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Searching for joy

July 18, 2021

I had thought to write an inspiring caption for this short film of yesterday’s beautiful wild encounter (swipe left). I took off clothes, swam naked and free, but sometimes I find it hard to write with joy when there’s so much misery in the world. I read the words of a man who worked in an industrial pig farm and the disgusting ways he abused innocent animals just because he could exercise some power. I then felt overwhelmed by the…

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Life is art

June 17, 2021

After waiting for what felt like an eternity, yesterday evening, along with torrential rain, arrived the softest wave in the sea, just enough to power a surfboard (or maybe not even that). We thundered out like children, arms splashing, legs kicking, to sit in a gently undulating, receding tide beneath a blue-grey meadow of cloud, board-tips pointing skyward like errant compass needles.  At the farthest curve of the shore, a city skyscape etched itself charcoal grey against a soft rose…

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Up against the guardians of land & water

June 10, 2021

A bit of a mission to find a swim spot today. Usually we hunt on the map for bodies of water & can navigate our way into the deliciousness of a wild swim BUT Bristol Water PLC had other ideas. First-off we headed over to Chew Valley Lake, which on a map looks as perfect a swim spot as you would ever wish to encounter. A large part of the lake is a nature reserve & (rightly so) fenced off…

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Jumping off

April 29, 2021

Sending new words out into the world can feel like jumping off a cliff. You don’t know how it’s going to land, or if people will connect. There’s that lurch in the stomach as your feet recognise thin air, the last-second terror that maybe you should just forget all about it and go hide in bed. And yet we do it don’t we? We scramble up, stride forward; step off. Over and over: crafting the narrative, reshaping the vision, reconfiguring…

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On fiction, dystopia and connection to the poetic soul

April 27, 2021

I’ve avoided using the word ‘dystopia’ when talking about the new book because I don’t believe it’s a dystopian novel. It is darkly realist at times and I don’t shy away from shining a bright light of truth on characters and events so that the shadows are revealed.But in addition to this, there’s many beautiful moments of connection, with the land, with other people, and with technology. You just have to be prepared to look. It’s also the first book…

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The unnameable essence of being

April 15, 2021

I am so in love with my body right now I want to swim in every glorious moment, feel it visceral and wild against skin. Yesterday I blasted uphill fireroads on the bike, lungs sucking in mouthfuls of spring, forest air. Then long swooping singletrack descents had me stood on pedals until the fronts of thighs burned like crazy, eyes focussed on the trail ahead. Slowly I’m remembering how to ride, the movement of body with bike, muscle memory calling…

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Naked bodies aren’t offensive (but sexualising them can be…)

November 14, 2020

My body is a prayer to the waterNaked, I return to herThe rain is charismatic in her offeringsI bathe in the full potential of Self.📷 @andyrgarside 💙 In celebration of my body who got me through over 44 years of life in style (most of the time), and giving praise to the waters that birthed me (but not for too long as the Cymraeg waters are cold in November).…

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Just be yourself

October 25, 2020

Just be yourself.I wish people who said that understood how hard that can be. What is the ‘self’ anyway except a construct? Except a jumbled flood of experiences filtered through our water/flesh sacks and a brain we don’t ever fully understand the functionings of? My ‘self’ is a constantly evolving being. Some of this is almost imperceptible, some of it is conscious choosing – what is ‘organic’ growth and why do we expect it of anyone when the education system…

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On perseverance

June 6, 2020

There’s something I love about the art of perseverance. Although we’re all born with differing capabilities I truly believe that anybody can get good at any skill with enough time, effort and perseverance. Personally, I prefer taking the longer, more difficult route to learning. When I’ve examined this I realise it’s because my philosophy is that if I can do something in difficult times/under difficult situations then I’ll be really good when the going gets easier. Surfing has been one…

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