blow up'. It was back on before midnight but had caused consternation at The LE's house as they'd been watching Top of the Lake when it blew, we couldn't work out whether it will also mess up her recording of it, no doubt she will have found out by now. We had a stack of birch candlestick that I'd made last year littered around the house and this morning I shall be seeing if I can remember where I put them all to light the kitchen, stairs, bathroom, bedroom etc.

I'd driven down to the beach in the Landrover as I've got work to do on the hut today with Keith, who is helping me to secure the hammock fixings, put up a cupboard and a folding table, as well as replacing the shutter. I didn't make this clear to DK so as he passed me walking home he stopped the car and kindly reminded me I'd left it behind, like I could forget something that size...

Planked Salmon recipe - courtesy of Legs:


Soak an untreated cedar plank large enough to hold fish in water for 3-4 hrs.

Rub salmon fillets with olive oil, then mixture of:
(approximately)
½ C brown sugar
½ C reg paprika
tsp or more hot smoked paprika
1 TBL ground cumin
1 tbs or more olive oil
minced garlic clove 
salt
pepper
big splash of whiskey

Let marinate for about an hour, tops

Place salmon on soaked plank(s). Place planks directly on hot and ready barbecue grill, and cover (vents open). Cook according to Canadian Cooking Method for Fish:

10 min per inch of thickness at highest possible heat.

Whole slabs of fillets will take longer than individual serving sizes. Count on about 10-15 min for big slabs.

Serve with a salsa of some sort if desired (or you feel like making one)




Friday, 26 July 2013

High Tide01:41 (2.50m)
Low Tide07:30 (0.70m)
High Tide13:42 (2.80m)
Low Tide20:10 (0.30m)
Sea temperature: 19.4 (DK had recorded 20 yesterday afternoon)
Sea conditions: good
Weather: had been wonderful at 6am but clouded over a bit as we got to the beach
Joined by: The Usual Suspects, Matthew, Uncle Mike and Miss Lush
Topics of conversation:
Hangovers - pretty much everyone seemed to have been out last night. It had been DK's birthday so we'd been at the pub with him for a mini celebration, joined by The Architect, Sara and The Poet had been having a family get together with oysters and Champagne and The New Yorker had had an impromptu supper with friends - she claimed first prize on the hangover front, having drunk a bottle of wine with out realising. However Sara had had a nasty experience with an oyster, which had been 90% raw sewage and had not been able to get rid of the smell, even when she went to bed. She had woken with it still lingering in her nostrils like a bad dream. 
Miss Lush
I was introduced formally to the lovely Miss Lush, who was very kind in saying that she enjoyed reading these ramblings. I explained that it had come about when Mertz had been standing behind DK, The Pirate and me one morning when we didn't realise he was there. He'd commented that it was the unique combination of personalities who come together daily and share their views and experiences as well as chewing over the conditions in which we swim that made it so particularly English, and that it should be a fly on the wall documentary on some obscure eccentrics channel. Who know's maybe one day it will - when I finally get my editing software taped and my Mac sorted. Having spent 4 hours in the Apple store yesterday I had almost lost the will, but finally we discovered why it was refusing to save or share (they are not called Geniuses for nothing). As a result they are going to have to retrieve all my data and then "create a new Claire Whittenbury and delete the old one". There is something rather liberating about that, I rather fancy a new me, the old one's a bit jaded. I wonder if Claire 2.0 will come without the wrinkles app and with the latest bugs fixed.
Top of The Lake - Matthew had been catching up on the iPlayer and as he arrived late he and I decamped to the hut for a coffee after the swim to discuss it. He's a massive Twin Peaks fan and we'd agreed it had Lynchian elements as well as a look of The Killing about it. His experience of it had been bizarrely heightened as there was a scene where the lead, played by Elizabeth Moss, is looking for a lost girl and standing staring out over the mountains in New Zealand with binoculars, a stunning shot. As she was doing so his computer lost signal and froze the picture but not the sound. The buffering wheel did not appear therefore and he continued to watch as her hair didn't move but the sound of footsteps on gravel then walking into water accompanied the image. It was only when some dialogue interrupted this surreal juxtaposition that he realised what was happening. We agreed that this would not have looked out of place in Twin Peaks. 
Damned fine cup of coffee with Matthew.


