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Thursday, 24 September 2009


"Good morning Albert"

"Good Morning Elizabeth - We've remembered!" he chirped, followed by his familiar boyish smile that makes Albert... Albert!

Albert has been coming for his daily swim at the Tooting Bec Lido for well over 30 years!

I was keen to know how it was then.
"A lot has changed over the years." Gisela, his partner joins in. She's been coming near to 50 years.
There were no hot showers then and we used to all shower together men and women!"

They love the mornings! Hey, I know why!

"We used to come before 7am - it was free to come in until 10am in those days."
" Yes, and I remember climbing over the fence on my way to work when it was still dark. Just to have my swim. It was only a little fence too. Not like all the security we have to have nowadays"
"Really, Albert?!"

I'm well impressed. And it touches me to know how much pleasure the Lido has brought to people over the past 103 years.

It also reminds me of when I was a kid, living in Austria. My brother, myself and some friends jumped the fence to get into the local pool at midnight. The moon was out in its full glory which made the adventure even more electrifying. I couldn't have been older than 10 and already passionate about swimming.

Doing "naughty" things out of a passion is not what youngsters like doing these days mind you...

Last winter people had nothing better to do then to break into the Lido twice to vandalise the place. Once to throw a few bags of sand in the pool and on another occasion to break the little glass window of the sauna.

However, nothing kept the regulars from coming - the poor life guards had their work cut out though. Eventually, after a few days of hard work they managed to get all the sand back out. The pol looked at its best again - the water crystal clear.

"We even swam when the water was green and full of algae then! We didn't mind!"

"I guess people's immune system was better then too!", I remarked.

But enough reminiscing.

"See you tomorrow, Albert and Gisela. You've had your swim and I'd better go for mine."

"Enjoy!"

Here a view out out my cubical. You'll see what I mean!


PS: Great news. “The thing” remember, the belated birthday present... well, it has arrived today. About 1 hour ago! Took it out of the box! Looks awesome.

I’m sooooooo ready to use it ... come October! The countdown has begun. Thanx Bro!



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