Sunday, 9 March 2008

North coast

Listening to: Thick as a Brick (Jethro Tull, feel free to point and laugh)
Weather: sunshine, one brief shower
Surf: 3-4ft, clean with gentle offshore breeze

I went to the beach today. Nothing unusual. You have a job avoiding beaches on a small island 11 miles long and (where we live at least) a mile wide.

After a busy morning spent fretting over the new arrangements in the pig shed (will the bloody mortar never set?), I suggested to Mrs TPF we get out with the dogs, enjoy the sunshine, watch Mother Nature do her thing and so on.

Sal had passed the morning in a far more productive style than me, grooming Teddy the pony - a process that includes rubbing baby oil into his coat (I kid you not). She then stayed true to her Black Country background and sorted and tidied the pile of scrap metal that has been growing behind the house.

The upshot was that she felt the call of the sofa and a chick-flick, so I tucked her in and was off out with the dogs on my own. I bundled the boys into the Land Rover and ten minutes later I was at Grobust beach which, apart from sharing its name with a herbal breast enhancement product (honest!), is one of my favourites anywhere in the world.

It's the one on the header. . . lovely, isn't it?

It's changed a bit since the autumn. The bank of sand on the western half of the beach has been partly washed away and partly blown over the dunes towards the golf course, leaving the mothballed archaeological dig (an Iron Age settlement apparently - there's a clip on YouTube if that's what rings your bell) mostly covered.

At low tide a wide expanse of flat rocks are exposed and today they were busy with (at a guess) 70 oystercatchers, a few gulls making a nuisance of themselves.

It's the only beach on the island which holds a decent wave and then it's not that good that often. The strong winds tend to mess up the waves and most days they break so quickly that the take-off is for experts only. Today was a great exception, the lines pushing towards the shore, green faces of the waves peeling over neatly, a little spray coming off the top as they broke.

Walking east along the back of the beach, I stopped to look out in the general direction of Iceland while Spike fully investigated a rabbit hole and Owen sprinted here and there in vain pursuit of our fluffy-tailed friends.

The temptation to go in was strong, but there are strong rips at either end of the beach and a wicked one in the middle that will suck you a couple of hundred yards out without you knowing it - going solo is not an option.

And besides, it's still a bit chilly.


Anonymous said...

people who swim in British waters are insane and should be kept in cages for their own safety.

mig bardsley said...

Especially ripping waters!
It is lovely though - to look at.

Dave said...

Ripping waters sounds so Noel Coward.

Ginni Dee said...

Great poetic phrase..."ripping waters". I must remember that for future use!

Malc, I loved your description of the breakers. And it sounds like you and the dogs had a lovely outing.

This is a very artsy post!!

Richard said...

I bet it's rather better up there today than the rest of the country. Lovely beach that just screams "bass" at the angler in me. Nothing wrong with a bit of Tull either. Did you hear Ian Anderson on the wireless last week? Very droll.

Anonymous said...

Malc, what a gorgeous looking beach you've captured with those picturesque clouds at the back. Knowing where you're located, however, means I don't think I shall venture even a toe in that water!
(and kudos to Sal - job well done!)

ziggi said...

I've always like Jethro Tull and bought Minstrel in Gallery with the proceeds from my first Saturday job! Do not point and laugh at me!
Lovely beach, not good to go in, as FatH says, British waters (even with a heavy duty wet suit) are only for the deeply insane.

garfer said...

Do you strap on a wispy beard, gurn, and jump around on one leg playing the flute like a right twat when listening to the Tull?

Gawd help us, it'll be Yes next.

dinahmow said...

Having said I found Jim D. funny I can't point and laugh.(Jethro signed a copy of In the Wood for me!)
Beaches? You showed me yours so I'll show you mine.

Malc said...


I'm allowed out at weekends and to feed the pigs.


If you get tired of that one, we've got loads more.


Can't see Noel in a wetsuit somehow.


Artsy? Heck! Better get back to writing about pigs.


It was very much better. Lovely sunshine until midafternoon. Wet and breezy now, though.

The Tull thing is a hangover from my late teens when suddenly in 1976 we were supposed to hate all the big supergroups we'd liked until five minutes earlier. I never had the heart to ditch my Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Tull albums.

I listened to Bursting Out right the way through the other day and there's loads of good stuff on it. I just never quite understand how someone whose favourite band is The Clash can like Jethro Tull who, unlike Led Zep, haven't had the benefit of becoming hip all over again.


We've got wetsuits, hoods, boots and gloves you can borrow if you change your mind.


Wouldn't dream of it. Minstrel is one of my favourites. In fact, it's on right now.

Cross-eyed Mary now.


You found the chink in the armour - I never could get on with the leaping about and funny faces.

As for Yes. . . please credit me with some standards. I reckon they found their perfect collaborators when they hitched up with Buggles.

I, still, ♥ the views said...

rips are very dangerous (first thing covered in the first lesson at Surf's Up in Polzeath)

what a beautiful photo!!!

did you and the pigs survive the storm? not too much damage, I hope

think of you and Mrs TPF everytime I see the weather forecast on the Beeb - smile if it's sunny, frown if not


(who or what is Jethro Tull?)

am not going to comment on the insanity of swimming in British waters, other than to say it would explain a lot in my case

Malc said...


Yes, rips are bad news, but if you keep your head, stay with your board and paddle parallel to the beach, not towards it, you should get out OK. Most places there's someone there to give you a hand.

We didn't get the storms, although we were promised them for Monday. It's been quite nice, as it happens. Lovely of you to think of us.

PG said...

There is nothing at all funny about Thick as a Brick, it is one of the finest musical masterpieces ever, and one of my favourite albums ever. But then, I still love Hawkwind, which must be almost cool now..