The lido club

11/07/2012 at 3:19 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’ve been going a lot to Parliament Hill Lido for ‘mainstream’ swims this summer. I think my original motivation was shock that I’d, once again, paid for an annual pass when there was absolutely no way that I was going to use it enough to make it worthwhile (at £180 per year – why do I do it? it’s only £2 to go to the pond and £2.50 for an early morning or late-evening lido swim and it’s not often I’ll get to either during the day, even while they’re still open). However, it’s very close to home and I’ve found that at 18 degrees I can do 25 minutes fairly comfortably and 20 or higher is fine. This was not true two years ago so it’s really true that you get used to colder water and even start to crave it. I still wear neoprene socks and mittens in these types of temperatures which makes me stand out a bit: most lido-goers just wear their costumes at this time of year and competition swimmers are in wetsuits. Quite frankly, if there were neoprene bum and nose protectors, I’d buy them as it’s those bits that really start to hurt after 20 minutes. I’m a lightweight really.

I recently started back in full-time work and had my first pre-work swim, a painful experience for this non-morning person. There seemed to be a lot of regulars (one woman said to another ‘you weren’t here yesterday – don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone’) and I incurred the wrath of one. The lido only has one adjustable shower: the others are ‘too cold’ and ‘too hot’. I was amazed to find I was the only person in the shower when I got out the pool and excitedly nabbed it. However, I subsequently discovered the privilege was too much to bear. Being water-conservation minded, I turn the shower off when I’m not actually rinsing shampoo or conditioner off and one lady, braving it out in ‘too cold’ pointed at me and said ‘is that shower on?’. Not getting her point, I said ‘no’, then realised the unspoken ‘then why are you hogging it’ and had to add ‘but I promise I’ll use it again in a second’. Thereafter, ensued the fastest rinse-off I could manage and a swift departure so that my companion to get to use ‘her’ shower…. But, after all, you won’t see me at the lido when the temperature drops below 10 degrees. No, thanks very much, I’ll be at the pond.

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