Last week our friend Dave Adair called us from the Eden Project. “Frankie” he said. “Can we stop by and see you?” “Would you like to stay overnight?” I asked. “Yes". “Good, we’ll make up the bed.”
And that’s how it happened that Dave and Bryoney got me to go surfing last week.
Dave is one of our very good friends from San Francisco, and has been in England for the past five or six weeks. He had come to England to do a two week walking/meditation retreat, and had stayed on with his friend Bryoney. They have been traveling around England and Scotland, and had just come back from a quick trip to Portugal where they had stayed, quite unfortunately it turns out, in a hotel that catered exclusively to Brits (which meant that it served thing like eggs and chips for breakfast, as opposed to anything remotely resembling Portuguese food).
We’ve known that Dave has been on the same continent as us, and he had kept threatening to stop by, but it was still a bit of a surprise – a very pleasant surprise – to see him at our door step. As we traded stories over drinks I was struck by both how close and how far our former life in San Francisco seems. We have lots of friends in common – Lauren, Whitney and Hayley and Jason and Carol, Laurie and Doug, Michael and Teresa – and the image that I kept seeing while we talked was of sitting in Laurie and Doug’s living room last year at their annual Christmas/Chanukah party, surrounded by food and drink, music, talking and laughter. (Do we miss them all? You bet!)
The next morning I took Nathaniel with me to Wadebridge where we both had haircuts, while Dave and Bryoney walked the cliffs to Polzeath. When I got home Dave was on the phone and wanted to know if Rachel and I wanted to go surfing with them. I looked outside and saw what looked like sunshine so I said “Ohhhh-kayyyy” in a tentative voice.
After dropping Nathaniel off at school I headed to Polzeath, where I found Dave and Bryoney bundled up in the sun waiting for me. There was one surf shop open, and we rented a wet suit, boots, and a boogie board for £5.50 apiece. We put the suits on in the changing rooms, and walked out onto the beach.
The tides in Cornwall can rise and fall 15 to 20 feet or more, and as much of the north Cornwall coast is quite shallow, this means the tide can go way out at low tide. We had to walk more than a quarter of a mile before we hit the water, which was a chilly 52 degrees, but quite bearable in our wet suits. There were only two other crazies in the water with us, and we soon found out why. The surf turned out not to be very good as the waves were small and mixed, and after an hour I had had only had three or four good rides.
But by that time it was time for me to get out to pick up Nathaniel from school. So I left Dave and Bryoney in the water, and walked back across the sand to change in the car. I met Rachel, with Sebastian fast asleep on her back, walking towards me on the sand. The three of us went to pick up Nathaniel at school and bring him back to the beach so we could pick up Dave and Bryoney, who had decided to stay in the water another hour. After changing behind beach towels, Nathaniel joined them for the walk back home along the cliff, while Rachel and I went home to put on the kettle, and figure out what to make for dinner.
I was surprised how nice being in the water had been. Sure it’s November, but the sun was out, and the sky was blue, and as we waited for Dave and Bryoney to change I had looked seriously at the used wet suits that were for sale.
Who knows, maybe I’m becoming a little tetched in the head too.
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