Saturday, 31 December 2011


27th December 2011

My best friends from school and I met again at Sennen for a walk two days after Christmas. We don't get many chances to meet up during the year and relished the opportunity to chat and enjoy time off together.
We set off across the beach, skipping over the rivulets of water running to the sea, chatting our way across the sand until we got to the stony bit. The decision was made to scramble across the rocks to reach Gwenvor, nearly cut off from the incoming tide, and head back to Sennen via the coast path above the beach.
As usual I was at the back of the group. I like to think of myself as quite sturdy and not easily scared, but the others just kept skipping from rock to rock as I stumbled, negotiated pathways, jumped, lunged and used all fours to get across. The further we got, the further Gwenvor seemed, and I was grateful when the others decided to rest in a particularly beautiful spot.
This is what life is about. Moving, sharing, breathing sea air. I might be a bit of a wimp, but I love to be outdoors with good friends.
After an easy stretch back across the coastal path we met up with my sister in the Old Success, where I had a couple of drinks and left feeling very merry. Back to Penzance to greet yet more loved ones. A lovely day.

Seasonal Swim at Sennen

25th December 2011

We often go to Sennen for a walk along the beach on Christmas Day, but somehow this year we ended up there earlier than usual, and Lucy decided it would be a good day for a dip. I pondered the idea but decided against it as I had no bathers and couldn't really be bothered. Bad decision.
We arrived just before 11am, and were greeted by a throng of seasonal swimmers. People of all ages, shapes and sizes were stripping to their cozzies, ready to run to the waves at 11. This happens every year but we never realised at what time, or just how many people were prepared to take the plunge. I bumped into a few old friends and congratulated them on their brave choice of Christmas activity, while secretly wishing I could join them.
We counted down to 11am, a whistle blew and in they ran, hundreds of them, jogging down the beach for a quick dip. Lucy lingered the longest, claiming that once she was in it wasn't cold anymore.
Despite not actually getting into the water, I was very happy to be part of the occasion. So Cornwall, so Christmas, so crazy. Most of the swimmers huddled in the Old Success afterwards for a drink. We rushed home to greet neighbours and nephews, drink champagne and celebrate. A great start to Christmas!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

St Andrew's Park, Bristol

St Andrew's Park has been many things to me over the years. I have whiled away the hours waiting for friends to finish work when I was visiting Bristol, come for quiet autumn walks alone, barbecued with friends, jogged around it in half hearted attempts to get fit, taken my little niece to the paddling pool, celebrated friends' kids' birthdays with picnics, come to find sunshine and escape the hassle of sunbathing anywhere near my house when I lived in St Pauls, watched the sun rise on long nights out partying, and came here to drink away the first hot day this year.
On Tuesday, for the first time, I joined in the annual 'Carols in the Park', and saw the park transform once again, this time taken over by churches to spread the Christmas cheer. I love to sing, and was so glad I made it out amongst the families, friends and couples, singing in the rain and celebrating Christmas in a very well used and well loved place.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Bath Christmas markets

Bath is so close to Bristol and so easy to shop in, as the new shopping centre is opposite the train and bus stations. Lucy was visiting for the weekend, and as I'd heard of the legendary Christmas markets in Bath, I decided it was time for shopping.
We had a lovely time buying gifts, mulled wine and bratwurst from the stalls, but the best part had to be Lucy acting as elf. She made all my Christmas dreams come true, phoning Santa when I saw something I liked and making sure I'd be well dressed for 2012.
The markets, set around the cathedral in a beautiful and historic city, are very pretty, but they were not quite as exciting as the ones I went to a couple of years ago. Bath is a great option for a Christmas shopping trip, but if you can be up north, a trip around York and Leeds is magical at Christmas time. In York it was snowing, and every bit as pretty as Bath, and in Leeds the German markets come complete with a huge marquee with a bar and bands.
Wherever I am before Christmas, I love days spent shopping for presents, and coming home to wrap them with Lucy and put them under our lovely big tree made me very happy.