Saturday, 28 June 2014

High Tide00:02 (2.30m)
Low Tide05:46 (0.80m)
High Tide12:06 (2.50m)
Low Tide18:19 (0.60m)
Sea temperature: not taken today - 16.4 on Thursday.
Sea conditions: a bit murky, perfect depth, and coming in.
Weather: it had been sunny at fish but the mist had descended and brought a chill with it.
Joined by: just TBC, The LE and me today, but The Pirate's Wife came to say hello before her run, with Bosco trailing behind.
Jagger had found a new friend and was busy quailing himself with him by running round and round in circles barking a great deal. He's about three times the size of the new friend, a white Jack Russel cross, and yet the newcomer had him whipped. The Ellies have employed a trainer to work with Jagger and they are currently attempting to redress the balance of power in the household having been duped by his floppy, gentle and ever so clever manipulation of their daily lives. He had lulled them into a false sense of security by appearing to be rather an innocent unset jelly, whereas he was in fact a cunning and wily control freak who has been getting his own way. Yesterday he stole TBC's trousers, perhaps this really meant he didn't want her to leave the beach, but to stay and play?
The storm of yesterday evening was a main topic of conversation, it has cooled the temperatures from the mugginess of the day, which had started with strange dark cloud banks hanging over the land and the sea. As I'd swum alone I contemplated that had I no sense of temperature I could have been in Thailand, where there is often a dark line on the horizon and the air felt thick and still. 
There had been a sudden downpour at lunchtime and then by the time I was driving home the dark clouds had massed over the village. At around the same time the LE told us she had called in to pick up a loaf of bread, on her bike, on the way to a book reading. The heavens had opened during the book reading and just as I arrived home so we'd stayed dry, but the bread hadn't. It had been a full on tropical sounding storm, heavy rain, huge raindrops falling straight down with no wind at all and lots of deep, growling thunder. 
Double exposure creating ghost sheep!
The LE's article has been published in a local glossy magazine and I hoped to add a link here but I'm having issues with with my browser this morning, it seems to be choosing where I am allowed to go, interestingly allowing me to play a video about the new dog food I've invested in. I'm blaming The Yogi, who very kindly looked after Luna and Willow last weekend. She has introduced Maisie, her lurcher, to a new and exciting food stuff, which Luna wanted and couldn't have - so she went on strike. She has never, EVER left food in her bowl before, but having seen what Maisie was getting she refused hers. The Yogi then brought us a sample and the dogs wouldn't leave our sides till they'd had some so I've had a delivery this morning and it's quite complicated: I'll keep a note of how this goes.
As I am now officially hooked on the whole paddle board thing I have finally ordered a wetsuit, with mush support from Sara, who reviewed my choices and offered advice, both practical and sartorial. There hasn't been much been falling in, so haven't really needed it yet but that's because Jochem has made sure I've stayed on calm water so far. For my introductory lesson I paddled in the 'children's beach', a small inlet, where the water sits between the two rivers. It's tidal so at high tide he paddled over from the north side and then the next day I cycled over and paddle up river, on my own! I felt really confident and happy as I navigated around the moored boats and up under the bridge, next time I might even make it to the samphire beds. 
The children's beach with teacher.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Low Tide 03:41 (0.80m)
High Tide 10:11 (2.40m)
Low Tide 16:11 (0.80m)
High Tide 22:29 (2.30m)
Sea temperature: not taken (last time I took it was Monday - 15.2)

Sea conditions: good waves, deep water
Weather: bright and silvery, a strong breeze on the beach
Joined by: The Usual Suspects (apart from DK who is in France working on his memoirs) 
Topics of conversation:
It's not just been my schedule that's been all over the place over the last week with work commitments, late nights and house guests. DK decreed a 7.15 swim time for the main group just before he went away and apparently this lasted only until he went away, when the rest of them decided to revert to 7.30, but didn't tell the occasional swimmers. This has meant that the short stretch of water on our patch has been swum from 6.30, when the first LOTV's take to the water, then The Rev Cannon seems to have persuaded his wife to go slightly later at around 6.45 as  I encountered them leaving as I arrived just before 7. There is then a steady drip feed till around 8, when the final staggers arrive. Over the last 5 days I've been joined by The Inventor, who has been staying with us and recently by The Osteopath, who has gone from full wetsuit to bikini overnight. 
Wetsuits were a topic today too as Sara has kindly leant me a couple of hers to try. I've never won a wetsuit before and I found it very awkward and uncomfortable, especially around the neck. I hadn't realised (foolishly) that wetsuits need to be high and tight around the neck to keep you warm and I have a fair amount of scar tissue in that area from surgery. Not only was it uncomfortable but it was alien, as I haven't even worn a polo neck for years. One of my tasks today is to research wetsuits to see if I can find something that works for me when paddle boarding. There are just so many variables that I'm stuck already.