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Low Tide05:15 (0.70m)
High Tide11:25 (2.70m)
Low Tide17:53 (0.40m)
Sea temperature: 19.2!
Sea conditions: Calm but still a bit murky
Weather: Warm, dark skies threatening
Joined by: The Usual Suspects and Uncle Mike
Topics of conversation:
Monsoon - the weather has been hot and today storms are forecast here, I heard from Mertz this morning that he had driven through monsoon weather on the way down to Hertford. The cloud bank over the sea was bizarre and inland it was black, but although we all hung about for quite a while in the water it didn't come any closer - it's just broken here, but only very briefly. Uncle Mike swims in the ponds most days, where the water temperature had been recorded at 22 this week, so he found our new yearly high of 19.2 here refreshing.
Strange clouds

It was a full moon last night and really warm so when we went down for our night swim the beach was littered with people enjoying the conditions, a dog tried to join me as I swam out into the moon path but was called back. Still no phosphorescence though.
Legs and her 'holiday' with her family - this is proving to be more of a working holiday that even she had imagined and DK is clearly concerned about her sanity. This evening she sent me a link which gives an indication of how busy she is dealing with her Mother's archive, its fascinating:
Peg Lynch
Sara and The Poet had swum nearer to their house yesterday and played shoulder fights in the shallow water. Down that end there are strange lumps, like rocks but not, that emerge when the tide is low. It's not good to speculate about what they are as I suspect it could have something to do with the WWII sea defences that often stick through the sand. As I hadn't seen Sara and The Poet since Latitude we had a long chat about what a great line up it had been this year after a couple of duff ones. As I'd been tied to the desk yesterday I'd caught up on a lot of stuff I'd missed due to not having perfected my parallel universe techniques yet, Radio 6 are playing highlights, interviews etc. It's a fine balancing act and The New Yorker and I had discussed how you really need to sit down with the festival programme a week earlier to work out how to make the most of everything. Next year I endeavour to make the most of the dressing up shops too, the Junior Viking had a great idea - he and his dad would buy an outfit each and then have to wear each other's choice. Nice idea.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Low Tide04:21 (0.70m)
High Tide10:37 (2.60m)
Low Tide17:00 (0.50m)
High Tide23:18 (2.50m)
Sea temperature: 18.4
Sea conditions: sludgy but calm now, the sludge must be from the rough water yesterday
Weather: warm, sunny
Joined by: The Usual Suspects except Sara and the Poet
Topics of conversation:
Our thoughts are with The Pirate today as his Mother's health has deteriorated rapidly overnight.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Low Tide03:25 (0.70m)
High Tide09:47 (2.50m)
Low Tide16:01 (0.70m)
High Tide22:22 (2.50m)
Sea temperature: 18.4
Sea conditions: suddenly rough with a strong current
Weather: grey 
Joined by: just DK and me today.
Topics of conversation:
The change in the weather and resulting attendance, which had been growing rapidly as the weather improved last week. Sara had been up till 3am when she had picked up her kids ("mum, I'm nearly 30 years old") from Latitude, earning serious mum points in the process, and they are at a wedding in London today. It's wedding season - DK had been at a wedding celebration yesterday and had found that there was only cake to eat, so it was a shame that he had not taken Mertz up on the offer of a meat fest whilst I was away. DK's in such demand socially whilst home alone, yet another invite for a BBQ today too, but he'd been rather looking forward to the golf, which I'm grateful was on as it got my Ma-in-law out of bed today for a couple of hours, no mean feat. I'd felt guilty hauling Mertz out at 11.30 to pick me up, perhaps I should've waiting for Sara, I certainly felt I'd left too soon. It was a fine festival, which I'd thought I wasn't going to make, but again thanks to Sara and The Poet's 'kids' I got a last minute ticket and was able to fulfil some of my desires after all, seeing Kraftwerk (KRAFTWERK on Radio 6) and their 3D show with The Vikings, which definitely goes on the 50 list, I had the BEST time. Definitely looking forward to finding out the guest list for next year and making plans.


