Swim 6 - Nov 11th 2015   2015


It’s been a week of dizzling greyness and fog, riding motorbikes very slowly, and thinking about war.

I ran down after observing a year 6 lesson on WW1 war poetry. So I wrote some observation notes, rang talktalk to dispute my monthly plan (sucessfully) and then went. I haven’t run recently, though on Sunday I did after a showdown about the cinema with Andy 

So - everything was suddenly BROWN - russet rusty brown. The trees are bare, or sparely sprinkled with stiff brown leaves. The bracken flames the flanks of the valley in warm brown drifts. The rocks that I clamber down and swim beside are a paler bronze and smooth. The sea though, that is a hard pale grey like an unforgiving eye. Like my eyes if I am near grey. Kelp rolls and churns in the waves, and even lies in the blue lagoon, now a flinty grey. No sign of blue in sky or land. A small pink flower in the hedge bank catches my eye as I run down - awkward and garish against the tweedy tones of the brambles. It’s a ragged robin. 

I climb down the cliff I last climbed up - a fortnight ago at least - and wished my Salomon shoes had more grip. Then I lowered myself gingerly into the blue lagoon - shallowish and angry - with the waves sucking hard to east and west as the waves break through the rock barrier at the far west of the pool and roll round the inlet to the beach on the east. I let myself be limply pulled back and forth over the rocks, feet well up. It’s not shallow but I can stand upright in the water and the rocks can be high. I shout ‘It’s so brown’ and as I am sucked and rippled I think I’d like to die in the sea - and then I think I sort of will be at sea when I die anyway so it doesn’t matter.

As I dressed a helicopter came along the cliff top and watched me a bit. Maybe it wasn’t watching me put my socks on, but had more essential events to watch. I clambered back to the beach and leapt onto the sand from that very mushroom-like rock which is jammed in a door-like gap between the main rock of the cliff and an outlier. As I jumped I thought - oh that’s often quicksand - and it was. So I sank in over my ankle. Funny. I washed my shoes a bit in the stream as I went up because that sand by the blue lagoon is so rotten with seaweed it smells sulpherous.

I ran up the road all the way to the top gunnera - which is now collapsing slowly and massively. Since my feet were wet already I took the top path along the contour line to the west which is always deep with a very rich brown humus of mud and leaves.