I committed an indiscretion and a crime in front of a fixed speed camera installation whilst on our way to France this summer. The flash of the camera stayed with me until I reached the car ferry and then all was temporarily forgotten. Two weeks later, on my return to the damp shores of Portsmouth the memory of the incident resurfaced like an unpaid gas bill. Unremarkable but a marker that would have to be met at some stage. Today was the day when I paid. The cost was a trip to Wool near Dorchester for a ‘Drivers awareness course’. Frankly by far the better of the evils on offer. The trouble was that this obligation got in the way of my other opportunities for the day. Let me explain.
A glassy shoulder height swell has graced the shores of North Devon for the last two days. It is mid October , so one would expect this to be a minor event in an increasingly rosy picture. Sad to say but this swell is a major event given the piteous conditions over the last 10 months. Yesterday I attempted to get at the swell for 6 o’clock in the evening and to surf until the light gave out. Unfortunately the rain must have created a flood that jammed up the traffic from Braunton back to Barnstaple and along every available country lane that led to Croyde. I gave up at 6.30 and headed home in the twilight. There was always the next morning though (pictured by wavedreamer ,with thanks, at nearby Woolacombe). A glance at the timetable for said Drivers Awareness Course revealed that even if I launched into the waves in darkness I would still not be able to make the course in time. I made do with 70 minutes of cycling, which was bracing but a very long way from the soul quenching surf that I wanted. Plan B was a quick skate before the course at Dorchester’s bomb around skate park After a long drive , a quick inspection revealed unsuitably damp conditions. Oh well there would always be the possibility of inspecting the magnificent Kimeridge Bay set up. Traffic works….not enough time. I attended the 3 hour course and left duly made aware. A return to Dorchester skate park revealed an only slightly drier park but this time populated by many scoosterists.
I gave up at this point. The day had proved unmalleable. Nothing would bend to my attempts to gain a positive from a day taken out of work (other than my driving appreciation …. folks). Just then I got a call from my wife. She told me that my good friend Mark had been taken gravely ill with a life threatening condition. I agreed that I should get back to North Devon and pay him a visit this evening.
Later tonight I have reflected on my own preoccupations and placed them back into a wider context. Get well Mark. There will be other days to board.