Pandemic Pondering #379

Lambs and Seals, Snow and Sun.

A very curious weather day was had in Cornwall yesterday. A planned walk around a reservoir had to be squeezed into a gap between snow showers. There are no words for how cold the wind was. A very quick 3 mile walk was completed by the early afternoon. Finished just as the second snow shower started. So bad was the weather that hardly anyone else was venturing out. But surprisingly half way round we met some friends. Possibly they are as mad as us which is why we are friends!

Home to warm up and ponder if the weather would allow us to meet some friends for an evening visit to Firestone Bay to enjoy fish and chips. We set off without too much hope for a sunny evening and then just as we walked out of the fish and chip shop the skies cleared and this view welcomed us as we arrived.

Fish and Chips devoured, we set off for the Mediterranean, wind protected bay. On the way we were treated to an audience with the resident seal.

The Mediterranean corner did not dissapoint.

Which brings me nicely onto the last image of the day which appeared on the Stand Up Paddleboard Facebook page yesterday. The link to their website is below.

We watched the drone take this photograph which shows us, as tiny insignificant spots, but it proves the Mediterranean feel.

Home

© http://southwestsup.co.uk/

A day well spent.

Pandemic Pandemic #367

Starting Thursday with Maritime Sunburst Lichen because the day has actually started with rain.

Yesterday evening though was graced with a lovely sunset and an increase in water temperature of 1 degree. We were giddy with the tropicality of our evening swim. Five months of winter swimming in the same location might seem a little dull and I suppose excitement at a tiny improvement in water temperature only enhances the dullness quota. Tranquility Bay is the lovely name of our swimming destination but it doesnt really describe the swimming conditions. Tranquility Bay is a beach on Devils Point opposite Drakes Island. Darwin set off on what was to be the voyage that inspired and informed his later work ‘A Theory of Evolution’ from Barn Pool a bay opposite both Devils Point and Drakes Island.

Drakes Island

The origin of the name Devils Point is uncertain but 7 currents converge nearby making this area of water dangerous to navigate.

Tranquility Bay is a little way from the convergence point of these currents but they still play a vital part in our regular swims.

When we arrive for our dip all bundled up in warm clothing we lean over the sea wall to assess the days swim. If any of us were beardy men there would be a lot of beard tugging as we sagely consider the quality and safety of our swim. In truth we never really know until we get in. Appearances are deceptive and knowing the tide times, wind direction and weather are helpful but cannot predict what is going on under the surface. Sometimes the most unappealing looking days turn out to be a delightful swim and the reverse can so easily be true.

All this is, I suppose, a long preamble to a description of my curious feeling during last nights swim. It was at sunset and the water temperature was 9.6 degrees so everything was pretty chilly. I was doing my usual paddle across the width of the bay. I was swimming towards the sunset and I had a strange sense of being somewhere else. The whole swim felt like the last swim of a much enjoyed holiday, just as it is on holiday, it was hard to get out of the water and break the magic of the moment.

I took this shot the moment I got out. Had this been a holiday I might be enjoying this view with a good coffee and a plate of seafood having barely bothered to dress

The reality in March in Plymouth was somewhat different. A flask of Horlicks and a square of chocolate while squeezing cold damp skin into warm layers of clothes. None of them quite layering correctly on imperfectly dried skin.

A good way to end a day though.

Pandemic pondering #355

If a picture paints a thousand words then this frame says it all about Lockdown 3. Usually this frame on a wall on The Barbican holds topical graffiti. Currently it stands empty…

A friends retro print, though, might be predicting our 2021 travel plans.

©Marianne Wood

Pictures are the theme of this blog, like many blogs serendipity chose the subject. We did manage a sea swim today. We were super cautious and the weather was not kind.


Really cold fingers after our swim produced this curious image. It looks like a photograph produced on a glass plate from the earliest years of photography. Same location as above.

The ‘ bobbers’ also today at the same location.

©Andy Cole

And finally one last picure, after the swim and the restorative hot drink my warmed fingers found the Silky Water Filter on the camera and the sun came out.

