Monday 30 June 2014

Would you swim in a sea full of Poo?

Would you swim in a sea full of Poo? The answer to this question, to anyone anywhere in the world, would answer a resounding NO! But that's exactly what happened yesterday and this isn't a new occurrence.

For the last year or more I have subscribed to the sewage alert service provided by Surfers against Sewage using their AP, I get messages when sewage is discharging at my local beaches and this is surprising often. I remember a few years ago my family were down and all went in the sea at Mawgan Porth on the last day of their holiday. They phoned me on the way home to Essex the next day saying that they had had a terrible drive home as all had upset stomachs and couldn't work out why. I said to them how I never go in the sea after heavy rain and explained the surface water run off from local farms and the sewage over flow outlets and how this gets in the water and makes it polluted. They said that it was raining and stopped but wanted to go in the sea as was the last day of their holiday. At first they didn't believe me when I told them and couldn't understand how similar beaches with blue flag status can get affected like this. Now that I have the AP on my mobile phone I am shocked at just how many times the alerts go off. Gwithian, Crantock and Fistral all seem to get alerts after even the slightest rainfall.

However yesterdays raw sewage release straight into the sea made headline news on the BBC and with the powers of social media images of the raw sewage turning waters brown quickly filtered into everybody's news feeds. On an otherwise sunny weekend the beach at Gwithian was red flagged by the RNLI and everyone ordered out of the water. To add to the torment of the beach getting closed there was also a surf competition being held at the beach which had to be postponed. It seams absolutely crazy that the water companies are allowed to emit raw sewage straight into the ocean on any parts of the coast. As a resident in Cornwall I am fully aware of the costs that we pay for water in the county and know these are amongst some of the highest in the UK, but also sadly aware of the profits that these companies make each year yet still they are allowed to pollute the beaches that bring so much tourism to the county.
Image from

As a regular beach goer I now always have the alerts firing from the wonderful work that Surfers against sewage do and can avoid catching any nasty bugs and often visit beaches where there are no alerts but on arrival seeing a brown layer on the tide line decide otherwise but for tourism that Cornwall so heavily needs a lot of people won't know about the problems of sewage being released straight onto the beaches.

There is a lot that needs to be done to stop raw sewage being released straight onto our beaches but to protect yourself from getting sick you can use the Surfers against sewage AP to tell you in real time what is happening and hopefully avoid entering the sea when sewage is being released. Although this doesn't help if your already in the water but it's a brilliant service from SAS. Surfers against sewage are a charity and a charity that is close to my heart, In the past I have volunteered my time to help at a festival in Plymouth as well as donated my time to take part in several local beach cleans. What has happened has been picked up by the mainstream media and this has been a brilliant thing as it highlights the troubles that the team at Surfers against sewage work so hard to protect. It also highlights the problem to many that haven't heard about it so hopefully this will challenge the water companies to invest more of their profits into protecting our beaches.

In the mean time, whilst sewage is still released onto our beaches please help support the guys at Surfers against sewage as they really are doing a fantastic job to get water users safe when this events do unfortunately happen.

Sunday 29 June 2014

Joe Way Paddle for Life

When I first moved to Cornwall eight years ago I worked in a variety of Holiday parks and for two years this included Hendra Holiday Park where I worked for the Way family. Working in various roles at Hendra I was lucky enough to meet Matt Way's son Joe, a little boy full of smiles who sadly lost his life to various illnesses. Through his death a group of Lifeguards endured a challenging paddle from Watergate Bay to Newquay harbour to raise money and awareness for Joe story and raise money for local charities. Seven years on the Joe Way Paddle for live is a fundraising highlight of the year for Newquay with hundreds of people taking part. 

