Sun is shining, and as Bob would say, the weather is sweet. I’m sitting in the car park of Ngarunui Beach a few miles down the road from Raglan town centre having hitched a ride with a German guy. A van full of beautiful French people pulls up, two laughing couples playfully arguing as they unload their boards and step into wetsuits, tops pulled down to show off taut stomachs and perfect skin.
I’ve just got out of a surf, my first surf wearing only a bikini. England right now would need the full get-up: 5/4mm wetsuit, booties, gloves and hood (that’s if you’re committed enough or silly enough to go into the water when the beach waterfalls have frozen solid).
‘Waves are going to be small all week,’ Mickey, a Swiss-cum-Raglan resident had said before I headed out. He was clearly disappointed but it sounded great to me. A little one foot wave, two in luckier moments, was a good reintroduction to the sea, and the eight foot hunk of a board that I’d managed to blag made catching a ride a bit of a given.
Most people were packing up for the day so the beach wasn’t too crowded. As I bobbed about waiting for a set to push through, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons with back home in Devon: green rolling hillsides, wide sandy beaches stretching into the distance, houses to die for dotted on the hillside.
So many of us search for something different, something beautiful, something more, and here I was, over 11,0000 miles from Woolacombe and Putsborough, and this place was undoubtedly beautiful but it was also strangely familiar. I guess that if you don’t explore, you’ll never know, but clearly the grass isn’t always greener. It’s just a slightly different shade. And maybe the sea was a little warmer and there was a touch more summer sunshine. I loved it. But I also love Devon in the summertime.
And so I splashed around and paddled my board and barely got my hair wet. I loved being the farthest out back (okay, it was small and no serious surfers would bother to grace these parts on such a petite day), sitting on my board facing out to the sea trying to spot a slight swell in the ocean. Miles and miles of sun-speckled water stretched out to a drop-off horizon, a vast mass of magnificent nature.
Later, sitting on the veranda of my house crash watching a beautiful haloed sun make way for the night whilst munching on a chunky bar of Whittaker’s chocolate and sipping a glass of red, I thought, yeah, this is my sort of afternoon. Pity it doesn’t pay the bills.