Sunshine antics

It was my Mum's 60th birthday on Thursday - happy birthday Mum, if I look as well as you o at 60 then I will be very happy - and we enjoyed a lovely lobster lunch together in the garden, Mum, Dad, Ross, Star, Adena, Ewan and I, just as Mum had wanted and with the added bonus of glorious sunshine.

Later, while Ross went of surfing at Perelle, Ewan and I cycled down to Vazon and enjoyed the combination of sunshine, high tide and surf, boogie boarding and body surfing - I just love Vazon when it is like this.

At 6pm the extended family and a few friends came around for champagne and nibbles, Ross and I were literally in hysterics (how much fun it is to laugh uncontrollably like this) trying to put together 2 Victoria Sponges - the sponge had been kindly made by Vicki's Mum and all we had to do was slice the sponges, fill them with whipped cream, jam and strawberries, but for some reason we really struggled with the first one (I over whipped the cream and Ross hadn't quite sorted his spreading skills) and we were delighted we had a second one to try again!

Needless to say, cream whipping and spreading inadequacies aside, both cakes were well received, possibly just as well the champagne was already flowing by then, and we enjoyed a few hours of catch up with family members we had not seen for a time, before sitting together as a family with the chimniya burning to keep us warm into the darker and later hours...before Ewan and I cycled home, now that was fun in the darkness and after drinking champagne!

Friday dawned another glorious day and while Ewan cut hedges for a friend I pottered in the garden and my parents came around with some herbs they had bought me for my birthday - lucky me, I now have two beautiful wooden herb boxes filled with Rosemary, Sage, Thyme and Oregano, and two separate pots of Mint and Basil.

In the afternoon while Ewan went to join his friend, Charles, Guernsey born but visiting from his current home in London, at Moulin Huett, I went surfing at Vazon, like proper surfing. I started surfing with my brother, Ross, at the age of 14 - our Dad had been a surfer during his teenage years but had stopped when we came along and it wasn't until my Mum bought him a long board for his 40th birthday that he started again, and we were immediately intrigued.

Both Ross and I were crazy about surfing, in fact our whole life was about surfing, our friends were surfers, we would go on family surfing holidays in France with other surfer families, we would go to bed early so we could get up for early dawn surfing sessions, we would watch surfing videos and get excited about surf magazines and surf clothes (this was in the days when surfing was no way near as popular then as it is now).

We would dream of surfing around the world, especially in Australia without wetsuits, because here in Guernsey, aside from a few weeks in the summer we have little choice but to surf in a wetsuit especially in the middle of winter where we have to wear full wetsuit, boots, gloves and hoods before spending a good half an hour trying to warm up afterwards. I even made my University choice based on its proximity to the surf, Swansea in the end, probably the closest University to the beach, with some great surf beaches and reefs on Gower, I even made the University Surf team and came second in the University championships down in Newquay where University surf teams competed against each other.

For me surfing was my meditation, my connection with nature, my feel good factor; catching and riding an unbroken wave is one of the most wonderful feelings in the world, a completely natural high, I can't recommend it enough, invigorating, uplifting and fulfilling - amazing. However coupled with the demands of University life and a scary experience on a South Gower reef all of a sudden I stopped surfing so much - in fact I have only surfed a few times a year since then, sometimes over here in Guernsey during the summer or without a wetsuit in Australia and New Zealand.

Anyhow recently, what with all the time we have spent on the beach and swimming in the sea (and being reminded of the healing benefits of doing exactly that), and with Ross going surfing, well I have felt a desire to get back to it again. So in my bikini and rash vest and with the only undamaged surf board I could find in the shed, I managed to last a whole 30 minutes in the sea surfing on Friday before I got too cold and the surf got too small and crowded (the two main issues we have to face with the surf over here). I managed to catch and "ride" 5 waves and felt elated afterwards, if not a little sun burnt.

That evening we had my re-arranged birthday in the Loft Cafe in All in Black. It was lovely to see everyone again, especially Sam, who has been in India for 6 months, and to enjoy some tasty Tapas together with great views over the harbour and towards the Islands in the distance. Vic, Ju, Sam and I made it to Laskas for some dancing before Sam and I walked back home together (fortunate we live so close)with the stars twinkling above us. A huge thank you to Vic for organising not one but two birthday bashes for me, for the balloons and your generosity.

On Saturday Ewan and I spent a few hours in the heat of the day mixing and laying concrete in the back garden, stage one of the proposed new patio. I have never been involved in concrete laying before (my job was to spread the concrete, tap it into place and try and level it) and my gosh it is certainly a laborious and messy job, I have so much respect for anyone working with this on a regular basis. We then had to shift some big breeze blocks together - so much for relaxing and embracing the feminine side to life!!

We spent the rest of the afternoon pottering in the garden, I am rather obsessive about weeding and watering at the moment as I find both activities so calming and satisfying, active meditation I guess. After all that outdoor activity we decided to head down to the beach to meet Charles and his girlfriend, Jane, (who had flown over that afternoon from the UK) for a swim and we ended up at Grandes Rocques as it seemed the less crowded of the West coast beaches - how amazing is it with all this beautiful weather to see so many people down at the beach; swimming, bbqs, picnics, kayaking, surfing and playing.

I was given a cloud spotting book for my birthday from my friend and reflexologist, Christine, very appropriate as I have really been noticing the clouds recently - Ewan's house is set quite high, above St Andrew's quarry and for some reason I have become really aware of the clouds from spending so much time out in the garden there - and the clouds were particularly amazing from the beach as the sun kept coming and going, perhaps a front coming in and there were many different types all changing shape - it's my new thing!

After an outside drink at the Fleur with a few more friends, we ended up dancing together again that evening, only the music was much better and there were more people on the dance floor so it was particularly hot and sweaty! I absolutely love dancing these days. There was a time when I felt far too shy and self-conscious, but these days I do not care, it is such a liberating experience, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, it is more so about how it makes one feel - and it feels good to move the body to the beat.

It was raining when I awoke on Sunday, quite a novelty and great for the garden, but by 11am when we were preparing brunch for Charles and Jane, the sun was starting to shine again. As it happens we were just finishing brunch when Leigh called to ask if we wanted to go over to Herm on his boat...oh yes please!! So an hour later, with the sun shining brightly overhead, we were on his boat and headed to Belvoir Bay at the back of Herm.

It wasn't as busy on the beach as I was expecting, perhaps people had stayed at home as the weather was not so consistent, or perhaps it is simply not peak season yet. In any event we had a great time; Leigh, Charles and I swam onto shore from the boat while Ewan rowed Jane in the dingy. We joined Leigh's girlfriend, Angela, and a couple of her friends who were visiting from Holland and the UK, and we enjoyed the laid-back ambiance of a Sunday afternoon together in the sun on a beach in Herm, great stuff.

While Leigh took Angela and her friends back to Guernsey and the last Trident had left Herm, the four of us walked across the Island to Rosaire steps and then on to the harbour. I love being in Herm when all the day trippers have left, it is just such a peaceful and calm place, and lovely for Jane to experience the charm of Herm for the first time.

Back home in Guernsey it was all we could do to collapse on the sofa and enjoy the last half of the world cup final - well done Spain, such a poetic team.

Well I am delighted to say that while the antics of the last few days have been rather intense, I am finally beginning to feel more alive again...long may it continue!

Thank you to everyone for making this such a great few days.

Ross DespresComment