This was the early morning dog walk. Cold, crisp and with a wind blowing in from the east. I had a lot of warm clothes on and a hot black coffee in my hands.
My coffee of choice was the India Kirshnagiri and I was fully enjoying the Dark Berry, Cherry Liquor and Pomegranate flavours which were taking my mind off the fact that just one short hour later, the Bobbers and I would be plunging into those very same waters for pleasure. There really is no accounting for the ways some people get their kicks. The rewards are hot drinks, biscuits and for some of us a hottie.
But back to the coffee, Cherry Liquor is one of the flavours I can still identify after Covid has wrecked my sense of taste and smell. The coffee had all the pleasures of an actual Cherry Liquor without any of the calories. It kept my mind off the water temperature.
My Dad was an eternal optomist. I neve knew his glass to be anything less than half full. Not that his life was always easy, but he could always find a way around difficulties or find something to be grateful for. One of his favourite moments in life was when he could declare something positive out of mediocrity or worse. Yesterday he would have declared that we had all got the best out of the day.
We took a late trip out to the beach when the tide was out. For the most part it had been a grey day but as we started the descent to the coast the sun appeared from a crack over the horizon. Giving us our first ever sighting of the Eddystone Lighthouse.
Set on a perilous outcrop 12 miles offshore it protects seafarers from harm on a notorious spot for shipwrecks. The weather conditions have never been right for us to see it on our regular visits to this beach. So without anything else we had added value to our day. But the sun prevailed.
When the cafe had an Internet fail there could have been grumpy faces but some hidden cash bought everyone a late afternoon snack, to fuel our afternoon wanderings in the unexpected sunshine.
My Dad would have said ” I think we have had the best of the day” It was his great grand daughters first time on a beach. She was a lucky girl to have such a perfect moment.
Yesterday was a Bobbers birthday. Bobber Birthdays have evolved over the more than two years that we have been swimming as a group year round.
Inexplicably, the Bobber whose birthday it was, opted for a spa day rather than joining us at Tranquility Bay. Maybe the message above informed that decision. She missed out on a lot. A warship arrived to give her a sail past and there were the usual cakes and hot drinks. Because she was missing out on her birthday dip we called her and sang happy birthday down the phone. That mellifluous sound must have torn through the tranquility of the spa like a wax strip on lady parts
At Tranquility Bay though it was sung with enthusiasm and affection for an absent friend. The singing took our minds off chilly fingers and toes and inadequately dried crevices. What even is a Spa Day?
Some blogs are slow burning, ripening slowly over many days, weeks or months. Others present themselves in a moment. This one is a hybrid, the Pondering has been bubbling away for a couple of months, the moment today, was perhaps 60 seconds of decision making. That moment is the top picture. After a small amount of walking, the coastal path at St Ives, we came upon this idyllic beach. After a moments paddling the decision was made to throw caution to the wind and strip off completely for a swim. Confident that my weekly sea swims, or bobs, as they are known, have equipped me with the ability to quickly submerge in any chilly sea temperature.
It would not do to fanny about, frightening fellow walkers, with my nakedness. The long, slow, ponderous part of this blog has its inspiration from a comment made by a fellow course member at a blogging course.
” Your blog would be better with more of you in it”
Since November I have tried putting a little more of me into the blog. In truth I have always been there, peeping from behind words or hiding in pictures. Trying to find my voice, or style, while nattering on about not very much. I wonder, sometimes, if anyone has noticed the slight changes since November.
Ten or so minutes of swimming in a cold sea, off the North Cornwall coast was just fabulous this morning. I could be evangelical about the benefits of cold water immersion, likewise the buzz of not giving a moments thought to just taking my clothes off in a public space. Put the two together and the skills of fully clothed camera- wielding friends and the blog gets all of me for one time only.
I got a life boosting, energy creating, moment. Fizzy as a firework, giddy as the giddiest goat, happy as a human hippo. Naked, cold and loving life. All time stood still, the sun was out and I was feeling elemental.
November surprised us yesterday. Our plans involved fairly heavy rain, a constant state of being damp and a mug of soup as a reward for battling inclement weather.
There was no battle.
For more than two hours blue skies chased away the greige of the previous week. The tide at Wembury was low enough to fill those hours with rock-pooling adventures.
