Tuesday, 29 October 2013

High Tide05:37 (2.30m)
Low Tide12:21 (0.90m)
High Tide19:05 (2.20m

Sea temperature: 12.8
Sea conditions: good
Weather: cold, for the first time
Joined by: The LE, Sara and The Poet.
Topics of conversation: The storm, the fire, it's biblical, and now there's a whale: Humpback spotted of East Coast
There was a really nasty house fire on the other side of the river on Sunday evening, we'd met There Pirate on the beach on our evening walk and then walked north and as we'd done so there had been a fireball, followed by flames and small explosions, or flashes, as the studio of an artist couple had taken light. It spread dramatically and the house has been seriously damaged. The fire engines arrived very quickly but it was the day of the high winds so they had a battle on their hands.
There have been power cuts in the area, as a result of the storm, and some neighbouring villages and towns are still partially without power and wifi. The Architect has been WFH and Sara's sister and brother-in-law have a smallholding which has been without for more than 24 hrs and it's is hard for them with many living creatures needing attention and no power. We discussed the way in which current life is reliant upon power and how difficult it is, or seems, to get by without these days. Sara and I looked at it differently - I see it as a relief to be detached from the real world occasionally and we mulled over individual importance. Once, in the days when I thought I was important and was working in live television, the main power supply to the TV station was severed by a construction worker building the neighbouring shopping mall, he was fine, but the station ground to an instant halt and panic ensued. We all ran about trying to get the outside broadcast units, that were parked in the car park, fired up so that they could power transmission and huge umbilical chords of power were dragged through the corridors in a frenzy.  I was stabbing wildly at a dead telephone, feeling uncomfortably out of control, shouting "somebody do SOMETHING!" as if our lives depended on it, when our laid back and level headed Production Manager sauntered in and said "It's only telly, no one's going to die..." This stuck with me, in fact he rewired me instantly and this sense of insignificance is not unpleasant, more liberating. If you not a parent no one relies on you, I'm not an A&E doctor, nurse or emergency services driver, Fireman etc. and when Sara asked what I would do if I had something really important to do and the power was off, well...I don't. Friends and I communicate regularly by email and text, but if we can't we don't panic, we know we are still there. The fact that our methods of communication have increased beyond any previous generation's means that we have the ability to be constantly switched on to some connection powered by the national grid or signal masts, but we don't have to be. There's a short article in The Sunday Times about the general panic that teenagers are sexting more and more but actually that's all they are doing, and that teenage pregnancy is at the lowest it's been since records began, good thing? Bad thing? Katie Glass says "I watch my twentysomething brother obsess over his friends' lives on Facebook. Go out and s**g someone, I tell him. He looks horrified."
One thing that is certainly 'good' is that the recent unseasonal warm weather has meant there is a glut of lobster locally and one restaurant is taking advantage of this and running  their second lobster night. But of course they are without power so no one can book...!

Monday, 28 October 2013

High Tide 04:21 (2.30m)
Low Tide 11:14 (1.00m)
High Tide18:08 (2.20m)
Low Tide 22:55 (1.30m)
Sea temperature: not taken - we're not completely mad
Sea conditions: ROUGH
Weather: the storm was approaching 
Joined by: The Pirate's Wife and The Poet
Topics of conversation: 
We couldn't hear ourselves think, let alone talk, as the sea was raging so we all went our separate ways having confirmed that there was no chance of getting wet and staying alive. The day has been one of extreme weather, but nothing too serious. We've just returned from chopping  up a tree that had fallen into The Poet's fence, but other than that only minor damage. It was an exciting day however and one when we were both glad to be WFH. Here's a picture postcard of the day.

Dog into the wind

Dog into the wind

Dog into the wind





Sunday, 27 October 2013

High Tide 03:20 (2.30m)
Low Tide 09:39 (1.00m)
High Tide 16:59 (2.10m)
Low Tide 21:30 (1.30m)
Sea temperature: not taken
Sea conditions: rough
Weather: windy, raining small stones (at least that's how it felt)
Joined by: The Ellie's guests, The LE, Mertz, Sara and The Poet
Topics of conversation: not much other than shouting above the wind about whether we could swim or not. We only splashed about as the current was very strong indeed and the waves were breaking out to sea. We left home in sunshine, but by the time we'd reached the beach the rain and wind had swept in, now it's sunny again. As the forecast for our area was enough to get the Suffolk Surfers very excited and buzzing about descending on Dunwich I doubt there will be any chance of swimming tomorrow.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