Jochem Voogt of Novobaots is introducing me to the delights of paddle boarding, a sport which ticks every box for me; you take it at your own pace, you can use it for silent and solitary exploration, wave bashing or even just hanging out in the water, and it's good for core strength. It was Jochem who restored Greylag (previously featured) and I spotted him paddling down river one evening when we were eating fish and chips on her with The Architect. The only problem is that Jochem is not just a boat builder and furniture maker, he's an artist - he's made a beautiful wooden board for himself and now I want one. Having been sent message with a photo from one of my ex-students the week before, showing him paddling with his teacher on a lake in Santa Fe which read "You'd like paddle boarding!" and then seeing this board - I'm hooked. Perhaps the key is for me to see it for what it is, a collaborative work of art, as he's happy for me to be involved in the design, and my height, weight and Landrover create a formula to decide the length and volume of the board.
Jochem on his board (with my house in the background)
Jess had been poorly and had a seizure yesterday evening - she's a 15 year old lurcher, with very long legs, and it had been scary for her and her owners. The vet was very supportive and has even supplied them with Diazepam to be administered as a suppository in case of further attacks, which got us all squirming a bit. She seems well recovered today and had a play with Jagger and a gravy bone and hopefully will continue to feel better.
The Artist and I had had fun after our swim yesterday as she is going to work with an inspirational teacher in July and he has asked her to find photographs of her environment to use. She wanted to work with some of the shots I've taken by the harbour and shoreline so we spent an hour or so going through around 9,000 images on my computer. It was like a game, I skimmed through the events with the images as large thumbnails and she stared at the screen making noises as she saw something that she liked. The noises varied from 'OOOh!' to 'Ahhhhhhhh' or 'nooooope' and then we created a shortlist, which she had to whittle down further. The criteria were: man made structure in the fore or middle ground, clouds or waves, depth of perspective. I'm honoured that she has chosen them.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

High Tide 03:05 (2.40m)
Low Tide 08:50 (0.80m)
High Tide 15:06 (2.60m)
Low Tide 21:39 (0.40m)
Sea temperature: not taken
Sea conditions: Big, slow, strong waves.
Weather: warm and grey, clouds gathering
Joined by: The Usual Suspects
Topics of conversation:
The overall palette this morning was grey and silver. A magical, mercurial sea with the sun seemingly just over the horizon and moon-like, as if it was reflecting the light, not emitting it. The surface of the water moved in an unusual way too - like a liquid mirror, the waves breaking a way out. We had to wade through the shallows, which were deceptively gentle only to be met, rather randomly, by a series of large, strong and slow moving waves. The Pirate loves to throw himself into these waves, surfacing once they have passed only to prepare himself for the next battering. I prefer to get beyond them and then rise and fall in the pre-breaking swell that was so deep today that the land kept disappearing altogether. We often meet when we are taking our dogs for an evening walk and in the autumn, when is blowing strong from the south I choose to have the wind at my back and he choses to lean into it, I guess this may demonstrate something about our characters.

It began to rain as we came out of the water, which sent The Pirate's wife and granddaughter scurrying home taking Bosco with them, they had come down as we all went in, bringing the illusive Alf, who hasn't graced up with his presence for some time now. They formed a lovely group as they wandered over the bridge, silhouettes of all different shape as sizes but my hands were too wet to get a photo.
I'm hoping it will clear today as it is the AGM and 25th Anniversary reception for World Land Trust today, in a rose garden. I've seen pictures of the location and it is absolutely stunning, so much so that the invitation that went out to the council members and supporters makes room in the schedule for 'walk around the garden'. It's be a shame if it doesn't brighten up. I'm helping the SBPFG to set up her kit and caboodle for the event, and I'm quite relieved that I we had the conversation about dress code as dresses are not really my thing and we agreed that it was OK to wear trousers, especially if you are going to be on your hands and knees cabling a barn. Legs and I recently had our biannual lovely time at TK and I wish I could've had the courage to wear something I tried on - a jungle print jumpsuit, that'd have done nicely and it fitted like a glove - but I don't know the team well enough for that level of statement yet.
In other dog news Jagger had succeeded in breaking the barrier with Willow this morning and for the first time they went off hunting together, at least I think that's what they were doing, The Ellies weren't convinced he'd quite understood 'rabbits!!!' but off they went at speed. He came as far as the beach hut with us but as soon as I opened the door he scarpered, perhaps he though I was going to lock him in. Luna and Willow are going to stay with Jess today, whilst I'm away from home and they are very lucky that their garden is full of rabbits, Jess is a good rabbiter but she's beyond the age of seeing it as a daily task, so it was lovely to drop them off and seeing them all quartering the garden together too. Where does that expression 'it's a dogs life ' come from?
Happy birthday Legs! DK has many, many brownie points - Tiffany earrings - result. 
Oh crap, it's thundering, best take a brolly.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

