Tuesday, 31 July 2012


Hornfair Park, Shooters Hill Road
London SE18 4LX
There’s no phone number. You have to email better.org.uk if you have a query or if you want to book in advance. Yes, book in advance, you read that right; it seems odd to me. 

It’s a little known fact that Charlton was named after Charlton Heston, hence the large golden chariot statue in the shopping centre, and their on-going commitment to gun crime,  or ‘homage crime’ as they call it round there.

Ha ha. Obviously that’s a joke. They don’t have a shopping centre in Charlton.

It’s another bloody miserable summer’s day in London, the grey skies pissing endless down on us as we wend our way through the traffic of South East London. ‘We’ is me and Kate, and Kate is lovely Kate from Tooting Lido* whose ability to withstand cold water combined with superb baking skills make her a total catch. That's all my priorities, right there. Oh yea, and she’s completely lovely, which counts too, I hear. (She's already caught, in case you were wondering and also, I'm not running some kind of water/cake-related dating service, however good an idea that is.) We hadn’t, see above, booked in advance. The pool is newly re-opened but we felt that the weather - great weather for swimming outdoors actually - would probably put most fools off.  Kate, being efficient, had looked at the booking system and seen there were plenty of spaces left, so we felt able to risk in. She did try to explain the system to me but as I can’t really see the point of it  I didn’t listen very intently; she works with children  so I think she recognised that 'I stopped listening look. (I'm sure there is a point to the online booking service, if Better** feel like adding a comment?)

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Everything but.

Winchmore Hill Road, Southgate, London N14 6AD
020 8882 7963
Sometimes, it's about everything but the pool. This is one of those times.  

Today, people, I will be attempting a very difficult trick. It is extremely dangerous and I have been training for it for years. Highly skilled personnel are standing by ready to assist me, should my trick fail. Do not try this at home. Today *drum roll*

I will be diving off the top board wearing only a variety of sandwich spreads painted on my body in an edible replica of the Olympic logo.

Don’t worry! It’s a joke! *serious face* I don’t have official permission to replicate the Olympic logo. 

But today, actually, I am doing something a little different. I would call this a ‘blog mash-up’ if using that phrase didn’t make me sound like a middle-aged* Glee fan in a retro Adidas tracksuit who had reluctantly torn herself away from Fifty Shades to get to Pop Choir on time. But I am swimming with another blogger, writer Wendy Lee, who has an eversoslightly different perspective on swimming, and her take on our experience is here. Not so much a mash-up, more a friendly collision. 

Monday, 9 July 2012


Or: In Which It Turns Out I’m An Utter Arse

40 Hyde Rd London N1 5GU
020 7729 4485

and then... 

39 Lower Clapton Road, London E5 0NU
020 8985 2158

This is quite long. Settle yourselves in.

I know about hipsters.  I have sat amongst them admiringly as they drank their old skool tea and listened to them chitter-chatter in gentle mellifluous tones about open access functionality and creative end-use digitality; I’ve watched them ungroom each other, watched how they raise their young. (They mostly don’t have young, but those that do raise them very hipsterishly, a beautiful if randomly dressed sight.) I’m in awe of the hipster, so it’s surprising that I haven’t been to this pool before, being as it’s in the middle of hipster Hoxton. (Try saying that.) I’m glad I’m not one though, it looks hard work and a bit self conscious.  I couldn’t be, anyway, as I have peanut butter on my skinny jeans. Sad face.

For me, the important question has always been: what does a hipster wear for swimming? I glide up to the Brittania leisure centre in eager anticipation. My quest for this answer will at last be found. Alas. It is not to be.