Last week I finished a rather damp sailing holiday with a lovely swim in Hickling Broad. Although I’ve been sailing in Norfolk for 12 years, this is only the second time I’ve swum in the Broads. It’s not normally recommended because so much of the Broads is not just tidal, but also full of treacherous currents dating from its origins as mediaevel peat diggings. I believe that swimtrek are now offering Broads swimming holidays but that would be supervised (their holidays are described as ‘adventures’ which puts me right off actually). In reality, the prohibition is the usual paranoia which targets wild swimmers but not sailers, waterskiers and windsurfers all of whom are subject to the same dangers. There are deaths, but they are mostly on heavily tidal reaches (eg around Yarmouth) and tend to involve alcohol. Having said all of which, I wouldn’t fancy swimming in any of the rivers in the vicinity of Breydon Water. But Hickling is barely tidal and both times I’ve swum there there’s been very little boat traffic to worry about.
I did think I wouldn’t be able to go this year as the weather was terrible and I’d got myself really cold pulling damp jibsheets in the rain. However, I warmed up a bit landing the boat, the sun came out and I realised that I’d have to change into my spare clothes anyway, so I might as well have a swim. I did about five minutes, not as long as I did last year with Outdoor Swimming Friend, but it was absolutely lovely (apart from sliding over the rocks coming in and out, I *so* need jelly shoes). I even managed to impress a family sitting by the beach. And Hickling Staithe hosts the Pleasure Boat Inn where I had a much needed cup of tea (followed by a fab dinner and lots of beer in the wonderful Greyhound Pub).
I had my handbag stolen out of my locker while I was swimming a fortnight ago. I’d dropped my locker key on the floor of the changing room and only realised when I came out and found the locker open, my rucksack and shoes inside and my handbag gone. Fairly traumatic, especially getting everything replaced.
I was lucky in a way. One of my ex-boyfriends was swimming in Hounslow a number of years ago and came back to find the locker forced and everything gone. The leisure centre lent him a tshirt and a towel to put over his trunks and the manager drove him home, where his neighbour was fortunately in with his spare key, and he was able to get dressed, get his spare glasses and car keys and be driven back to the leisure centre to collect his car. At least my lady thief had the grace to leave my clothes. She also dumped the bag on the Northern Line Edgware branch and I have recovered it from the lost property office, so I have my diary, but sadly not my lipsticks which she decided to keep.