There have been more than a few times I have woke myself up laughing but it’s the waking myself up singing that got me writing this gumph.I had listened to this record nonstop back before Spotify playlists. You know when you love an album and then the band produced another one, sometimes you just can’t bring yourself to listen to it? You are convinced they couldn’t better their last efforts. I was wrong with both the Stone Roses and Daft Punk . The The’s Infected was the complete album for me. I couldn’t bring myself to listen to Mind Bomb when it was released. I knew every song on Infected, every guitar and drum solo and most of the words after years of constant Walkman abuse.
But after hearing Sinéad O’Connor  sing on Mind bomb convinced me I was wrong, then they produced Dusk. Which has became my favorite The The album and which gave the following lyrics.
I ain’t ever found peace with the religion of the world.
I ain’t ever found peace at the bottom of a glass.
Sometimes it seems the more I ask for the less I receive.
Sometimes it seems the more I ask for the less I receive
The only true freedom is freedom from the heart’s desires.Here was me chanting the above words unable to distinguish if I was awake or in a lucid dream. It was only as I was wiping the slevvers off my chin I became aware my head was on my pillow. This isn’t some profound manufactured rubbish either. That’s honestly the words that brought me out of a deep slumber.I had listened to the album a couple times a few days before doing some gardening. So I fired it on Spotify during a journey with two school friends. We didn’t need any new rap music or banging techno beats. We were going paddle boarding and the reason my boulder nut went into overdrive tapping out this description on my phone in the early hours of the morning after musicaly waking myself up. Sorry if you want another meandering swimming saga but over the last wee while swimming has take a back seat.
WHAOO there cowboy,
Hud the Disco bus.
I know you have invested a few years into this blog and no doubt, similar to the reason folk watch car racing on the telly and are eager to see big crashes, you might have been hoping for another near drowning splashing  moment. Awe naw.That’s not happened and am still swimming maybe five times a week, twice yesterday, but there was a distinct lack of swimming over the summer. Well not quality but maybe a lack quantity and lack of  distance. I did have some great swims in some amazing places on the North East Coast of America, like the Perfect Storm town Gloucester. Also further North up to Christmas Cove and a birthday swim at Monhegan Island, South West Harbour. There was a wee quiet Cove near Bar Harbour and right at top of Maine beside the Canadian Border at Rogue Island where the water temperature was touching 10 degrees. My phone fell over board during one of these trips so have a lack of photos. ( I can provide Strava app maps recorded from my GPS watch if you think am honky jiving, just saying).
Swimming is still required and high on the agenda, the colder the better. I’ve just not the same motovation to dedicate hours for swimming a few kilometers at a time at the moment. I am quite happy with quick cold skin swims.
Anyway a few years ago I bought a paddle board and similar to listening to Licence to Ill after years of Paul’s Boutique it took a wee while before Clare started taking an interest in it. We had some amazing afternoons on flat calm water last year just before the weather turned and also this year before I abandoned my family for the whole summer. After this she was finally convinced to bash down a close-by section of the river Forth a few times.Going under arches of the 400 year old bridge crossing the Forth is great fun and the odd time it can be very tiring after a big night out the a few hours before. There’s been a few older posts about the delight of spending time with my wife. I don’t know if its writing about it or getting older but I have become really aware how much it really brings us together and makes us stronger. Even just walking to the end of the street for a 20 minute walk along the river the odd time a week makes a big difference.There is something calming for my soul watching Clare on her board,
gentle paddling with a westerly breeze on our back’s pushing us down stream. The River is fenced off in between two busy housing estates and the water becomes our a secret garden. We embrace the seclusion. Only us, ducks, swans, big pterodactyl like cranes, the odd fish jumping and rare a seal. You get a rower now and then, they race away before the serenity disappears.So in the previous blog included photos from a wee paddle board adventure with one of my friends sitting in the van listing to Mat Jonson’s asking us to change ourselves if we can’t change the world. He reminded me that paddle happened ten months ago. We went out to the Priory ruin on Lake of Menteith. You know, when life is happily bouncing along and a major problem might be which kilt you are going wear that day you kind of forget life is hard for other folk. Well, my friend’s life had taken a tumble with some big dilemmas, (nothing really really serious like kilt issues). Joking aside these were major and his head ended up a wee bit buckled. I suggested his first trip out on the boards. There was a couple things happened that day that I don’t think I will forget. He told me about his line manager sitting him down and giving him a guided meditation. A conversation about meditating followed, something a few years ago I never thought I would ever have had, never mind with him. The other thing was watching him on the flat calm water as wee reached the island just as these two large swans floated past us. Everything slowed down and it was evident he had forgot his worries for a while, forgot his lack of balance, forgot we were a kilometer from the lakeside and forgot how cold the water was.It was surreal, having a chat about mindfulness and agreeing how five minutes of concentrating on pushing the air in and out your nose takes the spikes and troughs out of yer day, then two big massive white burds swan past us and…..
Bang!!! (small quiet brain implosion in my head)
We were living in the present, no past, no future thoughts. It’s moments like this that make all the struggles, all the toils, every disappointment and every heartbreak worth it.Awe yeah….Mindfulness but without the kneeling crossed legged or practising yoga for an hour and getting lavander oil Foot rubs.Today with my school friends was a rushed affair. I had everything ready (and it wasn’t my normal half arsed attempt either), but we only had 3 hours for the trip. 1 hour drive each way, trying to keep folk not feeling car sick as we raced round old twisting turning roads, and have time to pump up the boards. We could have went to a closer less sheltered, less bonny Loch and it would have been more relaxed if we had another hour.
We had a wee glimpse of paradise at Loch Drunkie. Both friends were unstable on thier feet. The one from the Swan experience toppled in after half an hour. It was a great lesson. He climbed back on the board and we laughed.  It was if a wee switch clicked in his head. You could see immediately his body form was not rigid anymore and he relaxed. The realisation that the fear of falling in was unnecessary. Maybe last year  in November with colder water his fear might have justified but in the late summer temperatures it feels invigorating.We parked the boards and all enjoyed a very quick swim after getting rid of the protective neoprene. Then I tried to make the speedy race home as tranquil as possible by listening to mellow piano music. Just maybe if we listened to Max Richter going up for the paddle, I wouldn’t have woke up singing and sat up most of the early morning writing this.Hope you enjoyed it. By the way you don’t have to paddle board or swim, just go for a walk.
As the slogan on a T-shirt my Wife got made for my recent  Birthday says #getootside

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