Taking the plunge

vintage sea bathing women

When was the last time you did something new or brave?

I’ve just started sea-swimming. Yep, that’s right. Swimming, off the coast of Bognor Regis, in 10-degree water, in April.


"You’re mad!" they proclaimed.

"You’ll get hypothermia!" they shrieked.

Even my GP told me I was a crazed lunatic.


But I’m loving it. Swimming is my happy place. I have complete freedom to move my body in any way I wish. The salt water supports me, whether I swim or bob serenely on the surface.

There’s a purity to being alone in the water. The space, the freedom. It’s the best therapy I’ve ever had.


Besides, I’ve always wanted to be the sort of person who swam in the sea year-round. There’s a toughness to outdoor swimmers that I admire. As a boy, my uncle used to dive off the harbour wall in Charlestown, Cornwall. My Grandma still took the bus there too (where she changed on the shingle, under a glorious 70s homemade poncho-cum-towel) - well into her 80s. In fact, a fall she had from doing just that, and breaking her hip, was the only thing that stopped her swimming into her 90s. Hashtag goals.

Plus, I live just 5 minutes from the beach, so it’s always seemed a bit ridiculous to pay to go to the skanky local pool.


And you know what – I’ve done it. And I’m bloody proud of myself. I’ve been twice on my own, and once with an amazing group of ladies called the Bognor Bluetits (ALL puns intended). The secret is just getting on with it. Feeling the bite and doing it anyway. Yes, it’s colder than I’ve ever felt, but I’m not afraid of that now. Because it doesn’t stop me, and the buzz that comes afterwards is better than any pill I could take.

I already feel like a completely different person for doing it. My inner Xena is coming to the fore.


Ninja woman

Actual image of me in my wetsuit


And here’s my other new venture – I’ve committed to #Write52 (HT to Ed Callow). Yup, every week for the next year, I’ll be churning out some nonsense or other. Whether it gets read or ignored. Bumped or binned. A whole blimmin' year. That’s double-lunacy, that is. But I’m in it, whether I swim, float or sink with a bubble. Come what may.

Because like many others, I’m a huge procrastinator. Getting in the way of myself when it comes to writing my own stuff. I become so caught up with whether I am writing the right thing, I tie myself in knots and become stuck. Unable to move forward.

(Too many metaphors? Tough. I love ‘em.)


So here’s to Write52 and all who sail in her. Come what may, I’m on board. And who knows, maybe I’ll gain a few shipmates along the way.

Strike the mainsail and furl the jib!

(Too much? Don’t care. Arrrrrrr!)



The Teacher’s Desk

Wordy Wisdom from Mrs Jones

In my previous life I was an English teacher. Some of the good stuff stuck:


Let’s talk about commas

Everyone thinks that commas mean taking a pause for breath. Some people stick them in randomly, but commas have clear rules that help the reader and clarify meaning.

Commas are not there to tell you to take a breath or pause. They do a lot of work and have many jobs. Here are a few of the main ones:


  1. To separate lists:

i) We bought pears, pineapples, petunias and pomegranates at the supermarket.


2. To separate embedded or introductory clauses:

i) Benjamin Bunny, who was feeling very hungry, ate Mr McGregor’s carrots.

ii) Once upon a time, there were 3 bears.


3. To separate adjectives before a noun:

i) Peter and Jane play with the big, red, bouncy ball.


WHEN COMMAS GO WRONG (Channel 5 series coming soon)


I love cooking my family and my dog.

I love cooking, my family and my dog.


Let’s eat Grandma!

Let’s eat, Grandma!


Most of the time travellers worry about losing their passports.

Most of the time, travellers worry about losing their passports.


[canned laughter]


The Juke Box

This week, I have been mostly listening to:

90s classic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkSl9GGOFHM

Catchy cover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8TYyG6QPQE

Music motivator: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJXPTnPmm78

Have a cuppa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-uztVX6QFQ


See you on the Twitters!