Last weekend I went to Norfolk. We drove to the beach, my brother, Georgia and I, and it was a pleasant 20 minute walk along a sandy causeway to get to the sea. So the sea did not need to be swum in for it to have been a nice outing, but it was there, and it did give the exercise a certain air of having achieved a goal. I was of course designated swimmer, and they the designated watchers. A 10 minute dip at a little under 7 degrees seemed sufficient to prove the point that the sea had indeed been swum in.
The watchers, watching the sight of a lone swimmer in the sea in February, idly wondered if they could actually be of help if I were to need assistance, and came to the conclusion that a rescue party could probably walk to me. This was true, I could touch the bottom with my hands while still swimming, and further out it was clearly getting shallower for some distance. This is a reassuring circumstance for a winter swim: there it so very much huge flat sea around Norfolk and it’s so big, especially for one used to the Bristol Channel, a short shingle beach and the handy landmark of an unmissable Victorian pier.
Cat-of-the-day has been rather neglected of late, in favour of artwork I actually have to get on with, so this weekend visiting my brother’s family in Norfolk I made an effort to draw things: people and dogs, specifically. The modern tendency to stare into a screen for long periods of time is not a great social habit but it is quite useful for portraiture, since the screen-viewer tends to be immobile for long periods of time with their face gently lit by the screen. Babies and dogs, however, cannot use smartphones or ipads, and so are a lot more difficult to capture in this way.
So yesterday we swam round Burgh Island. Plum Duff was suffering from a dodgy shoulder from a 5 hour swim the day before, but still made it round. She emerged victorious and, by some sleight of hand unknown to Burgh Island virgins such as I, she had a gin and tonic in one hand as she exited the water!
(ok I admit, I lied a little: the glass was in fact a crystal tumbler. The gin, tonic and cucumber were perfectly real…)
Apparently the Eurovision Song Contest is on. This explains synchronised dancing with champagne. I can neither see nor hear the actual TV from where I am standing and I have a very nice glass of locally made cider, so all in all it’s pretty good.
Spring has sprung in the lake. It gets in through the front of one’s swimming costume and collects where it should not. We don’t know what it is, but it wasn’t there through last summer, autumn and winter, so I am naming it spring greens…
There wasn’t just the bonfire, there was the chill-out tent and a massive stack of speakers in the barn. And there was the marquee, where those of us of slightly more mature years ate and drank more than our share, and commented that every track the speakers blared out sounded exactly the same….and did not act our age, though contrived to act a little older than our shoe sizes. It was a good do, Moorlynch style. And a 20 yard walk home.
I passed this one on the way up the Tor this morning, clutching ipad and cigarette close to ward off any psychological or physical effect of being out on a fine Sunday morning, up a stunning natural feature of the landscape with the best views for miles around. He didn’t even say good morning when I passed and wished him the same, which in my extensive experience is pretty unusual for visitors to Glastonbury Tor. I imagine he was distracted, updating a spreadsheet: ‘Tor: done’… ‘Stonehenge: pending’.
On the plus side, I also passed a small child with small brown wellies on. The wellies had faces of Minotaurs printed on the toes 🙂
It is the new look. It stops the aliens reading my mind.
In the summer I had highlights brought on by gardening in the sun, now they are growing out and I have never had highlights put in by human hand before. I have been sat in front of a mirror looking like this, there was really only one thing for it.
This is the recovery position for winter swimmers, not for drunk people. Though addled brains, an inability to speak in long sentences and a tendency to throw your drink all over the place are common to both conditions. You probably haven’t known shivering until you have known winter swimming, And still I persist in finding it strangely amusing.