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Cold blooded

Ever since Helen’s visit, I have aspired to take up alfresco swimming again. Last July, our mutual friend Chantal’s English Channel crossing further inspired me.

This inspiration generally takes the form of occasionally looking wistfully out the window and imagining myself cresting the ocean like a colossus (a little one).

“You get used to the temperature,” Chantal advised. “You build up resistance.”

Now, I would never call one of my best friends a cold-blooded liar*. However, when Chantal said this, she broke out in a light sweat and stuttered slightly, while simultaneously looking up and slightly to the left instead of making healthy eye contact. She also scratched her nose repeatedly and got unnaturally defensive when I said, “Really?” (Admittedly I was pointing in a manner that could have been construed as aggressive at the time.)

So anyway, I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

As the weather has grown increasingly clement, I have been inspired to revivify** my threats to get snappy with a swimming cap.

The sea has looked gorgeous recently, decked out in a dazzling array of shades from kingfisher blue to aquamarine to a shade of green closely reminiscent of nuclear snot – which might not sound that inviting but looks AMAZING. Then, a few days ago, the sun emerged to evaporate any lingering excuses against relaunching my bid to master the sea in a bikini.

My first effort fell short of resounding success – and it’s not as if I was over-extending.

“Just a dip,” I briefed my towel-handler, “to acclimatize myself.”

Although I strode buoyantly into the sea, my confidence faltered when the water reached the crotchline. I spent a good five minutes standing around screaming, while Husband shouted encouragement from the shore (“It can’t be THAT cold!” “What do you need to feel your feet for?” “JED, FETCH NIAMHIE! FETCH IT HERE! GOOD BOY!”).

At least the experience can’t be described as a complete wash-out – if only because that would imply some level of immersion.

The following day, I was determined to make progress. The plan was as follows: get straight in, short and sharp, no splashing about, execute minimum five strokes.

“Face in water?” asked Husband, anxious to establish the project parameters.

“Yep,” I said grimly.

This time there was still screaming, but less of it and more muted; and I swam twenty four strokes (face in water).

The biggest problem – ignoring actually getting into the water in the first place – is a pretty much spontaneous headache when I submerge my face.

Evidently, I don’t have a fat enough head.

I’m not sure how to address that.

However, this morning, I managed sixty strokes AND kicked a crab in the pleopod. At this rate, I’ll be swimming across to Wellington for a light lunch within two months.

* Although the cold-blooded bit potentially explains how Chantal spent six months leading up to her Channel bid training in the North Sea and greater London lidos without succumbing to hypothermia. OR, she may be part-penguin.

** Can you believe ‘revivify’ is a valid word? I KNOW! I can hardly handle such extremes of excitement in one day; it might have to be spread out over the week.


Comments on: "Cold blooded" (7)

  1. JohnP said:

    What, no photos?

  2. deadlyjelly said:

    Hate to disappoint, but I’m LONG past the age where there’s going to be a photographic record of me in a bikini – even if most of me would be obscured by goosebumps 😀


  3. Sadly, without photographic evidence, I’m left with the image of a fat-headed colossus cresting the ocean waves SEARED into my brain. The sort of thing I imagine terrified ancient mariners and caused them to draw those scary doodles on their nautical charts.

    Sort of like this:

  4. For the record, was it Hubby or Jed you trusted with the towel?

    And congratulations on finding the word ‘pleopod’. I have no idea where you picked it up from, but it sounds disgusting.

  5. deadlyjelly said:

    FG – hahaha! Apologies for the subliminal image – it sounds pretty terrifying, which is perhaps not so far from the reality. A fat-headed colossus? I kind of like it; I can TOTALLY see it as the title of a book.

    Vet – I left Husband in charge of drying material, although in many ways Jed is more reliable (especially in the area of following commands), he tends to rip holes in towels.

    So pleased you like the word ‘pleopod’. It sounds so much more impressive than ‘claw’, don’t you think?


  6. Cian said:

    Wow I am proud of you. On our first evening of the Milford Track (You really need to do that) I really did try to swim in a swimming hole. Well let’s just say I got in as far as my knees. It was FECKING freezing, fecking fecking freezing. I know I am such a wus.

    Chantal may be half a penguin. I think I might be in love…

  7. deadlyjelly said:

    Why thank you! Swam 230m this morning. I do tend to gorge on praise; never progressed beyond 5 years of age in this respect.

    I’m impressed you even got your knees damp in one of South Island’s ‘swimming holes’, considering that water probably came straight off a glacier.

    I don’t find it hard to believe you’re in love with Chantal; most people are, although they usually meet her first.


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