Water, Water Everywhere…

I had a pupil a few years ago now who was convinced water made him sick. He drank it once when he was younger, vomited and never drank it again. He would only drink milk or IrnBru. Try as I might he would refuse to concede that his own body was some 60% water and that it wasn’t what made him sick. I really like water and I particularly savour the first one in the morning, especially after a previous evening of jiu-jitsu.

You can physically watch a plant deteriorate only to pick up again once it’s been given a drink. You can actually watch this happen. Think of your Christmas tree, dropping pine needles everywhere when the cat breathes, but only because you forgot to give it a drink. For two weeks.

So why shouldn’t humans be the same. I feel the same way and actually feel myself rise a bit after drinking some water. It has to be a minimum amount, maybe around 300ml at least. I’ve been in many meetings or on courses where one water jug is provided with several tiny paper cups. I have to hold myself back from drinking the whole thing because that would be rude, but no one else ever seems to want any, or if they do it’s only a tiny amount. No wonder people are tired and cranky at these things. It’s the same when you go out for dinner and ask for water at the table. I always need one for the table and one for me. And bring me a bigger glass instead of that tiny wee thing I’m constantly filling up. My previous BJJ coach when training in Brazil, once got asked how he was so strong for every class. He replied that he wasn’t strong, only well hydrated. Pre-hydration, so dehydration never occurs.

Here in Scotland we have a strange relationship with water. We have tons of it. It falls out the sky on a far too regular basis sometimes and we have many magnificent rivers and mountains. It surrounds us, except for that bit called England. Many coastal communities have traditionally made their livelihoods from the water, and it is a shame to see this way of life die out in my lifetime. Heavy rain can arrive from the Atlantic Ocean. Waterfalls sometimes go upwards or sideways this place is that mental. Rainfall is difficult to measure for the whole country due to the fact that the weather varies widely in different parts of the country. A town 10 miles away can be shut in by snow while life goes on as normal elsewhere. This is a regular occurrence.

However the western isles is generally credited as one of the wettest places in Europe with annual rainfall measured up to 4,577mm. We constantly moan about rain here, and we assume its happening all the time. It isn’t, especially on the east coast, but it does seem like it.

A trip to the mountains or even low level forest grasslands and woodlands is likely to get you wet feet. I think it’s hard for us in this country to comprehend drought, though everything dries up for about half of June and July. Wildfires are caused mostly by human error; campfires gone wrong, cigarette ends etc, not the dry ground and lightning strikes that are terrorising parts of Australia and California for the last few years. We have tons of water, our ground seems to be permanently wet. No water is not really a thing we have to deal with here. I believe we should be more thankful for this natural gift than we are.

As the world warms and the climate changes, droughts are expected to be more frequent and more severe. Although in some areas, somewhat ironically, will feature increased rainfall. I wonder which one we’ll be?

Live Deliberately


Currently listening to: Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags by Hellripper


Water, water, everywhere…

I’d been planning some sort of sea related article for a while but never got round to it. But then my sister sent in some pictures for #fivephotofriday and it got me back to thinking about the sea and what it means to me. Her pictures are all included here and every single one of them is blue.

We grew up next to the sea. We learned to walk next to it, would play on its beaches and in rock pools as children. School projects were on fishing. As teenagers we’d build fires and later drink varying degrees of alcohol next to the sea. It was always there. We were always able to smell it, or hear its constant song and noise. You’d be able to tell the weather just by the sea’s voice. Apparently when I was very young I’d need to see the lighthouse shine round twice before I went to sleep.

I don’t like being in it but I like being on it. Boats are fine; from ferries to rowing boats, I don’t mind. I only felt a wee bit sea sick once and I think that was more to do with the fish supper I ate just before we left. But swimming is a big nope. I don’t like it, never have. I know this mostly comes from my terrible eyesight but also from the desire to not being eaten by a shark, which is still my greatest fear. And whether it’s an outdoor bathey in Scotland or a hotel pool in Benidorm I still don’t really like it.

When I first left home, I moved to a city with a famous port and lived within walking distance of the beach. The sea was always there, although not quite so close and I couldn’t see a lighthouse anymore. Sometimes after nights out we’d walk down to the harbour and look at the fishing boats. There was lots in those days; it’s empty now. We’d watch the sunrise from the sand dunes and WW2 bunkers, a beach fire dying slowly as the sun came up. 

I really miss living next to the sea. I know it’s not there, you can feel it.

Possibly the most random place I have ever been to is Kazakhstan. Bear with me here, there is a point. My four friends and I were there for a reason, to play a Burns Supper ceilidh for all the ex-pat Scots working in the oil and related financial industries. We were there to do a job, with not a lot of spare time for individual adventures but this is not really about that trip. The point I want to make here is how for the first time I my life I felt landlocked. Now, I know there are lakes. Lake Balkhash looks huge and Issyk Kul in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan is close, but they are still both big lakes. The Caspian Sea, which is itself landlocked, is more than 1500 miles away and the Arabian Sea, which would lead to the Indian Ocean, is well over 2000.

In Kazakhstan, I was the furthest away from the sea I had ever been in my life, and I felt it. I knew the sea was a thousand miles away, my body told me. The temperature, I remember, was extremely low and was down to -20˚C while we were there. But it didn’t seem as cold as Scotland which was probably sitting at a few below 0 in January. This was due to there being absolutely no wind coming in from the sea. I was reminded of this today when sunny Easter Monday proved to have an icy wind blasting you from all sides, dropping the temperature by approximately fifty degrees. It was horrible, and not a pleasant experience to be socially distanced in the garden without full winter gear on.

In conclusion I wonder what it is that I miss about living next to the sea. Don’t expect an answer because I don’t know if there is one. Is it possibly the noise? I kind of like hearing something all the time. Perhaps this goes someway to explaining my fondness for noisy music. But if that was the case, surely every fishing town and village in the world would be home to the most amazing drone, noise and harsh black metal scenes.

I don’t believe it’s anything tangible. I’m going to throw a Charles Manson quote out here, mostly because I’ve never had the opportunity, but also because it kind of illustrates my point.

“You can try to prove that Columbus sailed on an ocean, but it’s not the same ocean, it’s a different ocean, it’s a different world.”

The sea is not the same as it was before, it’s never the same, constantly evolving and changing. The seas, the oceans, the rivers share the same substance, the same life, the same evolution and the same creation story but also the same future, to be reused and to be recycled and re-funnelled and eventually recreated.

Be like water.

Maybe I need to move.

Live deliberately


Currently listening to: Rammellzee by Flee Lord and DJ Muggs.