Monday, 28 March 2011

On the waterfront

30 Woolwich High St
London SE18 6DL
020 8317 5000
Added value: there is water here
Negative points: not very nice water.
Take: children. And fruit.

Yes, indeed, there is water here. It’s a ‘water park’, after all, and you should stick with whatever image that instantly conjures up. This is the kind of place I visit to prove to my children I’M A FUN PERSON not a miserable old bag, which always backfires because, being the antithesis of everything I like, it is guaranteed to turn me into a miserable old bag. Why does that lesson remain unlearned?

If you’ve been on holiday in this country and it’s rained the whole time, and you have children to entertain, you, like me, will have been to a similar hangar. You drive past every day thinking ‘please don’t let us be so bored we accidentally go here. Please let the sun come out. Please save me from the Fun Palace’. You promise the kids you will DEFINITELY go there one day, and then try every possible option to avoid it - including, in our case, a Museum of Salt. It’s where I find myself staring into the eyes of other adults trying to communicate non-verbally – can we bond in our dislike of this place? But no one ever seems to hate it as much as me, not even the mum busy slapping her son for floating face-down pretending to be dead.

Monday, 21 March 2011

No gratuitous nudity

23 Vauxhall Bridge Road London SW1V 1EL
020 7630 5522
Plus points: quite near Victoria station.
Minus points: for being expensive - £5.15 for a swim!

Yep, when you think of sports, the first royal to spring to mind is the Queen Mother, though usually in a betting context; a Queen Mother  Commemorative Bookies might have been more appropriate. And when friend Becky told me that everyone swanned about in the nude here, a certain level of expectation was set. But as putting on a swimming costume inevitably involves some nudity (unless you have one of those towelling bric-a-brac tents to change under) I can report that there was no gratuitous nudity on the day I went, which is a shame/relief (delete as appropriate). 

Quell your internal Linda Barker - this is a naff and corporation-style homage to blue lino. That which is not covered in blue lino is covered in shades of blue paint. Blue walls, blue skirting, blue handrails, blue benches. I think it’s subliminal advertising by Tory Westminster Council; it didn’t work on me, but then, rendering the face of Dame Shirley Porter in a tile mosaic on the pool floor wouldn’t work on me.

Monday, 14 March 2011

My spiritual home


 Tooting Common London SW17
Phone: 020 8871 7198

Opening times:  open all year round to SLSC members; end of May to end of Sept to public.
Unheated outdoor. 
Showers: don’t rely on them to warm you up. 
Added value: will the ducks be there?
Posing potential: high, but undermined by no one giving a shit.

I declare this is to be my home pool, the one I would swim in above all others (one reason not to do this blog is because there will be days I won’t swim here). Tooting Lido’s history is well documented; it’s an iconic pool, over 100 years old; it’s huge, and it’s cold even in the middle of summer. But big and unheated has advantages, not least that even on the sunniest days, when every square inch of ground is covered in bodies, there is often enough room in the 90 metre un-laned pool to get a decent swim in (if you can ignore the milky quality of water +suncream that reduces visibility and tastes like swimming in someone else’s Impulse). I swim here year round, even on snowy days when it’s more accurate to say I get in, shriek, do two or three pathetic little breaststrokes trying not to let the water go in my hat, and get out acting like I’ve done something majestic.