It's fair to say that the journey back from Cornwall on Saturday was a tad morose as ever it is, though perhaps with extra reason(s).
Dependant on holiday allocation for (now) Ben and his laydee of course. And notwithstanding the slim possibility that maybe; just maybe, Suz and me can at last get the Show on the Road and take advantage (if there is any!) of the 12 month window on Stamp Duty and get moved. Then this trip may have ushered in the end of an era and be recorded as the last Woollatt family 'holiday' as we know them. Mixed emotions then on realising this which is understandable, but on the whole it will at least give extra impetus to our ultimate goal.
There is though the chance of one last hurrah should we all be in a position to head back down as a unit in the Spring, and 'blood' Emms in the delights of Kernow lifestyle and all it offers; well at least the surfing aspect, the game at Camborne to avenge last seasons defeat by London Welsh there and all the equine opportunities we can find for her. What happens between now and then will have the final say, but it would be nice...wouldn't it?
As for this trek well there were waves; some absolute stonkers at times, but there was a seemingly constant battle to find shelter from a troublesome breeze. There was also the unusual sight of the Old Man generally out-performing Jnr, at least in terms of stamina and enthusiasm to get stuck in while we could.
Don't get me wrong, Ben enjoyed his time both in and out of the water, and surfed well and with a smile on his face. But gone for now is the usual 'first-in/last-out' aspect and general out-performing that has been so noticeable over the last 2-3 years.
Obviously missing his loved one which is fair enough....but there is a limit to just how much 'keeping in touch' there should be, whether parted for two minutes/two weeks or two years. Sure I'm knocking on and attitudes have altered but per-lease.....
They'll learn and grow in confidence with themselves and each other on that front...they have to!
Meanwhile back at the beach.
We arrived at Widemouth around 7.45am on Sat 30th
to find the expected small clean swell which was a relief otherwise we'd be unlikely be able to venture in till Tuesday at the earliest, given other commitments and the forecast. A light breakfast was taken first to allow the waves to get back onto the banks by mid ebb. I alone then ventured in to make the most of it for an hour or so and get dialled in before it backed off around low tide.
It didn't take long to suss and a handful of pleasurable moments gave me enough ammo to rub it with Jnr about what he'd missed as lunch and short kip beckoned. A grumpy response was all that was forthcoming as apparently Suz had been sticking her oar in too for a laugh. I know we shouldn't and we do try not to go too far but sometimes you just have to don't yer? ;o)
Whether by design or no, he was not long following me back in come mid flood and some of the old banter wasn't far away once he nicked his first wave off me for good measure. To add to the magic I always feel when we surf together, conditions improved with the push and although I lasted half an hour longer than he, it was clear why he'd opted to come with us despite anything. Oh and throw in a top drawer fish and chip supper from the Beach House to round things off and a good day came to its close perfectly.
Conditions held well the next day so we found out later but our focus was already taken at Camborne where the Pirates blew away Newbury to open their league campaign with a flourish.
Predictably the weather and drop in swell did it's worst as feared and it was Weds 3rd
before we got wet again. A relatively early start saw Ben and me head to Summerleaze first thing but even then it took less than an hour to convince us this was a lost cause and make us rue passing up on going in while it was good at Crackington the day before. Suz had at least broke her duck and enjoyed a hectic hour before it was time to head home (=Poundstock).
A little down therefore we popped into Zuma's to see if there was any respite in the offing. Gustav promised a little something at the end of the week, but the real eye opener was what Hannah could send this way 6 or 7 days later. Something to look forward to no doubt but what about now?
"Harlyn" says Nigel, "enough swell about to wrap around into the bay and the breeze would be o/s".
We knew of this little gem in such times but aware of the crowds it can attract and conscious of the petrol consumption it'd entail we headed back to Suz to ponder.... It didn't take long. Lunch was woofed down and Suz and Charlie were thrown in to the van before any guilt was allowed to kick in.
The 'g' word didn't get a look-in as we found a pretty much perfect 2-3' clean wave lit by intermittent sunshine to boot. Ben and me bravely donned our cold and wet already used gear and trotted down to the east end of the beach to christen a new beach for us. Jnr nabbed the first wave of the session and set the early pace while I oddly couldn't get the predominant right wired as quickly.
Maybe it was the combi the rip and breeze was having that meant having to watch the drift towards, but it troubled me enough to get out and wander down to the opposite end of the beach where I'd noticed a solitary longboarder and a nice little left. Ben hung around where he was and although enjoying some successes, decided to call it a day after barely an hour and headed in without tasting the delights I'd found. Pity as it turned out to be quite a treat although it did allow Suz to don her wettie and get in to the frisky shore dump which kept her amused instead.
Either way a good call and enough to convince us to head back the next day (4th
) after a wasted journey into town. The wave wasn't as big this time but it was enough to tempt Ben and me back in, the latter following after I'd 'softened them up' for a while first. It had taken 5-6 days maybe, but it was heartening to see him back to his more competitive self as we traded wave for wave to start with before his tally started to pull away from mine as was always the case since he'd 'gone long'.
The following morning (5th
) the swell had dropped as forecast and a welcome rest was planned. In Zuma we'd heard that it should pick up later on that day but we didn't really think it would be by much. Enough perhaps to go in but nothing special. As we three wandered onto the breakwater to exercise Charlie we began to wonder.
Nearing low tide and having chuckled at Charlies cowardly attempts to look fierce in the face of small mouse in the shelters under the cliff, Ben and me braved the easing rain and headed to the Barrel to check out the effect the flooded Neet was having as it flowed heavily into it's saline cousin. It didn't take long for us to note the size of the wave showing all the way beyond Crooklets and in front of us and comment. Maybe Widdy would be worth a peep on our way back. You bet yer granny on it...it was brewing nicely.....to be continued.....