Joe way paddle for life
Joe way paddle for life
The day started at 4pm with crowds of people at the harbour and the children's 200 metre paddles under way. The harbour was packed children enjoying the water, with the sun shining and the live bands playing it was an enjoyable experience even for those not taking part. However I was taking part! For the first year I had been persuaded by the girls for the ladies surf club that we should put in a team. 
Newquay Harbour

Joe way paddle for life, newquay harbour
Once registered and with my wrist band securely in place the girls team were entered into group number 9, the last group before the relay teams which comprised of super fit lifeguards, surf schools and coasteering clubs. With two of our favourite surf coaches alongside us we left the harbour paddling out to the open sea. This didn't feel too bad, with the tide going out and helping us out the harbour and the cheers from the crowd spurring us on the adrenaline kicked in. Then we left the harbour and witnessed the full 1km course and the paddling became harder, with arms tiring our surf instructors cheered us on and made sure we were all ok as we completed the course. 
Joe way paddle for life wristband
With arms burning as we re-entered the harbour the cheers from the crowd helped us all finish the course, and what a great feeling this had been to take part in the event and I would love to take part in the event again.
Joe way paddle for life newquay

Joe way paddle for life

Joe way paddle for life 1km course
 The event was closing with the relay race with all the local lifeguards who completed the course a lot quicker than I had done but the evening wasn't over yet as life music continued at the harbour until late in the evening. 

If you want to learn more about the Joe Way Paddle for Life, donate money or even take part next year visit their website here

Massive well done to everyone who took part it really was an amazing evening and pleased to have been part of a really wonderful fundraising event.

Friday 27 June 2014

Josh Curnow Music - Cornwall

I love live music and I love local music,with this weekend being filled with ongoing talk of Glastonbury I wanted to share with you an incredible talent from Cornwall that if you haven't heard of already you need to listen too.

A few years back I attended the Food Bank charity ball and they had this young lad on guitar playing and singing and to be honest I thought he was good but didn't really go home remembering his name. Then a few years later whilst listening to BBC introducing I hear an amazing song that captured my full attention and was memorized by his lyrics and gruff tones. Listening on Spotify I was pleasantly surprised that all his songs contain his amazing lyrics and incredible voice it really is music that gets to your soul.

I'm pleased to say that Josh has just released his second EP and I currently have his CD in my car, and this EP is even better than the first, and I highly recommend that you get your self a copy and take a listen or even better still go and support him and see him play live. Track two on the album is not only incredibly catchy and totally feel good you can't help but laugh, the lyrics are brilliant and puts you in the mood for a good drink with friends in your local Cornish pub.

Monday 23 June 2014

fistral bay hotel review

I've been pretty lucky recently and won a weekends stay at the Fistral Beach Hotel in Newquay which even though only a few miles from my home seemed too good to refuse. As I live with my partner in a tiny village in the middle of know where we don't often get to go out together and both drink as one of us always needs to drive and taxi's back to ours are rather expensive.

With the weekend booked and a heatwave on the way it seemed that everything was going to be perfect. We arrived at the hotel after work and checked into our room, which was simply amazing. With a room over looking the sea and the sun shining it looked stunning outside but inside the room was stunning too. Beautifully decorated to my exact taste and with a gorgeous rose petal heart on the bed.

Rooms at the fistral beach hotel

View from the rooms at the fistral beach hotel

Fistral beach hotal room decor

Looking out the window and the weather so hot all I wanted to do was get in the sea but lucky for my other half the tide was in so the surf wasn't up to much and I was hungry so we took the short walk across the beach and headed over to The Stable Restaurant.
Footprints in the sand
Anyone that's even visited my blog just once will probably have read that I love cider and The Stable is a mecca to alcoholic apples and pears. Baring in mind we had a room for the night we could both enjoy a few of the speciality ciders and a meal of pie! The restaurant is gorgeous, again decorated to my taste with a retro rustic feel. The sun setting across the sea and the windows and doors opened it was an amazing way to spend our first night in Newquay.
The stable fistral beachFood at the stable fistral beach

After a wonderful evening, the next day was my turn to get in the water so we headed down to the beach. Whilst my other half soaked up some rays and read a magazine, I was in the water. it really was a beautiful day to enjoy the beach. Now you'd think living so close to the beach we go quite a lot but we really don't, not together. I'll go to the beach for a quick surf after work or to photograph an event with my camera but today we had no other reason then to simply relax and enjoy. 
Summer at Fistral Beach
As my other half's birthday was the following Friday so I had planned a sneaky surprise to get all our friends down to the beach for an evening BBQ. The evening stayed warm until the sun set and having a few drinks with close friends was the perfect way to spend an evening.
BBQ on Fistral Beach
 The Sunday morning we left the hotel and yet again the sun was shining but all this good weather had meant that the surf was dropping off rapidly so a quick dip in the morning to flex the muscles and another few hours were enjoyed on the beach. 