Sadly I'm not going to get to see Bobby Womak today, even though I clung on to my wrist band till the last moment of possibility this afternoon in the vain hope that I could get back from Norfolk in time. DK and I discussed his genius and his surreal and troubled life, as he had recently read this article entitled Bobby Womack - Soul Survivor in the Telegraph, bearing in mind his recent health dramas makes his performance this weekend even more special: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/10174641/Bobby-Womack-interview-Soul-Survivor.html 



Thursday, 18 July 2013

Low Tide00:10 (0.80m)
High Tide07:00 (2.20m)
Low Tide12:33 (1.00m)
High Tide19:05 (2.30m)
Sea temperature: 18.3
Sea conditions: still nice and calm
Weather: foggy
Joined by: The Usual Suspects minus the Light Entertainment and a late bonus Matthew (he's got the bug even though he has to drive for 30 mins to get here)
Topics of conversation: 
Moonlit swimming - The New Yorker and I had had a wonderful swim late last night, hoping for phosphorescence but getting mill pond calm and a really clear sky, which meant the moon lit up the shore well enough for us not to need a locating lantern. Last year Matthew and I had swum late, as the sky was turning black, and had become quite disorientated because we lost our sense of direction in the dark. As a result he bought me a rather clever little storm candle to leave on the sand whilst we swim, it hangs in the hut now for evening light. As he joined us this morning we were complaining (well all of us bar The Pirate who rather welcomed the break in the weather) about the foggy fret and having travelled from inland he told us it had been really thick fog there, so hopefully it will clear later. I really hope so as my BF and I are having a virtual 2 day holiday yesterday and today. Sadly she can't come due to a change in work commitments but we are trying to do the kind of things we would have done together whilst miles apart, sending each other photos and updates of the day. We've just had boiled eggs and soldiers with a much needed double espresso.

3 swim days - Matthew is Beth's Dad  and she and her BF had spent the evening here swimming and watching the sunset. They have never really been sea swimmers, teenage girls and and cold grey water don't always mix, but last night they went into the water squealing and on tiptoes for about 30 seconds, then looked at each other, looked at me and Beth said "Oh... my....God.... it's AMAZING! Now I know why you do this!" it was hard to get them out of the water. The New Yorker and I didn't want to get out later either, and have plans to swim this evening after the performance of 'Little Ado' to make the most of what Freddy the Fish says is a one week window of opportunity. He had explained to The Pirate that this clear calm water, which we often get at this time of year, will not last long - a shame for us but not for the fishermen, apparently they can't catch anything when it's like this. Sara and I tried to work out why it is that the North Sea is always brown or grey, even when the sky is blue, but couldn't.

Happiness is Just a Thing Called Jo - DK called as The Artist approached and then explained that it was a song, hadn't she heard it? She hadn't and requested a rendition from DK, he refused so we found it on Spotify and played it to her. Here are some links to different versions for The Artist: 
Ella Fitzgerald   
Judy Garland   
Ethel Ennis   
Peggy Lee 
Rosemary Clooney (a bit warbly but with credits for DK) 
(so it's written to a guy, but who cares, as The Artist said it's got all the right words in all the right places)




Wednesday, 17 July 2013

High Tide05:35 (2.20m)
Low Tide11:09 (1.00m)
High Tide17:40 (2.30m)
Sea temperature: not taken
Sea conditions: calm, no jelly fish
Weather: hazy with the sun coming through
Joined by: The Usual Suspects, The New Yorker, DK's brother Tony and Matthew
Topics of conversation:
Was this a record turn out? We all gathered in a huddle to make sure introductions were made where social gaps existed and it almost felt claustrophobic, but once we were in the water it was so calm and quite shallow and within moments we each had our own patch of sea to ourselves. The Poet rather overdid it as The Vicar's Wife had yesterday and was called back in.


