yum, yum, just the thing for a muppet who hasn’t had a decent swim in yonks and who’s put on 4kg over the festive season.

Nourishing Ami

My friend, the Surf Muppet is intrigued with making his own, healthy juices, so I have been giving a few different recipes a try for a bit of variety.


My absolute favourite will always be Watermelon and mint. So simple and refreshing. Add some Coconut Water if you want to dilute it a little, and it adds in some natural electrolytes.

If you’re looking for something a little more filling, add in veggies like spinach and a frozen banana is always perfect to make a smoothie!
TIP: If you are using leafy ingredients like kale or mint, either freeze them overnight and blend separately with water on the lowest setting (it creates a vortex and pulls the greens into the middle to break them up), or put them through the juicer with watery ingredients like apple, cucumber or watermelon to get the most out of their health benefits & flavours.

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Flower of Scotland

Historic night with surfmuppet’s Celtic cousins in Scotland deciding on their own independent state or to remain forever the lackeys of their English overlords.

Things in the surfmuppet world have been in a whirl since returning to the fatal shore six weeks ago. Mrs surfmuppet is living on painkillers for the pain of a double compression fracture  in the backbone while manning the support boat in the Galway Bay annual slogathon. She’s busy brooding about suing the Galway Hospital for getting the diagnosis wrong  – told her she was all right, go home and take a panadol and stay away from boats.

“Ah sure, you’ll be grand”, the discharging Doctor told her in that inimitable Irish way. It was probably one of the porters standing in for the real doc who was off down the  town quaffing pints of black on his or her extended lunch break.

Great news at the end of northern European swimming season with the Vladsters storming the English Channel, eleven out of eleven for the squaddies of the ABC and Vic Park Pool. The role of honour below courtesy of Coach Charm. Surfmuppet witnessed at first hand, mostly while bludging in the shallow end of the pool, the torturous training schedule this lot put in over the last couple of years. Fair fucks to them, says he.

Vlad swimmers results for English Channel 2014

2nd July – Cae Tolman 13:09
2nd July – Ben Hutt. 13:17
3rd July – Miles Tolman. 15:20
8th July – Michael Teys. 11:22
4th August – Lawrence Stubbs. 13:55
5th August – Daniel Boardman. 11:24
20th August – Scott Miers. 9:59
20th August – Cyril Baldock. 12:45
31st August – Greg Shein. 9:18
15th September – Justin Hanby. 11:47
15th September – Rachael Elkaim. 13:01

Swim training is not going overly well despite the old Hornsby pool being reincarnated into a brand new fifty metre one just up the road. Self training just doesn’t cut it for this pull buoy. Was in there the other night after work doing the following set.

600m FS warmup, 600m PB, 600m PB and Paddles, then 100, 200, 300, 200, 100m set, then fart around with the rest of the toys ala kick board, flippers, middle of the forehead wanker snorkel thingamajiggy yoke. Anyway, was just putting on the latter when the lifeguard rudely interrupted to tell SM to exit the pool and it was only 730pm, and the place doesn’t officially close until 745. It was only after the yer man threatened SM with the giant vacuum cleaner and a life time ban that it was time to beat a semi dignified retreat to the change sheds.

Skater girl arrived down from Byron Bay on Saturday looking for her father to make good on the deal to buy her a car despite not having passed the test yet. The deal was struck a year ago after she fell off her motorbike on the second day of the training course and fractured her wrist. SM promised that if she gave the motorbike dream the flick and learn to drive he’d stand her a car. Backstory to circa 2008/9 when she 16 and SM tries to teach her to drive. She was going through her vegan, eco-warrior, “cars are the tools of enviroNazi’s, I’m never ever going to learn to drive and you’re not going to make me!” phase. Begged her but no.

Five years on, she needs one to get around, especially for trips to the butcher shop as she’s now a full blooded carnivore. Fatherly lecture in the car back from the airport as she weaves through the traffic with her “L’s” front and back. “Wait until you get the license, then I’ll buy the car”.