High Tide 02:08 (2.50m) Low Tide 08:13 (0.80m)
High Tide14:41 (2.30m) Low Tide 20:17 (1.00m)
Sea temperature: 13.9
Sea conditions: good
Weather: glorious - sunny, chilly
Joined by: The LE and The Poet
Topics of conversation: 
The sunrise - stunning again this morning, The Village Elders had been waiting for it on the dunes and as I joined them it started to glow above the horizon. Then, at 7.34 it burst through. I was therefore on the drag and the others had all met at the shore line, and as I'd left my swim things in the hut there wasn't much conversation, apart from the small point about The LE's contract.
Contractual obligations - When The LE joined the group, some while ago now, she was given the rules. One of these rules was that we may blog, write articles, sing from the rooftops etc. about the joys of swimming in the sea, but we don't mention The Village by name. This had to be pointed out to her when she first joined us, as she had written an article for the Telegraph on the benefits of living in The Village and we feared a mass invasion as a result. Pushing up the price of property is not something we all desire (although right now The Pirate could benefit from it, having his parents' house on the market). She's only gone and done it again, this time in the Express, but as she also mentioned the fact that A&E is at least an hour away we're probably safe this time:
The Express Article
It's all about the benefits of living by the sea, which we sometimes take for granted, but this morning the weather and the water didn't let us. It was warmer in than it has been, and the light of the early sun bounced off the water giving even the human swimmers a glow. This week we have been occasionally joined by the shining seal, who we think of as a kind of guardian angel now.
I got some sand on the phone camera lens this morning, but I rather like the effect

Then, as I walked home the sun was burning through and casting shadows in front of me, the shadow of a person moved across, behind me, but when I turned round there was no one there. Slightly strange...

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

High Tide 01:34 (2.50m)
Low Tide 07:36 (0.80m)
High Tide13:59 (2.40m) 

Low Tide 19:46 (0.90m)
(something strange has happened to the tide table format - for accurate information you can check the daily tides for this area here: Tide Table)
Sea temperature: not taken - to rough
Sea conditions: see above - the kind of rough that takes the waves in all directions
Weather: very windy with stunning cloud formation
Joined by: The Poet and The LE
Topics of conversation:
The clouds - it was too windy to get the identification book out so phone photos serve to identify now that I'm home, I need a Gavin Pretor-Pinney cloud app... as he says "cloudspotting legitimises doing nothing" and if you are doing nothing and have 20 minutes then take a look at this:
You'll notice that it's only 10 minutes long, but you'll need another 10 after that to stare at the sky, trust me (as The Twerp would say).
Yesterday and today the sun and moon were up together, when the sea is calm it is wonderful to be able to stand in the water with your arms outstretched east/west and point to both, but today the sea was not calm. It was going in every direction and DK and The Poet baptised themselves and got out swiftly as The LE and I stood guard realising the futility of such a posture. The Pirate's Wife had sent me a text to say he wasn't coming in as it sounded rough, but he showed up as the others were getting out saying he thought it looked 'doable'. It wasn't. (I'm still having a sense of humour failure that he thinks he's invincible, or that those of us who help him in an out are.)

Yesterday's Sunrise

Today's sunrise masked

Slight shadow from double exposure

The Poet trying to get in but being fought back with Jess standing guard

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Beware of The Undertoad

Low Tide05:44 (0.70m)
High Tide11:53 (2.70m)
Low Tide18:09 (0.60m)

Sea temperature: not taken
Sea conditions: good
Weather: beautiful
Joined by: DK, Mertz, Sara and The Poet and The Tattooed Man.
Topics of conversation:
Just the one - The Incident - DK and The Pirate are lucky to be alive. The swim yesterday had changed everything for a moment, if not forever. The Sea had reminded DK, The Pirate and Abs who is in charge here. Each of them has their own version of the incident but the common theme is that they each thought their days were numbered and that yesterday was their last. 
Having raged all night, the water was rough and the wind was strong. This combined with the post lunar eclipse tide made it lethal, but not obviously so from the shore. Once they got in though it quickly became obvious that they were being pulled out and Abs turned immediately to get out, but couldn't. She got tumbled by the water and had to fight her way against the water into her depth and drag herself to the shore, by which time DK and The Pirate were in serious difficulty and DK was calling out for help. Abs was exhausted by his time but made her way south as they were being dragged along and out. DK was doing what he could to help The Pirate to stay upright whilst staying afloat, out of his depth and swallowing water. The Sea took mercy at this point and a 'friendly wave' lifted them into the shallows, but they still had to get through the churning water and fight the undertoad to safety. By this time all three were exhausted and DK said it was all he could do to flop onto his back on the shingle to catch his breath. 
The benefits of swimming all year round remain unchallenged, but the gung ho attitude with which some of us take the water on will change. The Tattooed man had been in before them and warned about the current, he's large, physically fit, lifts slabs for a living and is tattooed from to to toe, so a good barometer for those in our group who feel  invincible.
On a personal note I regret leaving the hut in the early hours of the morning, having spent the night moon gazing, instead of being there at 7.30 as I'm the consistent voice of fear in the face of The Sea and I've promised The Pirate's Wife to bully The Pirate in the future, if needs be, but I hope there will be no need. I feel particularly bad having promised Legs not to let DK drown in her absence. Sorry Legs, he didn't drown, but I should've been there. Counting our blessings, again.

