Friday, 18 December 2015

New posts will be on a Wordpress blog

This blog will no longer be updated, mainly owing to the fear that someone with a warped frame of mind will complain and that complaint resulting in a "Content Warning" banner being placed on blog entry. There are no images on nudity on this blog for that reason.

Some US based websites, notably Facebook and blogspot, have a very strange idea of what is dangerous or unacceptable, showing as they do, very violent content, even be-headings but having trouble with peaceful, normal images such as breastfeeding.

All the old entries will remain in place here, but new posts will be here on a Wordpress blog.

Monday, 7 December 2015

A lesson in attitudes to public nudity

I am probably as guilty as anyone in assuming that public nudity could cause a bad reaction even though I know that many surveys have shown the actual number of people who are likely to show that bad reaction is small. However, along with a lot of naturists, I remain wary but perhaps after this incident, far too wary.
The Fitzgerald River National Park in Western Australia has some of the finest beaches anywhere in the world. As well as being magnificent in location, size,  cleanliness and looks, these beaches offer peace and very very few people; that is because the park is a long way from anywhere. A well known and published 15 kilometre walking trail in the park, the Mamang trail, runs for the first 2 or 3 kilometres from Point Anne in the park along the beautiful wide white sand of St. Mary's beach. We  planned to walk the first part of this trail, just to see the beach and enjoy something almost impossible in the UK, being almost alone under a big sky. When at least 2 kilometres from the nearest known other person, I took the opportunity to have a nude dip in the Indian Ocean surf. I had no towel nor enough sun cream, so it had to be a quick go and dress before the powerful Australian sun could do any damage. There was always the risk that despite careful observation along several kilometres  in both directions that someone, especially a Park Ranger, would pop up and "catch" me. Ok this is only a low risk because the area behind the beach is not easily accessible (being virgin bush) and very difficult to cross but I always try to be careful. The dip was every bit as good as I had hoped as was relaxing in the warm breeze to dry off.
It crossed my mind that on returning to the car park at Point Anne that someone may have reported me so I was pleased to speak a Park Ranger who was very friendly and showed no sign of my fears having been realised;  I took the opportunity to tell him how superbly he and his colleagues run the park. He was dressed in a tee shirt and shorts, but whilst speaking to me and having just come on duty, he decided it was time to don his official ranger's gear. To my surprise and great pleasure, he stripped off right there and then beside his vehicle, for a short time being fully nude in sight of me and a few couples nearby, all whilst still telling me about the park and his work. It all seemed so natural, an everyday occurrence, not in the least bit unusual. There was no reaction at all from the couples in the car park.  The ranger, with his local knowledge seemed to show the place was nude friendly, otherwise he would have behaved differently.
The normal official view of naturism in Australia seems quite prudish, it being part way between that found in officials in the UK and the USA. Swanbourne beach in Perth only survives the prudish local authorities because it is on a beach owned by the Australian Defence Force and as long as beach goers do not affect their work they do not take any notice of the large number of nude people on the beach. Nearby beaches under the control of local Shire Councils often have "no nude bathing" signs but there is clear demand from local people for nude beaches; Swanbourne is very popular. If only all officials could be like this Park Ranger and learn that their actions are out of step with so many people.
The day after the incident with the Ranger we were back again at the glorious Point Anne. When the only two remaining cars had left, the whole place was ours, so another nude dip was possible, but this time right there by all the newly installed superb facilities at the Point. Had the ranger returned,  I like to think he may have joined us.
In the Australian outback there are many opportunities for nude bathing, driving,  watching wildlife etc. , mostly without anyone else around. In addition, the National Parks are very well run, have good facilities and excellent wide access roads, some of which are gravel. They also offer some spectacular 4WD tracks if you are brave enough and go well prepared.

Esperance official clothes optional beach

Several sites on the net about nude beaches in Western Australia mention 10 mile Lagoon Beach in Esperance being used for nude recreation but some of these sites say it's status is unofficial. A notice placed by the local Shire Council describes the beach as clothes optional and outlines the area; I take that as being an official beach. It says the clothes optional area starts 200 metres from the foot of the access stairs and at that point there is another permanent notice saying "Free Beach". The nude area extends a further kilometre towards the next beach access point that is nearly 2 kilometres away at 11 mile Lagoon Beach.
The situation is magnificent, the beach lies in a gently curving bay with steep sand dunes behind, access from the car park is via excellent purpose made wooden stairs direct to the beach, all that is required is the 200 metre walk to the nude area and beyond. The dunes are not the kind that would encourage mere cats, they are more like sand cliffs . A lagoon is formed by a line of shallow rocks a little way off the sand, these break the force of the waves; as the area is famed for its King Waves that are a danger to those who fish off the rocks all along the South coast, this is very welcome. The sand is white, fine, clean and there is plenty of space. It reminded me of the nude beach near Royan in France.  Whilst this kind of beach with its surf may not be the best for those who like to swim a fair way,  it is fine to play in the waves and relax.
Oddly, cars are allowed on some beaches in Western Australia and this beach is no exception, however, the access is only via 4WD tracks but ones that require some skill and a bit of nerve. Getting on the beach would be an interesting ride,  getting off again up the steep soft sand gives plenty of scope for getting bogged. This means there are only a few who would attempt it. Where cars are found on other WA beaches, it does not seem to be a problem.  Whilst there, we had the luxury of driving the iconic 4WD Toyota Land Cruiser,  but we felt rather intimidated by the steep access track. The walk is so short it hardly mattered.
One possible negative is the number of bush flies at the car park. Being lucky enough to have seen a lot of Australian country and outback areas, I was surprised that on one day the files were the worst I have come across anywhere . OK it was 36 degrees that day but it made a head worn fly net essential. Our next visit was when it was 20 degrees, most of the flies had gone. Bush flies are an irritation and not a danger, they are only half the size of UK house flies but are 10 times faster and 100 times more persistent! However, there were none on the beach on either day, the net was only needed for a few minutes.
The beach is about 20 minutes' drive out of town along a much publicised tourist coastal drive, there are no coffee shops, toilets nor any other facility, but for me that is one of the attractions. Australia offers lots of space and here you have plenty of that.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