High Tide 00:34 (2.50m)
Low Tide 06:32 (0.60m)
High Tide 12:47 (2.60m)
Low Tide 19:08 (0.40m)
Sea temperature: 16.5
Sea conditions: hugely powerful undertoad, waves beneath the surface occasionally breaking through - seaweed
Weather: grey and windy, but warm
Joined by: The Usual Suspects, which now includes The Vicar's Wife who joins for the summer months.
Topics of conversation:
The strength of the tow, it was deceptively strong first thing and I've just been for a second dip with The Osteopath, who called in on the off chance of having swimming company, and the water was at it's deepest and most powerful. Not a time to swim alone so we stayed near each other and when I got out her partner, The Birder, stayed guard. Whilst he was there he spotted a male eider duck flying over the water, I wasn't sure I'd recognise one in flight so I've looked it up on ARKive and there's some great footage here, where they aren't flying but do the most perfect ice flow walk and make that sound that sounds as if they are fascinated by what each other has to say: Eider ducks 

I stayed in for too long this morning, it was not distance swimming conditions so there was not much by way of exercise and the blood didn't get pumping. This meant that by the time I got home my hands were numb and the shower water hurt. It's easily done and it would've been a perfect sauna day, but I hadn't been in the mood to light it. Next week I'm going to force myself to do so as it's worth the effort and would keep my injured back more mobile.
Jess was looking majestic as always.

The Ellies, Legs and I had been to the Southwold Picture Palace last night, where we'd bumped into the Vicar's Wife and The Vicar. None of us had enjoyed the film, which was a shame as I'd been really looking forward to it. We saw Inside Llewyn Davis, the first Coen Brothers film I've taken against. I wasn't the only one, although we all agreed that seeing it at the Picture Palace wasn't the best place - it couldn't take an interval, certainly not an interval with chat, wine and a short film. Although we all agreed that the best bit was the Tom and Jerry cartoon before hand, which had been chosen because there's a cat in the main feature. IMDB's storyline section describes the film thus:
Follow a week in the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles -- some of them of his own making.
Well actually they are all of his own making, he is a completely unsympathetic character, if they were trying to create someone who's just a bit shit at everything; relationships, looks, empathy with animals and ultimately music, they succeeded. Carey Mulligan's character Jean neatly sums him up with the unforgettable line: Everything you touch turns to shit, you're like king Midas's idiot brother.
The evening was saved by the Two Magpies Bakery, a bakery that turns pizza place in the evening. I don't like pizza but the Brooklyn Gazette Eggstra, with cavolo nero, thick squishy wild mushrooms, lashings of shavings of garlic and sweet peppers was delicious, I hesitate to say excellent as there were so many 'egg' jokes being banded about and the chef clearly got carried away too.
I wanted to buy us each one of their vast pillowy meringues to take into the cinema and make people drool, but we decided it wasn't fair. 
The Vicar and his wife had cycled home and had seen the first glow worm of the year, a real sign that summer is here. The Poet was asking about them and there is a survey currently running in Scotland to see how they are doing up there, they give this great concise description:
There are two species of glow worms in the UK. The ‘common’ Glow worm (Lamphyris noctiluca) and the rare Lesser glow worm (Phosphaenus hemipterus), that is only know from a few sites in Hampshire and Sussex.
Glow worms are actually beetles rather than worms. 
From June to August, the wingless females climb-up grass stems at dusk and begin to glow with a pale-green light (bioluminescence) to attract the flying males. The males look much more like a ‘real’ beetle than the females- which don’t have wing cases. The males, larvae and even the eggs can ‘twinkle’ occasionally.

The glow worm spends most of its life as a juvenile. The larvae have pale spots along the sides of their segmented body, and can spend up to 3 years feeding on snails, before turning into an adult. The adults don’t eat and live for only a few weeks, searching for a mate and die shortly after laying their eggs.
The adults and larvae are generally nocturnal, but may be discovered resting under stones or logs during the day. Females tend to start glowing around 10pm until midnight (possibly slightly later in the far north of Scotland where the days are longer and nights shorter in mid-summer).
We talked about the strange drag and I was able to drag-brag that I had experienced navigating through the current as I'd been given the chance to steer Greylag, the beautiful boat jointly owned and cared for by The Architect and the GGB's. The Architect kindly had confidence enough in me to allow me to take control of her on the river and I was amazed at the sensitivity of that stick thing that you use to steer (I'm not good with the nautical terms). She has a fair bit of power too and can turn in a small area so once they know the route a trip up river to the pub is planned. 

