Fortunately, all was not lost. Colin managed to fit the van in sooner than expected, and by Tuesday I was mobile again. That's why he's a saint. Apparently it was the clutch, which no longer clutched at anything except straws.
Here he is (right), laughing at the state of the ruined clutch his assistant is holding. Or because I'm handing over my credit card for the fourth time in six weeks. I was tempted to block book the van in every Monday for the next six weeks, just in case.So, sorry, Katya. Goodbye, Moscow. Do svidanya, vodka. Surf's up.
Still no waves, but what the hell? Not on the South coast, at least. But what's that trying to slip into the Cinque Ports unnoticed? No, not the Spanish Armada, but a sizeable if wind-blown swell.
So I headed back to Kent again. Conveniently, it had suffered an overnight snow fall, stranding drivers, closing schools and leaving Dover incommunicado. Fortunately, with my spanking new tyres, I didn't get stuck, as I would surely have done a few weeks ago.
Ramsgate was cold, windy and snowbound. But there was a reasonably good wave, at least until the tide went out and the cliffs were unable to keep the worst of the wind off. Still a bit chilly, with air temperatures at around 0º and water 5º! But a surf's a surf.
Was I happy? Judge for yourselves:
The following day, I headed along the coast to check out the South Coast. As I suspected, it was all flat as a pancake, starting with Beachy Head, a renowned beauty/suicide spot:
Birling Gap. Renowned lunch spot:
East Wittering. Renowned flat spot:
Life's too short to wait for gutless slop, so as soon as the next burst of swell arrives, I'm heading onwards. Westward ho!
But first I've had to fly to Barcelona for a week, to help look after the family of an American girl who has had a medical emergency. And inevitably, with no board, no wetsuit and no time, the Mediterranean was kicking off. The kind of twice-a-year conditions that keep Mediterranean surfers going through the long months of flatness.
But hopefully heading home and back on the road next week.