It really was an amazing weekend and massive thanks have to go out to the Fistral Beach Hotel for giving us a weekends stay at the hotel so that we could really enjoy the beach and all it has to offer. The hotels gorgeous, the terrace at the front of the hotel brilliant for a few drinks in the sun above the beach, the staff friendly and the breakfast yummy. 

Thank you again Fistral Beach Hotel.

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Electric beach Festival at Watergate Bay

Since Electric beach started 3 years ago I have been to every one. In 2012 headline act De La Soul wowed the audience with their oldskool tunes and 2013 was remembered for an amazing set by one of my favourite bands Zion Train. With this years festival being announced as a two day event with more bands for not much more money I couldn't wait to get my tickets. I bought my tickets way back in February at the early bird rate and was so pleased when they announced that Zion Train were not only playing again but were headlining the Sunday night.
Storms passing over Watergate Bay

As the first day of the festival approached I had watched the weather forecast all weekend as the forecast was telling us there were severe weather warnings on the way and torrential rain, thunderstorms and hail was forecast. But as Friday evening set in the rain came down and thunder and lightening filled the air across Newquay. But luckily this early arrival of the storm meant that Saturday was surprisingly dry and bright and I headed to the festival.
Electric Beach Festival Watergate Bay

We arrived at the beach in time for another favourite local band Land of the Giants who were amazing, as the sun shined it was impossible not to enjoy the live music. However as many of my regular readers will know I always write honest reviews and my only criticism was that the choice of drinks was a bit limited! When I say limited there was a wide selection of 2 beers, 2 ciders, and a small selection of spirits and wine however as you all probably know I'm a cider drinker, I LOVE CIDER, however the choices of sickly sweet strawberry cider or super strong festival strength cider there was not an option for regular apple cider drinkers which did leave me slightly upset of the thought of being at a festival in the sunshine in an amazing location but without an amazing drink in my hand.

Next on the line up was the Running Numbers a band that I had not heard of before but now I will definitely call myself a fan and if I hear of them playing another gig locally I will certainly be in attendance. They are a wonderful drum and bass band with vocals from a gorgeous female voice, With the sun shining, the waves crashing behind the festival and the mesmerizing vocals and lyrics coming from Running Numbers it was impossible not to get lost in their music and thoroughly enjoy their set. An amazing band, amazing sound, amazing energy and will recommend their music to any drum and bass fan.

After the amazing energy from the Running Numbers the festival continued with a band called the Renegade Brass Band. I've got to hold my hands up and applause the organisers of the Electric Beach festival as so far all of the bands were to my exact taste. Although mainly dubbed as an electric music festival and previous years being heavily electronically focused this year was filled with a lot more live music and a lot more instruments mixed with digital sounds and the Renegade Brass Band were no exception to the day.

Cider drinking at Electric Beach Music Festival Watergate Bay
The festival was speeding through the day and the sun continued to shine. In between the bands the dj's were playing some incredible tunes to keep the party going and the compares were keeping the party going with dance off's on the sand and giving away lots of prizes to the revellers. Next to hit the stage were Sam and the womp, who I was looking forward to seeing as there hit single Bom Bom is hard not to like with its catching although slightly strange chorus. Not knowing any other music from the band I was hoping that they weren't a one hit wonder and had more to offer. What can I say, the band was insane, energetic and simply crazy. With the lead singer wearing a multi coloured skin tight cat suit and the lead singer teaching the audience how to do their crazy 'womp' dance moves, the gig seemed a cross between a psychedelic rave and a mad kids entertainer but it was very enjoyable even if the drummer seemed to miss a few beats in time with the rest of the band. Sam and the Womp are playing again at this years Healey's cider festival and I can't wait to see their mad performance once again.
Sunshine at Electric Beach Festival Watergate Bay

To headline the Saturday night was legendary DJ Grand Master Flash who was certain to get the festival jumping. Playing an amazing set of new and old tunes it was hard not to jump and dance on the beach and end the first day of the festival on a high.

