#82 theoldmortuary ponders

Raindrops keep falling on my blog/dog/seal.

Betwixt and between, hovering, damply between Christmas and the New Year. Hovering also in some marshy uncertainty of the Pandemic and the worlds route forward.

Traditionally this is a time of walking and enjoying fresh air and inspiring views. As spectacle wearers there has to be some expectation of reasonable weather. Today is not that day.

Todays walk was a blurry meander with the sole purpose of doggy elimination. Not the sort that has clearly annoyed a neighbour. We are very responsible dog owners.

Lovely use of a festive gift label, top marks for recycling. The specificity of this message is gorgeous, were I to have a large brown bear would his defaecation really be as welcome as this sign implies?

The high and turning point of todays walk is when both dogs have done a poo, texture and quality are discussed before it is cleared away swiftly and hygienically. ( Should you be interested we have passed through the days of over indulgence of turkey to the normalcy of regular eating and bran flakes)

Even Miss Spearmint feels a little disappointed in the weather. What is the point of hauling out on a dark background if there are not many photographers about.

#34 theoldmortuary ponders

Goodness me, another late blog for the best of reasons!

November is my birthday month so I always get a boost of love and gifts in one of the darkest months.

November 2019 was pretty stormy and in November most normal human beings knew little of what the next 4 months would do to the whole of the worlds population. At a more granular level we certainly thought life would evolve and change at a fairly normal pace. In November 2019 we got our kicks on my birthday walking on stormy beaches Then a pandemic happened and strange and unsettling things changed our lives forever. Wind on two years and we get our kicks swimming in stormy seas in November and any other month. What started as an alternative to swimming in swimming pools during lockdown has become at least a twice a week habit. Winter swimming in particular is addictive and hugely rewarding, the buzz after a winter swim is hard to explain.

Todays swim was pretty rough and bouncy but enormously energising.

And then the bobbers had a surprise in store, and this is the reason for the late blog. After our 9:30 swim we had an 11:00 birthday party. The sugar and carb rush of party food on top of the post swimming high is an extraordinary feeling. We may never give this sea swimming malarkey up and with 14 of us in our group now there will always be the occasional party!

#16 theoldmortuary ponders

Waking up in the dark to start the day is becoming our autumn/ winter normal. My phone woke me up this morning with a blast of sunshine, with the photograph above. Bright sunshine on 25th October at Rock in Cornwall 5 years ago.

This morning there is very little gap between bed and a swim in the sea. I can already tell there will be no sunshine to stroll to the beach in. I suppose that is part of the charm of October. It is never entirely certain what shape any particular day will take, weather wise. Our evening walk last night revealed beaches overwhelmed with seaweed after the storms of last week which is also in stark contrast to that beautiful beach of five years ago. There is an upside to this, we plan to start making our own compost again and it would make sense to gather seaweed to mix with our teabags and coffee grounds. So today may be the day to make our first harvest. Moving house and garden is, as is always said, a big thing. We’ve moved from somewhere that every square inch of the property and garden was lovingly designed and planned by us to somewhere that was someone elses home for longer than I have been alive. In this regard planning a new compost bin is almost the first new plan we have put in place, as we promised ourselves we would give the house some time to reveal its quirks and charms to us before doing anything major. I realise a compost bin is not major! We also need to learn to live in this location before we make too many changes that we may come to regret.

Luckily for this blog one of the other 25th October pictures, that I was woken up with, suggests calm contemplation. Something that is needed along with Google to make seaweed into compost. A cup of tea on Wembury beach, 4 years ago, is a lovely way to suggest time spent researching the rotting properties of seaweed.

I wonder how today is going to shape up?

The final of the three wake up pictures is also beach related. Sai Kung in Hong Kong, 6 years ago. I think I can say with some certainty that today is not going to be a day for vivid crabs. But this is October, anything could happen.

#14 theoldmortuary ponders

©Debs Bobber

Sparkly new concrete and hand rails turned out not to be the main event this morning.

©Debs Bobber

When we arrived on the beach early Friday morning we were not the only occupants, and certainly not the most important beach dwellers. Spearmint, a young female seal had hauled herself onto the beach to digest a big meal.

Here she is happily sleeping off a huge meal and dreaming of infinite fish and,somewhat unusually for a seal, swimming with humans. Here she is this morning at Devils Point..

https://instagram.com/stories/outdoorswimclub/2690010965309668490?utm_source=ig_story_item_share&utm_medium=share_sheet

She stayed most of the day and the beach was soon cordoned off to keep her safe, with the constant watchful eyes of a Marine Animal Medic who were all happy to engage with the public and talk about seal behaviour.

