Thursday, 5 March 2009

Swimming and Me

I love swimming even though I’m not very good at it. When we go on holiday I love swimming in the pools whatever kind of water it is and no matter what the temperature. I have to swim at least once a day.

It must be something inbuilt and I've never admitted this before but
I've often had nightmares where it's the last day of my holiday and for some reason I haven't been into the pool. Talk about panic, I'm demented. Maybe it's a metaphor, something to do with getting older and you haven't done the things you really wanted to do. I don't know. Sometimes I really wonder about myself. Good job I've never seen a psychiatrist.

Anyway I can swim quite a few lengths but I just can’t put my head under the water so I’ve never been able to do the crawl. I’ve always envied those people just effortlessly gliding up and down the pool doing the crawl. My son in law has a wonderful smooth style, barely a splash and he taught himself to do it. Well I’ve tried, but without putting my face into the water, what a farce.

When I was approaching sixty, I had that feeling you get when you start to think about all the things in your life you’ve never done. A bit like that Bucket List film I should think. I kept putting off doing anything about it because I have to say putting my face into the local swimming pool full of chlorine and other nasty stuff just didn’t bear thinking about.

Well last year they opened a new Aquatic Centre in Sunderland, about 7 miles from where I live. Until this pool was built we didn’t have a 50 metre pool in the North East, the nearest were Leeds and Edinburgh, over a hundred miles in each direction.

Opening Night at the Aquatic Centre © City of Sunderland

It's a weird looking building from the outside and has lots of derelict land which hasn't been landscaped. I gather it's part of a redevelopment area and at the moment they're going through a public consulation. Still you think they would have tidied it up and put a bit of grass on it.

Front Entrance

Side View (Looks a bit like a Hovercraft!)

I didn’t get around to visiting it until a few weeks ago and I was very pleasantly surprised by it, well the inside anyway. It’s got 10 lanes of 50 metre length which is wonderful for a spot of exercise. There’s a diving pool too, not that I have any ambitions in that direction. Both the main pool and multi-purpose pool have moveable floors so their depths can be varied. This accommodates a range of activities from aqua aerobics to water polo, enabling swimmers of all abilities to use them.

Pool Area © City of Sunderland
The main pool also has a movable boom, which can be used to alter its length or sub-divide it, allowing more than one group of swimmers to use it at the same time. So you can have three different sections, school children having lessons, a free swimming area and lanes for the more serious swimmer.

Children's Activity Session © City of Sunderland

There isn't a children’s pool as this is not a leisure pool although they do put on fun sessions for youngsters, usually in school holidays.

However for me the best thing is the water quality, it’s fantastic. Some kind of bio filtering system so there’s hardly any nasty chemicals in the water.

To save time and travelling costs, I went back to our local pool in Washington last Friday morning and it was awful. It was packed with people of a certain age, like me, but the problem was they were swimming so slow I don’t know how they stayed afloat. Made me feel like Rebecca Adlington, well not really. Apart from the obvious fact she got two gold medals at the summer Olympics last year, I don't spend a fortune on Jimmy Choo shoes. Then there were the awful chemicals to contend with. Yuk!

So I made up my mind I was going to visit the Aquatic Centre more regularly and procrastination time was over. Yesterday I signed up for a swimming improver's class as they call it. Bargain of the day, it only cost £13.50 for 5 sessions! I do have a membership of the leisure club which is quite cheap if you’re over 60 and that made the classes very good value.

Well today was the day, I went for my first lesson. There were only 5 people there for the lesson and we had quite a laugh. The instructor was really nice and she taught me to put my face into the water. Success! I eventually kept it there for a few seconds. I also managed to swim a width of the pool with a float doing a crawl kick. Good grief I thought I would lose the use of my legs, it’s so hard to do compared to breast stroke kick. Must be really good exercise.

I’m really looking forward to next week and my second lesson. I’m feeling pleased with myself for getting off my bum and trying to improve my swimming. Hopefully by the time I go on holiday to Rhodes in May, I might be able to do a sort of crawl. Might being the operative word. Watch this space!

Saturday, 28 February 2009

My Second Guilty Pleasure

I Do Like a Lie in!

I really do love not having to get up for work now. I always used to love a lie in when I was young and my Mam bless her used to let us lie in until lunch time if we’d been out to a dance the night before.

I’m just not an early to bed person, I’m rarely in bed before midnight and I’ve never been a morning person. I always found it hard to get up when the alarm went off, and I used to turn over for an extra few minutes. I used to leave the alarm on at weekends just for the pleasure of turning over and switching it off. I’m not bad tempered or anything I just function better afternoons and evenings.

Guess what? My husband is the opposite, he gets up anytime after 5.30 am. It’s such a pain!

Some mornings I’m still up early to take the kiddoes to school and nursery but others I have a lovely lie in, It's especially nice if the weather is bad, I just snuggle back under the duvet.

I’m making the most of it because once my husband retires, I doubt if I’ll get to lie in for very long.

My Singer 338!

Well here it is my very first sewing machine, the one I got for my 21st birthday in 1966! I know it cost my Mam  a lot to buy it for me...