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View from the office today.

It’s dog grooming day, normally after getting chores done I return here for a coastal walk or a swim without doggy distractions but the view from the car tells you why I would rather catch-up on on ‘stuff’ on my phone.

Before we left I rescued the garden daffodils from the swirling winds and icy rain of the day

And rescued some figs from a fate of becoming over-ripe.

But the most Important task of the morning was to respond to a Government Consultation Document about the quality of sea water that we swim in at Firestone Bay. The bay has been used for swimming for more than a century but post-Covid the popularity of the area has hugely increased. If the area becomes a designated swimming area the water quality will be closely monitored during the official swimming season of mid-May to mid-September.

As regular readers know we swim year-round and none of our regular bobbers have ever become ill in the two years we have been bobbing. But becoming a Designated Swimming Zone will also ensure that our waterside environment remains safe and with adequate life saving equipment available. The link to the document is below if any bobbers are reading this. It only takes a few minutes to fill in.


Just to finish with a non-rainy picture my early morning dog walk took me past some peeling paint. There is even a ghost sign being revealed.

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Little Red Corvette ©Bob Kovacs

Yesterday’s earworm revealed. I love it when I get a Prince earworm. The day is going to bounce along just fine. I was very grateful to see this picture a couple of days ago from an old work colleague, Bob Kovacs. I was never a huge Prince Superfan but his music was part of the soundtrack of my life and I loved the aesthetic of his public life. Sequins are magic circles of happiness.

Raspberry Beret is part of our bobbing in-water singing repertoire because one of our Bobbers, Gilly, liked to bob wearing a raspberry Beret and a pair of cocktail length swimming gloves.

Gilly Bobber ©theoldmortuary

Gilly was unaware of the lyrics of Raspberry Beret until she started regular dipping in the sea. Knowing Gilly there is every chance she got her Beret from a second hand store, while bobbing, she didn’t wear much more. Singing while swimming, especially in cold, cold water, is quite a challenge. We are only a truly reliable choir for the chorus but we bring enthusiasm and neoprene glamour to the genre of aquafunk.

©Lyrics. com

After 2 years of being Bobbers, Gilly, is the first to leave us to permanently dip in other waters.

We held a drybob for her, with some singing and she has taken her Raspberry Beret to West Sussex to swim on bigger beaches with different people.

Drybob Farewell

And that my friends is another earworm to start the day.

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©Debs Bobber

Yesterday was a Turquoise day. It was also a day when the sea and the air were both at 11 degrees. Not that equilibrium of temperature made it any easier to get into the chilly water. Cold tentacles of icy water found their way into swimsuits or around the creases of our necks and knees.

©Debs Bobber

The weather was hugely changeable which may have created these fantastic turquoise pictures. In the picture below you can see a rain shower approaching.

These little weather patches were loaded with drenching powerful rain that devastated us while we fully dressed but were of no consequence while we were bobbing about. Earlier in the day I had stood drippily in a new art installation, learning the influences and historical events that fed the artists creativity. Of the forty or so people there I was the only one who had been under one of those cloud bursts. Excellent preparation for the afternoon Bob.

An afternoon Bob that featured 4 very different shades of Turquoise.

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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.

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We have entered the twilight zone of bobbing. Tide times and light are now the two main factors that control when we plan a bob. 4 pm was particularly kind to us yesterday. The water was a balmy 10 degrees and the outside temperature was 6. My personal dip was brief but effective. I think it took longer to drink my restorative cup of tea than my actual immersion time. Over tea the chat turned to Christmas Day. It has taken two years of Covid affected Christmases to establish a new tradition. A brief dip on Christmas morning with the ‘bobbers’ before we plunge headlong into whatever we would normally do with families and friends over the festive season. I can’t even remember what the restrictions were for Christmas 2020. I think we kept big distances between our ‘bubbles’ * and shouted happily to one another, marvelling at the madness of new friendships and the urge to swim in the sea in winter, when many of us had lived locally for many years and not bothered to swim much at all until a pandemic hit. 2021 we were cautiously closer to one another, wary of passing on Omicron but sharing individually wrapped snacks of chocolate and Christmas snacks, while we damply struggled into dry clothes. 2022 is likely to be giddy, there will be bubbles and huggles and maybe kisses on chilly cheeks. Thank goodness for Bubbles! In the spirit of Advent +2022 here is a previously unseen picture of bubbles over our swimming zone.

