Monday, 25 August 2014

Low Tide 05:06 (0.90m)
High Tide 11:19 (2.60m)
Low Tide 17:34 (0.60m)
High Tide 23:58 (2.40m)
Sea temperature: not taken

Sea conditions: grey
Weather: grey
Joined be: no one
It's feeling really rather autumnal here today, the air temperature has dropped and it was on 8 degrees inside the hut this morning. The Allotment Bonfire Captain also decided it was time and lit the huge pile at dawn, as there was no wind and the smoke was going straight up. The weather is due to get wetter by the hour, so his timing is great, but the smell made it even more autumnal. The aftermath of the weekend is also obvious, with litter everywhere, but I see no point in clearing it today as we still have this Bank Holiday to go - nor did I mention to the family with a full size tent, bonfire and barbecue on the beach that it was not best practice. I don't like confrontation, especially first thing in the morning.
We've got 3 dogs this week and Raffi has a tendency to bully other dogs, so I'm trying to keep him by the hut whilst I swim, but he's a natural hunter and takes his little sister under his wing and off they go. On Saturday Mertz came down later for breakfast and found us all snuggled up - they did all settle and it was actually warm enough to sit there till about 10.30.
Mertz seems to have found the 'autumn' filter on his phone!
David, the Drone man sent me this link to some of the footage he shot over the beach, it's really interesting to see oneself swimming in the sea from above!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Low Tide 01:29 (1.00m)
Low Tide 02:05 (1.00m)
High Tide 08:29 (2.30m)
Low Tide 14:38 (0.90m)
High Tide 21:22 (2.30m)
Sea temperature: 16 - a massive drop in a very short time!

Sea conditions: perfect but markedly colder
Weather: glorious
Joined by: no-one, but I did see the others as I was leaving
I say no-one, but I'd met David Hughes yesterday, a photographer who is staying in the village and has been on the beach first thing the last couple of days. I first noticed him when I heard a familiar sound above my head and followed it back to him as his drone went home. I hadn't realised that they do this if their batteries get low, it's rather sweet. David is a professional photographer: here's his website and is just starting to work with drones, so a quiet beach on a summer morning is a great place to get  in some practice. He was modest enough to say that it's easier than it looks, but that wouldn't be hard, it looked like you need to have exceptional powers of concentration as well as being able to think backwards and upside down. Here are some shots he took of the water's edge, they really make my heart sing.

This morning wet met again and talked moving pictures, and then I swam for a good time as the water was my kind of temperature, I like this cooler edge. As I was floating on my back I looked up and there, about 50 feet above me was the little drone, I nearly waved and then though "idiot, it's a robot".... I look forward to seeing the results once he's had time to edit it.

Friday, 15 August 2014

A strange structure, but what Vivienne Rickman Poole, a regular contributor to the Outdoor Swimming Society, has to say in this music video/documentary short film rings true to me. It may not to everyone, I accept.  
High Tide 02:20 (2.50m)
Low Tide 08:11 (0.70m)
High Tide 14:26 (2.80m)
Low Tide 20:52 (0.40m)
Sea temperature: not taken
Sea conditions: very calm, low tide 
Weather: Sunny, light breeze
Joined by: Mertz and Abs
I haven't swum with the usual group much lately, but there has been a great deal of getting wet; sea water, fresh water and rain, lots of rain between the sunshine. This week we've been on holiday, with friends from the Middle East staying. They've been joining us on the beach and most days we've had at least 3 swims. Late starts have been followed by relaxed mornings at the hut with coffee, breakfast and sandcastles. The Drapers have been around too, so it's been a social time of food and drink and sun. We're back to work next week, so when our friends left this morning, and Abs had been for her shower (she's staying at the campsite again this year), we decided to make the most of the weather, which we thought was going to be glorious, and loaded the dogs into the car to try other places to swim. 
The Deben
The stretch of the River Deben we chose turned out to be too silty so we went on a long and very wet walk, during which we sheltered in a beautiful church at the end of a lane in deepest Suffolk whilst the rain came down like stair rods. Mertz was so wet (he doesn't do waterproofs) that he had to take his shirt off and wring it out and the dogs were drenched.