London World Naked Bike Ride 2015

Did you see a thousand or more nude people riding through London in June? What was that all about?
The World Naked Bike Ride or WNBR is "... a celebration of the bicycle and also a celebration of the power and individuality of the human body. A symbol of the vulnerability of the cyclist in traffic.". Worldwide, rides are organised by ad-hoc groups of people, originally as a protest about oil-dependency and car culture, but they have changed and expanded a great deal. The first London WNBR rides had a police escort but since 2010 we have been left alone to fend for ourselves in the London traffic. The ride in London this year on 13th June was watched by at least 60,000 people, the majority of whom waved, cheered, shouted encouragement, took photos or simply smiled. No-one reported any bad reaction, no shock-horror, no "what about the children".  The bystanders were of all ages including many children helped by their parents to get a better view. As London is full of tourists, there were many from widely diverse cultures.  The reception and especially the goodwill were absolutely outstanding. But that works the other way as well, since attitudes to nudity have changed so much, it did not even make the news. As they are dubbed "bare as you dare", the WNBR attracts those accustomed to such a state, naturists. We go along for the sheer fun of it all, but why is it fun? It begs the question, why go naked? I have found that to be the wrong question, the really hard question is why are we all so wedded to covering at all times, even when it makes no sense at all such as in the swimming pool. Ignoring that hard question, if you asked naturists why they do it, our answers are likely to include the words freedom, comfort, feeling good, feeling better about yourself, better health, better body acceptance, relaxation and a general sense of well-being. As far as the WNBR is concerned, it is enormous fun, combining a sense of occasion, a wonderful sense of freedom and the friendliness of the crowds and the more serious aspects of campaigning for a better world. It can also be quite moving as when riding past the Cenotaph. Here I remember those who fought and died to give us the freedom to live and express our individuality, protected by a freely elected Parliament.

Attitudes have changed but it is not always easy to speak or write about such things, mainly owing to the fear of being ostracised or ridiculed. E. E. Cummings, the US born poet said "To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting." At least for naturists, this battle is easing.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Offending others

In a recent TV programme there was a comment that people should moderate their language "because there are Methodists about". On the face of it, that seems very reasonable, no use offending people for no good reason, but it begs the question of what offends and whether people should expect not to be offended.

As a naturist, I feel very offended that people see nudity in a negative way, I feel very offended that I must not only dress at all times but that others are not even allowed to know that I have been forced to dress. So how about "moderate your dress sense because there are naturists about". Daft? No. Why should the desire not to offend Methodists be any more important than not offending naturists?

We need to point out that we are offended by being forced to comply with the opinion of others for no better reason than "that is how the world is". George Bernard Shaw wrote "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man".

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

London World Naked Bike Ride

London World Naked Bike Ride, Saturday 13th June. Like least year, the ride starts at various points and converges on central London.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

No more secrecy

This year as usual we have written a family Christmas letter. In a break from normal practice, I included a sentence or two on the World Naked Bike Ride and on being a naturist. Why was it left out in previous years and why is it included this year?

It has been my practice over the years to be very sensitive to other people's assumed sensitivities and to avoid surprising or even shocking some recipients, so I kept my naturist lifestyle secret. It has become obvious that this is a very silly thing to do, society has moved on, attitudes are more informed and I have found I was wrong about other people's sensitivities; I had made the wrong assumptions. Most people who discover my lifestyle are either interested or encouraging, no-one has seemed shocked or surprised. To my delight I have found some of those I most feared would show a negative reaction have in fact been most supportive.

It has become the norm to respect other people's beliefs, religion, race, politics etc. so in the same spirit, I now assume that same respect will be shown to me for my beliefs and not think I am one of a powerless minority. Whilst I am not a member of that group of naturists actively campaigning for a wider acceptance of social nudity, I admire their efforts and achievements and as a result, have chosen to treat the whole issue with an attitude as open as would be assumed for any other harmless lifestyle.

Despite that, sometimes it is still difficult being a naturist in society because we may still be misunderstood. It would be easier simply to conform, dress at all times, shut up and merge into the background. But wishing to be true to myself, to live a life I feel is honest and harmless to others even if different from everyday life, I have decided that openness will help bring about change.