Saturday, 29 March 2014

Low Tide 02:59 (0.40m)
High Tide 09:27 (2.40m)
Low Tide 15:18 (0.70m)
High Tide 21:19 (2.50m)
Sea temperature: not taken
Sea conditions: Deep, calm, powerful - the best kind of sea, (and man for that matter)
Weather: Sunny, warm, glorious
Joined by: The Usual Suspects
Topics of conversation: 

TBC's birthday, we celebrated on the beach and then at The Deli, in style. The LE brought 'girly cake' to have after we'd swum and there was a candle to be blown out. We sang, in fact there was an awful lot of singing this morning from The Pirate and DK in particular. 

Afterwards she and her husband treated all the swimmers to breakfast at the newly re-opened Black Dog Deli, The Pirate's son's venture. It felt like summer had arrived early as the deli is a seasonal store, which closes for the winter. They have made some small changes, all of which we sampled or made use of; a meat slicer, a new bench outside made from a sleeper that came in with the floods on Christmas day and a wonderful new breakfast menu, including my new favourite deli dish - a kipper roll. The kipper fillets are served in a smart bun with dill and mustard mayo and some rocket - it almost felt healthy. There is also a supply of Norwegian Brown cheese, which Legs and I will appreciate all summer. (Legs joined the Boys' supper last night by way of Face Time, here she is commanding the attention of her husband, son and The Architect, even though she is very tiny and in a box propped up against a wine bottle.

At The Black Dog TBC declared her bacon roll (with bloody mary ketchup) "the best I've ever had". She also stood up and gave a short speech about being the new member of The Swimmers, and thanked us for welcoming her, it was very touching, especially as I'd really forgotten that she only started swimming with us last summer, it feels as if she always been part of the team. I was about to say that everyone is welcome, but that's not strictly true, I realise. We have rejected those who do not have the same appreciation of nature and community as we feel so deeply, there really isn't room for them and they've been sent away in the past. Our values may not be a written manifesto or openly discussed, but we know what they are.

We discussed the clock 'springing' forward and hope we will all remember, having spent the day singlehandedly moving around 2 tons of sand with a shovel and drunk half a bottle of unexpected Champagne, I'm preparing by going to bed very, very early in the hope that I won't wake up stiff as a board. 

Monday, 24 March 2014

High Tide 03:28 (2.30m)
Low Tide 09:23 (0.90m)
High Tide 15:52 (2.20m)
Low Tide 22:04 (0.80m)
Sea temperature: not taken for a while now - will remedy tomorrow
Sea conditions: good
Weather: sun, light breeze, frost
Joined by: I swam on my own today but yesterday it was the boys and me, with The Artist joining briefly on her early morning constitutional.
Topics of conversation:
The equinox and the clocks - it's that time of year when we get all giddy with the excitement of the new season and I'd had a wonderful experience of finding a group of druids on the doorstep of the hut yesterday, conducting an equinox celebration with lanterns, herbs, incense and music. They were very apologetic about using our space, but I was rather pleased that they had chosen the spot and asked them to look after the hut and include it in their celebration and when I came down to change this morning they'd left me an offering of some flowers tied up with ribbon. A good start to the day, and what with the weather being crisp and clear I found a spring in my step that I hadn't expected on a Monday. The sea was calm and a bit murky, but it feels as if it may be warming up a little too. There had been discussion about the clock change yesterday and we all have different views on it, but I found something on social media which summed up my view, supposedly attributed to a Native American elder: Only a white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it on to the bottom of a blanket and get a bigger blanket. 
Luna watched me from the shore very intently this morning so I went back in with my phone to take this - my regular view of the beach from the sea.
Yesterday we'd discussed DK's success at the village hall quiz, he'd been dreading it but the team won. Apparently a slight feud has now started because the person who set the questions for the music round got one of the answers wrong, and if anyone would know, DK would know. The quiz master hadn't set them himself and so contacted the man who had, who refused to accept he was wrong and cast doubt upon DK's mental capacity... eek. I can see this one running and running. 
We'd also discussed The Pirate's Eeyore tendencies again as he'd demonstrated them perfectly to his wife; she'd offered to get him bananas from the shop and his first response had not been "thank you, that's kind - I'd love some bananas as it's a fast day and I really feel a bit weak", no, he'd remarked "oh, well, I suppose so, but I bet they'll all be green....".

