Pandemic Pondering #466

Better late than never. A Sunday morning blog written on Sunday evening. Standards are dropping here. Today is the second year we have missed a friends birthday. The grand Black Labrador Officer is a quirky gift that has still not been delivered. He was unpacked this morning in a box of both random and essential items. Today has completely been about curtains and torrential rain, neither subject particularly blogworthy.

We took the dogs out when the rain, briefly, cleared. The hedge in the middle of this picture is made up of roses that grow wildly on this cliff. Their fragrance is exactly that of Turkish Delight.

The break in the rain was all too brief. Just one look at this sky made us head for home and another few hours up ladders wrestling heavy fabrics onto curtain polls.

Just one more day of tardy blogging. Tomorrow we should have our broadband service connected and a normal service will resume!

Pandemic Pondering #449

Pondering one of the positives of a Pandemic. The past 18 months have been a tough trot for most humans but for the Bobbers and their guest bobbers a somewhat drenched Phoenix is rising from the unlikely ashes that is a small beach in a city.

Plymouth is known as the Atlantic City. The Bobbers were mostly unknown to each other a year ago. A tiny group of old friends swam together once last June and thought no more about it. Then in September as it became obvious that the Pandemic was a more permanent feature in our lives we did it again. The next stage is as random as a new variant emerging. The tiny group of friends were all dog owners and because we were in a pandemic and talking for longer with people we met on our dog walks, we inevitably started chatting about our swimming activity.

This was happening on either side of the River Tamar, the border between Devon and Cornwall. Talking with other dog walkers covers a wide variety of random subjects with strangers. Strangers who also liked the idea of swimming in our local patch of the Atlantic. Bobbing became a thing, a WhatsApp group was formed. Initially we didnt even know each others names. As dog walkers often do we only knew each other as Ralph’s mum, or dad, Stan’s mums or even the lady who borrows a neighbours dog. About 25 people have swum with the Bobbers now, there is a core membership but guest bobbers are a regular occurance. Dog ownership is not essential, talking to people you don’t know is helpful. We have swum several times a week right through the winter, we have shared life events together. Last night was the first Summertime Birthday Bob, a far less clothed or huddled event than the Wintertime Birthday Bobs.

And for once warm enough for people to pose as a group without freezing their bits off.

Happy Birthday Kim Bobber

Pandemic Pondering #403

May 1st and we have plans to travel a little more than 10 miles!

But first news of the last swim of April. “April is the cruelest month” a line from T.S Eliots’ poem, Wasteland,written after and about a pandemic.”We dared to hope” a line from the poem, exactly matches the optimism of the ‘ bobbers’ as we emerged out of our first winter season of cold water swimming.

April has bitten the bobbers on the bum swimming wise. The weather has improved and the sea water temperatures have started to stabilise, and even rise a little, but we seem to have had some of our most challenging swims recently, most of us succumbing to ‘After drop’ after a swim in April even though we have avoided it throughout the darkest, coldest months.

‘ After drop’ was unknown to Eliot when he published Wasteland in 1922. His poem written after A World War and the Spanish Flu pandemic, it could only have been more glum with a portion of ‘ afterdrop’ included in the narrative.

“Afterdrop” is common after swimming in cold water; you get out and feel fine, and then you start to get colder, sometimes growing faint, shivering violently and feeling unwell.

As you can see from the photographs in this blog, the last bob of April 2021 was a much more joyous affair. Using T.S Eliot as our theme it was more ‘Cats’ ( Old Possums Book of Practical Cats) than Wasteland.

As it happened the last day of April was also a bobbers birthday. Tranquility Bay pulled out all the stops to make our first after-swim, bobbing- birthday picnic a big event. The Bobbing Balcony was available for out door snacking. Street art made the location more vivid.

There was cake.

A Chinook fly past.

Exuberant waving to Sailors returning to port.

Happy quotes.

Low energy time keeping, to mark time passing.

And a puppy.

Thanks to Helen for having a birthday and serendipity for providing the entertainment.