62 and good enough

At the weekend Steve and I had our first outing on our boat this year. It's been a funny old year as we all know and it had taken us some time to decide if we'd bother getting our boat into the water. But we have and it was lovely to get away from work and home on Sunday. We pootled off at no great pace, enjoying the sights and sounds of being on the water during such a beautiful spell of weather. 

We neither of us take our life here on the Isles of Scilly for granted, making sure that we talk about our good fortune often, especially on days like this. There's something utterly timeless about these boating days which spans our 40 years of being together. The simple freedom of having a boat opens up opportunities to visit other islands in the archipelago, be they populated or uninhabited. Mostly we take ourselves off to an uninhabited spot, aiming to have a beach to ourselves. On Sunday we weren't alone in that thought.

During the summer months these Fortunate Isles are a lure for the yachting community and it almost has to be an act of stealth to land upon a stretch of sand that hasn't been claimed by a like minded party. Local boats can be seen circling the islands looking for their very own private beach. And that's what we did for almost an hour as the tide was receding that morning. 

At Old Grimsby there's a tiny smattering of rocks, hardly islands as such, called the Small Islands where Steve and I had spent many a courting day, catching shrimps and having picnics long before we married. These rocky outcrops aren't blessed with pure silky sand and offer little to do for families and therefore were a great place for two young lovers to escape to. It became a favourite spot for us.  We'd clamber up over the rocks onto the grassy tussocks on top to eat our picnic and view the world from our vantage point, people-watching as boats zig-zagged below us and windsurfers whizzed past on their way to nowhere. Later, laying down on our blanket, we would become invisible to the world as we watched clouds scudding by, terns screeching overhead. 

This particular islet is called Foreman Island where we enjoyed an idyllic few hours on Sunday. We spread a blanket and enjoyed our time just like we used to. The decades slipped away as we talked about our lives when we had first met. The fabric of these islands hasn't changed for thousands of years. Superficially yes, buildings have been erected and castles have crumbled, but the core of the Scillies remains the same. I take great solace in that. Generations will come and go, but barring some terrible natural disaster, these beautiful islands will always be the same.

Vapour trails are still a rarity in the skies above us. One of the best things about lock-down was the untainted skies overhead for months and months.

I had earmarked this sandbar as a good location for a photo shoot, bringing a mermaid frock with me for the moment when the tide dropped enough to reveal the white blond silky brow of sand. As we made our way out towards the Eastern Isles we could see that our plans were coinciding with others. The colourful sails of little toppers signaled company and as we got nearer we could see some kayaks there too. However, by the time we had transferred onto our little dingy, the interlopers were leaving and the sandbar became ours.

I hadn't planned to do a bikini shoot, but when we hit the beach the idea came to me I decided that it was the right thing to do. Unplanned, you see me without fake tan on my white belly or beach mules to lengthen my legs. The hand placed on that soft vulnerable spot of my tummy eventually drops away to reveal the truth of a 62 year old woman. Sea swimming is my only form of exercise, well that plus the frantic bit of cycling to and from the beaches, but in an ideal world I'd workout to keep myself more toned and trim. Having Madonna as a role model for my age is a tough act to follow and I do wonder sometimes if I had my own chef and personal trainer would I be sporting a springy, nay rock-hard body like hers.

A lifetime of dieting and feeling dissatisfied with my body is at last giving way to believing that I'm good enough - that this body is good enough. In years to come I'd love to think that society will have its focus on other things rather than our exterior selves. In the meantime, I'm the result of my upbringing, of a father who poked fun at my chumpfy thighs and of a gym mistress who pointed out how I had the whitest legs on the cross country team. My formative years were plagued by these shortcomings and only now have I laid them to rest. Happiness by way of body confidence doesn't rely on the word perfect. I'm 62 and good enough. Hurrah for that!

PS The mermaid dress will be showcased next time, so do please swing by again at the end of the week to see it.

                                                                            Anna x


High summer on the Isles of Scilly

High summer on the Isles of Scilly is all about a state of being rather than doing. Keep it simple and you can't go far wrong. We often sneak in a post-work beer on these beautiful days when the sun is still high in the sky at five in the evening. We hopped aboard our boat and went a-looking for a corner of beach to call our own for an hour or two. But honestly, everyone seemed to have the same idea as us. We opted instead to pull up onto a sand bar revealed by the low tide.

A cold beer for Steve and a cool swim for me is all that we ask on a day like this.

I love this central trail of white shells along this beach. Mother nature at work here.

These footprints remind me of hieroglyphics.

Bridgette Jones would be envious of these legs that go all the way up to here.

The tide had turned and Steve said he wanted to sit in the dinghy until we were washed away. But first, I wanted to see how quickly the tide would maroon me. The following shots were virtually only seconds apart. I could hardly believe how quickly the tide flooded in.

For a millisecond I had my very own tiny of tiniest islands!

And this was us, floating off on the tide.

Soon this entire sandbank would belong to the sea again. We and the seagulls were evicted from our temporary tenancy, the rattling of shells the next incomers on the tide, adding to nature's decoration.

The sun sinks behind Bryher as we tootle gently home. Time for Steve to run the dog while I rustle up some dinner. Summer is my favourite time.

                                                                                         Anna x


Picnic time!

The recent heatwave was all the prompt we needed to scoot off in our boat with some friends for a day on one of the uninhabited islands. We moored up at Tean for the afternoon with Charlie and Anna to enjoy a picnic with a view.

As a picnic spot you couldn't get much better than this. Our friends went off to look at the view from up on the top of the island while Steve and I did a photo shoot of my new swimsuit.

The demure swimsuit came from TK Maxx earlier on this year. I'm afraid I committed the biggest bloggers sin by not keeping the labels attached and therefore can't share the brand name with you. I love the ruched body and this tiny frilled skirt afforded just enough coverage to wear whilst sitting eating together. Our friends love the fact that we picnic in style by bringing our table and chairs to the beach.

We had the island pretty much all to ourselves for the afternoon which is surely the whole point of going off-island. The silence, the view and the company made for a perfect day. As the tide came in across the warm sand the sea offered up lovely warm spots for the swimmers. Well I ought to say swimmer, as it was only Anna who swam (for a whole 30 minutes) as I opted out of getting my sweet new swimsuit wet. A day off included a day off swimming for me, and guess what? The world just kept on spinning!

As I enter my busiest time of the year with our summer exhibitions coming thick and fast I'm aware that I can't be all things to all people and so must make my apologies if the blog gets a bit image heavy and text light over the next couple of months. I love to keep you abreast of my life on the island and therefore can give you this link to the 2018 version of the Tresco Times which just so happens to feature me and my island story on page 80. Click through to the online copy here. And apologies too, to all my dear blogging friends for not visiting your blogs of late. In due course I'll have news of what I've been up to behind the scenes, but for the moment all I can say is that I have an exciting new project in the offing!

Anna x

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