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Some Things Are Best Done Alone. Wednesday September 3, 2014

I'm not that keen on the term "bucket list", not least because I never have any intention of doing something so undignified as "kicking the bucket". The phrase "departed this life" sounds much more elegant even if it in fact means the same thing.

Even so, there are some things I'd really like to do before succumbing to either of those terms.

Some items on that list (well, actually, it isn't really a list because I'm just not that organised), take money, preparation, and the kids to have either left home or be old enough and keen enough to accompany me; items such as going on a horseback safari in South Africa (that's the safari without lions, obviously).

Other things are easier and cheaper to accomplish, and on Sunday last, I managed to achieve one of them.

Easy and cheap, yes; but not necessarily straightfoward. It involved being down at the coast, the tides right and the weather\temperature sufficiently salubrious. All the ingredients were in place on Sunday and accordingly, at 11.45pm I set forth.

I carried with me my Kindle with its built in light and clock and a citronella candle, because, although I may be eccentric, I'm not entirely stupid; and sharing my proposed adventure with several hundred biting sandflies would have soured the experience somewhat.

Far, far out onto the spit of sand that divides the row of beach chalets from the harbour I walked, because I needed absolute privacy for this escapade. The sand and shells crunched beneath my feet; the soft lapping of the incoming tide caressed my ears; the sharp salt scent of the sea curled around me like mist. The light from my Kindle illuminated only the next small patch of sand and marram grass onto which I would next step.

Upon reaching my destination I sat and read until 11.58pm and then, allowing my robe to fall to the sand, I slipped naked into the water.

I had never been skinny dipping before. You can see why I wanted privacy.

And yes, all the cliches are true. The water really did feel like cool satin against my skin; there really is a different sense of freedom swimming naked in wild water.

Knowing these tides and waters well, I could let the current carry me a short way and then swim back to my little candle burning bravely on the shore. I could lie on my back and drift, watching the stars play hide and seek with the clouds. I could almost feel myself dissolving; becoming one with the ripples, with the green and red flashing harbour lights, the call of the night birds and the soft putt-putt of a fishing boat further out in the bay.

Emerging, I felt different: freer; at peace. The need for modesty seemed remote and I could have strode boldly back unclothed. I didn't of course. But I thought about it.

More importantly, the achievement of that small ambition is a source of comfort and pride to me; a pride and comfort out of all proportion to the actual accomplishment.

What ambitions do you have? Go on; try to tick at least one off the list: you'll be so pleased with and proud of yourself there will be no holding you back!

Probably best to wear clothes though.

A Moodscope member.

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Claire Catterall Wed, Sep 3rd 2014 @ 8:55am

I want to fly a plane solo. and canoe down the Amazon.

Sally Wed, Sep 3rd 2014 @ 8:57am

Bravo Mary! A joy to read this ....

Anonymous Wed, Sep 3rd 2014 @ 9:09am

I loved reading this post! And well done Mary for going for it. It's a beautiful experience isn't it that truly heightens ones senses. I believe everyone should try it at least once in their life. (Where they feel safe and at ease to do so). I believe once anyone has tried it for the first time in open water they'll never want to wear a swimsuit again! Thanks for sharing your experience.

Sascha Wed, Sep 3rd 2014 @ 10:57am

Well done Mary, that sounded truly relaxing and peaceful whilst exhilarating. I too ticked one off my list this week and ur mention of keepin my clothes on resonated with me. I started jogging on Monday, granted it is jog walk jog walk, but ive got to start somewhere. Today im half way to conquering my fear of being seen and walked confidently out the door only to turn round and walk back in as my neighbour came out. Confidence renewed i set out, jog jog jog then great my underwear and jogging bottoms started slipping down, oh joy. I stuck with it though and giggled at the sight of my wibbly wobblyness jogging along like a loon readjusting my pants every 5 steps. I did it though and with a small amount of dignity intact. Yay!!!

Exidia Wed, Sep 3rd 2014 @ 11:29am

Well done Mary! I salute you for having the guts to this one thing for yourself. That is a very hard step for some of us to take, and you did it with bells on!

Charlie Laffan-Butler Wed, Sep 3rd 2014 @ 1:18pm

Fabulous! Loved reading it. Well done you!

Anonymous Wed, Sep 3rd 2014 @ 1:36pm

Thanks Mary for a beautiful blog post! I too want to go skinny dipping. Your description makes it sound sensual. Just wish I knew somewhere I could go and do this where I would be safe. I have a bit of a fear of currents and deep ultra-cold water bodies. :-(

Lex McKee Wed, Sep 3rd 2014 @ 4:47pm

I was there, Mary!
I've put the pictures on your Facebook timeline...

[OK, no I wasn't. What a wonderful blog. You are a star both in and out... of the water!]

Anonymous Wed, Sep 3rd 2014 @ 8:33pm

Try "Wild Swimming" by Daniel Start. His first book lists some out of the way lakes and rivers where you can swim au naturel. He also published another book detailing some lovely secluded coastal spots where you can do the same as well as being safe.

Anonymous Wed, Sep 3rd 2014 @ 10:04pm

Lex you've made me laugh, what a funny thought you doing that.
Well done Mary, that seems a brave thing to do to me, I wish I had some of your courage. I will have to work at that. Love Julie x

Anonymous Wed, Sep 3rd 2014 @ 10:25pm

Totally agree with all the comments and a big LOL for LEX! Wish I were brave enough to get undressed in public...even at night...but would be afraid people would think there was a second moon! My bucket list in my head, includes going to America to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket....they look such fabulous, chilled-out places - and no one would know me there if I were brave enough to skinny dip!

Anonymous Thu, Sep 4th 2014 @ 7:00am

Dear Mary,
Please write more! It was so well written, an absolute pleasure reading it. Thank you very much!

Anonymous Thu, Sep 4th 2014 @ 10:38am

Thanks so much for this suggestion. According to the online catalogue, my local library has 3 versions of this! :-) I'll have to get myself down there.

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