Saturday, 11 June 2011

My mate Si, has been down from Newcastle for the weekend. He's a pro cameraman - spent the evening encouraging me away from the preset buttons on my Canon 40d! Loving it - he showed me loads of stuff that I can't wait to have a go at. Turns out, we just happened to hit the beach during one of the best sunsets of the year! It was amazing!

That Manuka stuff worked a treat. I really thought the night before the gig that I was going to be in trouble. Turns out, not only was it fine throughout the performance, but it's quite possibly the first time I've finished the set without feeling like I've just ripped the life out of my vocal chords. A set comprising the Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Reef etc is always going to be challenging, but I think / hope that I may just have found something that works a treat.

And how was the gig? Well we played in a marquee in someone's back garden to about 70 people. So a small affair - sometimes the hardest to crack. But I think we did a good job, we had fun. This chap, who was right into it on the dance floor, came up to us afterwards and said "I've seen Reef and the Stereophonics play live at a similar venue and you guys rocked it, you were much better!" He followed up with, "Your my best friend you are. I love you" which I suppose kind of invalidated the previous statement! Great buffet afterwards - shall we grab a sandwich for the road, turned into a lengthy, 'Have you tried one of these?' taste fest which lasted until well, just after 1am as it goes. When we left, the chap I mentioned before, was slumped outside on a chair, fag in one hand, drink in the other. As we bid him farewell, he raised his glass, "Aweshome, guys, aweshome', he slurred before returning his gaze back to his shoelaces. I hope our new found fan is feeling okay today.

I remember now! Before the gig I had this worry about my sore throat. But taking to the stage I felt fine and confident. But then a funny thing happened. The fingers on both of my hands went white! Lost the feeling of them from the bottom knuckle. The first three songs we play, I start on my own on the guitar - so that's Molly's Chambers, Something to Say and Foot of the Mountain. It goes without saying that what you want is a good positive start to the night. It felt like I was playing with my fists. I could see Wailin running his eyes over my fingers on the fretboard "What chords exactly are you trying to play?" I could hear him think! Never experienced that before - and took me a lot by surprise! Didn't take long for the pinkies to start hitting the right notes.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Bazooka that veruka with active Manuka. They can have that one for free - doesn't work that well on the basis that it's a sore throat rather than a foot complaint that I'm trying to cure. The very latest on my glands? - much better thanks. Still sore, but I reckon a day of copious amounts of honey and lemon laced with paracetamol might just save the day.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Hey Honey

Been struggling with a sore throat for a while now, so invested in some active Manuka Honey last week. Supposed to be a miracle cure! I've upgraded from the the 15+ to the 30+, not cheap mind. You get about a thimble full for a fiver! And that's from Amazon. Hasn't worked, in fact, it's made it much worse. I wonder whether you have to take a few doses before it starts to work? Trouble is I've got a gig tomorrow night - a private party, marquee in a garden. I think it's a 40th birthday celebration. The throat glands and everything have come up tonight - wouldn't normally be an issue, but there's a bit of concern. Hope for a good night's sleep - see what transpires in the morning. What I do know is that adrenalin can save the day, oh and a Lucozade bottle full of water and whisky. Fools people into thinking I'm an athlete.

Boys play cricket up at St. Minver on a Thursday night. What a place that is - fantastic views across to the Moor. Big fluffy clouds. Quite a spectacle. Usain Bolt about to run.

Prodding a pig in the snout

Boys will be boys - sat in this Tornado cockpit at the Cornwall Show, there was no-one else on their stand at the time, had a good chat with the Weapons Engineer about Libya. He's just come back from Italy - where they load up the bombs on all the fighter jets, they fly to Tripoli, let them drop and then come back for more. Sounds like they're doing a lot more than we're hearing about.

The show summary in no particular order - prodded a sleeping pig in the snout, lost Billy, found some chickens for the garden, sat in a Fiat twin 500 (boasts of amazing fuel consumption, research back home suggests the figures are somewhat exaggerated), fondled a pig's ear, lost Janey, found Billy, lost Fin, bought some blue cheese, watched some sheep judging, admired some Bulls, found Janey and Fin, ate the most tasteless cheeseburger ever, erm sat in some cockpits, threw some balls at coconuts - you know what? It was actually a really good day.

Visited another place last week where you're always guaranteed to lose your kids, row with your partner and enjoy a shopping experience similar to back in the 1930's - ah, the wonder of Trago! A mate went to 'returns' last week, this toy rat he'd bought for his lad kept going in circles - well, we did warn him. He's probably still there now, you can visit 10 different departments before they'll give you a refund. Top tip - if it's a toy you're returning, you need to take it back to the paint section. If it's paint, then you'll need Ladies Fashion. For garden tools, that'll be Christmas Decorations. It's like trying to crack the Da Vinci Code.

Boardrider Hoodies have arrived!

Surf's Up! Boardrider Hoodies have arrived! We expect 150 excited kids to be knocking down the doors very soon! Every Club member gets one.
Boys off school today - schools close for the Royal Cornwall Show! Going to head up there in a minute. The last two years we've had a stall at the show, but it's not a big deal for us. Everyone's looking for a bargain so unless you've got surplus stock to shift, it's really not worthwhile. Not for us anyway.
New stock arriving in the shop all the time. These new long sleeve tees have proved very popular.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

I seem to be having a day lacking any humour. I'd like to be funny, but my funny head has got up and left me. It's quite possible that I've overdosed on Mochachino early in the day. Off to Newquay in a bit to pick up hoodies - oh and sports day was postponed because of a light shower! That'll happen next week now, light shower permitting! I'm really into the 'Man Up' philosophy - teaching the kids from an early age. "It's wet, you might slip, be careful" is a much better lesson to teach the kids than "It's wet, you might slip. You might hurt yourself and we can't take that risk" Get 'em out there! I remember playing rugby in thick snow - didn't enjoy it much, in fact I think I cried, but look at me now, hard as nails - the only one on the beach wearing a string vest in a Northerly. Hey, my funny head is returning - and fast!

