Sunday, 19 April 2009

At Swim, Two Worlds.

Many years ago I had a recurring dream.
I would be in a huge swimming pool, floating on my back.
Or doing the butterfly, or breast stroke.
Sometimes I would be swimming underwater, almost touching the floor of the pool.
And I would wake up with a feeling of exhileration. Ready for the day.
Fuck it, I was ready for the world.
But it was just a dream. I had a dread fear of the water.
I could get in and paddle about a bit at the seaside, but that was it.
One of the things that I would never do. Swim.

But then kids, the little feckers!
"Why can't you swim Dad?" they would say, when they came up for air.
From the lovely pool at our hotel on our holiday in France.

Truth is, I had fallen off the riverbank as a kid into the Shannon.
Tide was low at the time, and I got out after a few seconds, but to me it had seemed like I was in a strange, quiet, out of this world cocoon for what seemed like an eternity, and it scared me shitless.
That was me and water done with.

But them feckin' kids!
They persuaded me to take lessons. Scary.
I cannot describe the feeling of joy I had as I moved thru' the water unaided for the first time.
I still get that same thrill every time I go swimming.
I swam in the ocean for the first time last summer in Lanzarote.
Herself and the kids all said they have never seen me with a bigger smile!

I was resigned to the fact that I would never swim.
But I did conquer my fear of water. I did swim. I love swimming.
My recurring dream came true.
At the age of 43.

Those swimming lessons taught me a lot.
And not just how to swim.


  1. it's a thrill, sugar, and one that i know, too! and me a california girl by birth! ;) xoxoxo

    (i swim now thanks to the coconut krewe and having a house for a few years that had a pool.)

  2. Map,

    I never learned to swim until a near drowing provided the impetus to take swim lessons. I enjoy a swim but I have never quite managed to say, "I feel comfortable in water."

    I'm glad you now enjoy that activity.


  3. Oh, good for you, Map! And U as well. Swimming, in my opinion, is a skill that should be taught to every child in school... every year. It is a life skill in many ways, as so many accidents at pools and beaches could be easily avoided if everyone knew how to swim.

    I myself have been swimming like a fish since childhood. I love swimming, whether it is in a pool, laps for exercise, or at the beach just for fun. I even swam competitively in my early teens.

    If I could only breathe under water... nothing beats sitting at the bottom of an outdoor pool on a hot, sunny day, watching the shimmering blazes of sunlight filtering through the water. Absolutely gorgeous... and so peaceful...

  4. Map, I shared the same fear... my love of the ocean was ruined by the thought of actually going in it.

    The deepness of depth, it's something I cannae come to terms with.

    My toes see the fringes of the Med, but my arse stays on dry land unless I'm in a boat.

  5. Well done! (I really mean that, I'm not being patronising). Getting over a fear is so damned hard.

  6. Sav; hey california girl! I was born and raised on 'the island'. Completely surrounded by water and probably the only kid there who couldn't swim!

    U; the water actually MAKES me feel comfortable now, especially when I'm swimming underwater.

    Pon; how are you? Good I hope.
    All my girls learned to swim at school. I think it's a great idea. The religious school I went to as a kid weren't so forward thinking!

    Jimmy; I can't imagine the mighty Jimmy being afraid af a wee little ocean!
    ('pictures Jimmy running out of the sea screamin' like a young wan').

    Anna; thanks. All credit must go to a retired London bobby, he was the swim instructor who gave me the confidence. First by making me trust him, and then by making me believe I could do it.

  7. 2/3 of the planet are covered by water. you can now theoretically get anywhere you want to get! congrats!

    i was a fat kid, but could swim like a fish. it was the only time i felt athletic/graceful. still is...

  8. Hey Daisyfae, come on in, the wateris fine.

  9. Having lived by the sea all of my life it has always been natural to swim----but with a healthy respect for the fury that sea may have---and some big beasties in it.
    But Jimmy, I dinnae wanna swim in the Clyde--there may be a few floaties no man should brush with

  10. Clyde; I tend to stay away from all rivers.

  11. I can't swim and I'm petrified of water. I should follow your example and learn, but being short-sighted and needing to wear glasses doesn't help. Maybe I'll try when I'm 43 too (which gives me about 7 months then!)

  12. Madame DF; there's no time like the present.
    Glasses? No excuse, prescription goggles.
    Have fun!