19/03/15 I think we just about got away with no submergathon last weekend. However we thought we would make up for it with an early Springtime midweek dook and then hook up with Ben and Alison to celebrate Ben's return from a life threatening illness.
Last Saturday I got a text from Ben and it was the best news in recent weeks. He was back in the land of the living after giving us all a hell of a fright. Sepsis (often called blood poisoning) is when the body is fighting a severe infection (Strep A, I think) which has spread via the bloodstream. Ben's lungs became filled with fluid, particularly the right one and for a moment we were all standing on the cliff edge looking into the abyss. Alison kept us up to date with regular texts some of which were unbearably alarming and then the gradual step down; through being on a ventilator, then having a tracheostomy - a tube into his windpipe, until he made sufficient progress to be allowed home. It was a huge relief and I have to admit to blinking away a tear or 2 when on Saturday I got a text from him. Whew!
best dead thing today
Meanwhile there was a run and swim to be done. Both M and I seemed to be a bit knackered. Mary had dosed herself with a couple of coffees but had a third at Falko's. I went in there while she was visiting the loos at Gullane. Do you want anything? I asked. No, says she, but I'll have some of your yours. Given our preferences I thought it best to buy 2 and share a yoghurt scone. (I seem to be hungry all the time currently and just writing yoghurt scone has me scampering through to the kitchen.)
The STRONG coffees fired us up and by here ^ we were singing songs (turning japanese cross ref Emily's outstanding marathon and book group / Kazuo Ishiguro) making bad jokes and shouting.
Mary spotted these, very furry, very springy
Now, last time we were here possibly last weekend or longer ago we were thinking about the "arrival" of the toads. First warm day of Spring they all appear in large numbers heading towards ponds with one thing in mind. (Notice the mesh drain covers currently round Holyrood Pk to stop them falling into the sewer system.) Mary had mentioned off-handedly last time that it would be the 19th. Both of us realised as we ran towards the pond it was the 19th today and her witchy powers of spook were probably spot on. Sure enough round the next corner was a toad. Then at the bit where the trees and scrub form a tunnel we caught this wee guy below, emerging from his winter hide out.
Large females with smaller males on top.
Looking for filth!
The sun was out but it was hazy - great running weather but you wouldn't want to hang about for any length of time, and the dogwalkers were still well wrapped up.
Ah yes I know what that is, it's a....
If this looks stagy it's because we staged it. Having enjoyed having the larger camera out in the Pentlands the evening before I took it along today as the forecast was set fair. (I did find the small camera and it wasn't at Gordon's - I was checking the wrong pannier bag, it was in the other side.) The big camera travels on a tripod to keep sweaty paws off the hardware. So we had some more self-timer selfie fun. You can see where the footsteps turn round back towards the camera.
Just delightful to see some sunshine.
We had been letting Lucy (and Kipper) know our movements in case they wanted to come in for a swim. I think Lucy might join us on the 29th, a submergathon special, but didn't today.
6 degrees today
oooh - green!
Today I was trying out new googles from the wonderful Edinburgh Dive Centre. While they are very clear and give great visibility there is a nose covering that seems to guide water off my face (when I turn to the side and breath while swimming,) and into my open mouth. Which is not a great result. I am hoping this was just the way the water was running today and won't be a permanent feature. They also make me look a bit special and not in a good way. And are too expensive to throw out.
The water was unusually clear. And it helped to have some sunshine illuminating things. So I got a bit carried away taking partly submerged photos and just-in just-out images.
We were in for a good deal longer than last couple of times. I found the water giving me ice-cream headaches initially while Mary swam confidently down the shoreline. Then I got caught up in the photos and taking selfies just under the water and messing about and sufficiently distracted that I forgot about, or got used to, the cold. As the wetsuit gradually allows water in and it warms up you cool to a degree, but then it gets no worse and you can stay in till that point where your teeth start chattering. I swam down to where Mary was then we worked back to the point of entry. The air temp and wind (chill factor) seem to be the worst components of what makes it unbearable. Being less windy and more warm made it all a bit more do-able although by the time Mary got back to the beach opposite the post where she hangs her bag, her lower face was numb and she couldn't speak coherently anymore.
Camera just above the water, face just under.
Mary pointing to the bit where we started just near the sign post where we hang the bag. About to swim back to this point.
Not sure the nose cover is useful for swimming.
Although the waterproof camera has it's limitations it made a not bad job of recording these 2 urchin shells we found in the sea
So after getting changed we drove along to N Berwick and had a couple of cups of tea with Ben and Alison. We were sort of expecting him to be in a bath chair with a tartan rug over his legs, however he is up and about and enjoying daily walks round the block or to the beach, and slowly building his strength. It will be a while before he can run or contemplate returning to work but he is looking remarkably well (for having lost a stone!) and definitely on the mend. With the whole spring and summer ahead there is a sizable feeling of optimism in the air.
Alison and Ben at the end of the Heb3s, 2007