The rubbish - we all ranted about the amount there was yesterday and as The New Yorker joined us she enlightened us to the fact that there had been even more than we'd been aware of yesterday, she'd swum earlier and had already taken a carrier bag full of bottles home. There was more today, but this time of the less unpleasant kind - Mabes bagged herself a football and the beach hut gained a ragged but serviceable picnic rug. Mabes is a very good footballer, having had hours and hours of practice with the football kicking member of her family, who I have occasionally seen playing keepie-uppies with her on the beach, as well as skills practice in the garden when she tries to intercept and take over control of the ball. Surprisingly this didn't prepare him for a gentle game on holiday with his norwegian relatives (mostly 15 years his junior) and he 'nearly died' trying to keep up. DK tells us that he's spending time in the healthy pursuit of lake swimming whilst in the US, so hopefully he'll be joining us on his return in August.

The Vicar's wife's bicycle seat cover - want.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

High Tide04:30 (2.20m)
Low Tide10:09 (1.00m)
High Tide16:37 (2.40m)
Low Tide22:59 (0.70m)
Sea temperature: 18
Sea conditions: mill pond calm
Weather: hazy and still
Joined by: The Usual Suspects
Topics of conversation:
New swim time - DK had called it yesterday and so we all met at 7.15, except him, he was LATE! We all tapped our watches as he approached and wound him up so much that The Pirate had to close his ears to DK's foul language as he bit back. I'd already taken Mertz to the station first thing, I love driving as summer mornings rise, it reminds me of days working as a student for a catering company when I'd leave home in my 2CV at 5am to set up marquees, vans etc. Carefree days.
Mill pond
Jellyfish - the weather was perfect for them today and there was a handful of small transparent ones as we went in. The Artist had been stung on her feet yesterday so was wary, but The Pirate was sure these weren't the stinging kind. He told us about finding what he thought was an abandoned T-shirt on the beach once, when he got close enough he realised it was one of those huge coloured ones. Fortunately we all managed to float, swim and walk in the water without being stung. As last year the conversation about whether they were sentient arose as The Pirate is keen to discover things he can eat, and they don't have brains. This year though Sara has been studying such nebulous concepts, and informed us that in the context of her current thesis they are sentient as they are alive. I suspect that this will run and run.
Priests, vicars, ministers and preachers - and their definitions. As 'The Vicar's Wife' had informed me that she wasn't really a vicar's wife because he's a priest we discussed the terms and the only thing I am clear about, as a result, is that priests commit sacrifices at the altar. Not this priest, clearly, but this was the original definition. According to The Pirate the anglicans confuse it all because they 'fudge things'. 
We made plans to go to see Much Ado in the gardens at the Laxfield pub on Thursday, where The Pirate's No. 2 Son is playing Claudio. DK can't come as he has one of his brothers visiting and The LE has a play which is being performed at a festival down south, but the rest of us will pile into one vehicle and look forward to seeing what is being referred to as 'A Little Ado about Not Very Much' as it is a shortened version.
The state of the beach - there had been a number of fires and BBQs last light and the detritus remained. Planks, burned cans, food, and full poo bags littered the area around the dunes; Bosco and Mabes told us there was lots of lovely charred meat in the charcoal too. After we'd swum The Poet helped me carry some wood to the hut as the planks were big enough to turn into benches and I grabbed my pick-up-stick and a bin liner. It took 30 minutes to clear the area as I found another party site just over the chestnut paling, where there we cans and bottles, as well as take away cartons. By the time I'd finished I could only just lift the bag it was so heavy. 
I promised Legs I'd put some pictures from the wedding at the weekend up here as she was involved in the planning before she left and she lent me shoes, which sadly don't feature (copyright Mr Smiley).  It was an incredible event, lived up to all expectations. I have some amusing video of the first dance, but that'll have to wait I'm afraid.
Bridesmaids ready to drive to the wedding