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Low Tide 04:13 (0.60m)
High Tide 10:37 (2.30m)
Low Tide 16:17 (0.70m)
High Tide 22:34 (2.50m)
Sea temperature: hovering around 7.5/7.8
Sea conditions: calm, clear
Weather: warm sunny, westerly wind 
Joined by: over the last few days pretty much all the regulars have been on the beach at some point between 7 and 7.45. The swims have been staggered and there has been illness and recovery to deal with. 
Topics of conversation:
David Webb setting up the crabbing championships
The sad news has prevailed this week, a valued member of our small community and a friend to many of us died unexpectedly on Tuesday night. We met him and his cousin every morning on the way to swim and he was often referred to here as 'Village Elder'. His family has been in the village for 4 generations and he was responsible for more of the day to day running of the village than any other single person. His death was unexpected and sudden, although clearly very peaceful. The waves of shock are still rippling through the village and his family have gathered here over the last few days from around the world. His brother Wally died 2 years ago and he took on most of his responsibilities as well as maintaing his own role as head of the parish council, volunteer common warden as a trustee of the Common Lands Charity, he was a member of the Sea Defence Group, The Southwold Harbour Trust and the Blythe Estury Group. He and Wally organised the British Open Crabbing Championship which ran each year from 1981 to 2010, raising tens of thousands for charities including the old Blythburgh Hospital and East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices’ Treehouse Appeal. He had many other less formalised roles, which he undertook quietly and without a fuss. If something in the village was broken, he'd fix it, if someone needed taking to the hospital he'd drive them, if someone deserved taking down a peg or two, he'd have a jolly good go, but to me he was always the smiling start to my day and one of the reasons I joined the conservation volunteer group. We will all miss his presence for years to come. All in all its been a funny old week, David's death impacted on us all. 

I was 'out of the water on doctors orders' till Friday, The Poet's had a lurgie, and now DK has it.
On Friday I swam early with a new recruit though, The Osteopath is hoping to become a regular Friday morning swimmer, possibly more often, and she and I met for the first time in the thick and impenetrable fog that hugged the coast all day. We had made arrangements to meet, giving details of our appearance so that we could find each other, but as it transpired there were only 2 of us mad enough to be out and about in the pea soup air before 7am, so I had no need to look out for her raspberry coloured hat. Coming, as she does, from the South West she was well equipped and prepared for the cold water, but in order to break herself in gently she had her thick wetsuit, which she admitted is not easy to swim in. As the water was shallow and the conditions not perfect she wasn't going to be doing a triathlon though. Hopefully I haven't out her off and she will become a regular member of the group and possibly a regular feature on the blog.
Yesterday and today we were joined by Tiffin Gel, the LE's oldest school friend - by that I do not mean that she is OLD!! I must be clear about that as I know she reads this.... She encouraged us in and then headed for the dunes, she's not a wild swimmer but she enjoys walking along the shoreline as we swim and once I'd versed her in the joys of hunting for sea coal she had a mission of her own. There has been quite a lot of sea coal recently, enough for The LE to have to find a receptacle to collect it in, I'm not sure that her swimming cap was the best idea, especially as she has blond hair. I do hope she remembers to rinse it out. We were not, however, joined by DK, who has been coming down with something for a few days now and finally succumbed. I spoke to him not long ago and he sounded ghastly - actually sorry, I should say "he sounded very deep and manly, and as if he'd been gargling with whisky and gravel". Get well soon DK.
The tides and the moons have been extreme these last couple of days, the water came up over the bridge both days and, according to Cousin Richard, it will get higher after tonight's full moon. Something to do with 'centrafoogal force' as he put it.

The Drapers have moved into the village in the last couple of weeks and this was their first relaxed weekend here so we met to celebrate by the huts last night for early sundowners, which gave us wonderful views of the moon rising over the sea and a taste of the warm weather to come.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

High Tide 00:42 (2.70m)
Low Tide 07:02 (0.40m)
High Tide 13:15 (2.40m)
Low Tide 19:06 (0.60m)
Sea temperature: not taken

Sea conditions: the calmest sea of the year so far
Weather: glorious, sun, no wind with a light frost
Joined by: The Usual Suspects (TBC is in warmer climes) 

Topics of conversation:
The tide - was this the lowest any of us could remember for a while?

This was a wonderful day for my last swim in a while, I'm having some extensive dental surgery today so have an enforced break of a week or so. 

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Low Tide 06:23 (0.30m)
High Tide 12:34 (2.50m)
Low Tide 18:28 (0.50m)
Sea temperature:7.1 (yes, really - I took it twice)
Sea conditions: shallow and calm
Weather: cold but no wind, sun breaking through, a perfect morning
Joined by: just me and the boys today, but The Artist joined us briefly on her morning walk

Topics of conversation:
The tide, it had just turned and did rise measurably whilst we were on the shingle, but we had to swim in the trough, as the deep water was about half a mile away. I was slightly late as Luna has been sick and I'd been side-tracked by a phenomenon happening by the river wall. As she wasn't feeling up to charging across the dunes Luna had stopped to watch the fishing boats go out, Willow was hunting so I was mesmerised by a small halo of movement. The water was rising around an elliptical sand bank about the size of a bus and as it did so there was a rippled wave traveling around it in a clockwise direction. The bank must have been angled slightly and it only happened for about 4 or 5 waves, but it seemed so deliberate that it threw me. 

The Poet was a bit battered and bruised this morning having taken 2 tumbles whilst walking. Once as a result of mud and a second time whilst gallantly protecting Jess from a marauding labrador. It didn't stop him trying to wade out to sea in search of deep water, but we all gave up in the end and splashed about in the shallows.
I've just been talking to an architect in Rendlesham who used to do a weekly commute from Lancashire, as a wild swimmer he decided to break his journey each week, each way with a swim and he found wonderful places to commune with nature. This lead me back to thinking about Waterlog by Roger Deakin and I found this: what a great idea, perhaps, in the absence of a spring Arctic trip, I should try this.