With the sun still making an appearance and only a few brisk showers stopping play Sunday continued to spell out a brilliant summer festival. We arrived at the beach in time to catch the wonderfully talented Albert Jones and yet again was an incredible gig. The only slight down side to his set was when the heavens opened and the festival goers rushed for shelter in the marque. Taking it in the bands stride they joked that if the audience didn't like the music they didn't have to all run away! within minutes the rain had stopped and the sun was blistering through the clouds and the set ended on an incredible high.

I've been to a lot of music festivals in Cornwall and seen The Peoples String Foundation several times before and was not disappointed by their set at The Electric Beach Festival. I know this review comments on the sunshine at the festival over and over again but with energetic live music and the sun shining it was impossible not to enjoy. Their last song had every body on their feet dancing and really are a band worth checking out.

On the line up next was singer Lloyd Yates, I hadn't heard his music before but decided to check him out on Spotify before the festival and to be honest I wasn't sure. His voice seemed a bit like Marmite easy to love and hate so was sceptical about his set. But the minute he entered the stage I was blown away, his honesty about why he wrote the songs and what the songs were about nearly had me in tears. The songs were heartfelt and emotional, incredibly moving and powerful and I'm now certainly a massive fan. Adding Lloyd Yates as a firm favourite to my music collection and would definitely love to hear him play live again. If you think it can't get any better than this, add the one and only Ben Skinner to the mix for a quick song together and you've got an incredible experience for both the ears and eyes!
Ben Skinner and Lloyd Yates at electric beach festival Watergate Bay

Following Lloyd Yates was another DJ set this time by Dj Maseo from De La Soul, Electric Beach festivals first head liner in 2012. Now I know this was predominantly an electric music festival and this means that DJ's will feature heavily but after so much great music with live instruments the DJ set was just not hitting the spot. It was good but it just wasn't the live music that we had experienced earlier on in the evening.

The penultimate act on Sunday was Dizraeli and the Small Gods and when they first started their set I wasn't sure with a mix of live music and MC-ing it wasn't music to my taste. However yet again the interaction by the band with the audience and some slightly different music with yet again a lot of passion made for a really enjoyable gig with particularly poignant lyrics.

Electric Beach Festival Watergate bay

Sunday nights headline act was the amazing Zion Train who I have seen several times not only at previous Electric Beach festivals but also Plymouth Volksfest and they were the main reason for my attendance at the whole festival. They certainly did not disappoint and  gave every body on the beach a full work out with super high energy dancing and jumping. For a Sunday night gig they really did not put you in the mood for going home and back to work the next day but were definitely worth feeling a little tired the next day for.
Zion Train at Electric Beach Festival Watergate Bay

All in all this years electric beach festival was wonderful, really great bands, superb weather, great friends the only thing missing was a lack of apple cider but all in all really was a perfect weekend and I can't wait for the next Cornish festival.

Sunset at Electric Beach Festival Watergate Bay

Saturday 7 June 2014

Electric beach festival Watergate Bay

All week I've been watching the weather for this weekends electric beach festival with weather warnings forecast one minute and thunder storms last night I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed that today we dodge the showers to enjoy the festival.

I'm mainly looking forward to tomorrow night and seeing Zion Train who I've seen so many times before and they never disappoint, here's a little peek of Zion Train at last years Electric Beach festival sadly for the video footage as the base lines kicked in my phone microphone dies!

Lets hope the weather holds off the beer flows and we all have a good night.

See you on the beach!