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Monday, 6 December 2010

Snapshots of 2010 - Morocco, Wales and Cornwall . . .

The beautiful Windy City, Essaouira.

Charming Taghazout

By April, Sten and I were in Morocco, surfing with jellyfish, buying paintings and drinking mint tea. Summer was a (clearly not endless) round of cheap drinks at the infamous and sticky Zenith bar with GetMoreLocal crowd in Islington, park excursions and expeditions around the countryside. Now, these expeditions merit a little more detail: the first was a wet, windy and rather exhilarating trip to north Wales (no, really). Lovely part of the world; with 2 dogs, a pregnant woman, a Jordan, and Howard Moon's scatting, jazz bumming, tash-twirling twin in tow, it was always going to be entertaining. With cliff jumping into the lake, a spot of catamaraning and some good old-fashioned rock climbing, this was a wholesome British holiday indeed. Although Sten and I did have a leaky tent, with broken zips, no coats and only one sleeping bag between us (we started out with 2, the loss is a mystery), it was still a triumph.

The mission to Cornwall was mildly more frustrating: an Irish girl (lovely though she is) and her boyfriend got us a brand new VW campervan and we all set off for a spot of surfing - no actually, we set off (via a 5 HOUR diversion in the suburbs for surfboards) for a great deal of surfing. 15 HOURS LATER, we were still in that god-forsaken truck.

Early days - still happy camping (10 minutes in)

I'm not sure why the only real driver (yes, me) had not been put on the insurance, but I am amazed to this day how between the 2 drivers no-one lost a licence. Anyhow, we were navigated by the visually challenged (sorry Steve), and in spite of us setting off on the 7 hour drive to Cornwall at 7pm (yes, really), by 11pm we had seen a sign to Stonehenge and essentially U-turned 65 miles back to London (unknowingly would you believe) to rock up at the ancient site to take our place snuggled on a lane between doggers and a guy with a bus turned trance-wagon. Now, you might be asking why I was so passive throughout all of this - the answer is that I had bitten my nails to nothing, had argued a lot with Sten, and had no choice but to pretend I wasn't there. On the plus side, I woke up in the morning to find myself face to face with Stonehenge through the net window. It was cool, misty, bloody early and rather ethereal.

Cornwall was ace. Scones, surfing, free camping, family 'theme park', lovely Sennen and general niceness.

Our last surfing trip was - would you believe - even more arduous. It involved missing the first train from Victoria (my fault entirely), which started a chain reaction of missed trains and buses. We were carrying a surfboard, 2 sets of wetsuits, a HUGE tent and lots of general stuff. Even when we arrived safely in Swansea's delectable Llangennith, we would have a couple of miles to walk down to the beach . . . were we not rescued by the best bus driver in the world (link to his fan page to follow as soon as I find it).

It was soooo very pleasant to find ourselves back at Gennith - we met at Swansea Uni, and were regular frequenters of the Gower in all its moods. I have a memory that I am convinced happend, although logic and reason would tell otherwise - imagine a mercurial sky, rain lashing down, and a grey brown winter thrashing your body and your surfboard. Imagine now, that sea sometimes parting, and you being thrown down to the depth of the ocean bed, being twirled and hurled around with salt water fish, then thrown back to the surface again where you franctically snatch some salty air. The way I remember it, it was like a budget production of Gulliver's Travels, with a cardboard boat/surfboard travelling up and down the peaks and troughs . . . anyhow, I digress.

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