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Showing posts from September, 2010

Surf and turf. The law of secret places.

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There's an unwritten code among the foragers I know. And that's to respect someone else's patch. If someone takes you somewhere to show you something it's a priveledge that should never be abused. It's a trust thing. Why not? It's all about the effort you put in to find the goodies. Often it's more than the reward. But when you hit the jackpot it's all yours. As long as you've left enough for nature to continue to produce this wonderful harvest, fill your boots. Or your basket. It's like that with surfing. Secret places are few and far between these days and we treasure them. And if you get taken down the steep and winding path that leads to a secret break, it is your job to 'forget' everything you learned along the way. You can talk about it but you can't give directions. Trust is everything. If I tell you that I surfed this place (above) last week with just two others you might fancy taking a look along the coast somewhere north of

Welding, making and the simple things that make life great

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This post is devoted to hero worship. More specifically to my neighbour, Paul, who, with his bare hands, created the monster in the photo. For him, someone who mends engines, bashes out dents and resprays panels for a living, it was a walk in the park. It's second nature. Normally I wouldn't give this mechanical mindedness and dexterity a second thought (apart from when it comes to getting the van through the MOT) but when it got applied to something I really wanted to try for myself, Paul caught my interest and admiration. Paul lives in the house in which he was born. He has caught and eaten more lobster than anyone of us will ever taste in our lifetimes and was brought up next to the best shrimping beach on the North Devon Coast. He goes out at low tide and fetches it if he fancies it. Lovely stuff. So when Paul made his smoker I was astounded. We had been chatting about smoking fish in the pub and I was happily banging on about the once in a lifetime chance I had to visit

Oh September! How we love you.

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June is nice. We have great swells, lovely sunny days and a few fresh greens from the garden. This year I ate chickweek and sea beet, samphire and rocket. In July we also had some sunny days. Hot sunny days. I ate fresh garden spuds with home grown mint and butter. I love those. August was ok. The kids were off school and the roads were a bit busy. It rained a little. But you know. That’s ok. The fresh garden peas and lettuces were good this year. But we soon forgot all that. September crept upon us with clear starry skies, dewy mornings and late evening surf sessions. I don't know anyone who doesn't love September, especially among the surfers. The waves, which have whimpered for a couple of months, return with a bang as hurricane season kicks in on the other side of the Atlantic. Long range groundswells invade our beaches with tall, powerful waves. The sea temperatures are the best they will be all year. With a couple of months of warm days behind them, they will stay t