Escape from storm Ciara


Hello and welcome!

If ever there was a day to escape from reality then surely it's today when the whole of the UK is being battered by Storm Ciara with winds forecast at 80 mph, huge waves pounding our coasts and power cuts threatening many. So let me lead you away from all of that and join my friends Kate and Fiona as we revisit a day last August for a post-work sea swim.




Our cycle route to Pentle Bay took us along the Abbey Drive through lush green vegetation under majestic trees. Excitement and anticipation added a frisson to our babble of chat about the state of the tide, wind direction and the potential for jellyfish. Because today was no ordinary day as we were being shadowed by a film crew and also professional photographer James Darling, who were collecting material for a marketing project for Tresco Island. Our daily dip was the final scene to be captured for use in the recruitment drive for the 2020 season.








The photo shoot had none of the luxuries of hair and make-up nor has James photoshopped these images. I want to talk about this first as vanity tripped me up when I first viewed the photos. I'm pretty much at ease with being seen in my swimsuit as it's what I wear at some point most days, but, somewhat naively, I hadn't really considered how I might be seen through the (professional) camera's eye. Well, it seems that the reality of my self-image needed some radical recalibration! In my head I suppose I must still think I have the figure of my 30 year old self. Aren't we all a bit like that? We remember ourselves in our prime, holding that impression in a handy copy and paste mode when the lumpy truth threatens our mental well being. Issues with body image can haunt us no matter what age it seems. I continue to speak out to shed light and help dispel shame. I'm not overweight nor claim to be, but still feel under pressure due to the imagery we're subjected to daily. 




I know that I often publish photos of myself in a swimsuit, but like most bloggers I choose to share the best, most flattering and certainly never back views! I was initially shocked then downhearted at the rear view of myself. Cellulite and drapey skin are ever present in these shots forcing a certain amount of coming to terms with my 62 year old body. But as my dear husband kindly - and I do mean kindly - pointed out, I write with honesty and try my best to show myself as I truly am. What is the use in me trying to inspire women of my generation when I'm still deluding myself as to who I am? To this end, I'm including photos that I would normally omit as after all, we don't want to scare the horses do we? But, joking aside, if you ever seek me out I don't want you to be shocked after seeing me in soft focus for so long. My fragile ego desires me to be perfect and the perfectionist in me would like that too, but this is the truth of the matter and it deserves or begs no pity from you. Here I am, warts cellulite an' all!
















After a certain amount of coming to terms, I decided to post this photo on my Instagram with this text - "We're all equal in the sea, our little heads bobbing above the water, laughter in the air and salt upon our tongues. Age, cellulite and wobbly bits all fade into insignificance as this common bond of wild swimming knits our friendship deeper." And really that's what this post is all about. For years I've been a solitary swimmer, seeing the time as one for meditation and reflection but, last summer was one of group swims which brought new dimensions and time to enrich friendships and forge new ones.








That post-swim energy has us all buzzing, talking about stray seaweed feeling as if it was tentacles of jellyfish. Fiona hates seaweed almost as much as jellyfish.









All cosied up, it's time for a hot drink as the discussion turns to the next swimming adventures for each of us. Kate wants to crack her freestyle stroke, Fiona had plans for the inter-island swim only a couple of weeks away and I was gearing towards my swim around Tresco. 








Previously I might have balked at showing you this necklace choker of wrinkles, but I'm biting the bullet and sharing what's normal for my age. (I'm working at removing perfect and replacing it with normal.) 






As storm Ciara rises in ferocity outside my window, I'm drawing on the feel-good factor of this little outing. It never ceases to amaze me that we can have this fun without spending a penny. Mother Nature has given us the most beautiful of playgrounds here on the idyllic island of Tresco and that's something we always voice when we stop to enjoy the view. 

We're so lucky to live here!