Cecilia and Ali tour of the village as husband and wife

Needing a drink to calm their nerves on their return

The choir

Typical pose for my family - talking, bemused, drink.

Marquee

Cecilia and her grandma




Saturday, 13 July 2013

High Tide02:22 (2.30m)
Low Tide07:56 (0.80m)
High Tide14:27 (2.50m)
Low Tide20:42 (0.60m)
Sea temperature: Not taken
Sea conditions: calm
Weather: grey, muggy but promising
Joined by: The Usual Suspects, The New Yorker (who is now in residence for the summer) Libby Purves, journalist and broadcaster and Miss Lush. A busy morning on the beach!
I had to dash off to wait for my new phone to be delivered this morning so didn't get a chance to chat to Miss Lush, but it was lovely to finally meet her, having heard so much about her.
The Pirate had had a disturbed night as he'd had a phone call at 2am but they rang off. When your mother is very poorly and your son is on boat such an incident is a worry. Having sat up fretting and trying to work out who it was The Pirate's wife had finally discovered that the number calling was The Pirate's elderly and occasionally confused mother, who never actually uses it to make calls but has it by her bedside to receive them. She had clearly confused it for either the TV remote or the device for calling a nurse, we all agreed this was easily done, even if you are not 90 and frail.
One group member is also suffering from frailty at the moment, dear old Jess The Poet and Sara's elderly lurcher. She has been very wobbly on her feet over the last couple of days and the vet can find nothing specific wrong with her so we all discussed ways of making her comfortable and restoring her strength as she is much loved by every member of the group. The consensus was that she should be treated much as a dowager duchess would in her later stage of life: plenty of rest and peace, chicken broth, short walks around the estate and the company of those she loves. She hates the heat and it's going to be hot today so she got a lift home with DK and will probably spend the day surveying the estate from her bed.
Thank goodness it is going to be a lovely day as the social event of the year for this part of the village is this evening. The wedding of the first of the younger generation of Garden-Potts to be married is due to take place in her grandmother's garden, which is next to ours. Over the last few days there have been marquees, platforms and gold chairs being set up and yesterday afternoon there was a music rehearsal. They are a very musical family, all playing instruments and one of them has his own band, so is was lovely to hear the voices wafting over the hedge with laughter and "1,2,3,testing, testing" and now there is a vocalist rehearsing, her dulcet tones drifting across the orchard as I type - there will be little sleep tonight... I don't get much opportunity to dress up these days and although I have a pretty broad range of shoes in my collection I have had to borrow a glittery pair from Legs (actually I've borrowed three pairs as I still haven't decided which to wear yet but probably the ones that match my black and sequinned toenails). 
Mermaid dress, shoe choice and nails drying
I'm wearing my mermaid dress and Mertz is wearing my Father's dinner suit, the trousers of which have had to be taken up, but otherwise it fits quite well. Whilst it is lovely that he is able to wear something my Father had made to measure when he was 48, and my Mother is delighted, I am now slightly concerned. Mertz is 50 and when we met exactly 20 years ago he weighed the same as me, now he can fit into my Father's dinner suit, my Father was 17 stone by the time he was 60....