Ah, how a daughter can manipulate a father.

The saga ends up on Monday night with SM haggling with a Chinese lady on the side of a dark suburban street in Beecroft over the price of her 2001 Mazda, 120K on the clock, rego good til next May. Not a bad deal for $1,750. Skater girl contributes in the background by wondering what name she’ll give her new chariot. She flies back to Byron on the Tuesday with instructions for her father to collect the car off the nice Chinese lady on Saturday, drive the 9 hours to Byron that day and fly back to Sydney on Sunday.

Wonder if there’ll be time to fit in a swim before coming back? Byron had it’s first shark fatality in yonks last week when a great white took out a poor chap who was swimming along in his black wetsuit and flippers, aka a seal suit.

Onwards and Upwards, Oh Flower of Scotland!

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Winter’s Last Offensive Peut Etre

This summer city has no business doing winter, who’s launched her last offensive this week. Howling winds and driving rain embalms the city as the she-devil banshee witch screams her fury and shrieks her indignation at the thought of being bottled up again for another nine months once spring erupts the weekend after next.

Nearing the end of the Faber Academy course at Allen & Unwin in Crows Nest and tonight three wise women came from afar (actually downstairs at the publishers offices where they are publishers) to pour forth their wisdom to us donkeys and goats lying around the stable, eating hay out of the manger.

Describing themselves as professional readers, they read a debut manuscript first with hope, that perhaps this is going to be a new best seller, or maybe it will bring joy to the reader or change lives perhaps. The other side of the coin is to function as a sieve and to say No. The professional reader has to put aside her own taste in books and read for other readers might like. No mean feat. And if they say Yes, then they put on the mantle of orchestra conductor, managing the manuscript through the whole publishing process.

The group was divided into three with each subgroup assigned to one of the wise women. Ours was the jolly woman who dissected each two page sample offering with a few deft touches of her lady shaver-thirty-years-in-the-industry-seen-a-million-manuscripts approach. The muppet’s offering was the opening sequence of a gun fight in olde Galway towne back in the days when King Billy was beating the head off his father-in-law James II, the former King, deposed by Billy and his wife and banished to France where he sulked at the court of Louis XIV until the Sun King gave him half an army and told him to piss off over to Ireland and rouse his still loyal catholic subjects into war to get his crown back off Billy.

 and Taxi John were the other members of the group and between their works featuring India and San Francisco respectively, we got a good geographic spread for the good woman of words. 

@cityoftongues James kept the whole thing ticking along nicely and so we await the final saturday workshop this coming weekend by which time surfmuppet hopefully will have found the lost USB drive with his 300,000 word second draft manuscript which he plans to edit down to 90,000 and maybe some hapless publisher might be lured into taking it on. Worst case up onto Amazon it will go for a couple of cents a copy.

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Back in Oz

Surfmuppet needs a good crack on the head with a stout piece of timber as he has not updated the blog for a good three weeks. For any of you wondering did he make it across Galway Bay in one piece, the answer is yes, in 4hrs 57mins, exactly one hour slower than last year.

Looks like bludging around the shallow end of the pool paid off. Plenty of drama of course, with the lowlight being Mrs Surfmuppet suffering a compression fracture of the T11 vertebrae while zipping across some big chop in a small fast moving boat on the way out to support el muppetero in the swim.

More to come.

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Galway Bay Encore

Here we go again!

Back in the city of the Tribesmen on the banks of the Corrib for the annual Frances Thornton Galway Bay Swim, to be held this coming Saturday.