All photos by James Darling courtesy of Tresco Island



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22 comments

  1. Superb photos and you all look radiant after your swim, far better than perfect.
    Tessa x

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    1. So kind of you Tessa. As you can see I'm working at this less than perfect mindset x

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  2. Dear Anna, how lovely the three of you look. So radiant with health, supple enough to still swim easily, laughing, full of energy and thoroughly enjoying your lives. We all suffer from appearance issues, even those we think of as being perfect. Well done for a life well lived, full of joy, love and friends. Regards Linda Northcott, Western Australia

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    1. Hello Linda and thank you so much for joining us! The last thing I want is for my readers to think I'm parading myself around as some perfect creature, when clearly I'm not. When we admit our flaws we become more human, more approachable, I hope. My life here is indeed a blessing with these friendships the icing on the cake x

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  3. This post really made me miss you my friend.
    What a splendid day this looks to have been. The energy, closeness, respect, and joy are palpable.
    Clearly, you three are thriving and share enthusiasm for life and friendship.

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    1. It's so good to hear from you again Jude! There's no faster way to building close friendships than to be stripped down to your cellulite as that forces you all onto that level playing field of acceptance without judgement. Swimming times for us are all about fun and laughter and pushing ourselves that bit further because of the safety of the group - it's a joy!

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  4. This post brings tears in my eyes! Actually, its 20seconds later now and they roll over my cheek. I don t see any inperfections! I only see beautiful women having fun! And why am I crying now? Because of my love for the UK. I can hear the seagulls, I can hear the sea, smell the sea. And I am thinking, oh still 2,5 month to go!

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    1. Hello again Nancy and thanks for your lovely response. I do love to share my island life with my readers, so this is music to my ears. I can understand your countdown to visiting the UK once more and hope that the weeks fly by until then x

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  5. Anna, you can be lucky to live there. Beautiful women in the sea and at the beach. My heart is full of nostalgia to the sea, the dunes, the seagulls, the smell of sand, grass and salty water.
    Best whises from my "little sea", the river Rhein...
    Susa

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    1. Hi Susa, I am indeed so lucky to live where I do. There's nothing like the smell of the ocean and the taste of salty water as you swim. I'm so glad that this has been an evocative post for you. Thanks for commenting x

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  6. Oh, what wonderful pictures these are! I love the one with the giant trees - the scale is just massive! Anna, I do not see the wrinkles or any of the things you're zeroing in on. I feel some great admiration for you in your bathing suit (mine has never been shown on the blog) and for putting yourself out there with your lovely friends.

    Happy week to you, my dear.

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    1. Everyone is being so kind and generous about this. I'm notoriously harsh on myself (blame that on my strict upbringing) but prefer to say out loud what others might say if I didn't. Defensive? Hell yes!

      Thanks for your constant support and kind comments x

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  7. Too many photos of the same thing. Photo after photo to scroll down, when 2 or 3 would have been enough.

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    1. Ah, but where's the joy in that? Blogging is about the visual fest as well as the words. This post was an invitation to escape from reality - and I think that's what it delivered.

      Sorry you're feeling a bit bah-humbug!

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  8. Waht a wonderful post and beautiful photos. You all radiated health and happiness.Oh and fun and friendship. And you all looked wonderful. Fabulous ladies.

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    1. How lovely to have your positive comments Hilda. We had great fun that day which I think really comes across xxx

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  9. what a wonderful post!, it has put a smile on my face to see you enjoying your swimming together and looking so Gorgeous!, so beautiful smiles and Fabulous Attitude!
    My favourite picture is that of you wrapped in your towels and pullovers having a cup of tea, commenting your adventure!
    besos

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    1. Thanks Monica. I so wanted to use these photos to add an element of cheer during the foul dose of weather we in the UK are experiencing. It's great to know that these have made you smile too. xxx

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  10. three women having the best time. These photos are amazing Anna and really capture the feel. Who cares about cellulite!

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    1. Thanks so much Laurie. The bonds of friendship are much more important than cellulite xxx

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  11. What a lovely post, and most people can see deeper than the photos you share - I can see a wonderful lady, who's having the time of her life, anyone who thinks different isn't worth a thing. I got lost in that post, back to warmer climbs and beaches. xx Thanks Anna. x

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    1. Oh thank you so much Jacqui. Sometimes you get the opportunity to share a special post and this is one of those times xxx

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