Friday, January 30, 2009

Braunton Little Egret

Coleridge and Porlock

For those who don't know the story of Coleridge and the 'Person from Porlock', it can be found here. As it explains, just outside Porlock Coleridge came out of an opium haze and started writing down his vision which was to become the poem Kubla Khan. However, he "was unfortunately called out by a person on business from Porlock, and detained by him above an hour, and on his return to his room, found, to his no small surprise and mortification, that though he still retained some vague and dim recollection of the general purport of the vision, yet, with the exception of some eight or ten scattered lines and images, all the rest had passed away like the images on the surface of a stream into which a stone has been cast, but, alas! without the after restoration of the latter!" Still, the images in the poem are extremely evocative of the scenery where it was written around Culbone Parsonage and Ash farm. To read it, click here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A1 Surf News Widget

Just got an email from David Somerville over at A1Surf telling me about their excellent new 'A1 Surf News widget' which automatically displays the latest surf news stories. You can see it down the right hand side of this blog. If you want to add it to your own blog, click here.

Goodbye to Bush

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Honouring Thomas Paine

Interesting that Barack Obama chose to quote the words of an Englishman in his speech yesterday. George Washington had the following words read to the troops during the revolutionary struggle: "Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]." They came from Thomas Paine who lived and worked in England until the age of 37 when he crossed the Atlantic to participate in the American Revoluation. It is fitting that his words in particular should be singled out. As an article in The Nation ponts out: "When the Pennsylvania Assembly considered the formal abolition of slavery in 1779, it was Paine who authored the preamble to the proposal. Paine's fervent objections to slavery led to his exclusion from the inner circles of American power in the first years of the republic. He died a pauper. Only history restored the man--and his vision. And on this day, this remarkable day, Thomas Paine is fully redeemed."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dr Martin Luther King Jr: I have a Dream

In memory of His Honour Judge Paul Clark

I was extremely sad to hear about the death of His Honour Judge Paul Clark the other day. There are a few people in life who help you along the way in such a profound way that you feel a responsibility to pass on that spirit to the next generation. Paul Clark was one such man. He had a distinguished career both as a Circuit Judge and before that at the Bar, having been the youngest Bencher of the Middle Temple in 1982 and Master Reader in 2005 as well as becoming President of the Council of Circuit Judges. However, I am sure that even beyond this, he will be remembered by many as an inspiration to countless generations of fledgling barristers in particular through his role as Chairman of the Middle Temple Scholarship Committee. In this capacity he got to know many of the potential applicants and both encouraged and mentored them through their introduction to the Bar. He was patient in answering questions which would undoubtedly have been asked innumerable times before and he was wise in the counsel he provided. Above all, he provided a very human and friendly face to the Bar and made accessible a profession that can sometimes appear intimidating. He was both cultured and funny but above all, he was kind. A great man and a good friend who will be missed.

This March Paul's widow, Her Honour Judge Jacqueline Davies, will be trekking across the Sinai Desert from Mount Sinai to the Red Sea in memory of Paul and also to raise money for the charities Prostate UK and Wellbeing of Women. To sponsor her, click here. To read more about Paul Clark, see the following links: Wikipedia, Times obituary, Oxford Mail obituary.



Sunday, January 18, 2009

Jack's first day on the beach

Surfing dogs

Tiki wetsuit revolution

Since starting surfing in the late 1980s, I have continued to be both surprised and delighted by advances in wetsuit technology, focusing mostly on warmth and flexibility. Well, I have to say quite honestly that I have never been so pleased as when I first tried on my 6mm Tiki Prodigy wetsuit a couple of weeks ago when the winds were offshore but the temperatures were well below freezing and even more so with the wind chill factor. Usually my Tiki 5/4/3 works very well. In fact, it did for about three and a half hours in one session in December and is definitely warmer than my O'Neil 5/4/3. However, that extra chill was starting to feel after the New Year and I decided to take the plunge for the much-heralded Tiki heated suit. Now, probably like many people I had a slight concern that this might be some sort of gimmick. However, when you try it on you realise first and foremost that it's the best Tiki wetsuit they've ever developed and for British waters I'd say you can't get better than buying from the people who actually surf here. I have to say that the wetsuit was so warm that I didn't actually need the heat pads and that's the beauty of the thing. It's the wetsuit you'd buy anyway but then you've got turbo-charged heat in the back just in case you want that little bit of extra warmth. As for how the heated parts work, it's so simple to use. Just stick the two pads in the wetsuit and then when you need them, push down on them and presto! you've got you're own little furnace. Then you just boil them up afterwards, the chemicals in the packets separate once more and they're reusable time and time again. As has been pointed out, it gives all the heat of peeing in your wetsuit but without the consequent rotting of the seams! For the long British Winter, I simply can't recommend this wetsuit higly enough.

Towards Countisbury

Friday, January 16, 2009

New book by Thomas Farber

Heads up for a new book by Thomas Farber entitld The Twoness of Oneness which is his second book of epigrams. This by the man who wrote two of the best books about the sea I have had the pleasure of stumbling across: The Face of the Deep and On Water. For more information, click here and to buy a copy of the accompanying video by Andrea Young click here.

Jumping shark

Check out this video of a jumping shark beind a surfer here.

Rumpole creator Sir John Mortimer dies

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Video of Jack the (Long?)Border

Mention in Western Morning News

Thanks today to the Western Morning News for giving this blog a plug. The relevant bits of the article are below and the full article can be seen here.

Lifting the lid on the region's bloggers
...But beyond these global phenomena, blogs have had a profound effect on the lives of people on a much more local level, not least here in the Westcountry. From an insider's view of daily life on a farm or online opinions of local politics to the latest news in surfing and adventure sports circles, the region is well represented in the blogosphere...Mrs Walton, who also writes for Devon Today magazine, said: "It's a good medium to be thought-provoking. I suppose a lot of people do it as an online diary, but it can see you become much more confident in your writing." This is true of Tim Kevan. The trained barrister left the legal profession after working in London for 10 years, relocating to Braunton, North Devon, to write a novel and surf. He explains: "I wanted to be a writer. Not having done it before, apart from legal journals, blogging was a great soft entry into writing. You don't have to be in any way self-conscious." The (ex) Barrister Blog helped market his first non-fiction book, Why Lawyers Should Surf, but he now blogs about anything that interests him, from surfing to politics, and hopes his blog will publicise his first novel, to be published by Bloomsbury next year.