Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Don't call me Helen

Last night I went to bed as a man, this morning I woke as a woman. My name is Helen. This isn't the first time this has happened, it's happening more regularly. Friends, I think I might be 'an Bookwormic'.

You can't beat a good book. The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue .... is right up there. I was reading it until 'lights off'. As I entered the land of nod, the story must have lodged itself in my subconscious. Waking up as Helen was one thing. It was waking up in a courtroom that really threw me. I did some quick physical checks. Phew! For one awful moment I thought I was going to have to get up, do the dishes and get the kids ready for school! Instead I was able to just lie there and vent under the duvet!

It's all this living part-time in Ivybridge that's doing it and the lure of the Waterstone/Costa combo. It's indulgent but a joy. Anyone with me on this? A skinny medio Mocha followed by a browse in the fiction section... it's good for the soul. Of course, it's Janey that has form. She's always been one to enjoy a good read, always something on the go. It's a more recent thing for me. We've arrived at the stage where we've even started reading the same novels (not at the same time obviously) - and then we discuss. A sort of Craskie Book Club. She finds me frustrating though. She reads the first word to the last, revelling in the detail of every speech mark and comma. Whereas I'm a skimmer. She'll ask what I think about a certain passage in the book and I'll give her a blank look in reply. I'm a plot man. Although to be fair I forget the plots too sometimes. Characters with similar names, that really throws me. But I do love a book, it has to be a book. A page to turn. A page to feel and smell. I'm not a Kindle man. With high street shops closing at an alarming rate, I really, really hope Waterstones can whether the storm.

It's in the real world that myself and Janey show similar form. I'm the big picture man, whilst Janey immerses herself in the detail. Not by choice it would seem. "If I don't do it, it wouldn't get done". The words cut deep and I battle daily to reach the dagger plunged deep between my shoulder blades. You see what I have to put up with! But like the Waterstone/ Costa combo, it works well. Surf's Up! - Eighteen years and counting.

Right, let me get these stockings off and then we can crack on! In truth I have very little to say... whitter, whitter, whitter. Ah yes, now then this photo below - average one at best, and this purely down to the skill of the workman not the tools nor the elements, they were all perfect. No I choose this photo because I noticed something educational in it. Something to do with the line up of the waves... any ideas?

In the words of a much respected head lifeguard, "The sea is unpredictable. There's no such thing as a rogue wave!" Wise words indeed. Although I feel I should counter this with... many years ago the Royal Navy were passing in a Destroyer and had picked up on the radio that there was a mass rescue taking place on the beach. They radioed the very same head lifeguard. "Is there anything we can do to help?" they asked. "Send me everything you've got!" came the reply! Really? Can you imagine....!

Picture the scene, I'm walking the dog along the coast path, camera in hand. I'm observing the waves, probably five in a set (group) and then a lull. With the light offshore breeze, the waves are nicely lined up across the beach, a corduroy sea. And then this set comes along where one of the waves is sat nearly on top of another, very little space between the two. You can see in the photo above the two broken waves are much closer together than either the one nearer the beach or the one just breaking further out. I wish I'd had the camera out earlier to take a snap before they'd broken. Anyway, it was very noticeable. So what's that all about, any ideas?

Although there are many theories about how and why waves sort themselves into neat lines, it's widely recognised that there's still research to be done in this area. However, we know enough to make educated guesses. In this particular photo, the waves hitting the beach today haven't come from just one pressure system, but two. In other words you could have a swell originating from a storm in the north Atlantic and you could have one originating from the south. If the two swells meet close to shore, there's no time for them to sync, hence you get waves out of sync with the general pattern. We surmise that one pressure system, therefore one swell, will be the dominant party.

Would you notice this if you were surfing? In the white water, probably not. Once the circular motion of the waves touches the ocean floor, they slow and bunch together. You might get a double up, but you can get them anyway. Out the back, in the line-up? Most definitely. I remember some twelve years ago when there was a huge swell forecast for the evening, I was surfing with a few locals. Before the big stuff really came in, the pattern of the waves changed. You could feel that something was happening. Every now and again a few bigger waves would roll in nearly on top of one another. It was pretty freaky!

In summary, I don't think this is a rogue wave as such, more of two things coming together. No need to send in the landing craft and Apaches, not this time around thanks Captain.

Oh dear, I just came over all surf school owneryish! All that stuff about waves, swell and pressure systems.. what was I thinking of! Sorry.

Now here's a thing. This is Max Payne. He's been with the Surf's Up! Boardriders Club since he was eighteen inches tall - boy and man. Over the past few years, under the watchful eye of our elite coach, Kelly 'Snoop Dog' O'Toole, he's put in some real water time and trained hard. And what do you know, he's just been selected to represent the British Team U 16's at the Worlds in Panama. Representin' - sweet! We wish him sucky lefts and high scores. Nice work.