If you haven’t already bought one of my calendars or Swimflake hats (or if you want another) you might like to know that Oudoor Swimmer Magazine (formerly H2Open) are running a competition where you can win them.
Simply tell them in 25 words or fewer what your favourite swimming faff is!
Enter here: outdoorswimmer.com/win
…and if you don’t win, you can always buy them in my Etsy shop: www.waterdrawnart.etsy.com. I have run out of a few of the hat colours, and I have limited numbers of them coming in again in quite soon, so if you want me to email you when they are in again, please add yourself to the emailing list .
Outdoor Swimmer Magazine
On Saturday I swam in Scales Tarn, overlooked by Blencathra, while a crocodile of people plodded on up the tricky way. The tarn was a beautiful azure blue, though in truth you had to be underwater to admire its colour, since the surface reflected the leaden sky. It was cold and wet, but outside of the tarn it was also wet, and quite slippery, and as the people filed past me on their way up Sharp Edge we eyed each other, both safe in the knowledge that the other party was the more foolish.
The Way Up To Sharp Edge
The 2018 calendar is available now, from my Etsy shop here
There seemed to be something of a unifying theme to the pictures, one familiar to many outdoor swimmers that I know, so I went with it: ‘An Outdoor Swimmer’s Guide to Faffing’. You can see a glimpse of all the pages on this page …For those overseas friends unfamiliar with the word (though not, I suspect the activity itself), I have even included a definition of the gentle art faffing – see below for an image of the back cover of the calendar.
The back page:
On Sunday I swam at Clevedon. If you’re not an open water swimmer you may be unaware that the subject of Tow-Floats amongst swimmers is a bit like Marmite amongst toast-eaters. But when there’s a stiff wind blowing up the channel against the tide, this is what it’s like to swim here. In the mess of confused waves you can barely see another swimmer yards away, but for a brightly-coloured bobbing float. And this is one reason why most of us at Clevedon like our floats: it’s always reassuring to know that you’re not alone out there, that there are some other nutters with you who think this is a good idea.
I’m told by Channel swimmers that these conditions are good practice for the English Channel. It is not something I ever intend to put to the test, but my three fellow swimmers are waiting for their tide window, having twice got as far as Dover, once even got out on the pilot boat, but the weather’s being uncooperative. So please cross your fingers for the BCH Relay team. You can follow them here: https://twitter.com/BchChannel?s=04. They are a team of ‘mad doctors’ and if you follow the link you can also donate to their cause to fund a specialist bereavement cubicle at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children
Of Tides & Tow-Floats
Swimflakes swimming hats
I sold these hats last year, ran out sometime before Christmas, and I’ve been asked for them ever since, so now it’s gone all autumnal (winter is coming…), I’ve finallygot a new batch in. Available in 10 different colours from my etsy shop here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/556102435/
If you haven’t seen these before, the design began life as an idea I had for swimmer-themed wrapping paper – snowflakes that are actually synchronized swimmers when you look closely. As an afterthought I decided to get a few swimming hats printed. And then I posted a picture up on Facebook, realized that the hats could be a lot more popular than I anticipated, ordered about 275 instead of the 50 I had planned, and sold out in weeks… and yep, I am still left with hundreds of sheets of wrapping paper. You win some, you lose some: at least wrapping paper doesn’t go off. The wrapping paper and matching cards are also in my etsy shop here.
Swimflakes gold wrapping paper
Swimflakes silver wrapping paper, with no repeat pattern.
Swimflake sketch 2
Swimflake sketch 1
Swimflake sketch 4
Jackie and I went swimming in Ullswater last week. The rain in the morning was so heavy I discovered that, while a Dryrobe is excellent for keeping most of a person dry, under the right conditions it also has an ability to collect all that rain and funnel it straight into one’s boots…
It’s much more fun being soaking wet in a lake.
Jackie, in a bejewelled Ullswater
The Strait Ladies
Sometimes unexpected worlds meet. Before I painted a lot of swimmers, I painted (amongst other things) a lot of ladies in corsets. So when a lovely and courageous lady asked me to design the hats for her team of ‘Strait Ladies’, somehow the image immediately presented itself.
Elizabeth Verth in her own words:
“I am proud to be part of Strait Ladies, a team of four women who, sometime between 17th and 28th September, will enter the waters of the Mediterranean at Tarifa, Spain, to swim to Africa. Although we are a team, each of us will be swimming a tandem solo of the full distance of the Gibraltar Strait. Each one of us will swim, as a solo, from Spain to Morocco.”
If you would like to read more of the story, and donate, please visit the Elizabeth Verth’s Just Giving page
Strait Ladies hats