Tag Archives: swimming

Wet Wet Wet

Since my inaugural swim in the sea a couple of weeks ago I have gone each weekend morning, braving chilly winds and crashing waves to use my swimming style which is so reminiscent of the Olympians seen over recent days, in that my arms flail like a boxer’s and my legs move in that jerky fashion used in the Walking.

Today is the first day of my two-week holidays (I’m not counting Saturday or yesterday, I’d have been off anyway) and I have decided that I will swim on each of the next fourteen mornings too.

I woke at 7.30 this morning, thought “oh, time to go swimming” and then realised that what had woken me that early was the sound of the rain on the roof. I lay there disappointed for a few seconds and then thought of a plan.

To get to the sea I park in the South Beach Car Park and walk through a short tunnel under the railway line to get to the beach. I could leave my clothes in the car, dash back for them after the swim, and dry and dress myself  in the tunnel.

I drove down, undressed in the car and ran down the beach in driving rain. I plunged into the sea, briefly made its choppiness even choppier, and came back out. The rain had stopped.

There were now hailstones instead.

I trudged back up the beach feeling as if I was being whipped (or at least what I imagine that feels like, I’m not into that sort of thing), took my clothes and dried myself, as I had planned, in the tunnel.

There is a footpath beside the tunnel and what I had forgotten is that this is Monday. Commuter after commuter on their way to the station passed the tunnel and stared at me from under their umbrellas. I am well used to being looked at as if I’m a lunatic, it happens a lot when you have teenage kids, but I have rarely received the look so often from so many people in so short a space of time.

There are thunderstorms forecast for tomorrow. I might just skip a day.

In The Swim Again

Just because something is a good idea once, that doesn’t mean that it will be the next time.

I got up this morning at seven, and no sooner was I in the kitchen than I realised that my headache was back again.

Well, swimming in the sea had helped last Thursday, so why not try it again?

Because (and I now know this by the empirical method) there is a big difference between swimming at eleven on a sunny Thursday morning and swimming at eight on a cloudy Saturday one.

There are upsides. The beach was almost deserted, apart from a couple of people walking their dogs, occasionally throwing sticks into the water for them to fetch (dogs really, really will do anything for love, including that). I was the only person swimming. At that time of the morning I was probably the only person swimming along the entire east coast.

Admittedly the swim itself was just as pleasant as it was the first time. Again I swam for a while, sat just within the water’s edge for a while, then swam again. Again I felt exhilarated as I came out.

But on Thursday last the sun warmed me as I dried myself and dressed. This time a sharp cool breeze made me shiver and played modesty-threatening games with my strategically-worn towel (I was afraid that that the sudden appearance of a bare arse might be a welcome diversion to a dog that has been forced to spend its morning retrieving sticks from cold water).

What was needed was a hot shower when I got home, but since no-one else was awake I couldn’t turn it on, so I sat wearing two t-shirts and a hoodie in front of the TV, watching as the cup of tea that I was clasping slowly turned my two index fingers from white to a normal hue.

I wasn’t shivering, I was actually shuddering, as I proved to myself when I poured my tea down my neck. I realise that there are two ways of looking at that sentence, and it is the external one that I mean.

I had turned on the TV because this, of course, is the first morning of the Olympics. I watched some rowing, some cycling and then they put on the swimming.

I scornfully watched what are supposed to be the world’s greatest exponents of this art go about their well-paid business. Some of them wore a second, rubber, skin. Even those who didn’t wore trunks that looked far better insulated than mine. They all wore little plastic tea-cosies to keep their heads warm.

None of them stubbed their toes on hard sharp stones. None of them got slapped in the face by seaweed. None of them turned their heads to breathe and swallowed an unexpected wave of salt-water. None of them fell into the hidden drop which is about ten feet into the water on Greystones beach.

Oh, and the pool was heated.


Going Swimmingly

I am not at work today.

Since about last Friday I have had a headache that I just cannot shake off. I have been able to stun it into submission with paracetamol, but it struggles up after about two hours and comes back, nagging me from inside with its dull ache.

Yesterday at work I just got fed up with it, didn’t feel that I should take yet more tablets and so I just came home and lay down in  a dark room. I woke at work time this morning, realised that it was still there and so took today off too.

It seems to be coming from tension in my neck and upper shoulders. I have an exercise where I hold my left hand above my right ear and pull my head over to the right, and then vice versa. For the last few days I’ve only been able to move it a couple of inches.

One fairly obvious answer would be to go for a swim in our local leisure centre, but I am not comfortable exposing my torso to other people. It has three visible  though unattached scars, as though I was attacked by Zorro when he was drunk, and the pacemaker is a visible lump which makes me look like a cartoon character who has swallowed a tennis ball.

I was bemoaning these issues to Mrs Tin when she said “why not swim in the sea”. It turns out that she was only joking, but should have learnt by now not to do that. I sat in the garden in the sunshine, thought about it for a while, then came back into the kitchen and announced that I was going for it.

And I did. I walked down our beach (an uncomforable experience, there is a reason why our town is called Greystones and not Goldensands), left my clothes and towel in a little pile (the disadvantages I mentioned above were advantages here, when you have three scars and a tattoo no-one is going to steal your stuff) and strode manfully in.

It was cold, I can’t deny that, and I am sorry that I premiered the made-up word “Numbits” in yesterday’s post since it has a far more relevant place in today’s, but it was great. I swam for a few strokes, let waves fall over me, went and sat on the beach just at the water-line, so that the water would lap over and under my legs, and then did it all again.

At one stage the pockets of my shorts filled with air and I remembered that the Tinfamily, on holidays in Majorca or Malta long ago, used to refer to these as “side-butts”, thus adding nostalgia to an already fun experience.

I’ve been home about an hour now and have already eaten a bowl of strawberries with custard, three Jaffa cakes and a tomato-filled bagel. I am still starving.

And my neck is slightly better, I can roll it from side-to-side now without getting that sound as if a platoon of soldiers is marching on gravel.

It’s 1.20 now and I have an afternoon stretching in front of me that consists of blogging in the sun, reading in the sun and snoozing in the sun. If you’re going to pick a day to be sick, then try and pick a lovely one.

I’ll be back at work tomorrow, hopefully far browner than when I left there yesterday. I hope they understand.