And another thing, how crazy is this? Last week Findog played in the football cup final, which they won to add to their league title. After the match there was a big presentation. But NO PHOTOS. Fin's Nan leant over the barrier to take a photo "Sorry madam, no photos!" That's such a shame! I know, I know, I know, I know the reasons. But really? It's all gone a bit mad. We're not all idiots.

Surf's Up! Boardriders last night - across the board there are just over 150 kids in the Club!! 150 who come to after-school training - that's phenomenal. Split across Novices, Improvers, Development Squad and Elite! It's quite an operation. It takes nearly as much time and resources to run the club as it does to run the rest of the surf school! Rach must do at least two hours a day just sorting out all the admin on it. But it's cool and very rewarding. That's my youngest, Findog standing back right. He's really got into his surfing lately, as has Billy. They seem to be going down most nights when they haven't got footie. It's good to see, they're right back into it.

It was a bit blowy last night. One of those classic days when it's sheltered in the car park but as soon as you get passed the headland - man, hang onto your boards!

Wailin and his crew ran a freestyle competition for the kids - they all have to line-up and then on the word, run in all together. It can be quite a spectacle.

Talking of Boardriders and rewarding. A couple of nights ago I was walking the dog on the path to Daymer as the sun was setting. It was getting pretty dark. Anyway, I noticed on the cliff top some clothes so I thought I'd better investigate. Turns out there were eight lads all out on surfboards just mucking about on the rocks and generally having a really great time. They were all part of Boardriders when we first set up the club. Between them, they've been to France, Portugal and Bali with us. I'd like to think we had just a tiny bit to do with this love of the sea that they quite obviously have.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Oi! Big Nose!

A well known local artist was doing some sketches during our last gig. I clocked her in the front with a notepad busy scribbling away. "I got some great sketches of Wailin" she said. "but you're not so easy to draw because of your nose!" At least she got straight to the point, or not as it turned out. I have a fine Roman nose. There's got to be a "how do you smell?" "Terrible" joke in there somewhere.

So that's the nose covered. And then we have all this about Rooney and his hair transplant. And what exactly is wrong with a shiny head? I love my shiny head. You just know where you are with no hair and a big nose. Growing old as nature intended - it's the only way.

One more thing while I'm at it! The Ironman dream has gone! Janey came up with some reasoned argument about the fact that I can't run. (A long catalogue of achilles, calf and hamstring injuries). Good point, well put. So I'm a big nosed, bald headed, can't runner - it's been a tough day! Anyway, we've compromised (the best ingredient for a healthy marriage) on me having a crack at the John O'Groats - Land's End bike ride in September. Suits me fine, can't wait!

Licencing - hm?

Polzeath has long been a flagship of the Council. Because they provide the lifeguarding, and therefore the duty of care, they restrict the number of operators and boards on the beach. Makes total sense. It would be a bun fest otherwise. So we're licenced. What does that mean? Basically we're allowed to teach so many people at a time, dependant on tide. To be honest, we reduce the numbers at high tide anyway when the surfing area is reduced - as we also have a duty of care that we take very seriously. The restrictions are essentially an agree
ment based around common sense. In addition to this, all our instructors have to be qualified and a risk assessment has to be provided of the beach.

I was therefore a little confused when O'Neill turned up last week for a promo day. I have no issues with promo days - meet the pros etc, the kids love all that. But there is a very big issue when a big brand turns up and run surf lessons without any consideration for the restrictions that are in place for the other operators on the beach. I've asked the question of the council, who we have a very good relationship with - developed over many years. I've asked whether O'Neill were licenced for the day or what permissions they were given. Did they provide certificates of instructors, beach risk assessments - as surely the same rules apply to them as to us. I'm sure the answers will come. On the basis that this falls outside of the current restrictions, it could be seen as at best, really arrogant. And a huge risk. Can you imagine if one of our students had been hit by one their's, surfing (unadvisably) through the white water on a hard board (I saw it myself and it was very, very busy)). Thing is, I really like O'Neill as a brand. We visited their home town of Santa Cruz a few years ago, so much history. If I'm not wearing Surf's Up! gear, it's O'Neill. There's a few brands out there that I really haven't got much (any) time for, who've latched onto surfing so they can sell more product - O'Neill isn't one of them. They're very much a core brand.

Restrictions are put in place to safeguard all water users - it doesn't matter who you are or how big you are! Isn't that the point of having them? Or is it a case of, it's not what you know...... and if that's the case, that's just wrong with a capital W.

Peace at Last

My missus reckons my photos are all the same! "Sometimes you get a rock in the foreground, but they're all very similar!" I reply, "But there's the beauty. The view is never the same! That's what I love about it." I get her point, and that's why this winter I need to book into a photography course - get beyond the point and shoot mode!

The other night when I was taking photos as the sun went down, there must have been fifty people all lined up on the cliff top with their digitals. Here's Sam, Ned and George in the line-up. High tide in the evening is great if you want to kick back on the rocks and watch the surfers do their thing, and I know they love an audience!

That's Whitsun then! Local traders describing it as 'insane' and really from the Monday when the sun came out it did all go a bit crazy fro the rest of the week. Fantastic Easter, fantastic Whitsun - all we need now is a fantastic Summer.