Ambitious slow lane swimmer blog is a writing exercise aspires to bubble away the underwater memories and gesture surrounded by this very watery melancholic hue.

The pond beyond

The pond beyond

My old boss once said to me that it upset me when things were lack of systems or routines - which is partially true. I found myself difficult with changes, whilst I find it refreshing when doing something routine but with a slight change of scene.

Our local London Fields Lido has been closed since April due to maintenance. Therefore, me and my best friend Yen went to Hampstead Heath Bathing Ponds instead. I am glad that we are discovering new places (hence the blog). Especially, me and her share very similar background so we became friends very quickly since we were teenagers. I feel that friendships don't just dwell on the past (Despite they certainly are fond and reminiscing). But it allows us to build new memories upon the old ones.

It rained yesterday so the air was cool and fresh in the morning, occasionally there are sun shines through the cloud, the joy the moisturised nature. There are three bath ponds (Ladies', Men's and Mixed) We thought it would be more fun to be in mixed pond, and also the world doesn't just consist with singular gender. The mixed bathing pond situated at the lower part of the Hampstead (not far from Parliament Hill Lido), it was a short walk from the overground station.

Going to a new swimming pool often makes me nervous, because you are almost being naked in a new place after getting changed from the cubicle. Often, I am lost and awkwardly walking around. This time, I was slightly back off by the sign reads 'Competent Swimmers Only' in front of the entrance. In addition to today's water temperature was merely 20°C!

 
 
I love that idea — “to substitute nuance for novelty”. So rather than constantly moving on to a new thrill, you try to find another level, another dimension, of the thing you’re already doing, to make it more thrilling. Whether it’s a research project or an arpeggio, a breaststroke or a soufflé — wherever your interests lie.”

I once swam in an open water in a country side of Finland with water temperature of 18°C so I expected it would be something similar. But it was a long time ago, so it was rather terrifying before getting in to the water. A young man was next to me lingering on the deck, I had to psych myself up - said 'F**k it, let's do it'. So I turned around, slowly dipped myself in the water along the handrail. And once you were in, you couldn't retreat. The change of temperature woke my whole body up, I think it was fair to say 'My goosebumps are getting goosebumps'. It was ABSOLUTELY FREEZING (Capitalisation doesn't often feature in this blog, when it does, it is serious.), However, once your arms started crawling, it wasn't too bad. I think I liked that cold water forces you to keep moving, it makes you blood pumping and distract your focus on the water temperature.

 
 

Yen brought a book to read, I did my own thing. The pond was pretty clear, there were a couple of ducks swimming along with me. It was very sweet. There was a bird standing on the floating buoy at the end of the designated swim area. So every time I swim I treated it as a mini reunion of this bird, my new little friend. 

I swam for about half an hour, then had a rest next to Yen on the bench between the small breaks. We talked about our lives of late, we joked and we laughed, just like the old days. There were only a handful of people in the morning, some old ladies, a group of friends and two life guards who occasionally kept an eye on us. Everything was still and quiet. It was a bliss and I came to realise that how much I love swimming outdoor and lidos. It is like doing outdoor sports in a contained area plus you get the fresh air. Most importantly, such a wonderful Sunday being with a friend who knows you inside out and put up with you over ten years. Ten years is a decade. It's a significant amount of time.

I wish to end a podcast once mentioned on How to Get More Grit in Your Life:

I love that idea — “to substitute nuance for novelty”. So rather than constantly moving on to a new thrill, you try to find another level, another dimension, of the thing you’re already doing, to make it more thrilling. Whether it’s a research project or an arpeggio, a breaststroke or a soufflé — wherever your interests lie.

Not only swimming, but also goes with friendships.

 
 

Hampstead Heath Mixed Bathing Pond
Heath Lodge, 4 St. Albans Rd, Hampstead, London NW5 1QR

Opening Times: Varied, see here for time table.
Entry: £2

Photo credit: Yen Chau

York Hall

York Hall

Bleu

Bleu