In the swim

The other day I took my daughter to the swimming pool. We stayed in the small, splashy-fun pool, but I could see (and, more importantly, hear) the main pool.

I hate swimming pools. I always have. I didn’t learn to swim until I was 12, and I’m still a fairly weak swimmer now. Before that, swimming lessons at school were mostly exercises in humiliation, as I bobbed about squeezed into various flotation aids, clinging to the side of the pool, watching enviously as the rest of the class dove and darted through the water like minnows.

Even now the blueish light, smell and taste of chlorine, slippery surface underfoot, sharp sounds of shouts and laughter echoing off the hard walls and floor make me slightly nervous. The sea, whose uneven bed makes it easy to slip out of your depth, and whose currents can suck you backwards and downwards to a salty grave paradoxically feels safer and less threatening to me than the cold, antiseptic surroundings of the pool.

Besides, you’re less likely to find a corn paster floating in the open sea.