Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mea culpa

I learned to snorkel in the summer of 1973. Living in Poole at the time, the family went out for a day at the beach. This was actually a rare event, but off we schlepped with beach towels, Speedos, picnic, a very small inflatable dinghy and our flippers and goggles. It was a long walk from the car park to the beach. Getting to Durdle Door on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast (N 50°37.24' W002°16.35') - just along from Lulworth Cove - involved scaling a winding track down a cliff face to a little bay protected from the sea by a natural rock breakwater.

I’d previously played about in swimming pools with goggles and flippers, but on this occasion my father decreed that once I’d inflated the squidgy with a feeble foot-pump, I should learn to snorkel. And this I did, first in the shallows right next to the beach, and later out near the rock breakwater. It didn’t take long to get the hang of basic duck-diving, and even rolling off the dinghy into the oggin.

Back in 1973, apart from one area where the water was clear to a sandy sea bed, the bay was full of kelp. Swimming through thick seaweed fronds freaked me out then, and it still does. Grasping tendrils reaching up from the abyss? No thanks. I blame too much Marine Boy. You probably have to be in your forties even to remember Marine Boy... Intellectually I know that kelp is harmless, and some of my diving buddies assure me that there is a special thrill in diving through a kelp forest. Sorry, but phobias are by definition irrational. Maybe I should conquer my fear by donning a drysuit and doing some scuba off California.

But what of this culpa that is mea?

Well, while blobbing about in the inflatable, I discovered that if I blew a raspberry down the wrong end of a snorkel, I could impersonate a fog horn and thereby irritate everyone on the beach. Which is just grand when you’re ten.

Sorry folks: Although one Freddie “Saddam” Maake claims to have done so in 1965, the Goat may have invented the plastic vuvuzela.



Istanbilly said...


I have to say Mr. Goat that I did not see that one coming!!!

But what a shame that, having invented it you did not have the foresight to patent and ultimately market it!

You would probably be a very rich Mr. Goat at the moment!

Mme Cyn said...

Unless he managed to get himself murdered by all the people who have to listen to the blasted thing, Billy!

Istanbilly said...

Grumy, what do you think προσοξη τραγος means?

Grumpy Goat said...

It should read 'προσοχή', not 'προσοξη'. Now corrected.

I hope the phrase is something akin to Beware of the Goat.

Thanks for being the first to spot my *ahem* deliberate mistake.


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