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Posts tagged ‘swimming’

With extra webbing

Me: I’m here to sign my son up for swimming classes.

Receptionist: What’s his name?

Me: Finn Tomes.

Receptionist: And . . . which classes has he completed?

Me: Jellyfish and Frogs.

Receptionist: Right. Let me just check whether he’s due to graduate to Penguins.

(She goes off to mutter at someone and returns.)

Receptionist: We’ll put him back in Frogs this term-

Me: EXCUSE ME?

Receptionist: We’ll put him back-

Me: Oh, I HEARD YOU. Look. I don’t mean to be some pushy parent; but my son is QUITE CLEARLY a PENGUIN.

Receptionist: Oh.

Me: Yes.

Me: He’s been swimming all summer*- he’s half-baby half-fish. Like some sort of baby-fish mutant hybrid. With extra webbing.

Receptionist: Um. We can only go on what the instructor says-

Me: Well, on the assessment form from his last class, he scored top marks on everything except monkey-monkey supported and kicking in a supine position – so I don’t know what HER problem is.

Me: I feel you’re holding him back.

Receptionist: I’ll just- maybe- would you like to speak to the manager?

Me: I should think so. *SNIFF!*

(After 15 minutes arguing compellingly and evidently persuasively about Finn’s potential for long-distance swimming or at least flotation):

Manager: We have a free slot in the Tuesday Penguin class-

Me: That’ll do.

Manager: How do you spell Finn? F- I- N- N-

Me: Wait- wait- sorry. Do you- do you really think Finn should re-swim the Frog class?

Manager: Well, he’s still very young-

Me: I’m worried maybe I’m pushing him too far too fast.

Manager: (speechless)

Me: I’m conflicted about the type of parenting methodology I should adopt.

Me: Perhaps he’d better go back in the Frogs.

 
* I threw him into a wave once or twice

Finn gets to grips with water

Finn gets to grips with water

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A watery wave

For a while I stopped going to the beach in the mornings: the memory of Raff in a pair of speedos lingered. It was too fresh (the memory as opposed to Raff, who is distinctly more fruity).

 

Just before Christmas, Viv contacted me and asked if I still swam. At the time I had a lot on my mind and, although my gills had closed up from disuse, I thought consorting with sharks and stingrays might provide welcome distraction. Also, although the gym offers much in the way of Melody TV and a Spandex Spectacular, I have recently found the whole experience a little bit lamé.

 

I totally underestimated quite how cold The Gulf gets this time of year. Obviously the effects of plunging into The Gulf in winter are not as extreme as a paddle in The Atlantic at any time at all, but 20 minutes/1000 metres into the swim and my skull was numb (not that I noticed much difference, apart from a headache). I am ashamed to admit that, after being washed up on the beach by a large wave, I took a more solid route back to the car.

 

The following week I came fully equipped with thermal vest, sweatshirt, fleecy jacket, beanie, scarf, mittens, and a flask of hot tea. Have I forgotten anything? Oh yes, woolly socks and a car heater. I got some funny looks driving home. (The rigid purple lips probably don’t help.)

 

The other day Helen told me I’d have to ‘bulk up’ for The Palm swim. She’s done some long-distance swimming and reckons I’ll have to adopt some flobber to cope with the water temperature over a 20 kilometre route.

 

“There’s no way,” growled Husband when I told him about ‘Operation Flobber On’.

 

At the start of January Danny, still flush with New Year resolve, joined The Girls for the bi-weekly morning swim. Over the years Danny has been known to sport a wide range of alternative fabrics, yet I felt it was a particularly audacious move when he turned up to meet The Girls in a rubber suit.

 

“I’m going to tell everyone about your rubber suit,” I thought it only fair to warn him.

 

“It’s not rubber,” protested Danny. “It’s neoprene. People might get the wrong impression if you call it a rubber suit.”

 

“How do you spell neoprene?”

 

“Er- ok, go with rubber. Hang on – why not just: sleeveless wetsuit?”

 

“Sleeveless rubber wetsuit.”

 

“Just WETSUIT! What’s WRONG with you? Do you have some kinky fixation with rubber?”

 

Danny has since ditched the suit, but still swims with The Girls. Brave lad; the oestrogen can reach toxic levels. I’m so proud of Dan – to date, he has partaken in discussions ranging from how alcohol encourages Viv to air her mammaries; how many would volunteer their wombs to carry Wentworth Miller’s baby (all present excepting Dan but only because he is not thus equipped); the correct way to don a brassiere (Helen, demonstrating leaning forward and placing ones bosoms in the cups); and Helen’s colleague who accidentally – not to mention forcibly – sat on a stick necessitating 56 stitches up the hoohoo

 

Perverts can’t swim

This morning I struggled down to the beach at 08:00hrs. Carole bravely accompanied me, although she was a bit concerned about perverts. There has been a lot of publicity recently about men loitering on the beach for a leer. I haven’t been, er, exposed much to that sort of stuff apart from one morning when Róisín was over. We’d chosen a spot next to the outdoor shower. There was a bloke having a wash and upon seeing us, he plunged his hands down the front of his shorts and administered a really very thorough cleansing.

 

“Róisín!” I whispered. “That man! He has his hands down his shorts!”

 

“Don’t worry,” she says. “I’m a nurse.”

 

I felt she wasn’t so much missing the point as totally losing her grip on the space-time continuum.

 

“Róisííííín!” I hissed urgently. “He’s got his mickey out! He’s floppin’ it around!”

 

“Ah sure, all power to him.”

 

If I’d been on my own, I would have had no qualms about saying: “Put that thing away immediately,” but Róisín seemed unperturbed so I left her to it. Once I’m in the water I’m not that fussed; controlled studies have shown that perverts can’t swim very well.

 

Since there were no perverts in evidence this morning, I left Carole power-walking up the beach. I think I might still have been drunk, because I was in blistering form. I was pounding towards the shore 2000m later when I swam into a stingray. There are plenty of them about, usually buried in the sand where all you can see of them is their outline and a pair of beady black eyes.

 

This time I was in about five feet of water and he gave me quite a shock when he rippled beneath me. I don’t think I’ve ever been that close to a ray before and I’m not keen on repeating the experience.

 

That said, according to Wikipedia: ‘stingrays don’t usually attack aggressively’ (which prompted me to wonder whether there is any other way to attack? Can you attack kindly? Peacefully? I suppose friendly fire is a sort of sociable assault, is it?)

 

Viv is organizing a swim around the Jumeirah Palm Island in February and I suspect I might have accidentally signed up for it. It’s a distance of 20 kilometres and I’m a bit dubious – I mean, that’s nearly as far as the English Channel – well, only 14 km less. But Channel swimmers train from the age of three. Also, Nakheel is still dredging; in this part of the world there’s a distinct possibility of being sucked up and having your skull become a feature in Posh and Beck’s garden

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