Saturday, 30 January 2010


Unfortunately they were waves of nausea. Warning to regular readers: this post is entirely off-topic. Many apologies.

But they were the only waves around as I struggled to Paddington on Sunday morning with a strenuous hangover, to get the train with Claire and her friends. Who organises a birthday walk the morning after a boozy birthday dinner? Yes. Claire Bennett.

But it was worth it, for the charming walk from Henley on Thames to Shiplake, via lots of fields and a nice pub, in the company of several of her friends. Though even a charming walk can feel like a forced march when you've got a hangover.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

East is East and West is West

And I know which one I like the best.

After East Runton I drove east around the Norfolk Coast, which was enlightening. If North Norfolk is Chelsea on Sea, this is Dagenham on Sea. Lots of run-down, beaten-up prefab huts masquerading as seaside villas.

Lots of potential surfing beaches, but not in the conditions I saw them. But I did go via California: I was expecting sunshine, palm trees and crooning beach boys. Instead I found this:

Tempting though it might be to say I've surfed in California, it wasn't quite tempting enough, so I headed on to Lowestoft, a fairly charmless, semi-industrial port with a pier and a nice beach. Its main attraction was that it's the most easterly point in Britain, and therefore somewhere I wanted to surf.

This part of East Anglia bills itself as The Sunrise Coast. When I woke up on Friday, it would have had trouble calling itself The Horizon Coast. I suspect The Drizzle Coast isn't going to bring in the punters.
The forecast was for strong on-shore wind and waist-high slop. And sure enough, that's what I got. Plus rain.
You know it's not ideal when the kite-surfers are out.

Still, I did what I had to do. What can I tell you? It was rubbish. But fun rubbish, for some reason. Perhaps because conditions were so appalling. After 40 minutes catching whitewash and having cold water (5ยบ, apparently) flushed down my back, I got out and headed for civilisation for a few days.

But not before one of my tyres decided it had had enough. Fortunately it didn't take me with it, and instead it let me down gently.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

And we're back. At last.

Christmas came and went. Ditto New Year. Ditto Twelfth Night. Ditto Saint Hilary's Feast! And what did I do? Cough, mostly. And lounge around the house, enjoying mod. cons. like walls and hot water. But there's only so much coughing and lounging you can do before insanity beckons. Or in this case, North Norfolk.

"North Norfolk?" you cry. "Didn't you do that before Christmas?"

Well, yes, but some misplaced sense of obligation convinced me that I hadn't done it very thoroughly. Sitting in Cromer in the snow for three days doesn't count as thoroughly.

So I drove up to East Runton last night, and surfed it this morning:
Considering I've been idling around eating Christmas cake for four weeks, it was quite a good session. Chest high, peeling nicely, and a few reasonably long rides. Not very powerful, but this is Norfolk, so you don't really expect power. If only it wasn't so cold! There wasn't a breath of wind, but even so, every time you hit the water, it's a real slap in the face.

But it was very nice to be back in a van and back on a board.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Excuses, excuses

I'm still malingering, far from the sea, kept from the waves by a combination of snow, a hacking cough and lack of swell. And indolence.

Normal service will resume shortly.

In the meantime, here are some photos of last week's snow.