Sticky thing with boat runey-type thing drawn into it
The Poet was true to form with his level of jokes this morning and as he approached us in the water he began to scoop up the cling film thin seaweed sheets that were hanging around at waist level, he then chucked them at us, calling "Are you feeling a bit weedy this morning?!". It's his birthday next week, I have just the card....

Monday, 9 June 2014

Just a quick note to say that Dr. Sea worked his magic on my back this morning and I am so much more mobile as a result. I limped down to the beach and almost skipped home after my marine therapy. Feeling very lucky to have Dr. Sea on the doorstep.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Low Tide 00:56 (0.80m)
High Tide 07:47 (2.10m)
Low Tide 13:06 (1.10m)
High Tide 19:29 (2.20m)
Sea temperature: 14. 6 Saturday 16.4 Sunday
Sea conditions: Scary Saturday, Mill pond calm Sunday
Weather: Warm both days, windy Saturday with rain later, Sunday - best day of the year
Joined by: The Usual Suspects and a couple of LOTVs this morning
Topics of conversation:
This is a weekend round up and so begins with most swimmers feeling a little jaded on Saturday following DK's take over of the village pub on Friday night for 'D-Day with DK', when he entertained the assembled company with songs from the period and songs that began with a D. Only DK could play that hard and fast with the rules and get away with it. As special consideration to those of us who didn't remember most of the songs, Dancing Queen, by Abba was included and the Dancing Queen himself gallantly tried to steer me around and back out of the dining room before I made a complete fool of myself. The evening was very well attended and when I snuck out through the kitchen at 11.30 the Architect and the remaining GGB had just ordered whiskey, as had DK so it wasn't surprising that there wasn't much banter the next day. 
The sea was boiling, there'd been strong winds overnight and it'd really put some strength into the waves. The GGBs and The Architect had planned on taking their beautifully refurbished boat Greylag out to sea but I texted to warn them of the strength of the current. However The Pirate was keen to get in, and whilst I was happy to leave them to it I realised that The Poet, our strongest swimmer, was away, so we all went in en masse. The Pirate promised to stay in the shallows as we couldn't take out feet off the sea bed without being propelled a fews meters in both directions. There was lots of hollering of the usual excited kind but then suddenly there was a squeal. TBC had been floating in the wave when it changed direction and she made contact with The LE. Whilst The LE could see this coming TBC couldn't and so thought she was being approached by a shark, as you do...
The LE and I discussed her upcoming article in a local glossy, for which she need some photos so I'd been wandering around with my camera. Once it's published I'm sure we'll be able to link to it but these pics will give you a flavour of it's topic.

Jagger is in disgrace, he had stolen Sara's googles and eaten them on Friday and today he grabbed one of the LOTV's T-Shirst and took off with it. It was white, but by the time I caught hold of it it wasn't. He's going through his acquisitive phase, Willow did this at his age, she stole anything she could, ate Phillips' wash bag and ate most of it's (Liz Earle) contents - not cheap to replace, and had a penchant for knitting, which unravelled as she carted it around the house whilst I was out. The LE had given her goggles to Sara in the meantime and the ones she was wearing today had tinted glass, which came in very handy as the sun was very, very bright as it bounced off the water.
Today DK decided Mabel should have a swim. We're not sure if she enjoyed it, she looked mightily pissed off as she came out but wagged her tail furiously and ran about with it in the air. She's not on great form this evening though, I've just had Legs on the phone saying she got out and came back most unhappy with a leg problem and shivering, possibly been stung, she's so tiny that a bee sting would be very nasty for her. Hope she's OK tomorrow.
Hope I'm OK tomorrow too, I tweaked my back this morning and am wandering around with an ice pack tied around my waist. It went as I reached up to close the car boot, but I suspect it may have something to do with carrying 9 year old girls around on my shoulders in the sea, whilst a 7 year old climbed up my front and did a summersault. Whichever it was I'm very uncomfortable and had to dip out of a trip to watch Rebel Without a Cause tonight as I thought I might not be able to get up out of my seat at the end. My film club partner has an osteopath staying and she told me to listen to my body, pack the inflammation with ice and keep moving. I told her my body felt like wandering around the orchard in my dressing gown with a glass of wine and she condoned that 100%.