A little chilly

The Llŷn Peninsula in Wales

Of course the title refers to the British Summer weather and specifically the sea. I’ve been exploring an area of North Wales where my parents take their touring caravan. The beaches are so beautiful, natural and inviting. You can see seals basking on rocks just off the coast. And the sea is inviting but so, so cold!

I braced myself and managed to go swimming though the outside temperature was about 17 degrees (and windy!) I keep reading about the health benefits of cold water swimming so hopefully it did some good. It’s a psychological challenge. When I was in the water I repeated ‘mind over matter’ to persuade myself to go further in, inching my way forward. Then after multiple 1-2-3 countdowns I finally got my shoulders under the water. Afterwards there is a rush of blood to the skin and you feel so capable. However, I can understand why many locals in this area have wetsuits.

It was definitely a contrast to my usual life in London. For starters, I saw more sheep than people on the caravan park / farm we stayed at. Two sheep escaped their fields and were clearly rebels, eating flowers from outside the caravan and evading the farmer. Some cafes only accepted cash which I realised I’d almost forgotten about since the pandemic made everything card only. And there was no wifi so no Zoom calls could reach me.

It reminded me of childhood holidays, when I used to sit in the caravan watching the rain and feeling content. We were in Devon then rather than Wales, but I found myself sitting in the same type of caravan bay window with a book just like old times. Another nostalgic feeling was tramping down coastal paths lugging all our stuff to the beach. We did a lot of walking and I regularly clocked well over 10,000 steps. My fitness is still languishing in a pandemic slump, but I intend to work on it and bracing coastal walks were a good start.

Another new development is getting aligners to straighten my teeth. These are clear plastic braces which promise to ‘gently’ move my teeth into a better position. It’s something I’d thought about at the beginning of 2020 so perhaps we’re finally getting back on track. The aligners are worn for 22 hours a day – a huge commitment! Snacks and coffee breaks are a lot more difficult when you have to remove them and brush your teeth every time. It remains to be seen if the effort pays off but I hope I’ll be more confident in my smile.

This was a funny column about dodgy teeth and how badly designed teeth are in general. I’ve always been puzzled by the UK dentistry system. It is so hard to get appointments and advice is in limited supply. I expect my hopes for teeth were unrealistically set by Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, a film I must have seen first at an impressionable age. I’m not sure how all her teeth fit in her mouth, but the Hollywood smile seems so covetable.

When researching the aligners, I realised it’s teenagers who are the target market. There is something about staying with parents which brings out the teenager in all of us. I’ve had to apologise a few times lately for sulking or being unfriendly. Such is the nature of family holidays.

During the long car journeys, I listening to the Diary of a CEO podcast with Steven Bartlett. I really enjoyed the episode with Mary Portas. The conversation is long and goes into fascinating professional and personal areas. A theme is finding contentment in ordinary things as the achievement of goals doesn’t always deliver the expected happiness.

Things like the chilly sea.

2 thoughts on “A little chilly

Leave a Reply