But first a little bit of serendipity, the foreground in the top picture of the blog shows seaweed copying a geographical feature.
We had taken wellies to walk the muddy coastal path but they got use taking us into the deeper rock pools.
Unfortunately, we both suffer from very muscular calf syndrome. ( some might call them plump) So we only wear short wellies, short wellies are no match for a rapidly incoming tide so we needed to be quite nimble to avoid wet feet. Hugo and Lola had no such problems and bravely waded into rock pools up to their chests in water. Lola was rewarded for enthusiasm, on her return to dry land, by a swift right hook from Hugo.
Balance prevented any watery rock pool pictures but the dry bits had captured some wonderful sea detritus from the previous weeks stormy weather.
Then the tide came in and with it the weather.
Turning our rock pool world into a playground for much braver souls.
Our second Sunday in a row when the weather determined our location. Without dogs there is often the option of spending a stormy, wet Sunday, hunkered down in front of a fire with a good book or a jigsaw puzzle. With dogs that option is not available. Another option is to just put on the right clothes and get on with the day. We took a different option and headed for the North Coast of Cornwall. Weather forecasts suggested, correctly as it turned out, that there would be an improvement of the weather on the north coast for a couple of hours after lunch. Let’s not pretend swapping coasts gave us a balmy carefree walk in sunshine. It gave us blustery, stormy weather with a side serving of weak sunshine but most importantly there was no icy, horizontal rain capable of penetrating any tiny failing of our waterproof garments.
Hugo and Lola had a blast finding friends and seaweed. The humans skimmed stones and took in the vast expanse of crashing waves as their mental and physical cobwebs were blown out into spume of the incoming tide. We also did our bit and collected waste plastics and other man made detritus from the beach. The odd shell might also have been collected.
Mussel shells were vivid as they were tossed around on the edge of the crashing waves, inviting us to pick them up, but the minute they dried out they lost their glossy intensity. Flipping them over gives a whole spectrum of softer but long lasting colour. Every bit as lovely but different. Just like swapping coasts can be.
Yesterday was all about avoiding a Storm that was battering the south coast of Devon and Cornwall. We had to go to Truro to collect my typewriter from its service and took a chance that the North Coast might not be so badly affected.
Typewriter collected, and that is a whole other blog, we called in at Strong Adolfo on the Atlantic Highway for coffee and some lunch.
Sartorial and comestible choices had uncanny similarities!
Lola and Hugo looked on, their doggy colour blindness giving them no clue why we thought this was so funny.
All they really wanted was to get to the beach and blow off some energy.
I’m not sure we exactly avoided the storm by travelling South to North, we just altered the direction that the rain hit us. The video below gives you a minute of wave action. We were not tempted to get in for a swim.
All in all a Sunday well spent, now its time to get on with the week.
In the creamy early morning light of St Ives it would be easy to miss the stone balancing on Lambeth Walk Beach.
Just like tourists there are less of them in January and they are not so tall or flamboyant. In this instance less is definitely more. These modest but skillfully created piles gently look out to sea, barely changing the appearance of the beach, they contemplatively slow everything down just that little bit. Encouraging the viewer to be still longer and breath deeper.
Todays blog was knocked off the front page by another story of bobbing. This is how tranquil the area was when we went for a dip last night. But what lies underneath?
A playful seal! Spearmint the seal joined the two distance swimmers at the furthest buoy and swam back with them to one of the other swimmers. They calmly warned her that they were not alone. Not trusting them at all she disbelieved them. Calm, was not, in truth, how any of them were feeling . An onlooker who was alerted by their excited chatter said she had never seen anyone swim back to the shore so fast. On arrival back in Tranquility bay Spearmint played around with two other bobbers before noticing that the others were getting out, she joined them in a rush for the beach and the video that follows was her being calm with a background soundtrack of excited chatter.
Teresa, the quick thinking onlooker who filmed this also had a video of Spearmint having her supper.
I think it is safe to say that the whole encounter was a lot more exciting for the humans, Miss Spearmint just takes the whole thing very much in her stride.
Soon after she returned to the sea the water if not the ‘ bobbers’ was entirely tranquil.