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.

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