As expected, sleep wasn't really on the agenda last night. There were just too many sore bits. However, this had two benefits - Firstly, I got to watch the Formula One qualifying (which actually didn't happen - it was too wet, but the programme was good). And secondly, I went down early to check out the beach .. and this is what I saw...
... solid overhead, light offshores! And no-one in the water!
Ah the early morning surf, 'the Dawnie'. We used to get up for the dawnies loads when we lived in Bude. When we started Surf's Up! back in 1995 the main goal was to surf all the time. The main irony is that as the business has grown, so the amount of time we surf has dropped - quite drastically. It's not something you can really explain or expect anyone to understand. Perhaps standing in a wetsuit in waist deep water for two years in Bude and then about 12 years here in Polzeath, before coming out of the front instructor line, has something to do with it. It just happens. To some people, surfing is like breathing, a day without it is like dying. For me though, just being near the sea gives me that life buzz. As long as I can see the waves, take in the sea air, hear the seagulls, then I'm happy. I'm sure Janey feels the same.
A decision Janey made for us in 1997 ago was to buy our current house. At the time, having got my fingers burnt in the last recession, I was less keen. But we took the plunge. It was a stroke of genius and has been our bedrock ever since. It overlooks the sea towards Stepper Point - it's not front line, but it's still amazing to wake up and look out across the water. As the surf school grew, we made a big effort to clear the mortgage bit by bit. Which we did after about 7 years I think. In those days we worked 7 days a week, 7 months of the year, long hours too - seemed like a good trade off when the winter came along.
Funny thing is, it's only now that we really see the benefits. Taking time out, especially this summer to be with the boys as they reach those magic years - right there is the pay day. Not our mortgage paid. You can't put a price on that 'time out'. You put it in, you give yourself the best shot of getting something back. I remember being totally paranoid about not putting in the hours - take the short cuts and you can't expect to get all you dream of. Of course, now anyone looking at me and Janey might think that we have a life of old Riley. Turn up in the mornings, answer a few e-mails, do some office things, check all is well with the beach. But you can only do that if you've been there and done it, got the t-shirt (and there's still loads of business running that goes on at home - VAT I believe is what Janey has planned for us this week! O deep joy!). You know, the last few years the surf school side of the business has plateaued a bit - and yet we now have office staff, beach managers etc - all of whom are brilliant, but we used to do all of it ourselves. From opening up the trailer at 7am, to booking everyone in, instructing, dealing with the e-mails and phone calls and then doing the final trailer pack at 11pm. In a way it's a good position to be in. We never ask anyone to do anything that we haven't done ourselves. And we understand the issues when staff come to us with problems.
We'd be far more profitable if we went back to running it ourselves. But then that's the choice isn't it and evolution. It's great to be able to now take time out on the new areas in our lives that give us so much pleasure ie the boys. Special times. Those times won't last for ever. I'm sure when the boys are spotty teenagers, they'll be off doing their thing and we'll have all that time again to rub the nose on the grindstone once more.
My upper thigh is black and blue - literally. My elbow is possibly chipped - swelling looks a bit odd. And possibly I've been a bit tetchy - actually I feel really tetchy!! Roar! The constant pain is tiring. Training continues though as bizarrely it's more comfortable to cycle than it is to walk!
Went to watch Plymouth Argyle play yesterday, we go and watch them if the boys have no matches - Janey has yet to see them win! Anyway, they've got this new player called Stephens - he's 16 years old. Remember the name!
X Factor - far too long! Can't get into it this year. Still bitter about Gamu - what's the betting some producer picks her up (whether she's here or in Zimbabwe) and pitches her for the Christmas number one?
Did you play the "what would you do with £113m" game? That's great fun.