Someone very kindly sent me this link of swimming caps. It is fab. If you yearn for the hat with false bangs, you and I will definitely get on. Find it here

I like these blogs:

I’m a member of the Outdoor Swimming Society whose site has good stuff on swimming and larks at

I always get my swimming stuff from the people at  swimmingwithoutstress, who are lovely and always have good advice. Recommend. (They rang me once because the colour of the goggles I'd ordered wasn't available, and did I mind them being in another colour? Now, I'm not the kind of person who fusses over the colour of my goggles, but I liked the fact that I COULD be.)

Carl, aquatic ape of the blog link above, l told me that average pool temperatures in the 70s/80s was 24 degrees, and now it’s about 28/29. The old Clapham Manor pool  would often be shut because the boiler was broken. ‘You can’t swim here’ the reception people would tell me. ‘Water is only 24 degrees’. Now, as a keen advocate of cold water swimming, I would do my level best to persuade them that I was different (meaning ‘special’, but I can’t say ‘I’m special’ without singing the whole frikkin song) and that they could let me in, I could handle it. They never did. It’s a conundrum for them such as me who really love cold water, but want to swim longer in winter. Pools are too warm! It’s also a conundrum because  we’re supposed to be trying to use less energy, and save money. British Gas sponsor swimming because it’s in their interest to get more people into pools, which will then use their gas stuff to keep the water warm. (I call that sentence the ‘it ain’t altruism folks’ shock.) Oh, come on everyone! 24 degrees sounds good!  So let’s. Let’s COOL THE POOL!

When I’m in charge (and it’s not long, surely) there will be strict rules in swimming pools about who can swim in what lane. Generally I’m liberal to the point of anarchy, but the thought of un-laned pool mayhem makes me anxious (except at Tooting Lido, where I voted against lanes.  I don't claim to be consistent). When I go into a pool, I think I should have the right to blow a small whistle, clap my hands officiously and and re-organise swimmers into the appropriate lane for their speed. Some people, mentioning no names boys, are not as fast as they think they are. Equally, if you don’t want to get your hair wet, don’t go in the fast lane. If you are so slow you have actually stopped, please stay home and have a bath, instead.

When I swim indoors, I get very blotchy skin. It’s not attractive; if you see someone who looks like they’re in the first stages of leprosy, it could be me, do come and say hello. I don’t tend to get so blotchy in the lido, although it’s as chlorinated as anywhere else. The thing is, I don’t know if it’s chlorine allergy, warm water allergy… or what. (It’s not the lycra in my costume, because I wear a costume in hot and cold water.) Also, I sneeze like a mad woman when I get out the pool. Anyone else suffer like this who has bothered to work out what it is, and can tell me?

(There's now an explanation of the itch/chlorine/human piss conundrum that can be found here, thanks Carl.)