LATCHMERE LEISURE CENTRE
Burns Road, Battersea,
London SW11 5AD
020 7207 8004
Added bonus: I can cross Latchmere off my list
Negative: I realise my dentist is fallible.
I’m very obedient when it comes to my teeth, which may be explained by the fact that my dad was a dentist. My dentist now is the Action Man of the mouth, and I always do what he says. When he says floss, I floss. When he says rinse, I rinse. When he told me it was good at the Latchmere at around 7am, I went to the Latchmere at around 7am.
I have previous with this pool; I bought my babies here many many times. This is how it would go: I would try, tongue out in concentration, to manoeuvre my tiny car into the sliver of space between two huge Battersea tractors, the effort bringing me out in a sweat; I’d lug the small happy child and various bags to the pool. Either I’d undress the child first or myself, but either way was tricky, particularly in the days before they could walk (when you had to find some way to balance them) or in the days when they could walk (when they’d try to escape and bump their heads before we’d even start). Temperature at this point: very hot. We’d head to the water. Child stands on the edge, reluctantly. I encourage. Child falls over on slippy tiles. I get cross. Child goes in. We bob around. I get very cold. I have to decide - shoulders under to keep warm, or standing up ankle deep in kid piss. Child tries the big slide but gets scared at the top. I stand there saying ‘come on! There’s children waiting! Come on! It’s not so scary. OH FOR FUCK SAKE COME DOWN THE FUCKING SLIDE.’ I look at the clock - we’ve been here for three minutes. We bob some more. I try and invent games. The games are too scary. I try and make eye contact with other bobbing mummies. They are too busy making eye contact with their own children. While my attention is elsewhere, child slides underwater, and scrabbles at my costume to get head above water. Child cries. People stare. Child discovers they love the slide and go up and down up and down up and down a hundred times. I lie on the pool floor waiting. Time to get out! Child won’t get out. I drag them out by one arm. One of us is crying. Temperature at this point: catastrophic. Aaaah. Fun times.