Monthly Archives: February 2017

A Near Perfect Day

I woke under canvas to the sound of waves, waves lapping the golden sands of Pantai Gantra, on the coast of Java, South of Malang. I woke to the sound of waves… and chickens, scratching, clucking and cock a doodling the new day in.

Having washed in a bucket, done some yoga stretches on the beach as the sun warmed up and breakfasted on fruit in my tent with my book, I was ready to start the day – exploring the bays and beaches while assessing some adventurous teens doing their Silver International Award expedition.

Each beach visited was a delight; golden sands, blue waves, distant emerald islands greeting my view. Shores were explored and shells collected, creative projects imagined and discussed, and the moment enjoyed. I learnt how to ‘pop’ a leaf, providing myself with plenty of amusement as I watched the group realise where the sound came from, and then learn the trick for themselves.

When we reached Tigga Warna Beach we went snorkelling. The group’s delight at being able to explore the reef and witness the colourful fish that live there was memorably illustrated by the squeaks emitted through their snorkels and the excited chattering that happened when they surfaced.

Later, we waded across an estuary to a mangrove conservation area and sought a beach on the other side of the bay. Uncertainty nearly forced the group back but the spirit of adventure prevailed and they found their way to Turtle Beach. Although there were no turtles there at that time of day the flush of success caused them to go further afield and find another beach on the other side of the promontory we were on. It was entirely deserted with not a footprint in sight; we were the first there for some time. Much fun was had wave jumping on this pristine secret before time and tide forced us all back to the campsite.

That evening I joined the other assessors for a B-B-Q on the beach. A huge tuna had been purchased at the fish market that day and was grilled in foil with butter and lemon as the sun went down. Having feasted on mouth-watering chunks of tuna and a shandy, I lay back to the sound of waves again and studied the star-studded dome above, seeking a shooting star while reflecting on the near perfection of my day.


Coddiwompling my way through life


I came across this word recently and it perfectly describes me at the moment. I can’t find the etymology of it anywhere except to say that it is slang, but it sounds like a word the BFG would use, it’s so sumptuous and dialectal. Try saying it out loud. Delicious isn’t it? It means ‘travelling purposefully without a clear destination’ and it captures the recent directionless meanderings of my 40s, as I strike out purposefully and enthusiastically without really having any idea of where I am going, relying on my intuition and my feet to get me to wherever I end up.

It is a motion I have come to enjoy. I seize opportunities that arrive without me seeking them, I loose myself in places and feelings and I enjoy the experience. I open myself up to people and ideas like I’ve never done before. I find it invigorating and challenging and it makes me happy.

I don’t know if I ever really want to find out where I’m heading when I’m having so much fun coddiwompling, but I think Tolkien was right when he wrote: ‘not all those who wander are lost’.