* Bubbles were legally acceptable indoor gatherings of no more than 6 adults during the lockdowns of 2020. This rule applied to everyone unless you were serving in the Conservative government who set the rules.For them bubbles were what they always were, a pleasant fizzy drink to be enjoyed while working, partying or indeed groping colleagues in the corridors of power.

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This was quite the morning for a bob. Not that the water was quite like this when we were in. Half an hour before this picture,while we were in the water, it was bumpy and grey, 13 degrees in the water and 9 out.

Rainbows were an added bonus. This is how all winter Mondays should start. Then lunch out and an afternoon spent with a carpet cleaning machine, I’m not sure that necessarily is the way the day should have gone but any artistic endeavours involve a man relieving himself in a back street. So the options are not great.Last Monday we were leaving Dublin and a week on I still haven’t nattered on about The Guinness Storehouse. One of Europes best tourist attractions. It was the only truly tourist haunt that we visited. Not exactly the worlds most hardened drinkers the building was definitely the most intriguing aspect of the visit. The whole point of the building is to turn lime green hops and water.

Into black and white porter, in this case Guinness.

The finer points of brewing passed me by but the magisterial building was wonderful.

People who know a whole lot more than me believe that Guinness tastes better in Dublin. At the end of our tour we got a pint each. That is a lot of something to base an opinion on and yet I remain quite unable to tell anyone if a Dublin Guinness is significantly different from one served anywhere else, but regardless it slipped down very well in a very beautiful building.

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Farewell Gilly Bobber. The bobbers gathered for a goodbye gathering for a bobber who is moving to West Sussex. Gilly has been a musical addition to our bobbing gang for some time. She wears a raspberry beret and cocktail length swimming gloves. Which always promotes the other bobbers into a Prince tribute act.

A good selection of bobbers gathered today to see her off the premises.

Bobbing and bobbers are one of the great positives to have come out of the Covid years. Time to use a fabulous quote from Mark Twain to send Gilly on her way.

Goodbye Gilly from our home bobbing safe harbour.

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This boiling sea was the setting of our final October swim. Storm Claidio was on the way. Looking over the wall into the swirling sea it would have been very easy to turn around and walk back home. But I had already waved to the swimmers in the water. Getting in, was tricky. Being in, was thrilling. Getting out, was a relief. A mug of tea and a Tunnocks Waifer biscuit was the reward.

After the event it was most definitely the most wonderful swim. The turmoil of the water made effective swimming impossible at my, rather low, skill level. Even bobbing about and talking was quite a challenge but the whole experience was fizzy, energising and a great way to see out October, still without a wetsuit. The picture below is a full-colour image of the water as we got out, not a spot of colour to be seen.

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Only our second plunge into cold seas during October 2022. Since beginning year-round swimming in 2020 we have swum, or bobbed as we call it, at least twice a week. We have gathered a merry band of bobbers around us. October 2022 took us to London for the birth of a grandchild, a fine reason to give up bobbing for a while. In the planning stage we thought we would be taking trips to the Ladies Pond at Hampstead. The reality was that I read a good book about the ponds and stayed as dry as a bone.

Today’s ‘bob’ was fabulous at a water temperature of 14 degrees and bright sunshine. Strangely in 14 degrees there were two incidents of Jellyfish stings, not what anyone expects in chilly waters.

There were many bobbers gathered at Tranquility Bay.

Slightly bittersweet as we start a long goodbye to a bobber who is moving to West Sussex next week, there will be tears and laughter over the next week. There will almost certainly be cake and bubbles too.

At this time of year passers-by always ask us “How do you get into water when it is that cold?”Later in the year they just tell us we are mad. A chance to use my favourite Latin quote.

Not exactly as it is philosophically intended but a pragmatic answer never-the-less.

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October the first has blown in on the coattails of Hurricane Ian. We have had our first winter style swim. A really rough swim in rainy conditions. The sea was warmer than the outside temperature and it was wonderful. After the swim we felt so full of good vibes, a healthy dose of free radicals and positive ions set us up for a busy day of doing things. We powered through a list of jobs and then at around 5pm the energy left us, almost as swiftly as we had gathered it. There was nothing left in the tank.

Winter swims are just the best thing, even in the autumn!