Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Pure Morning

Something is happening to me. I feel driven to go swimming in the sea, even when I know it's going to be painfully cold. I went in this morning, around 8 o'clock. It's a beautiful day but the sea is always going to be bitter at that time in the morning. The tides are still very high from the recent new moon and that seemed like such an invitation - I knew that I could walk in over the submerged grass of the salt-flats and quickly get to swimming depth.

The world looks different from absolute sea level: bigger and wetter. This morning was flat calm except for a few rippled patches which sparkled with dazzling brilliance. Majestic silence and salty ozone tang. A lone Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo), perched on a quickly-vanishing rock, spread its coal-black wings to dry off in the hazy sunshine.

The afterglow must be the habit-forming element of sea swimming. I really feel the drop in my core temperature not only while in the sea but for up to an hour afterwards. That literal coolness seems to bring on a coolness and calmness of mind.

I had slept well after a lovely evening which had involved some tasty seafood treats. I bought a handful of juicy prawn (you may call them langoustine but that's because you're pretentious) tails from the fish van. I cooked them, shell on, in a very hot frying pan along with some home-grown garlic, butter, pepper and olive oil. We also had pan-fried haddock with new kale from the garden, to which we had added some flash-fried chorizo. I cooked the haddock in the oil from the chorizo. A crisp Sauvignon Blanc proved the ideal wine-flavoured accompaniment.

I'm not actually on holiday at the moment but it certainly feels like it. Maybe 'holiday' is a state of mind. Why have I never thought of that before? Why hadn't I thought of sea-swimming before, when it's almost on my doorstep? Why am I typing rhetorical questions when I could be brewing a nice pot of coffee. This 'holiday state of mind' is catching.

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