Wednesday, 28 October 2009

At your convenience

It's all gone a bit flat, which is rather frustrating. After the epic (or epic-ish) evening in Guallane, I had a frustrating surf in North Berwick - weak, all over the place and backing off just when you thought you had it. I thought it was a little chilly, but that clearly wasn't going to deter these mad kids.
North Berwick is pretty, charming and friendly, so I stayed several nights, not least so I could enjoy their award winning public toilets. If you click on the photo, you will see they won awards throughout the Nineties. Then there's a horrible gap, and I can only imagine the dreadful lapse in hygiene standards the poor people of North Berwick had to endure for several years before their public convenience was restored to its former glory. Above the left hand mirror, a certificate claims it won awards from 2001 to 2005, but it's clearly home-produced, and rings very hollow.
Their secret seems to be to make it very clear what you are and are not allowed to do. Particularly, no feet in the hand basins. Obviously.
The following day I went to Pease Bay, where there were decent, waist-high waves, though some of them were backing off too, or worse, doubling up. While in theory this sounds like a good thing, it isn't (as our good friend Julian (I think) in Zarautz taught us all those years ago). Rather than make a double-size wave, they cancel each other out, leaving you paddling for air.
After changing to a bigger board, I had a decent enough session, happy to surf a pretty and iconic bay. When I got out, I bumped into one of the surfers I had met on Friday at Gullane. Inevitably, he told me that the day before, while I had been arseing around in North Berwick slop, Pease Bay had been epic. On the other hand, while I had been having fun in Gullane, he hadn't found anything better and had ended up not getting wet. And thus I win. "It was gash", he said. I shall consult my Scottish friends to find out what this means.

Pease Bay is very pretty if you're sitting on the beach looking out to sea. Looking inland, it's plagued by an outbreak of caravans, like an ugly rash which only clears up with the regular application of torrential rain.
They have their own views about what you can and can't do in the loos.
I don't know why they're worried - you can't fit a whole wetsuit in the toilet anyway. If you want to rinse the salt out, you have to do it a limb at a time and then wait for the cistern to refill, and who has the time for that?

On the plus side, there's plenty to do. If you like bingo.
And if not, there's always Paula.


Anonymous said...

What does 'backing off' mean?

And I think 'gash' is rubbish - sailors tend to use the term.

Kind regards, Mark

ScottishK said...

Gash. Adj. Rubbish. See also Gab-gash. As in Talking Rubbish.

But a rather more lyrical use of the word ‘gash’ can be found in this version of the ‘Odes of Horace’ written by the 18thC Scottish poet, Robert Fergusson. The sentiment is, as in the Latin original, Carpe Diem.

Ne’er fash your thumb what gods decree
To be the weird o’ you or me,
Nor deal in cantrip’s kittle cunning
To speir how fast your days are running;
But patient lippen for the best,
Nor be in dowie thought opprest.
Whether we see mair winter’s come,
Than this that spits wi’ canker’d foam.
Now moisten weel your geyzen’d wa’s
Wi’ couthy friends and hearty blaws;
Ne’er let your hope o’ergang your days,
For eild and thraldom never stays;
The day looks gash, toot aff your horn,
Nor care ae strae about the morn.

80waves said...

Mark: Backing off means it seems like it's about to peak and break, but then it doesn't, and fades away.

ScottishK: Excellent, you have single-handedly injected the literary flavour that has been so lacking on this blog. I don't understand a word, of course. But I'll be sure not to fash my thumb, just in case.

Anonymous said...


Enough of this high latitude machismo and low toilet humour. How is India - do you have a blog?

Regards, Mark