Tuesday, 27 October 2009

I'm just a gal who can't say 'No'

Those of you who know me, are fully aware that I won't be seeing my 20's again. In fact, that's not the only decade I won't be re-visiting. So when I tell you that I've been down to Cornwall for a few days, I expect you imagine that I've visited a couple of National Trust properties, had a look round a picturesque garden or two, and that the most exciting highlight of the weekend was a cream tea. Well, you'd be wrong! I've been here .....Yes, you read that correctly, The Dolphin Surf School. In case you're wondering how that happened (I'm can't tell you why - I still haven't worked it out myself yet), I'll explain. Back in April I was at a workshop making felt chocolates with my sister and some friends. At the end of the day, I was on my way out of the door, when the following conversation took place with my friend Pam's daughter Kirsty ....

Kirsty - "Gill, do you fancy coming surfing in Newquay?"
Me - "Sounds great, but unfortunately I've never been surfing."
Kirsty - "No problem, we stay at a Surf School"
Me - "When are you planning to go?"
Kirsty - "October"
Me - "October?!*?!*?!*?!"
Kirsty - "It's fine - the sea's much warmer in October than in March"
Me - "Oh, well, that's ok then. Count me in."

I think I have an inordinate fear of turning any invitation down, just in case no-one ever asks me again, and also there's something in me that prevents me from saying, "Oh no, I'm sorry, I can't do that, I'm too old". Consequently I find myself agreeing to do things that slightly more sensible people wouldn't consider. (Remember Glastonbury? Twice??)

And so it was that at the end of October, I found myself packing my cozzie, along with a few big jumpers and driving down to Cornwall. I had a good journey down, and found myself humming the theme tune to Hawaii Five-O to get myself in the mood, whilst simultaneously wondering whether it was acceptable to wear a cardie over your wetsuit. And more importantly - would I actually be able to get INTO a wetsuit.

It wasn't exactly comforting when we all met up on Friday evening for something to eat and I realised how young some of the group were - there were about 25 of us - but they seemed really good fun and there were a number of other beginners.

Fortunately, on Saturday morning, the sun was shining, which always makes for a more promising start to the day. We got issued with wetsuits - and - Yes, they did have one my size, and - No, you can't see the photo of me in a wetsuit - do you think I'm MAD?
Incidentally, just a little pointer for you in case you decide to go surfing - when you get your wetsuit, it's usually handed to you inside out. And the zip goes at the back. And now that you know, hopefully you won't do what I did, which is struggle to get the thing on, only to find you've got it inside out and back to front, then have to struggle back out of it, and then back in the right way. You live and learn.

Anyway, we made our way - with surf boards - down to Tolcarne beach. It just so happened that this particular morning there was a surfing competition at one end of the beach. I did wonder, if I got the hang of it fairly quickly - would there still be time to enter???

We met our instructor Alex (Carlsberg don't make Surfing instructors, but if they did ......) and started with a beach lesson and warm up. That's jumping about and stretching a bit, not sitting in front of a log fire with a cup of cocoa. This is the other group having their lesson - I told you, you're not seeing me in a wetsuit!And then - we were in the water. I imagined that I'd maybe stick it for an hour or so, and then make my excuses and leave - but it was brilliant! Hard work - just getting out past the first few waves without getting smacked in the face with the surf board is quite an achievement. But I DID manage to get on the surf board, and catch a little baby wave or two, although I didn't quite manage to stand up.

And they were quite right - I didn't feel cold. I just wish I'd tried it years ago. Then maybe, I could have done it again the following day, but unfortunately when I woke up in the morning, my neck and shoulders were so stiff I could only turn over in bed by hauling myself by the edge of the mattress. If/when I go again, I think I'll have a few sessions at the gym first.

So, instead of joining the others on the beach, I went off to St Ives for the day. It was a really lovely day. How about this for a blue sky at the end of October? And whilst this isn't a brilliant photograph, you can see that the sun was shining.

It was a brilliant weekend, so thanks to everyone for making me so welcome . Hopefully see you again next year. And a BIG thank you to Kirsty for organising it - and especially for providing the photographic evidence ....
Not bad for an old bird, eh?


  1. Hi Gill..Rob and I were in Cornwall mid Sept and yes I did go in the sea too... not surfing tho. Where abouts were you? I have fallen in love with Cornwall. We went to a little village called Cubert which is about 5 miles from Newquay. I think surfing looks like very hard work. Hope you are keeping well. x

  2. You are NEVER tooooo Old.
    Go girl!

  3. Fantastic! I agree with Pam... you're never too old. Should I now admit that it's not that long since I went windsurfing... and water skiing... maybe I'll dig out the photos (from another gal who can't say no!)

  4. Way hay!!!
    I'm jealous..but if I donned a wet suit I'd have WWF trying to haul me out to sea.