On the hottest day of the year I invited all my friends from my facebook page to come for a swim with me and I was really pleased at the responses.
I started at 10am and it was busier than normal as from 9am-11am is normally the domain of the regulars. It seemed I was not the only person who had the idea of spending the day in the cool. After around 30mins of being in the blue, I was getting messages that my friends were waiting outside and one of my dearest loves, waited an hour to get in! As Record Breakers used to say that’s dedication! for you.
Some of the people who joined me, had either not swam in the Lido for at least 20yrs or had never swam there and I was so pleased that they all had a lovely reaction to being there. The Lido is such a mix that at one point there was two poets, an actor, theatre director, dancer and two artists all doing laps and the other poet Viv Foster who joined me for a swim was inspired to write the below poem and I just had to share it with you all.
Waterways move, the water travels
From a place, past you, to another place.
Rivers, streams, dykes and drains, leats, run-offs and overflows
All going somewhere.
This water, though, this rectangle of no tide
No current, no destination, moves through time.
Like the little ripples that flop to and fro
That crumple against the tiled edge and reverse themselves
This water, reflecting sunlight from eight minutes ago
Moves forward and back, past and future,
Time that was and time unborn.
That old green roof is still the same,
The heavy over-painted turnstile still impedes
Each eager, towel-draped body.
So now you can look into the chlorine-scented
Ripple-dappled depths beneath the shadow
Of the three tiered diving boards to see
Me swimming purposefully – eight, ten
Sixteen lengths, trailed by a ten-year-old brother
While the seven o’clock sun shines on two bicycles
Leaning against the wall.
The ripples flip and curve and re-combine and now
You see me slowly performing school-taught breast stroke
Resting at each end. Two, four, maybe a few more
Before going home in a car whose parking
Costs nearly the pool entrance price.
We called it The Pool, not the Lido, it was
The only swimming place that was not a river.
The sun is blinding now, flashing off warm water,
Confusing sight. See me, safe on a rug
By the paddling pool while a twenty-first century child
Toes the blue steps, shrieks a toddler’s joy at the wet,
Demands an audience for his first
Walk in water
And high above, the golden weather vane of Walter Cornelius
Continues to fly above the shining children.
By Viv Foster
July 20th 2016
Oh and I was also joined by a Unicorn, which will be part of an event called Wet Sounds which is happening at the Lido on the 28th of August. The info about the event is here. Check it out and maybe see what that unicorn is all about.