In truth the Silly Season has been going on since about December if you are a cold water swimmer. If you are not, you may well have considered it to be silly to swim outside since September, if not earlier. The actual swimming, however, is not the silly part. Welcome to the season of Winter Events, where wetsuits are often banned, but chicken costumes considered perfectly appropriate attire.
This is the Polar Bear Plunge! 2019, at Bude Sea Pool
Polar Bear Plunge! 2019 at Bude Sea Pool
(note: this is all one pic – since they updated the software and I updated the hardware I seem to have a load more pixels to play with, so I thought you might like to see some close-ups since I spent ages putting all this in….)
Close-up detail – the chickens and the tiger
Close-up detail – medals for everyone!
Close-up detail – Lucy, Neptune and the unimpressed dog.
Yesterday I swam in the marine lake in the morning, before Barney the Storm came in. Apparently storms shall have names now, just like hurricanes, but ‘Barney’ described as a ‘gentleman storm’ by Radio 4, lacks a certain threatening something. I had an audience, which is not uncommon. It was a brisk 11.9°C or so, and yes, fellow Clevedon swimmers, the water in there was nearly a greeny-blue, just like the sea was not!
(I still have swimming calendars – I ran out but got a few more printed – see this page on etsy or email me if you’d like more than one at a time as I am offering a discount)
I chucked some branches of cotoneaster horizontalis* in with the chickens. The branches were covered in berries and I thought it might be nice to sit and draw the chickens pecking the berries, everything outside being so frozen it wasn’t muddy for once.
No sooner had I started than Tiberius came up and gave me a through eyeballing. At close range, and while seated practically on the ground, this is a disconcerting look to receive from a large cockerel. I drew him instead.
An Eyeballing by Tiberius, a fine Light Sussex Cockerel
*cotoneaster horizontalis… it’s one of those plant names I love because it just trips off the tongue is such a nice way: coton-e-aster hori-zon-talis. Try it 🙂
I was up in Cumbria for the weekend, swimming, but that’s another story. Fleetingly, driving out of Great Langdale, I glimpsed the odd sight of a snow covered hillock crowned by a single dead tree. There were sheep beneath the tree, and dozens of rooks standing in the tree and on the sheep. I suppose they were keeping their feet warm. The whole thing was such an odd but picturesque tableau that it deserved a picture, even though I cannot really say what it looked like.
Our new cockerel, Tiberius Tyrrol, and two of his wives. He has a variety of wives but it was getting dark, so I could only draw the white ones – the other chickens were beginning to merge into the background. A brief sketch, but Cat-of-the-day has been distracted of late, so I wanted to get something in. Apologies to the wives, I don’t know their names. They have them, but only Tony knows them all.
Cat-of-the-day would like to note the passing of a one Vladimir, magnificent cockerel and in chicken years probably a centurion, who, having survived dog and fox attack over the years, finally fell off his perch today. He was a fine beast, stupid and psychotic, as any good cockerel should be. Though he mellowed over the years he still looked at me with murder in his eye, especially that time in when, in my haste, I fed the chickens while wearing red leather gloves, a thing I shall not repeat in front of a large cockerel.
And to you over the pond, that’s a rooster, I am told….