Twice we attempted to set off again, but each time we returned to the shelter of the church, wetter with each visit. Finally it cleared and the sun eventually came out and there was a stiff, warm breeze so by the time we got back to the car we'd almost dried and felt we deserved a good lunch at The Ramsholt Arms, on The Architect's recommendation. They have a dog friendly bar and the Luna and Willow took to a family beside us on the other side of an unused fireplace. When the dogs eventually settled down it was in the fireplace itself, posing like statues. Someone actually came over to check they were real. 
Another walk in the afternoon deeper into the countryside and on a pilgrimage to a spot I'd been recommended by The Shaman for peaceful and private swimming. It was very hard to access due to the recent rains, which caused some flooding and there were 2 huge oak trees that had recently fallen across the path but I was not going to be deterred. It was idyllic and I'm going to return once a month over the next few months to observe the changes in the surroundings. Something I've discussed with DK is the way in which the sea does not have the same seasonality as his old haunt, the Highgate/Hampstead ponds, this spot has the same aspect, overhanging trees, banks and plants in the water. I feel a photo diary addition to the blog coming on.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

High Tide 03:04 (2.30m)
Low Tide 08:40 (0.90m)
High Tide 15:12 (2.50m)
Low Tide 21:21 (0.70m)
Sea temperature: varied between 19.4 and 20 on my morning swims this week
Sea conditions: a very shallow week, calm
Weather: today was cooler due to overnight storms
Joined by: The Usual Suspects, The Vicar's Wife and The Good Shepherd.
There had been loud and pretty violent storms from about 4.30 onwards and the water was surprisingly clear as a result. The Pirate had heard it all kick off but had then managed to sleep through the rest but DK hadn't even heard it due to his 'noise machine'. He often sleeps surrounded by recorded sounds of rain and other soothing natural delights, so it's hard to distinguish between these and the real thing. We'd been woken by the first rains as our bedroom acts like a drum, being in the attic of an old workshop, and then once the thunder kicked off the dogs became very unsettled. When Mertz opened the door Willow was halfway up the stairs, shivering, so the rest of the morning was a write off. The water felt very warm, but I'd left my thermometer in the hut so didn't take it but it'll certainly be a 2 or 3 swim day, so I will later.
Trigger has joined Mabel in being a chauffeured dog, they look so smug coming down to the beach in their little carriages with their drivers. I just received this picture from TBC with the caption: Attached Trig and Mabel, don't know who the old gits are with them!

The Pirate was in a deliberately Eeyore-ish frame of mind this morning and wound me up so much as we were gong into the sea, hand in hand, that I let go and pushed him in. He had it coming. To get his own back, as we was floating around in the silky smooth and blood warm water after our initial exertions, commenting (as so often we do) about how very lucky we are to be able to do this every morning, he turned the conversation to The Book of Revelations and the Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea bit. He is alarmingly well versed in doom laden scripture. The Poet commented that he has a friend who populates his Facebook page with quotes from The Book of Revelations, I can imagine that it sits rather oddly alongside grumpy cats, petitions to sign petitions and selfies. 
DK, The Poet and I had been to a delightful summer garden drinks do at Wolfie and The Yogi's last night where people had asked me if I'd seen the shark on the beach, as these people were both well known jokers I'd brushed it off, but one of the Webblets had left a comment on my Instagram account saying it was true. Turns out it was a dogfish, which has now gone. Whether it was removed be human or canine scavengers or just someone trying to stop their dog rolling in it I don't know, but all evidence has gone.
I'd woken feeling as if I'd been for a run, which I hadn't, and it took a while to work out that the aching legs were due to wearing 6 inch platforms last night - and this reminded The Pirate about a surgeon who had been examining him when men wearing heeled boots had been all the rage. The surgeon had asked to see the boot and had taken them out of the room, was gone for some while, and when he returned he handed the boots back without any hells. He'd sawn them off.
Jess is getting confused as we all come out of the sea these days and has attached herself to at least 2 men who were not The Poet this week. She's very wobbly too, but still has grace and elegance when she moves in a straight line. She's also taken to standing in the shallows, which worries me after her little plunge in our pond.