Thursday, 27 May 2010

Oxbow expedition

As we approached the start of our swim in the Tamar, our excitement grew. First, the magnificent sight of the river itself - the Rhine of Devon. Then, as we got down towards the bank, we had to troop through vast reed beds which towered over us as we walked. It felt like being in the Cambodian jungle. When we finally got into the water, after our very hot trek, it was bliss. We were swimming an Oxbow, which somehow felt like a very special thing to do. There's something about an oxbow: a sort of indulgent meandering off course into a beautiful bulge; its lazily serpentine shape, and a pleasing circularity about the way you end up practically where you started.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Frolicking around the fringes

When we arrived at Bigbury-on-sea it felt like October. The place was shrouded in mist and everything was awash with grey. We continued with our swimming plans, and lo and behold it brightened up and we explored around the edge of the island, meandering through channels and diving through great fronds of kelp. We were approached by the lifeguards in their boat, who wanted to know if we were going to swim around the island. This feat has now become all too 'de rigeur'.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Stating the bleedin' obvious

You can never be too careful, especially by the sea where there are tides to worry about. At Castle Cove in Dartmouth the council isn't taking any chances with people's safety. Despite the danger of the incoming tide I plunged in and had a body-tingling swim - my first in the sea without a wetsuit this year. It was indeed cold but then I realised I was getting used to it, and swam for longer than I expected.

Totnes Groove

Saw a rather groovy band busking while out shopping in Totnes today. They are called "Not Now Bernard". I spent a lot of time dredging the recesses of my brain trying to get the reference. Eventually I remembered the the character Bernard in Four Weddings and A Funeral: a hapless and hopeless but rather charming man. In fact, Aqua Marina (see comments) tells me this is the name of a children's book about a little boy who is ignored by his parents. Thanks Aqua!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Church as home

Huccaby is an idyllic hamlet in the middle of Dartmoor near Dartmeet. It has a tiny, beautiful 19th century chapel dedicated to St Raphael. A group of dedicated fundraisers have recently got together and raised enough money for a woodburning stove to keep worshippers warm. It is a very special place, and the fireplace makes it feel like something more than a church.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Messing about in the river

At Bantham the tide was going out and the river was like a slippery snake, a constant ripple of movement towards the sea. We slid in and were pulled along by the current, enjoying a duck-eye view from the surface, looking out and up at the beach and seascape around. The world whirled by as we travelled along, clasped by the water. When we reached the open sea we got out, walked back to the start and did the whole thing again.

Serpentine swimming

Whilst in London supporting a friend in the Marathon we got the chance for an unauthorised swim in the Serpentine Lido. It wasn't officially open but everyone was getting into their bathers and going in anyway as it was such a glorious day and it seemed rude not to. As we breastroked up and down in a rather stately way (not wishing to put our faces in the water for fear of encountering old plastic bags or worse) we passed coots, ducks and swans. Rather lovely and a true wild oasis in the middle of the urban jungle.