special pieces

Sometimes I find a special piece that really calls out to ‘be’ something in particular…I have had a piece that looks like a whale’s tail for a while now, and have a special design in mind for it…sketched below. Time to buy some more PMC3!

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Llwybr

I do miss the sea. I see it every day, but I am missing it. I never get to go in it any more; there always seems to be something more pressing, more pressurising. And sure, it’s cold as well — I don’t want to get in, but I know that I do as well, and will feel so much better when I do. I’ll surf badly, rusty and out of sync with the ocean, and feel ashamed. But three days where I can do no more than glance in fading light, and I am antsy without it. Running brings me close only, not into. It looks so soft and light and playful, though I know it is cold and, this winter, killer. Anyway I must get back in; everything tells me so. And close, and sit, and watch. Before all the tourists come back, before the peace and scoured-cleanness is gone. The signposts are on my desktop because, I thought, I liked the blue, but they are reminding me of the choices I have already made and still abide by, when I remember to honour them. That all paths lead to the coast for me, to Lochtyn and surrounding beaches and beaches further afield; salt water anywhere. Also that my path is soon to change again, that I will not be stuck wishing for change forever — that the path is sometimes a long, long tiring one, like the walk to Cwmtudu, but beautiful. I feel like I would like to wander some, and be a little more rootless and a little more free.

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day of drilling

green seaglass pendant

sold!

Made some more seaglass stuff for my Etsy shop.

If you want some Xmas goodies use XMASFUN at the checkout for 15% off! Loved making these — I have to admit, sea pottery is a lot easier to drill than seaglass but there we are. I have sold quite a few pieces, mostly to locals but one piece is heading to America tomorrow!

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Pontgarreg Christmas Craft Fair

seaglass craft fair stallMy first seaglass jewellery stall at the weekend, and it went quite well! A few lovely locals bought a few things, and all Mum’s jam went in a flash too.

My stuff is certainly different from anyone else’s, which is a plus, but I need more stock (bracelets, earrings, keyrings etc.) and a proper display, which I sat designing while the hall was quiet.

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Insanity – not quite what I hoped for…

I’ve finally finished Insanity, the total body workout maximum interval training DVD series. It was a huge challenge, and I was often totally exhausted all day after a workout, and sore for most of the two months-ish. My fitness level is beyond anything I’ve ever achieved before, except maybe when I was surfing 3 times a day in Oz (and I was 23 then…36 now!).

Final Fit Test:
Switch kicks 105 (from 77)
PowerJacks 55 (start 48)
Power Knees 110 (from 68)
Power Jumps 34 (from 22)
Globe Jumps 12 (from 9)
Suicide Jumps 22 (from 12)
Pushup Jacks 32 (from 11)
Low Plank Ob 60 (from 43 orig)

However…I did take before and after photos and…well…no abs, no discernable difference at all in my body shape. Huge disappointment. And I weigh about the same as when I started. Even more disappointment. (I only wanted rid of 7lbs.)

insanity before

BEFORE

after

AFTER

So what did I do wrong?! I have looked at it honestly, and truly, I don’t know.

I had to stop for 12 days in the middle because the Power Jumps buggered my knee quite badly. Pretty much didn’t do them again — substituted with something less high-impact. I then skipped the Recovery Week (boring routine x6? Nah) and went at it again, hard as before. I also slacked off when I went to France for a week — surfed a few times and walked miles on soft sand, but didn’t work out as such. But again, back into it when I returned.

Boyf says “It’s what you eat“. Hmm. I couldn’t follow the nutrition booklet because I’m veggie, and it was all fish and meat and also rather American. So I stayed on my Slimming World plan as much as I could, which usually works for me. Didn’t drink much — didn’t want to, I was pretty focussed — but yeah, I went out once or twice.

The workouts burn from 700-1000 calories a time, and I really did hammer myself like I have never done before. Didn’t press pause or take breaks except when I had to or die, ate as clean as possible…so how didn’t I lose weight?

BUT I have to look at those fitness results, which I love – surf fitness was the other main reason I did this, after all. I think if I re-commit to the Slimming World plan, start running again and do Insanity (and surf/swim of course) whenever I can, i.e. taking one day off a week from a workout, I’ll see those last pounds go, and under them will be the muscles I have now, just waiting to show themselves…

Wanted to write this just to sound a note of caution, as all I’ve seen is how wonderful it is, and amazing before and afters. Doesn’t necessarily work out quite like that!

