The film is set in a lido. If the life of the ordinary council pool is in danger, then the world of the lido definitely is. There are a dwindling number of these beautiful old pools left. When chatting to a friend who lives outside London recently about the project, I was asked what a ‘lido’ was, which just about sums up the situation. For anyone else that isn’t familiar with the word, it refers to an outdoor pool!
So far, I’ve been referring to the world of the local council pool, which, to be fair, was about the limit of my swim life experiences until my 20s. A small, well-used, over-crowded, slightly rundown 25m pool in an old Lancashire mill town was where it all began for me. Swimming outdoors was simply not considered.
It’s cold, often even in summer – and where would you swim? There were a couple of reservoirs nearby. A large one that would have meant ducking and diving around the local sailing club, and a smaller one, that was much emptier, but the thought of jumping in it for a quick dip has never appealed. Equally, there are some local beauty spots around nearby lakes – beautiful, cold – nay freezing, fairly muddy-looking lakes that only a passing bout of madness would make you even think of jumping in.
However, there’s a definite resurgence of interest in swimming in the great outdoors. I’ve now come to love it and as I am cosily nested in south west London, with its warmer climate and closer proximity to lidos, I’m not so short of options – but more about all that in a later blog.
Right now, I’m wondering about the people that don’t live so close to a lido. Is swimming in lakes and rivers the answer? Perhaps one of those aforementioned lakes does need reclaiming and putting on the swim map for other like-minded souls.
Unfortunately, I’m a whimp and as it snowed there yesterday, this isn’t going to be my Easter challenge! I’ll think about it though. That’s as much as I can promise right now. Perhaps this could be a summer challenge, fitted in around raising money for this short film (www.theswimmer.org.uk), looking after my little girl, being a wife, running a home and trying to work whenever I can get some! Perhaps, jumping into a freezing cold lake would do me some good – it could be quite refreshing.