Tag Archives: Clevedon beach

New Year's Day 2020, on Clevedon Beach. Digital drawing by Nancy Farmer

Happy (belated) New Year 2020

I am aware I should have done this drawing a month ago, January has been a bumpy one and as my father died on the 2nd of January a Happy New Year neither seemed appropriate, nor was there anyway time to do this drawing last month. But the morning of 1st of January was such a lovely one with fantastic friends that it would be a shame to loose the opportunity. So here’s to another go at the new year, and in memory of my dad, not so much a swimmer but a keen sailor in his time.

New Year’s Day at Clevedon Beach, 2020

New Year’s Day in Clevedon dawned calm and dull, Wales had apparently vanished, the neap tide lapped unenthusiastically low on the shingle beach. And we more than made up for it.

The 7 degree water brought the swimmers out in a bright pink ‘tan’ and were it not for the weather, the whole thing could have been mistaken for a summers day on the beach.

And there was beauty in the eerie stillness once out in the misty water.

Lucy’s now famous purple bikini put in one more appearance, though she says it is due for retirement, so I made sure to include it in this drawing, in case this is its last. Meanwhile, modesty* forbids me from drawing Professor Wolf’s festive 3D wolf posing pouch, sent to him anonymously and worn because we recklessly encouraged him. But he is there, centre ground posing for a photo in it. I believe it has since been confiscated, which is a shame but probably for the best.

*not actually my modesty.

New Year's Day 2020, on Clevedon Beach. Digital drawing by Nancy Farmer

“New Year’s Day 2020, on Clevedon Beach” Digital drawing by Nancy Farmer

"How to Stay Dry" ...on Clevedon Beach - sketch by Nancy Farmer

How to Stay Dry on Clevedon Beach

"How to Stay Dry" ...on Clevedon Beach - sketch by Nancy Farmer

“How to Stay Dry” …on Clevedon Beach – sketch by Nancy Farmer

It was a little breezy down at Clevedon Beach this morning. Not as bad as it had been yesterday: a couple of floating trees, a bent iron bar on the beach and multiple heaps of seaweed up on the road above the sea wall bore witness to the weekend weather, but still, the water had that washing machine look to it. And it was a chill wind.
So as well as my cossie I also brought my sketchbook. I had a cold which came back for an encore, and wanting to discourage it from a second curtain call, I still managed to feel that the journey up the M5 was worth it by drawing everyone else getting in instead. There may have been just a little shrieking…
Of course the company, coffee and cake was worth the journey on its own. Especially the company, and being nice and dry and able to enjoy watching the shrieking!


Drawing in Action! – photo by Row Clarke

Still a bit nippy

The cave is warm, but the sea is still a bit nippy…

After some not insignificant effort, Gav has managed to secure us the use of the littlest of Clevedon beach’s ‘Caves’ – neatly arched and rendered lockable affairs set into the sea wall. It means our stuff has somewhere to be stashed, we can get dry even if it’s peeing down, and most of all, we have somewhere to eat cake.

The cave-warming party was duly held on Saturday and a lot of cake was involved. The cave is now warm; outside however, the sea is still a little nippy.

Still a bit nippy

Still a bit nippy

The BBC are on Clevedon Beach again

The BBC are on the beach again!

It’s been a funny time down at Clevedon Beach. Suddenly you can’t go for a swim without tripping over a BBC camera man, so it was about time that a drawing appeared to commemorate it.

So far as I was involved, it all started when a request appeared on Facebook from the BBC for people to be filmed swimming in the sea, on a damp and grey Tuesday in late November. Paying very little attention to what the filming was for, this being the sort of thing that I was happy to do anyway regardless of camera crew, I happily agreed and toddled along on the appointed day.

waiting for the BBC again...

waiting for the BBC again… last Monday it was Countryfile.

There was faffing. Much has been mentioned about the ability of cold water swimmers to faff, but let me tell you the combination of cold water swimmers and film crew pushed this to new heights. Which was just as well, since the appointed meeting time was 10.30am, with a high but neap tide due at 1pm. Not one but all 14 swimmers probably pointed out, individually and at various times when action looked like it was about to happen, that this meant that nobody was going to be able to get in the actual sea until getting on for 12. This is the Bristol Channel after all. The ‘sea’ must first come in, approaching Clevedon across sinking mud and rocks, and slow down a bit, before there is any question of actually getting in it.

Time enough for bacon sandwiches, a second round of coffee, and a third check that none of us sported any trace of logos about our person. Time for a trip to the beach and back to the meeting room at the Pier, and back to the beach again. Whereupon I should say that the BBC, concerned for the welfare of their subjects, offered hot water bottles, in fluffy glittery coats (the water bottles had the coats on, the BBC also did, but they were not glittery).

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I was a little surprised to find that come January 1st, I was in most of the newspapers and my bottom was all over BBC1, repeatedly, that we had been photographed by Martin Parr, a famous photographer, and that everyone I know had noticed. And the Twitterati were upset about the loss of hippos. It was slightly surreal.

Since then we have had two more lots of BBC camera people getting us to re-create the scene, partly I think to prove that it wasn’t just a one-off and we really do swim all year. It looked just the same, except for a proliferation of gloves… it is January now, some small concession to the English climate is allowable.

This particular drawing was inspired by Countryfile, on Monday of last week. Traffic on the M5 had meant I was nearly 20 minutes late, but fortunately the faffing was in full swing and I joined in like I’d been there all the time.

And if you still haven’t seen my bottom on BBC1, here you go: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38486283
(I’m in the blue snowflake costume, and for the record, no, I don’t have a bruise on my bottom, it’s dent where I hit a tree, sledging, when I was about 14…)

BBC idents in action!

BBC idents in action!

BBC idents - still shot

BBC idents – still shot

The Shingle Shuffle

The Shingle Shuffle

Approaching the water* I notice I am once more doing the arms-raised thing. This is not the impending cold water, it is July and the water’s lovely, this is my subconscious insisting on believing I actually weigh less with my arms in the air: this is my special walking-over-ouchy-shingle walk. I have been known to exit from the sea on all fours, but I hate swimming in shoes more than I hate the brief discomfort and indignity.

*To those unfamiliar with the sea at Clevedon – that is the yellow-brown waviness at my feet. It’s a colour you get used to. You may call it the Bristol Channel, but we call it the sea and are happy it’s there.

(if you enjoy these swimming drawings, you might like to take a look at my swimming calendar for next year: https://nancyfarmergallery.wordpress.com/…/swept-away-the-…/)

The Shingle Shuffle

The Shingle Shuffle