moving about. learning Chinese, practicing Tai Ji Quan, doing Qi Gong, or simply going out running. resisting the monkey impulses.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Outdoor swimming

Inspired by Kate Rew's book (Wild Swim, which is VG by the way) arriving from Amazon, I ploshed bodily into the local river today. It's broken my UK outdoor swimming duck this year. Here's that diary entry in full.

Cycled to sinuous bend in the Wey, just downstream of Godalming. Recce'd the scene at first : bright, sunny, nice breeze, occasional towpath users and the odd boat. Various fowl splashing about, cows on opposite bank being cows. Checked out the getting in and out place. Got down to shorts and read the paper for a bit, to gauge traffic, and to see how hot it was (quite, but not summer of 76 exactly). Stowed all keys, phones and things of economic significance away from casual fingers.

Waited for a quiet gap. Sunnies off. Hat off. Kit off. Walked in. It! Was! Cold!

Did a length or two. Didn't feel like dunking the head, given the (perfectly natural) detritus on the surface. Fingers gettting numbbbb. Quick get out.

Back to the towel. Sit there for a bit. Dried off. Waved to passing boats : oh look, a shivering naked person, titter titter. Cycled home.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Out for a ride

Ouch! I banged my toe at Liam's wedding, on the dance floor.

Dancing shoes

It was great to see Jon and Liam in particular, but also Joe. Remember, we did the Three Peaks together, couple of years back.

Joe must have been keeping up with some of my recent escapades on Flickr, because his girlfriend came straight out with:

She: So, Matt, are you actually a naturist then?
Me: Well, yes, I suppose so, in a free range sort of way.

Anyway, that's not the point (though it was a rather amusing conversation, and as usual led to all sorts of confessions and philosophical ramblings), I banged it again in Oxford, and my nice hemp and recycled rubber loafers couldn't cushion it enough to stop me swearing at the top my voice and throwing my hat at strangers (the floppy peak stopped me from seeing the kerb). I got a new hat, and a very bruised toe.

A week later, I don't think I'll be losing the nail, but I did notice soreness after running. So instead of a long run today I went round the block (12 miles, via some nice hills) on the old tourer, trying out some new clipless shoes. btw, new folder now has clipless pedals, which are to bikes as indoor plumbing or electricity is to houses. As in, essential if you want to get anywhere without messing about.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cycling in London

I've been waiting for ages for my folding bike to arrive. At last, here it is:


I'm really pleased with this. It can be folded in under a minute, and I can carry it round the block without my fingers going numb. The purpose of this is to whizz up from my mainline station in town to where I work. This could be a 25 minute tube journey or a fairly random amount of time on the bus. It's 10-15 minutes on the new toy.

I've found cycling in London perversely a lot easier than in Surrey. There are more paths and stop areas, and most drivers have by now seen a cyclist, and understand why we sometimes do odd things. We like to keep moving, and out of harm's way, so we don't always keep to the left where we can get squashed. So the taxis and buses all nod me through. Contrast this to leafy Surrey, where the 4x4 crowd think they have every right to blare their horns if I so much as think about using the road creatively.

And now for something completely different ...

Although Mayor Bozza is (was?) a cyclist, I fear that we have to fight for our space. So I was up there again for the weekend's naked bike ride, as reported in Londonist. This is partly a pro-cycle jamboree, but also somewhat an anti-petrol patrol and a little bit plain old naturist party. At least a couple of my hobbies represented then.

Snapping Assembly area Another Pause Music Bike

I took a small number of photos, but not as much as the gleeful spectators or some of the other riders. Have a look at the other Flickr WNBR groups (e.g. here and here) if you want confirmation of just how beautiful and funny the human race can be when it gets naked on a bike!

Obvious warning: depictions of nudity, blah, blah.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Gym card useful at last

Two visits to local exercise facilities this weekend, but no running, and only reading about tai chi rather than doing it.

Along with doing fiddly painting jobs around the house, and sporadic bass-playing (both good for knotting up muscles) I managed to get two uses out of my scandalously expensive gym membership card.

To the local leisure centre for some weights/rowing/treadmill on Saturday. Pretty good, but no heroic achievements.

Yesterday evening, I went along to Alton Leisure centre's weekly naturist swim (handy for sauna, steam room and jacuzzi too). (Every Sunday, 730 - 930 pm, GU34 1ST, Tel: 01420 540040). Both these leisure centres are run by the same company, so I got a little discount on entry to Alton, which offset the travel costs.

I've been meaning to go along to this session for some time. To date, I've been a naturist on beaches (UK and foreign) and open spaces only, and haven't been to clubs or swims. I'm glad I did, but regret not being able to persuade Mrs. Monkey on this occasion. It was relatively quiet by all accounts, less than twenty users I'd guess, and only a couple of women. Because it was uncrowded, and people seemed to know each other, there was a nice village pump vibe.

In my ideal world, every swimming pool would be clothing optional, all the time, not to mention all the beaches. As it is, it's increasingly hard, i.e. they are being discontinued, to find an open (not club-based) session in the UK (Netherlands, Germany, Austria are more like the ideal) so this session is worth supporting.

I put in about half an hour of solid swimming, and a few iterations of the hot stuff. Result: Mentally energised by the occasion of being an official UK naturist facility user for the first time, and bodily de-knotted.

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Look back at the summer

The Castle Acre workshop was a great success. We weren't, after all, overwhelmed by the expertise of the others – a bit of a worry for this monkey's mate, but, truth be told, for me too – since there were all sorts of skills and styles within the group.

There are a few pictures at the head of my Norfolk holiday set which I hope demonstrate how nice the surroundings were.

We worked on a lot of qi gong, a good base of silk reeling every day, a fair amount of Chen short form and only a little push hands. We started to go into the lao jia yi lu, the old [Chen] first form, and I also took part in sword exercises, including two-person parrying and thrusting.

All very stimulating and enjoyable, and the surroundings and people were wonderful too.

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