We'd been out last night to celebrate 20 years since our blind date, to Satis House and had wonderful food. The place is decidedly camp, with lots of velvet and tartan drapes but the staff were exceptional. As we arrived in the bar for drinks there had been a bit of a kerfuffle, with the bar manager looking uncomfortable and shifty whilst staring at us, which was peculiar. It transpired that he had been talking about us because when our wine was brought to the table it was 'with love from The Wolves', such a lovely surprise and so very kind. I was jealous of Mertz's Sea Trout with samphire but my Malay aubergine and squash dish was delicious and I had the best cheese plate I've had in years as well as a goat cheese panna cotta with crispy bacon and a bacon flavoured reduction as a starter. Stupidly I'd also eaten some cheese when we called in at the local for a night cap with DK and The Architect on the way home, cheesed out...Having said that I have spent the last 15 minutes, whilst my fake tan and toenails dried, looking for goat cheese panna cotta recipes and found this one, which is similar to the dish I had last night and I'm going to give it a go: recipe





Wednesday, 10 July 2013

High Tide00:43 (2.30m)
Low Tide06:11 (0.80m)
High Tide12:39 (2.60m)
Low Tide18:55 (0.60m)
Sea temperature: not taken
Sea conditions: good
Weather: well odd
Joined by: The Usual Suspects
Topics of conversation:
As I arrived at the beach most of the others approached, but Sara was sitting staring out to sea. She's left early to bask in the sun, I'd left in shorts and a thin shirt to enjoy the warmth and yet by the time we all came together there was a total change in conditions. From the north came a dark grey sky, so quick that it was as if in time lapse with a sudden wind that brought a chill as we all went down to the shore. 
The other short conversation which The Pirate and I engaged in as we went down to the shore went along the lines of "Are these trunks still decent...?" "Only just." His son had told him that since he has lost weight he needed to get some new trunks so he was checking and I had to be honest, they could fall off at any minute and the last vestiges of elasticity are disappearing daily. He needs some new ones, but I suspect it will take as long for this to happen as it did from the moment he started mentioning needing new sandals till the day they actually fell apart, causing him to fall over.
Sara's hard work has paid off - she's had her nose in a book or a computer and her brain focused on her course work for the past few months and it has all paid off - she has been awarded a prize by her college so it has been worthwhile on more than one level, congratulations were deserved.
Hamstrings - one of the LOTVs has torn hers playing tennis. She runs, dances and plays tennis regularly and is now laid up. I sympathise (see previous entry: April 2012). DK was keen to help her as she is naturally miserable about it, so I've recommended Mark Nussey, Sport Injury Therapist who helped me enormously. He's had an injury of his own hamstring to deal with in his training for the Marathon De Sables, so is very up to date. He's also struggling with runner's toenails and is off to the chiropodist today - thinking of you matey...

See his blog here:http://markshottotrot.blogspot.co.uk
By the time I got home I was chilled to the bone and there was a fret so thick that we could only just see the water tower of the river. As is often the case we suspected that there would be sun inland.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Low Tide05:09 (0.90m)
High Tide11:34 (2.50m)
Low Tide17:45 (0.70m)
Sea temperature: 17.2
Sea conditions: little choppy waves, very pleasant
Weather: sunny with a cool breeze
Joined by: The Usual Suspects
Topics of conversation:
The Theatre Fete had taken place in the Freud family fields yesterday and it had been a hot, sunny afternoon for a change. My dear old friend (she's not old, we've just been friends for a while) the face painting star and I had a stall turning a bunch of small kids with faces covered in ice cream into butterflies, Spiderman, dragons and so called 'Celts', and despite not looking forward to being stuck in a gazebo all afternoon we'd had a lovely time with a great crowd and a lovely atmosphere. As I mentioned 'celtic' tattoos, which were all the rage with the older boys we drifted into a discussion about what the term 'Celt' means and it's derivation as The Pirate pointed out its emergence in the 18th century and it's misuse. I'd always thought I'd understood this but questioning on the beach made me, in turn, question my understanding so I thought I'd look it up and online and it's fascinating how many references there are that refer to the term being 18th century/500BC, correct/derogatory so I've asked my Archeologist/All Things Ancient and Mysterious friend his views, which are (in brief) as follows:

It is an incredibly problematic term on so many levels. It shouldn't be used in a prehistoric context as the Keltoi, where the term comes from, were only a tribe in the North of Italy. The tribes all had their own identity and would never have self identified as Celt. The use of the term comes in on the back of a rise in Welsh, Irish and Scottish nationalism in the 18th and 19th century. The only way it can be strictly used is as a way to describe a group of languages which have similar shared characteristics (p celtic and q celtic), but I would never use Celtic as a term to refer to a group of people. The concept of pre Roman Iron Age identity is complex. For example the Brigantes, who are seen as the group around Yorkshire, are described as a confederation of tribes. If I was talking about the later Irish, Welsh etc. I would use Gaelic, Cymric. John Collis has written extensively about this.

Running out of gas - which DK and family had done last night. They had been in the final throws of having their last family meal together, before Legs and The Boy take off to the US for just over a month, when it became apparent that there was no gas left in the tank. This is a tank that is supposed to be connected to the supplier and discreetly inform them when it is getting low so that this never happens, but it did. And it did so just as the slow marinaded pork, that The Boy had frozen so that he could slice it wafer thin, was ready to blast into a wok. The whole feast was bundled into the car and brought down to our house and cooked in our kitchen where we had just finished our early supper/late lunch. My Old friend had brought strawberries and meringues from the fete, as well as hand made chocolates from The Pirate's No.1 Son's deli, which we were just finishing off, so the table was cleared and relaid and the next round started, a little like a second sitting in a restaurant. It made for a delightful impromptu evening even if it was stressful for DK's family, and even though, having not been drinking recently, I forgot that I'd already drunk at the first sitting and joined in on the second, leaving me a little fragile this morning.
We were surprised to Sara this morning as she's been away on a course and The Poet had led us to believe she wouldn't be back today, but it was lovely to see her. The group is all present and correct, albeit briefly as The Artist is off on a cultural adventure to Amsterdam tomorrow. She was feeling loathed to leave the village now that the warmer weather has finally arrived and the sea is warming up. She was clearly on a high as we all left as there was a close call when both she and DK backed out of the car park at the same time and had a narrow miss. We all blamed DK, because we could, but The Artist did admit she normally lets him go first. It wasn't the only close miss this morning as my dog Willow stepped out into the road just as a builder's van was travelling too fast round the green. It wouldn't have been his fault if had had hit her, she shouldn't have been there and I screamed at the top of my voice, seeing it all happen in slow motion. She stopped just at the last moment and my heart has just started to slow down. I MUST be more vigilant and less relaxed about the dogs, who follow me everywhere around the village without leads, now that the holiday season is upon us.
My phone has a hardware fault at the moment so the laziness of letting Photostream do all the work has meant I haven't had photos readily available to put up here on the blog but The LE sent me some from our weekend coffee at the huts. The Pirate and I discussed the policy, which I almost stick to of not putting photos of us all online, but these are just too good not to share, especially the one of him, which The LE sent to me titled Prince Albert sports the Laura Ashley look.




Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Low Tide01:19 (0.80m)
High Tide08:07 (2.20m)
Low Tide13:44 (1.00m)
High Tide20:00 (2.20m)
Sea temperature: 15.7 yesterday
Sea conditions: choppy and murky, a bit like miso soup, with seaweed flouting about
Weather: grey
Joined by: The Usual Suspects
Topics of conversation:
It has been some while since I last blogged, so the following is what I'm able to recall through reviewing in reverse. It's how I was trained to work in Steiner Schools, working backward to strengthen the will (rueckshcau*), much needed.
Flippers - The Poet had resurrected an old pair he had found and not used for some time. He found them hard to use as they are short and stiff, not allowing him to be flexible in the leg. He tried keeping his legs deeper under the water, but this was hard on his front, once he rolled over he suddenly seemed to take off as if jet propelled. There was a good deal of innuendo surrounding the flippers and both The LE and DK were on form, batting the jokes back and forth - it was rather like being in a '70s sitcom. 
Could The Pirate survive on things that had been dropped on the floor or were out of date from his No. 1 Son's deli? I know I could. They are thinking of stocking a new Suffolk cheese, which has recently been developed and has the appearance of Brie, we look forward to tasters.
Much Ado About Nothing - I'd been to see a wonderful performance in the grounds of Norwich Cathedral on Monday night with friends. It had been excellent and the venue couldn't be more perfect, although we wished we'd taken blankets as it is not a short play, we're silly girls who like wearing pretty things when we go out and July is still giving us chilly evenings. After the performance we arrived at the japanese restaurant and rather than our usual sushi, sashimi and white wine we ordered curry and winter warmers (lemon, honey, ginger and pepper with hot water). The waiters were amused by the change in us from shivering to glowing over the course of the night. The play must be in particular favour as The Pirate's No. 2 Son is about to start a run of it locally, as Claudio (we decided that The Swimmers would all go to see him perform) and the Joss Whedon film is on the slate for next week. 
The LE's summer house - yesterday she'd been frazzled by the early arrival of the builders who had been up at 4 am to reach her by 7am and been very disappointed that she'd left them to take to the water. She'd told them to relax and have a cuppa, or even to join us, but they hadn't turned up. They had, however, completely finished in a day. I've seen the result and it's seriously impressive. Not only is it big enough to be an office, but it's beautiful, with a cedar roof and proper flooring, power and insulation. I might just move in when they are not looking....
I'd played my Joker on Sunday - taking the biannual lie in that is generally accepted, but I was informed (when I requested it on the Saturday) that I should have "applied in writing 14 days in advance". Regardless I tried to sleep past 6.30am as I have really been struggling to get out of bed and felt a bit of extra sleep wouldn't go amiss. Of course sod's law dictated that I was awake by 5am on Sunday, but I still made the most of it, dozing till 8am. The weather was glorious for the first time in weeks so there were plenty of requests for me to stay in bed a bit more often. It was a relaxed Sunday morning as Legs and I shared our experience by text as Mertz played golf with her son. We'd also had a wonderful late Midsummer feast at their house on Saturday night, wonderful food as always - even Jansen's Temptation went down well (this was a joke for DK, who claims he hates it, but now realises that it's actually Johansens's Temptation that he hates, the difference is so subtle and I fear I may be succumbing to 'in jokes') . I ate so much herring, mackerel and gravadlax that I think I might have sunk if I had tried to swim on Sunday.
Two swim days - The Pirate and I try to squeeze in a second swim when we can and over the weekend Mertz also swam on his evening walk as it really is warmer in than out. Today I called The Pirate as a friend, who is a champion swimmer, came over and wanted to go in and we all met up at the beach huts. A difficult decision arose for him as he had just poured a cup of tea when I rang and tea is what keeps him going, but he joined us at the beach huts and we languished for some time as the water was totally different - calm and still, just as I would imagine it can be when a boat is suddenly becalmed at sea.

* This exercise is valuable, but time consuming as I recall various conversations and events, time has run out so I will mention them as and when I try to blog more regularly. Here - for The Pirate, following a conversation about my tree hugging tendencies, and his new book/books, more of which at another time: The so-called `review exercises' - to be carried out alongside the `supplementary exercises' and meditation - are integral to the path of personal development and knowledge presented by Rudolf Steiner. Together they form a means of experiencing the spiritual realm in full consciousness. Meditation enlivens thinking, the supplementary exercises educate and balance feeling, whilst the review exercises cultivate the will by penetrating it with powers of consciousness. Conscientiously practised, this path of self-knowledge and development has the effect of opening a source of inner strength and psychological health that soon make themselves felt in daily life.