In other news, I found an orange which had floated ashore.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Low Tide02:38 (1.00m)
High Tide08:39 (2.50m)
Low Tide15:14 (0.60m)
High Tide21:52 (2.50m)
Sea temperature: 12.9
Sea conditions: good
Weather: odd, with a capital 'O'
Joined by: DK, The Poet and The LE
Topics of conversation:
The Odd weather - before sunrise it had been clear, cold but clear, then between 6.30 and 7 something strange happened. An inland fog began to spread towards the sea and a front began to creep down from the north, partly obscuring the sunrise. The clouds were out of control, some scudding across the sky whilst others were building up into huge cumulus - I've been reading up and they're not supposed to happen at the same time. The mist could also be what's known as 'radiation fog', which results from the air at ground level being cooled as the Earth rapidly looses heat on a clear night. (It was startlingly clear last night, the dogs and I cast moon shadows across the fields, I didn't need a torch.) By the time we all went in the sun was forcing the fog back and lighting the water. We all faced out to see, lost in our own thoughts for a moment.

Fog trying to take over

Sea and sun fighting the fog back

Now it's foggy again and pouring with rain, which is what The LE said it would do and I have just had to acknowledge her superiority on the weather prediction front by text as The Poet, The LE and I are now all members of the conservation group who work on the common on Wednesday afternoons and the work has been cancelled due to the rain. This means I have time to blog!
There was concern about Legs this morning as she is off to The US again, parent wrangling, and Virgin had messed up her tickets. Somehow managing to put her maiden name or some such on the ticket. All is well though - she was in touch from her seat and is skyward as I type. I've promised not to let the tide take DK to Zebrugge in her absence, although with the undertoad as it is he'd probably be directed to The Hague and regular readers will be aware that there is very little I (or anyone for that matter) can do to keep him out of the water. Looking forward to hearing about her progress with parents and the archive, and keeping a lucky stone for her.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

High Tide04:05 (2.40m)
Low Tide10:25 (0.80m)
High Tide17:08 (2.30m)
Low Tide22:46 (1.10m)
Sea temperature: not taken - too rough
Sea conditions: wild
Weather: undecided about what it wants to be today
Joined by: everyone except the eponymous DK and The Pirate
Topics of conversation:
The water - it was pretty powerful and we all tried to swim but didn't really succeed. Here are the Wild Women trying to get in and the tide taking the dunes.

Jagger's training has taken a step back, all was going well for the little dog, who grows bigger by the day. His 'sit' and 'wait' were pretty much there and following a visit from the trainer he was ready for the next phase but he doesn't seem to get the 'leave that paper on the table' command, either that or he has decided that the he's beyond the training sheets, because he ate them.

Friday, 11 October 2013

High Tide03:10 (2.50m)
Low Tide09:19 (0.80m)
High Tide15:48 (2.40m)
Low Tide21:40 (1.00m)
Sea temperature: not taken - too rough
Sea conditions: see above
Weather: scudding cloud, sun breaking through, warm but windy. However, by the time I'm typing this the temperature has plummeted, the wind is almost an '87 gale and the drive home from Norwich was treacherous with flooding and bits of tree all over the road.
Joined by: The Usual Suspect except The Pirate
Topics of conversation:
The Pirate - he has been banned from getting his head wet due to an ear infection, the first time he's been afflicted, and he'd have been furious if the water had been swimmable, but it really wasn't. The current was furious itself. He'd been to the new doctor, who recently joined our local surgery, and being used to people thinking it's brave to swim all year round he was surprised when she just nodded and told him he needed to start wearing a hat. It transpires that she swims on the other side of the river each day and is a channel swimmer. Good to know.
It wasn't just the current that was extreme, the tide had scoured the beach, filled the marsh and taken dunes back out to the depths. There was still water sitting on the backlands between the dunes and the river which frustrated the dogs, who couldn't reach the village elders across the water - they know they keep gravy bones in their pockets. 