 

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Rainbows and spiders

Seriously, I should be a skinny minny the amount of exercise I do…Insanity this morning then a surf, and now it’s time to walk the hounds…

Small but clean enough, and it’s still warm so it’s got to be done. Looked nice, but it was super-frustrating as there are just no decent banks and it lines up, lines up, picks up, looks oooh lovely, then disappears under you only to break at the last moment in a surge of shorebreak closeout… Caught one or two but would have had a faceful of sand and no fins (on Pob’s board) if I’d gone for most of them. Difficult.

I sometimes wonder if the peanut gallery (in the Sianti and Pentre) are wondering why I am so shit and rarely actually ride a wave. I wonder the same myself…but then I remember catching so many waves at Le Sud that I forgot my tally, and wish I was in Sri Lanka or Costa Rica or somewhere. Disloyal to my lovely, rainbowy, seal sanctuary, grey watered, sunbeam-lit Crannog, I know, but there you are…I need good waves.

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There’s a rainbow coming out behind the false widow’s bum…if you can see it…

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Autumn yoga

This is Over The Rainbow, a guesthouse and event space where I spent Sunday with Mum and 7 others on a yoga day retreat. Phone off (except for these photos), dog head down… Despite being quite ill I managed most of the asanas and the pranayama was so blissful I went into a trance – or is that just fell asleep?! Definitely fell asleep in sivasana, which I’ve never done before. The weather threw huge sunbeams followed by lashing rain at us, and this beautiful room stayed warm and cosy. There’s such a great atmosphere, and the veggie lunch with home-grown beans just topped it off. Gorgeous…miss my yoga practice. Can’t afford classes, but I can afford to unroll my mat at home and get back into it.

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Hossegor surf trip

wave

Danny on a wave at Culs Nus

Before I went to Hossegor for this year’s Quik Pro France, I had a quick look on the internet, as you do, to see what info I could find about the surf and practical matters such as transfer times and where to eat. Didn’t find much, so I’ve written something myself and posted it on Matador, in the hope that it might help others who haven’t spent much time in the area. But I also wanted to do some more personal waffling on about the week that we spent there.

 

 

 

 

Ahhhh le French surf. Les Bourdaines very nearly drowned me last time I was in France, so I was nervous, but in the end the surf was either small and no problem (too small, in fact) or huge and no way. The one day I would have ummed and ahhed about going in, I was sick from surfing Le Sud near the harbour. Nice waves there, but crowded and yeah, dirty. The best surf I had was on the first day, when it was hot, sunny (boardies, ahh) and a couple of foot of good old French shorey beachy. Wish we’d had more of that! Didn’t have the chance to travel, though I did hit Bourdaines again, and I think we’d have found better surf if we did.

 

crowdThe group’s focus was watching the Quik Pro comp, though, and I stuck with that.

Not keen on crowds, and boy, was it crowded on the shoreline, with plenty of people happy to come late and try to stand in front of us. Nope! We were there 7.30 some mornings and saw some amazing surfing before most people were up. Rekindled my interest in the Tour, which was never that strong because I wrote all the reports without ever seeing a CT comp! The surfers are real professionals and work so hard. When the waves are as good as they were a couple of days this year, it’s so worth watching. Took a bagful of food, water, beer, suncream etc. and hunkered down for about three days.

So many people in vans, even a couple from Wales. Desperate to get another one for myself. It’s definitely the best way to do it.

buoy

big money brands

Pro-hoes: I never could stand the running-after-pro-surfers shit, and I hate it even more when  those in question barely knew who Kelly Slater was the week before. Please, please, be cool — they’re just people, and generally they’re pretty laid-back, so you look mental and silly. Sorry. If it’s someone you genuinely admire, go for it; I wish I’d seen Lisa Andersen, for example — I’d definitely have asked her for a photo.

I found my French coming back to me quite easily — I understood quite a lot, although I couldn’t really say much myself. I would make more effort to re-learn it next time; the Michael Thomas CDs were great, but I didn’t do more than a couple of hours.