Still suffering from jetlag after the long haul from Sydney, arriving chez the parents in Galway on Friday evening. Transiting through Dubai on the way, saw a chap reading the New York Times with a screaming headline about the shooting down of Malaysian Flight MH17, just as surfmuppet and wife are about to board for the final leg to Dublin. Quick check of the flight path on the thingamajig screen on the back of the headrest of the seat in front confirms we’re travelling south of the war zone so hefty sigh of relief. The only sigh of relief as the muppet squeezes his ample carcass into one of the middle seats in the middle aisle for the final eight hours of torture to Dublin.

Must confess to being a little bit underdone this year compared to last year. Then, three months solid training with four pool sessions a week followed by a long swim on Saturdays with the bull sharks in Sydney Harbour, the tiger sharks in Botany Bay and the great whites off Bondi, saw our erstwhile aquanaut in tip top condition as he plowed through to the finish in just under four hours, getting faster and faster as the diving platform of Blackrock in Salthill loomed up out of the edge of the ocean like the turret of a U-Boat back in the day.

This year, alas dear readers, the muppet has not been so diligent.

Despite the urging, the coaxing, the entreaties of coach Vlad, ably assisted by coaches Charm, Martin and lately Victor, which eventually turned into threats, taunting and slanderous and scurrilous accusations of being a total bludger, the muppet limped through training and most Saturdays instead of being in the ocean with the rest of the squad, could be found sitting in his car outside a Coles or Woolworths supermarket stuffing his face with bars of chocolate and tubs of ice-cream while watching episodes of Famous Rap Battles in History on YouTube.

He confesses now to his millions of readers that this, indeed, was not a good idea. In fact, it was a very bad idea. And five days out from the swim (actually four training days out from the swim – shriek!), fesses up that this was a truly bad idea. Any kids reading this epithet, please do what your swim coach tells you to do and don’t be a muppet!

Anyway, as they say, it is what it is.

Joined about 30 of the race field last Sunday for a training swim, 1030hrs kickoff at Blackrock. Almost all in wetsuits, except for four half eejits including yours truly. Andy, aka The Rooster, an English and Rottnest Island Channel veteran, gave us our orders for the day – down the bay to the fifth buoy (1km), sharp right turn off into the bay to the buoy at Fogla (another 1km), then regroup and back again to Blackrock (another 1km). The tide was filling and a westerly wind was kicking up a nice bit of chop.

All leap into the water – surfmuppet gets dead jealous of all the dudes and dudettes in wetties as the cold Atlantic tightens her loving grip on his already shriveled gonads. And they’re off! (the swimmers, not the gonads).

Down the bay we thrash and flail, the muppet keeping up with the back markers of the wettie brigade. The water is about 17/18 degrees and so after a few minutes it’s not bad at all. While the warmth of a wettie would be good, the real reason the muppet wants one is to get those damn hips and legs up high in the water, reduce drag and thus scream along down the bay like a juiced up sea leopard instead of dragging his sorry ass along like a floating brick.

We turn at the fifth buoy, face out into the bay, the rocky hills of the Clare coast in the distance and the laughing is over. The rising tide and the wind is driving a dirty little scut of a chop which is getting bigger by the minute so it’s dig deep for the miners, shorten the stroke and punch on. Battle it out with a couple of wetties with matching yellow caps and get plenty of practice trying to sight the buoy of Fogla in the bouncing sea.

Spot it outlined against the grey granite of the Clare hills in the background, a black stick bobbing up and down in the murky green water. There’s a figure on it! Yes, it’s the Rooster, resplendid in blue Speedos and yellow cap, standing on the buoy like Captain Ahab, exhorting his troops onwards. He stops a converging group of swimmers, including the muppet, and we get our orders from him to aim to the left of the diving platform, off up into the golf course, as the tide and the wind are strong enough now to blow you back down the bay if you swim straight for it.