Pandemic Pondering #343

March 1st St Davids Day. Monday . The last full month of  Lockdown in Britain …

Meanwhile Fools Spring is still in full swing . To avoid too many people we set off for the beach early and were rewarded with a Mediterranean style morning coffee just west of Plymouths Ferry Port on wartime concrete set into the cliffs.

10,000 or so steps later we returned for an evening swim.

We are lucky, now, that we only have tide times and the weather to consider. Sunrise and Sunset have pushed back enough for them not to be a concern. The bright evening sunlight gave us an interesting moment. Is this the oldest Co-op shop in Britain?

Pandemic Pondering #341

©Plymouth Open Water Swimmers

Yesterdays ‘ Bob’ events happened either end of the day. Mr Stan was off to the groomers so his swimming parents had to swim early in the morning.

Mr Stan, part of the Peverell Posse

The day started well for them.

©Tony Batty

The later swimmers took the sunset slot.

The evening swim was epic.

©Andy Cole

But unknown to us , something was afoot.

©Andy Cole

David Partner, a world renowned photographer was collecting images for a project he is working on. Here we are swimming off, oblivious to man in small speedos. Also oblivious to man with large Hasellblad. Just oblivious really!

On returning to land David Partner asked our permission to take photographs of us for his project. Obviously we stripped off to reveal our gorgeously honed bodies and our thong bikinis. Just a slick of lippy and we were camera ready. You will be relieved to know the last two sentences are pure fabrication.

Just a regular ‘ bob’ at Firestone Bay.

Links to David Partner and Plymouth Open Water Swimming below.

https://www.davidpartner.co.uk/headsofgovernment

https://www.facebook.com/groups/214153495854310/?ref=share

Pandemic Pondering #327

It was a ‘Tiara Bob’ today. In other words a Bobbers Birthday.

Also a two bob day.

Our informal ‘Bobbing’ group only has one rule. There always needs to be one non-swimmer for safety and photograhy.

Two bobs were called because Birthday Zooms were needed at the optimum tide . So we split into two groups, one for birthday zooming and one for optimum tide grabbing.

The birthday group were bouyant. The birthday bobber got gifts and Pandemically acceptable hugs.

In the afternoon the Optimal Tide Bobbers were obliged to not swim in the sea as the currents at our favourite beach were a bit too strong. Instead we opted an Atlantic Infinity Pool with a wave splash feature.

Looks like summer, feels like -6

Pandemic Pondering #320

The sea swimming community in Plymouth is very welcoming.

When you drive along Durnford Street at 10am and see a woman walking along wearing a Tiara, it is a fair assumption, and in this case correct, that she is a sea swimmer celebrating something.

A double celebration as it turns out, a birthday and retirement.

The beauty of this lovely community is that everyone looks out for each other, in or out of the water. It is entirely normal to ask a complete stranger why they are wearing a tiara. Talking to this particular stranger gave me the heart image at the top of this blog. Her husband had made this heart on their gate to celebrate her birthday.

The smiles are not just reserved for Tiara wearing. Just doing a sea swim makes us smile inside and out.

Some other facial expressions!

But mostly smiles.

People are always willing to share their expertise. On this occasion, not swimming related, how to use drainage holes to frame photographs.

Two of our images.

And someone using their newly acquired knowledge.

As it happens within our ‘Bobbers’ group we have had two recent birthdays. Unaware of the informal Tiara rule, we just exchanged cards. (In future, tiaras will be involved!) ‘Bobbers’ also do original art.

Hugo and Lola by Debs Bobber

Sea swimming is an amazing activity. We plan ours using Tide times and weather forecasts.

For local and constantly updated information, we often refer to Plymouth Open Water Swimmers. Link below.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/214153495854310/?ref=share

Some of us have had swimming lessons from Jason at Ace Swimming

https://www.aceswimming.co.uk/

Cold water swimming, it makes us smile. We Love It.

Pandemic Pondering #310

Bagels, Basking, Bobbing.

Our introduction to Hutong Bagels was a couple of days late but serendipity delivered them on a day when we could bask in winter sun.

