I like to think of myself as a fairly adventurous sort of person. Not adventurous as in white-water rafting, shark-fishing and so on, but someone who's always willing to do something different. This is how I originally came to be hiking on my own - I wanted exercise and fresh air, and didn't know anyone else who wanted to go hiking, so I bought a map and the rest is history.
At the weekend, though, I realised just how much a creature of habit I really am, when it became clear that whatever I've done to my right foot isn't going to go away in a hurry (I originally did something to it on my 16-mile hike, and then hiking nine miles with Stonecot on Good Friday annoyed it further). I'd planned another couple of hikes over the Easter weekend and I realised yesterday I wasn't going to get them. I tried the stationary bike at the gym on Saturday instead, but it was ow ow ow.
So, here I was today, wanting exercise but not wanting to upset this foot further. Ruminated on the issue all of yesterday evening and finally concluded I was going to have to go for a swim today.
This may not be a big deal to most of you, but apart from the odd dip in the Med, I haven't swum in about 14 years. I like swimming ok, but I don't like swimming pools.
Get swimsuit out, check the size and it's only one size too big so should be ok (turns out to be a bit baggy round the nether regions, but so am I, so I can blame any wrinkles on the swimsuit). Pick up bag of gym doings and add swimsuit to it, set off.
Get to the pool, change, avoid looking at self wearing swimsuit in mirror as if I do I will NEVER leave the changing room, emerge at poolside with plugs in my ears and no specs so let's say I have limited awareness of what's going on around me. Enter water, cautiously. Swoosh off.
I am not what you'd call flashy in the water. I swim breaststroke without ever getting my face wet. Still, I start to trundle up and down the length of the pool. It's in lanes and I'm in the slow lane (you'd guessed?). After a while I see another person come to the edge of the pool and get in. There's only me in the lane but I lose sight of him. That is until he swims underneath me.
I mean, what a jerk. This isn't a usual thing to do is it? He's not a slow swimmer, he's simply picked this lane because it's the emptiest and for the next 15 minutes he passes me regularly, clipping my feet a couple of times and causing me to make a rapid detour once because he's swimming backstroke right down the middle of the lane and can't see me. There's not much I can do about it because I can't hear or see very far. I'm sure he'd rather have the lane to himself, but I'm determined to stick to it.
Anyway, I tell myself I'll do 10 lengths, then 16, then 20 and at 20 I do stop. Not bad given it's so long since I hit the chlorine. Really enjoyed it too.
I'll be back.
On the way home I buy watercress and an orange pepper and make myself a sumptuous salade Nicoise for lunch. The first photo attached to this blog is of my toes, taken on a Mediterranean beach a couple of years ago. A great place for swimming, not a million miles from Nice where they invented salade Nicoise. The photo below is my salade Nicoise. Am quite proud of myself for eating a salad on a day when the temperature outside is 46F (8C).
The link between the photos and the blog is somewhat tenuous but it was that or the outside of a municipal swimming pool.