Here she is just waking up after many hours of snoozing with a full tummy.

#13 theoldmortuary ponders

Two days of torrential storms and the path to the beach is flooded. But today the sun is out and that makes everything feel pretty. Despite the weather the contractors have managed to finish the refurbishments to our swimming area.

We have handrails now on the new steps that will safely guide us in and out of the water at high tide swims, in all but the worst of weathers.

This mornings swim is set to be a calm one with a bit of giddy excitement at having new concrete and handrails!

#10 theoldmortuary ponders

This week is set to see the sea temperature drop almost 5 degrees . Yesterday and today it will be around 15/16 degrees, by the end of the week it could have dropped to 10/11. The sea as seen above was choppy and difficult to get into last night but,once in, it really was a good evening swim. The bags we carry with us are getting heavier though. Flasks of hot drinks, layers of clothes and wetsuits are making a return. Strangely most of us are enjoying the return to ‘proper’ cold water swimming. The late Spring and early summer were lovely as the sea temperatures started to rise and we could swim as long as we liked early in the morning or late into the evening without too much concern for anything beyond, perhaps, the tide.

Swimming in cold water has an extra frisson to it that we (the Bobbers) have missed in the warmer months. I write this now from the comfort of a warm house, by the end of the week proper cold water swimming will be a reality. We will have all the frisson we could wish for.

#4 theoldmortuary ponders.

Yesterday evening was the first time for a few weeks that I was able to walk along the coastal path nearest to the swimming beach that the ‘bobbers’ prefer to use. The beaches and the coastal path beyond the Artillery Tower have been closed for essential maintenance. Although the path is now open, the steps and slopes that allow us to get into the water at high tide are being refurbished.

We often joke that our ‘free’ hobby is anything but free as we buy various bits of equipment to make winter swimming easier and safer to achieve. But for our local council maintaining the concrete against twice daily tides and winter storms must be a huge budgetary responsibility.

Looking at the amount of work that has been done I’m pretty grateful that my only responsibility before winter is to get a wetsuit. But for now October is still being kind to us.

©Debs Bobber

Pandemic Pondering #542

©Debs Bobber

Devon threw out all the Greek vibes this Monday morning. Bobbers were a split pack today with two sessions, one at 10am and one at 7pm. This glorious blue tidal pool welcomed the morning bobbers. Meanwhile post the Burgh Island swim we were at Beesands. The lobster boats were also feeling a bit greek too

Hugo and Lola have no idea what Greek is but they struck a heroic pose regardless.

Meanwhile back with the early bobbers the summer clouds just kept drifting across the sky.

© Debs Bobber

The 7 pm bobbers didn’t quite get the Greek treatment from the weather. But a high tide and warm water is all we need and that is pretty much what we got.

Pandemic Pondering #516

Hot on the heels of yesterdays morning blog is an evening blog of the same day, and two pictures from the exact same position with only a dog walk between them. Between yesterdays blog and this one lies the path of a day taken up by stuff, complicated by maintainance work on a local bridge. A normal 20 minute journey swelled to fill an hour and I missed an appointment. Rebooked for two hours later I filled my time with delivering brochures for an upcoming Open Studios event.

And took a trip to the supermarket. The appointment required me not to drive for two hours after so I was ‘forced’ to enjoy a late lunch in a friends garden and soak up the sun whilst my eyes returned to a normal, not blurry, way of life. Time then to head for home and get all the day jobs done. Before heading out for the evening dog walk which provided the two pictures that top and tail this blog. Since moving, our evening dog walk always takes in the area around the Royal William Yard, especially since the evenings have started to get darker. Royal William Yard is a collection of Military Buildings in Plymouth.

https://www.visitplymouth.co.uk/explore/areas-to-visit/royal-william-yard

Between the two photos we walked up to a meadow and the dogs chased each other inside the old, second world war gun emplacements of Devils Point.

https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/history/world-war-two-defences-you-2750611

I’m sure the longer we live here the more the history will soak into our bones but right now every slab of concrete is a complete mystery to us.

Returning to our original position, night was properly upon us.Time to turn our twelve feet for home.

Pandemic Pondering #490

In the night garden. Late yesterday evening was our first foray into a secret garden close to the new house. The weather was unsure of the exact plan and the evening light was strange. Familiar plants took on slightly surreal shapes as we walked around an unfamiliar place.

I’m unsure how regular our visits will be to this new destination. Sometimes the purpose of a place is not immediately obvious and takes time to reveal itself.

I slightly suspect it will become a place to quietly enjoy plants and books .

But a first visit in a dimpsy, twilight was a good introduction to the future possibilities.