Tuesday, 15 September 2009
This is a bold title isn't it?
"An Unusual Love Affair in London".
But, hey, over the next few months you will get to understand and hopefully also feel that what I am about to share with you is absolutely that : a love affair and an unusual one at that! Well, it is perhaps not as unusual as I may think it is because I am not the only person who is "madly in love" with this unusual "thing" ... let me keep the suspense going for a while :)
I know for sure that I am not the only person who has the good fortune to feel this tremendous emotional, yes, even physical pull towards "this". Maybe there are people out there who are feeling such a seductive jerk right now?! and fulfilling the need to satisfy it! In fact know there are at least a hand full of them! There must be! Well I know there are. And yet, I will confess. We are a minority.
What is she on about?
Well, at this stage I can tell you as much as that it is a physical, emotional and spiritual activity. Yes, that much I can give away...
so what is it?
Ok, it's probably a sporting as much as a deeply energising and exhilarating, pleasurable and, for some, calming activity. It could paradoxically also be a meditative activity.
Could it be rock climbing?mountaineering? skiing?... mountain biking? People who love those activities certainly feel a tremendous pull even a distinct calling to engage in the duality of thriving on the physical as well as satisfying an emotional and spiritual need. The peak of a mountain is said "to be calling for his conquerer to triumph over it".
But, hang on. The love affair takes place in london. Remember!
Oh, I know. Bungie jumping! No, it's not bungie jumping! In fact I couldn't think of anything worse than bungie jumping :)
Free running. Yes, I got it. No sorry. Close. interesting new sport that gives amazing athletes a hell of a buzz. But, no.
Tightrope walking. Yes, you have discovered the thrills of walking on a tight rope. Inspired by the film "Man on Wire" - A must see film by the way - go rent it in case you haven't seen it- You have gone totally bonkers and are planning to tie a wire between St. Paul's Cathedral and the Tate Modern!
Great idea. Daring. But, no.
Ok, enough guessing. I'll fill you in with my Love Affair. The best way of doing that is to show you a little video.
You see! You get the idea?! The Championship drew quite a bit of attention. Even Reuters covered the event and as I am fluent in German I was asked whether I'd be willing to be interviewed. Of course I was willing! I love talking about cold water swimming and I love the Tooting Bec Lido! By the way, the swimmer with the funny looking contraption on the head is me! I entered 3 races. One of them was "the head up breaststroke with the fancy hat" race. Seeing that I am a freelance photographer and film maker - Bridget, a friend from the pool designed the hat for me!
As if by magic I live no more than a 7 min. bike ride away from the pool!
You saw on the clip the Lido is an open air, unheated pool. What you couldn't see, is that it is 100yards long. However, at temperatures below 10 degrees celsius we usually "regress" to swimming widths (which are still 33meters long!). The Lido is open to the public from the end of May to the end of September and, hurray, open to members all year round.
I swim daily. Come snow, hail, rain, wind and even sunshine! One could say I get my daily fix of love, exhilarating energy, emotional and spiritual enjoyment there, at that very place.
Believe it or not the Lido is 103 years old! I invite you to read up on Lido's history.
So I invite you to stay tuned because during the next few months I will attempt to convey to you what that experience feels like.
Although we have had a fairly good summer and the water temperature had risen to a high of 20 degrees centigrade during July and early August, the temperature has gradually fallen. For the past few days it has fluctuated between 16 and 14 . This morning, around 8am - which is when I usually swim it was a positively refreshing 14. I swam 10 lengths - just short of one Kilometer- and felt amazing.
Now that the secret is out, stay tuned and check in for regular updates on activities at the Tooting Bec Lido. Photographs, interviews with other crazy cold water fanatics and much more to come.