 

 

 

Bravo took a picture of me and the crowd…

Fashion: Chicks were wearing ‘Daisy Dukes bikinis on top’ and the boys, boardies and t’s. We’re an imaginitive lot, us surfers…haha. Lots of neon brights and loads of people, boys and girls, with lush chunky neon watches (I’m digging out the Roxy Deep again). Loads of gorgeous tattoos, and in all sorts of places. Quite a fan of the under-the-buttock, though maybe not for me at 36, and oh, I’d love one under a ring or on my wrist, but don’t dare — let’s see my next career step first! The big-bun hair of the UK is messy twists and little clipped bits in France; I prefer that. Flat cap peaks, which doesn’t suit me.

 

…and I took a picture of him

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The only other thing to say is that I need to travel more, again…

 

 

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waves…ish

Monday was pretty good here, but muggins was working. Freelancing is SO hard when it starts to pump but you’ve got a deadline!

Jumped in on Tuesday and had quite a few lovely little waves, but it was the company that made it special. I’ve been surfing here for 20 years now, and I always love to surf with the boys. Just a couple this time; one who I don’t know so well but he’s shit-hot, and the other who I’ve known as long as I’ve been surfing. It was awesome to hear of some pretty significant developments in their lives…all settling down, basically!

Then a girl paddled out! This never happens in Crannog, being as it’s the middle of nowhere. I think she was from Cornwall way; she looked like a Cornish maid. Surfed good, too. I always feel competitive with another girl in the water, ‘cos I see them so seldom. She had some lovely little peaks and good to see a smile on her face.

But the best company was, as it often is, the wildlife. A little silver fish throwing a fit on the ocean surface, just jumping out and skittering along. Then a seal appeared and we all pulled our feet up, just in case. A baby it was, with its mum looking on from further away. They’re at the curious age. I was looking out to sea when it popped up about three metres away from me and flapped a flipper at me. I have to say I did scream a bit; the seal had its eyes firmly on me and looked quite pleased at the reaction, the little sod. Satisfied, it swam off back towards New Quay. A beautiful silver and grey thing with those big round eyes. Full of mischief, this one.

Surf went dead the next day, despite hopeful buoy predictions. The worst summer I can ever remember here.

Still, off to FRANCE!!!! tomorrow. Small waves forecast for the first few days, then HUGE. Oh dear. Despite having done six weeks of Insanity, I still don’t think I’m ready for huge, not French style. It’s been way too long since I’ve seen anything challenging. Still, I cannot wait for a holiday — barring magazine trips, which were often more work than you’d actually believe, I’ve not been on a holiday since me and 6 girlies went to northern Portugal about eight years ago! Seriously — what happened to traveller me! Too much work and not enough SURF! All about to change…

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Girl surfers? Not in Cardiff…

I spent a couple of days in Cardiff this week, and nostalgically wandered around the shopping arcades to see what remains from my undergrad days. I also wanted to see what was cool at the moment, as, lovely though Llangrannog is, it and the nearby shopping ‘centres’ are not ‘down with the kids’.

City Surf is still there, although it’s in a different arcade. I don’t think it sold surf clothing for females when I was at uni, but then, there wasn’t much around. I distinctly remember my joy at being bought a green Headworx jumper which I wore to death. It didn’t fit; it wasn’t made for 17-year-old girls.

There was a nice thermo rashy in the window, the pretty flowers on it signalling that it was for females, but nothing else. Except wetsuits, which would have mollified me but for the prices. Jeeeeeesus.

I suppose they are short of space, but did no-one tell them that girls BUY STUFF? It’s what Roxy’s built on! I went into a huge surf/snow/skate place and a big street/skate place too and again there was bugger all for the ladies. Strange. Do they still think that girls don’t surf? They should check out the awesome South Wales Women’s Surf Development Squad for a start.

Disappointed, I went to Superdry, and spent my (father’s) money there…similarly exorbitant prices, but the quality’s excellent, as long as you steer clear of the, er, chavvy things (most of the t-shirts).

I doubt I will have this problem when I go to HOSSEGOR next week…oh, I cannot wait. Except that I’m very likely to get ground into the sand repeatedly, because this flat spell has been the worst I can remember for a fucking long time, and I’m not sure I can surf at all any more.

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