Monday, 31 October 2011

Nearly-night swimming

Caird Street
London W10 4RR
020 8960 9629
Interesting to note: One of my fave UK lidos – Penzance - is also called Jubilee. YAAAWWNNN. 
Added bonus: Indoor sunbathing
Negative (for me): Men’s changing is better than women’s.

I’ll clarify that negative immediately before you start getting ideas: I went to this pool with my friend Adam, who took the task of assessing the men’s changing rooms very seriously. ‘I tried out the hairdryer on your behalf’ he said ‘and I think your readers will be pleased to know it works’. Adam reported that the men’s changing area was extremely nice, very well tiled, clean, and with plenty of ‘gunk’ in the showers. I think he meant shower gel. I hope he meant shower gel. Adam reckons that of all the local authority pools he’s visited, these changing rooms are the best; however, he recommends you (men) wait a few weeks before visiting, until they have the lockers sorted, as he had to carry his work suit round after swimming and it got wet. Fortunately it was dark when we walked back to the tube so no one could see his damp bits.

Monday, 17 October 2011

When I win the lottery ...

229 Caledonian Road
London N1 0NH
020 7278 1890
Added bonus: A proper greengrocer on Caledonian Rd, the fruit and veg not in stupid plastic bowls. Pomegranites 49p. What a full service I offer.
Negative: Someone said recently that I wasn’t having much luck on this blog lately. And so it continues.

I used the walk down from Caledonian Rd tube station to contemplate bacon sandwiches and freedom, as the road goes past Pentonville Prison, and the cafĂ© opposite it – The Break Out, ha ha -  smelled deliciously fried baconly greasy. And maybe because I’d walked past the high-up tiny-paned grime-covered windows of the jail, my first thought as I saw Cally Pool was that it would be the perfect location for exterior shots for a TV drama set in an asylum seekers detention centre. The building equivalent of a body-double. 

In reception, the open entrance to the men’s changing room seems practically on the street, and you can see the learner pool immediately. A school party was coming in behind me, but I felt relaxed, they would be in that pool, not mine.  I went through to change, and my heart, that had sunk at the horrible blue corrugated box exterior, sank a bit more.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Memories of Wyndley

Dryburgh Rd
Putney, London SW15 1BL
Phone 0208 785 0388
Added bonus: I parked free on the road outside. (You may have no idea what a bonus this is. It’s a big bonus.)
Negative: Someone said of this blog ‘it’s all getting a bit autobiographical, isn’t it?’ as if me including stuff about myself could possibly be a bad thing. I’m sussing out as I go along how much swimming has featured in my life - more than I thought, and sometimes obliquely. This is the only blog in the world that includes bits about me, which some people would say is a damn shame*. However, if you don’t like the bits about me, don’t read this blog.

*No actual people would say that. 

The shallow end of the pool was jumping, an aquarobics class in full swing, water sloshing and bouncing along to UH-OH YES! I’m the GREAT! Pre-te-hen-der-der-der-der-der-der-der-der …and the lifeguard leapt into action. I’m glad to say I’ve never seen one move so fast. She was off that high chair quicker than I could say ‘oh fuck, bad timing’ and managed to de-stick the CD  before any of the class went into some dreadful low-nrg hypnotic state and slipped under water requiring actual saving.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Taking the pulse

10 Melon Road 
London, SE15 5QN
Tel: 0844 893 3888
Added bonus: there isn’t one. Oh yea, I parked for free because the machine was broken. Probably still is, but I can’t offer a guarantee.
Negative: You could say that.

Welcome to the Peckham Pulse Healthy Living Centre! This isn’t just swimming! This is HEALTHY LIVING, people! The whole thing, you know, all the healthy living stuff. Time to GET WITH THE PROGRAMME.

Or, better, go and look at the library next door (pic above) which was award-winningly architected, then hop a bus and go up the road to Camberwell Baths instead.