Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Lido love

I miss swimming. I miss ocean swimming, I miss outdoor, non-chlorinated swimming. I miss having no excuse not to go swimming...

All of which is a whiny roundabout way of telling you I went swimming this morning and I freaking loved it. I've ditched Camberwell Leisure Centre, as clean and relatively convenient as it is because I haven't swum outdoors since Mexico and deep in my bones I need to be back in the water and under an expanse of (blue but grey will do if it must) sky.
Which is why I set my alarm for 6.30 this morning and, despite a five-minute debate with myself in the bathroom mirror about whether or not to go given the literal rumbles of thunder overhead, made my way to Parliament Hill Fields Lido.

Parliament Hill doesn't seem the most obvious place to go for a swim on an ambivalent Monday morning, what the with fact that it's in north London and I live in west London and I work in south London but thanks to the newly connected London Overground it's an absolute cakewalk. West Brom to Gospel Oak, Gospel Oak to Peckham Rye (with a platform change at Highbury & Islington).

The Lido here is no frills - the changing rooms are all cement floors and no lockers and open plan showers but the pool is a glorious 60m by 28m and the bottom has been riveted in some kind of shiny metal tiling that catches the light and makes the whole thing feel clean and energising and efficient and just freaking amazing. And at 8am on a Monday morning there's space enough to not feel crowded and no lane ropes either so it's just you and this huge body of water.

The outer reaches of Hamsptead Heath peak over the far walls and the water is an unheated 22 degrees. Which means you swim the first half lap in a frenzy of fuckety-fucks! before the chill becomes invigorating and then refreshing and then enlivening.

Oh my god it was GOOD. I'm going to do my earnest best to make it a weekly thing. Because Lido is my love and it's name is Parliament Hill.

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