Wayne McGregor's Random Dance - The Shaman and I had been to see Atamos at Sadler's Wells on Wednesday night and it had been very impressive. Not perfect, flawed but beautiful and as powerful as anything I'd seen for a while. Last week he'd held events giving access to the process he uses to create his work, specifically this piece. 'The Becoming', an eleventh dancer, has been generated from frames of a 1980's sci-fi movie and the troupe of 10 dancers work together with it as inspiration and individually to create the final performance. He constantly alludes to this movie but never names it. The music divided The Shaman and I as it became very discordant at one point forcing her to put her hands over her ears. There's a great review with an interview on The Guardian website, where Judith Mackrell nails it for me:
"So abstract is all this, however, that it's open to any interpretation – or none at all. For those wanting overt emotion or drama, it will disappoint, and, like most of McGregor's full-length pieces, there are sections where the tension of Atomos turns momentarily slack. But for those fascinated by sheer invention, there are dance ideas, too many to count, which are simply extraordinary...."
you can see it in full here: Atamos  and Drowned in Sound on the musicians here: A Winged Victory for the Sullen The Poet asked if they were 'dancing like Higgs Boson', so this is for him: Higgs Boson Blues
Other cultural highlights of the trip included meeting artist Laura Facey and seeing her exhibition, my much anticipated visit to Tacita Dean's new film work, JG. and a quick fizz around the Mira Schendel exhibition at Tate Modern, that needs more time. A record below for posterity and because The Shaman and The Viking weren't able to join me for various things, as planned, both having had accidents. Counting my blessings.
Laura Facey

Laura Facey

Laura Facey

Laura Facey

Tacita Dean

Tacita Dean

Tacita Dean

Tacita Dean

Mira Schendel
Coffee and butter buns

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

High Tide01:02 (2.60m)
Low Tide07:01 (0.70m)
High Tide13:17 (2.70m)
Low Tide19:26 (0.60m)
Sea temperature: a difference of a degree was finally agreed by DK yesterday, it's between 14.1 and 15.1
Sea conditions: good
Weather: good
Joined by The Usual Suspects and Terri with an i
Topics of conversation:
Apple chutney - The Pirate's Wife has had some of our cooking apples and today I reaped the benefits, she's been busy making apple chutney and kindly gave me a jar in return. It looks pokey, there's lots of mustard seed in it and it's got a lovely golden glow. It's probably best to wait till their son's deli is open again tomorrow so that I can get some decent cheese to do it justice.
Homeland - DK knows I'm a fan and he also knows I don't watch it till Tuesdays so he teased me all morning with giving away plot lines, I spent some time with my hands over my ears going lalalalalalalalalalalalalala, I'm avoiding all spoilers, so I may have missed a number of topics of conversation... The Bridge Captain hasn't seen the first series and so we all recommended it to her, but she simply can't start straight in to series 3. DK is also a huge Breaking Bad fan and has got ahead of me as I've been giving it a break, I remembered I'd promised to put this up for him. Hopefully it'll cheer up The Viking too as he's laid up with a nasty Achilles injury, there was lots of cringing and wincing as we discussed the pain he must be in.
The LE was delighted that one of her sisters, Terri with an i, had made it to swim with her this morning, she didn't squeal too much as she went in either, they're a hardy bunch.

The beautiful morning weather chased away the Black Dog
Not the Black Dog
DK and The LE had not been able to hang around on Sunday but the rest of the group really made the most of the weather, eating leftovers from The Artist's party and drinking coffee on the beach. The Norwegian was here for the weekend and swam with glee as she did last visit. We've given her the responsibility of bringing nice weather, which she always seems to do and have requested a visit mid February. It was so unseasonably warm that I had a second swim at about 11am, then lay in the sun thinking this might be the last chance to get some vitamin D. The breakfast menu was pretty spectacular: 
Smoked salmon blinis, brown shrimp, broad bean puree and boar pate crostinis, figs wrapped in palma ham with goat cheese and applekake.
The Bridge Captain's visiting dogs were hoping they might be included...