On Friday it was Mary’s Birthday. There being an icy blast coming straight from Siberia, and the water 3.5 degrees and dropping, she dressed appropriately for the occasion of a birthday swim. A bikini with tassels, of course!
The Birthday Suit
To those unfamiliar with the place, this is of course Clevedon Marine Lake. The water isn’t often this green, it’s generally muddier, but on this occasion it was even clear enough for underwater photos.
It helps to know when the school holidays are, if only because the traffic is different and sometimes everyone heads to the coast all at once. However, this was a peril I had previously overlooked. On Monday morning The Great Crab Release occurred. At a still relatively toasty 11.5 degrees in the lake, changing back into warm clothes would otherwise have been safe and simple. It was nippier than expected!
By chance, I wasn’t the hapless swimmer exiting the water: I was the one running around with a camera saying ‘Oh Look! Crabs!’ and taking photos of them. It was an impressive haul, the crabs were conscientiously counted out of the bucket and there were over 30 of them, caught in little more than half an hour. They are back in the marine lake now, but some of you may not wish to know that.
Apologies if the sudden name change has caused any confusion, I posted a couple of weeks ago about changes to this site, and it is now re-named Waterdrawn.com (and not ‘Art for Swimmers’ as I had suggested earlier). It’s my new site for swimming-related artwork. Other artwork will be posted on www.nancyfarmer.wordpress.com.
Meanwhile, here is a little commission I was asked for a few weeks ago, commemorating a very cheeky swim in the marine lake, in full view of the innocent seagulls (and quite possibly associated dog-walkers!)
Quite unlike the Last Swim of 2016, the first swim of 2017 was a mass affair. More shrieking than swimming, especially from those who believe a new year’s resolution is all it takes, to get into 5 degrees as if you like it. They didn’t last. Though to be fair, some might: our Clevedon Lake and Sea Swimmers group is growing all the time, new faces popping up even through the winter and some of them stay, and surprise themselves.
The local media was there too, and plenty of umbrella’d watchers. Determined to have a proper swim, I swam off to the far end, and by the time I got back it was all over. A stiff wind and a determined drizzle had blown a lot of them straight into the pub.
I have several jumper-dresses, which I mostly live in through the winter – a single item of clothing that takes seconds to put on. Combined with leggings for after swimming they are chosen for maximum covering-power in minimum time and loose enough to use as a changing-tent to remove a cossie from beneath.
Until you try it. Cold, uncoordinated, wet, with hands with no strength in them, and no longer sure of the exact finger count of these bright pink appendages, which are certainly not my usual hands. In a stiff wind while balanced on a sodden towel against the freezing concrete.
“Oh, a jumper dress, that’s a good idea!” say two people while I am struggling with this thing that was once clothing, transformed into an enveloping monster from a chilly circle of Hell. “Bloody isn’t”, I think. And then suddenly the Herculean task is done. Unusually, I glance at my watch, and discovered that despite being able to swear that the battle had taken 10 whole minutes, it is in fact a mere 2 minutes since I exited from the water. Odd that, time is a slippery thing when you’re running from the inevitable afterdrop. Come on shivering, ready for you now!
On Wednesday the marine lake had dropped to 9.5 degrees. This is not an unpleasant temperature at which to swim for a while, but it still seems important to give the water a hard contemplative stare before getting in, just in case. Winter is coming…
We had our correct hats on, Clare and I. Perfectly synchronized with each other and with the view.
The hat, if you missed it, is one I designed nearly a year ago and appeared on my main site… got to have a team hat! It features the Pier at Clevedon, as you can see. We are in the Marine Lake, I have probably bent the pier to get it in at this angle, but it’s always there, part of the view of our swims. Unlike the Welsh hills, which come and go with the weather. (Sorry, after two print runs they are again sold out. If there is a lot of demand I may get them re-printed sometime, so if you’re interested send me an email and I’ll make a list. At present I don’t have plans to re-print, but if I get enough enquiries….)
And I will admit, a little ‘cheating’ went on here: the hats in the picture are my actual design for the hat, worked into the picture. Because I don’t see why I should draw something twice!