Helen’s definition of ‘a dip’ involves a couple of laps of whatever body of water happens to be close by. While she was here, she regularly struck off across Ocean Bay in nothing more than a swimming cap and goggles. Oh, hang on, that’s not the end of the list – also, togs and a rash vest.
We usually managed to stop her before she hit the Pacific.
Inspired by my friend’s doughty example (you know, I’m pretty certain this is the first time I’ve ever used the word ‘doughty’ in print. I like it, I like it a LOT. It just popped out of my subconscious with a bunch of balloons and a hint of glitter, all, “Hey! Pick me! How about me?” when I wasn’t even aware I KNEW the word. I certainly didn’t know how to spell it, and then had to check the definition. I’m always impressed when my brain does kung-fu. Shame it generally prefers watching telly), yesterday I relaunched my long-distance swimming career.
Pools are for pussies!
Real swimmers wear Vaseline!
Conditions were optimal. The sun sparkled on the sea. A light breeze ruffled the surface. The water lapped playfully against the shore.
I still brought my wetsuit vest. Husband mocked me as I snapped my swimming cap on over a woolly beanie – as if his standing there fully clothed, dry and toasty warm wasn’t enough.
“Where are you going?” he asked.
“Well, I don’t want to push it on my first outing,” I said sensibly. “I was thinking that point over there.”
“That one? You’ll never make it,” he scoffed.
Thereby ensuring I either made it or drowned in the attempt. I’m still occasionally depressed by how little Husband knows me after 12 years together. Or maybe he knows me too well, in which case ATTEMPTED MURDER is marginally more depressing than my original assumption.
Anyway, I was wounded. The point was only 200m away. In fact my Secret Plan was to continue across the port, point my toes and do some synchronised swimming, then spear a few barracuda for dinner en route back to shore.
Few obstacles in the shipping route. The main problem I encountered was putting my face in the water; the cold seemed to suck all the air out of my lungs. I was gulping for oxygen, but couldn’t seem to get a breathful.
Eventually I acclimatised such that I could gasp in a mouthful of air every stroke. Halfway to the point I couldn’t feel my hands or feet. My head throbbed with a chill-ache. My face was numb. MY FACE WAS NUMB! I COULDN’T FEEL MY FACE!
On a positive note, I was more in danger of being cryogenically petrified than drowning.
I’ve heard drowning is a horrible way to go.
After I reached the point, I attempted to float back to shore in a manner similar to a giant iceberg. Apart from being right in character, that was unsuccessful, so I mixed up the freestyle with some breast-stroke.
By the time I reached the beach, the only part of my body not numb was my brain, still issuing commands to throw one arm over the other. In fact, the woolly beanie was generally highly effective.
“By wace iz wumb!” I wailed at Husband through purple lips. “Wa can’ eel by wace!”
I’m not sure my blood has recommenced circulation; it certainly still feels sluggish.
“Not surprised,” barked my father-in-law when I related my experience. “That water comes straight off the Antarctic.”
Yeah, HELEN! YOU MAD KIPPER!