Dressed for the cold, we felt as  warm as toast. I’m wearing a tweed coat I picked up at a charity shop over the New Year. It was in the window and the subtle colours called out to me. What a find. A Saks 5th Avenue brand, every edge is bound with leather . A Transatlantic coat to keep me warm while I look out over the Atlantic. Not that I would have dreamed of scrabbling about on rocks in it if I had actually bought it in Saks. Truth be told the only time I could ever have shopped in Saks I needed an afternoon sleep. Rooftop bars and the New York tradition of free pouring spirits meant I was not a very effective tourist in the afternoons!

Coats are only temporary though. After an hour of basking it’s time to get our clothes off and swim with the ‘ Bobbers’

©Andy Cole

Cold sea swimming has become addictive. Not just us, the whole of Britain is dunking in the sea more than ever before.We go out twice a week. Today we shared the water with boats and a seal. The seal is called Sammy and lives in Firestone bay. There are no photographs of the seal but the boats were more co-operative. Clyde Fisher was the big chap. Powerful and Faithful are the tugs.

Tugs, we love tugs.
©Andy Cole

Pandemic Pondering #181

Lockdown @theoldmortuary changed many things , some things stayed the same.Today we received half of a prize that represents change and we await the half that represents no change. This is to encourage anyone who sees those ‘share and comment’ posts on Instagram for a chance to win a prize. The prizes are real and random people win them.

Our reading habits changed during Lockdown. Hannah completely lost the ability to commit to a book. I lost the focus for the kind of books I like to read and developed a thirst for foreign based detective drama. We weren’t unusual, everyone in my book group reported changes in genre choice. None of us managed to read the classics or ‘ difficult’ books that you might imagine time and limited life choices might allow.

Today we received the first part of our prize. 4 books fromhttps://www.deadgoodbooks.co.uk/ Neither of us are thriller readers but with changes in reading style so fresh in our minds and a gift of books, now must be the time.

Book bundle from https://www.deadgoodbooks.co.uk/
Coffee the ‘ no change’ habit @theoldmortuary . Less cake recently

Coffee and the pursuit of excellence is unchanged @theoldmortuary . Our prize will come from https://extractcoffee.co.uk/ A company we have used to send us lovely coffee by post.

What a clever coupling, books and coffee. Perfection would be enjoying both in a foreign place beside a pool. What may well happen is a flask of good coffee, a book and some warm clothes after a swim at the only pool available to us.

Tidal Pool, Devils Point, Plymouth
Tidal Pool, Devils Point ,Plymouth

Not a bad way to enjoy a prize.

Pandemic Pondering #174

No New Worlds is a new art installation in Plymouth it has a profound message which deserves its own blog. Contrarily @theoldmortuary has discovered new worlds while the installation was being constructed. We first encountered it when we went on the Dockyards and Warships boat trip. A New World, or an old world rediscovered for us. The installation was being constructed on the Mountbatten Break Water, we saw it as we sailed out of Plymouth Sound, at the time we didn’t know it was a significant commissioned Art Work.

Another New World for us is open water or Wild Swimming. We can see the sign from many of our new found bathing spots.

As an aside I had a very strange swim today which was also a bit of a new world. Maybe a little Queen World.

While swimming at Devils Point I was suddenly surprised by HMS Albion steaming towards me, towed by two powerful tugs. It is not every day that I am saluted by an entire ships company as I bob along in the sea. Obviously they were doing the salutations just for me. I so enjoyed the moment I couldn’t take a photo until the ship had passed by. A ship’s backside is an interesting change from the usual dog bottom in this blog.

Apparently this ship is the Swiss Army Knife of the Royal Navy. That’s quite a claim, I wonder where the corkscrew is?

I can say that not only did I experience a moment of Queenliness with the delightfully polite young persons saluting me. I also experienced a bit of Dolphinliness, the ship created quite a vibration in the water and some waves.

Another New World for @theoldmortuary was visiting the Mount Batten Breakwater, a place we had never visited before. We went to be up close to the Artwork to research and photograph for the proper blog tomorrow.

The installation is called Speedwell.