No faceplants please


I’ve always been one for anything sport, outdoors and water.  So wakeboarding is pretty much made for me.  I first gave it a go in Turkey on a Neilson holiday, which is where I met the love of my life (vom).  As it was new to me, and I had never snowboarded either, the instructors there told me to have a go at water-skiing first.  I told them where to stick that suggestion.

Once I was all strapped into the giant boots and dropped into the tepid waters, they had me try out standing up whilst holding a big metal pole which was fixed to the side of the boat (so you didn’t wobble about too much).  That seemed fairly straight forward, so it was then onto the rope.  It’s a bizarre feeling being stuck in the sea with your feet strapped to a massive board which floats, so you are sort of bobbing on your back.  I must have looked a bit like a dead ant.  Anyhow, as the boat begins to move the rope loses its slack and you have to hold on to the handle for dear life.  You bring your knees right up to your chest and use the force of the board against the water to ease yourself up.

Well that, my friends, is easier said than done.  Enter the faceplant.  Exactly as it sounds.  You plant your face right into that water.  BANG.  Do it more than once if you feel like it.  Some people get a rush from that stinging slap to the cheek (not me).  Luckily I got to grips with the ‘stand-up’ fairly quickly, and that’s where the fun really started!  There’s no feeling quite like being dragged behind a boat by a rope and surfing the wake.  Bliss.  Until either:

1) You have been going for so long that your legs start to ache to the point where you want to get off, but you can’t

2) You lose concentration for a split second and come hurtling back to reality with a faceplant that is strong enough to give you a headache

3) You attempt a jump over the wake and stupidly look down before landing (you guessed it – back to earth with a faceplant)

Despite the inevitable falls, I loved every ride and had such good intentions to do more of it when I got back to the UK.  That holiday was over two years ago, and how many times have I been wakeboarding since?  The grand total of ZERO.

THIS MAKES NO SENSE.  Why, when I find something I love, do I not do more of it?  This is a serious life problem which I intend to address.  To my delight, I heard a few months back that a wakeboarding park was to open in Cardiff Bay, but this is yet to emerge.  The latest news is that it will be open March 2015.

In the meantime, Penarth Waterski and Wakeboard Club may be the solution.  I can’t see much from the website but watch this space.  I’ll be getting my little size fives into those gigantic boots again soon!  And fingers crossed I elude the dreaded faceplant.


There’s no place like Gran’s

If I had to pick my favourite place in the entire world, it would probably be my Gran’s house.  Stone and wood floors, rickety spiral staircases and an attic full of junk, you could get lost in the old charm of it.  I have endless memories of running around the garden full of archways, steps and little paths, having an absolute ball.  Throw in a bit of trespassing to next door (they had a tree-house ok?) and it really was the perfect playground.  We used to play Kick the Can as a big family and I was in my element.  One day, I legged it up the two sets of stairs to the attic, climbed out the window, made my way across the lower section of roof and perched myself behind a chimney.  Best hiding place ever.  I could see everything!  What a winner.  I was all set to jump down and run for glory when my mother spotted me.  It’s fair to say I was in pretty big trouble (she’s safety conscious) and I didn’t get to kick the damned can.

Back to present day.  My Gran is selling up.  She’s lived there for an amazing 60 years and now she’s on her own it is just too big to manage.  The good news is, she has moved into the cottage next door!  It’s been in the family for generations and I’m so pleased she gets to stay in the little village which has been her home for so long.  The community spirit there always amazes me.  I don’t think my Gran goes a day without someone popping in to check she’s ok, or to drop off dinner or some cake.  This is such a comfort to me, because she’s going through an unbelievably tough time right now.

I can’t say that I have ever seen the same type of behaviour anywhere else.  Most of the people in my block of flats barely say two words if I pass them in the communal areas.  How sad is that?  Where has the neighbourly friendliness gone?  Is this village v city?  Old v young?  Or just a change in the times?