Sunday, June 26, 2011

Green Peace Oop

On my wall I have a big motivation montage; a collection of pictures, images and quotes to prompt me to get on and do the right thing. On it there's a photo of Trevor and Margaret, a really lovely couple who I did some work for when a big macrocarpa tree (monterey cypress) came down on their small holding on Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf just off Auckland in New Zealand. They'd been involved with Greenpeace since way back when and Margaret had been the cook on the Rainbow Warrior when the French Secret Service planted a limpet mine on it and sunk it in Auckland harbour, killing a Portuguese journalist who was trapped on board. In big red letters next to the image it says "make sure you end up like this when you're older".

They fed me a lot of soup whilst I was chopping up their massive tree, and in the evenings I copied out a lot of recipes from Margaret's files. My favourite was this one, I've renamed it "Green Peace Oop". It's real easy and you can mess around with it heaps, here's how you make it:

  • Dried green peas
  • Onions
  • Vegetable stock

Boil these together in the vegetable stock until soft (but watch it as it can foam).
Puree it and then add frozen peas or green beans, diced red pepper, chunks of ham or gammon, whatever you've got in the fridge or cupboard. Get fuelled and then go chop some wood.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Catch a Wave Day

Little longboard peelers at Malibu, California.

Kim Bowra running down an early morning line, Burliegh Heads, Goldcoast, Australia.

Unknown invisible - some guy enjoying one on his guts (seriously, I have a lot of respect for good bodyboarders, I'm only teasing), North Shore Oahu, Hawaii.

Drew sweeping up on his SUP. Flat day training, Jeffreys Bay, South Africa.

Now depending on who you listen to and where you read it, either today ( Sunday June 19th) or tomorrow (Monday June 20th) is International Surfing Day. It's a bit of a hallmark day; dreamt up in 2004 by the folks at Surfing Magazine and the Surfrider Foundation and now also run as an industry day in Europe, it's meant to be a day when surfers can take stock of how lucky we are, celebrate it and give a little back.
There're normally a few competitions held in various spots across the globe, beach-cleans, movie screenings, free surf-lessons and stuff like that which are sometimes accused of being a little overly corporate. But lets boil it down a bit: A day to enjoy and celebrate sliding around on waves, sharing the oceans energy. We should be thankful for it everyday but perhaps sometimes it just becomes a bit normal so it's no bad thing to take a day and think about it. Remind ourselves just how good it really is.

What would you be, where would you be, who would you be without surfing in your life?

So either take what's left of today, or make a plan for tomorrow, and take a moment to enjoy surfing. It's a couple of days off the summer solstice here in the Northern hemisphere so you've still got time to get in there now. Go get in there and catch a few waves, be it on a shortboard, longboard, squishy board, no board, with a paddle, whatever. However you harness the Ocean's energy to move you back towards shore be thankful for it. And on your way back up the beach pick up any litter/trash you see and stick it in a bin, so that the Oceans remain nice for everybody else to enjoy too.

Thank you surfing.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Big Sur

There are roads, and then there are roads.

I damn near drove off the edge of the cliff a few times along the Big Sur stretch of California's Pacific Highway 1 because I was trying to peer over the edge and take in the view the whole time instead of just being sensible and keeping my eyes on the road. This is looking south across Bixby Bridge (as featured in Jack Kerouac's Big Sur) in the late afternoon - beautiful light on a beautiful stretch of coast with a huge NW swell rolling in and throwing up loads of mist and spray.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Good Life

Hay Bale Kiss

Wedding Day Wellingtons

The seed tray of wonder, finding some sunflower seeds for the sunflower growing competition that I am most definitely losing.

"Wouldn't it be nice to take the inspiration for what you're going to wear in the morning from a pheasant; a red hat, iridescent blue scarf and a brown jacket...I might try it"

Sarah won "Most Valued Player" when we built the composting toilet. Nice medal.

Watering the ducks.

The wood shed.

In my head I have three places that I think of whenever I need to feel better about the world: The Eden Project, the Finisterre offices, and my friends Rob and Sarah's little slice of the good life on an organic herb farm in a beautiful corner of Somerset.

They live in a walled garden with a lovingly tended vegetable patch, some apple trees, three Shetland sheep and some chooks and ducks pecking around. I go up to visit them every now and then and try to time it so that I can help out in some way or another to make up for all of the times that I get in their way sticking my camera in their faces. We made a composting toilet last year and a month or so ago I went up to help them move some sheep from their newly planted orchard back to the walled garden for lambing. They feed me home-made bread and soup, eggs from their hens and on my last visit we went foraging for wild garlic and had hedgerow risotto for dinner. I never fail to come away with a smile on my face and a warm fuzzy feeling inside knowing that there are people out there doing the right things for no other reason than because they are the right things to do. Not shouting or making a song and dance about it, or doing it because it's fashionable, Rob and Sarah just live a beautiful and wholesome existence for their own peace of mind and good health.

Inspiring hey, I need to take a leaf out of their book, or off their tree I guess.
We all should.