With “Onwards me hearties” ringing in our ears from Rooster, our gang sets off for the final K. Muppet as usual doesn’t listen and soon finds himself drifting off down the bay. Course correction and starts tacking into the chop, then parallel to it, back into it, etc. Soon we’re pulling up to the U-Boat conning tower, avoiding the throngs of kids bomb diving off the high platform. Mick, another swimmer, asks for volunteers to go down the bay again and the muppet, conscious of his disgraceful lack of sea time, agrees and we pile in another 2-3 k’s up and down. Coming back up the bay is a long slog with the tide, wind and chop dishing out the punishment but the sun is out and climbing up the ladder onto Blackrock platform at the end, it all seems worthwhile.

Now it’s time for that delicious Galway piece of culinary delight, a punnet of curried chips at Salt n Peppers chip shop on the prom.  Doesn’t get any better than that!

Donations to a worthy cause can still be made on –

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Cae and Ben the Channel Men

Famous day today with two of the squad swimming the English Channel. Cae Tolman left Dover at 0200hrs and Ben Hutt at 0300hrs, GMT. Start in the middle of the night, end in daylight on a French beach somewhere near Calais. Best of luck to both of them.

Back in Sydney it’s Wicked Wednesday in Victoria Park pool . Air temp is around 6 degrees so stripping off and tip toeing across the cold concrete pool deck is the order of the morning. Water in the pool is delicious – far warmer inside than outside.

Program today is warm up and drills to about 1,200m, main set of two times 3x150m, 3x250m, 3 x100m, total 3km. 600m warmdown plus a couple of extra laps thrown in to bring the tally up to 5km.

The squad swims the last of the darkness out of the night and slowly the sun rises through the palm tree fronds and assorted other foliage of Victoria Park.

The first burst of sun over the horizon is a decoy, a ricochet off a wall of glass on a high rise
somewhere east until, in full glory the winter ball of fire burns away all pretenders and emerges triumphant through the tree line.

Hopefully when the sun rises on the other side of the world Cae and Ben will be powering away mid channel with Calais firmly in their sights

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Mutant Dog Paddle

Definitely the coldest morning of the winter so far.

“Surfmuffin!”- a call from the cold wasteland on the edge of darkness as Marty materializes from the pool deck and jumps into the frigidly lukewarm water of Victoria Park pool, 0605hrs.

Ok, SM knows the weight is still a few kilos above 100, but “muffin”?

Start of the training week and it’s sets of 500 after the warm up and drills are over, with 3 x 200 in between, with pull buoys and sea claws (paddles) thrown in. All up get 4.2k done. Vlad patrols the dark edge of the watery universe as his charges traipse up and down, up and down, in search of the magic formula to perfect technique and Apollonian conditioning.

It was like a swim wear fashion show in the middle fastie lane – fluorescence green with black tiger stripes from Nicola and a purple on white print from the new fast girl who goes into the slow lane when her boyfriend shows up for a swim. Not to mention all the other ones. It’s one thing to get your ass handed to you on every lap as the nymphs from the deep end glide effortlessly past but the fashion parade certainly eases the pain.

The muppet is gazumped again by Jai and in trying to claw back the metres to get onto her toes tries a form of mutant dog paddle in a forlorn hope of speeding up – and it works!! Might even trademark it and do a video for YouTube targeting hopelessly slow and backward swimmers wanting to steal a few metres on their training buddies by hook or by crook.

The mutant dog paddle is a mixture of freestyle and doggie paddle. So, both arms are out in front by default but instead of the stroke ending just in front of the shoulder like your average mongrel, the stroke is carried through in the fashion of your normal free-styling humanoid. The catch up configuration is important, with early vertical forearm (getting technical here) emulating the downward stroke of the canine style.

Will have to do the video as mere words do not do justice to this revolutionary concept in swimming technique.

Talk in the sheds afterwards was on how fast swimming condition is lost even after a week. Then it was all about the fashion parade and James’ return to the pool after a fantastic sojourn and much adventuring in exotic Thailand.

Meanwhile the World Cup progresses and muppet’s new work colleague, Diana from Columbia, is getting more and more excited as her team advances to the quarter finals.







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