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Thursday, 31 March 2011

A Touch of Vandalism & A Splash Of Colour

Coming to the Lido this morning you couldn't stop but to feel disappointed by the news that youngsters had (yet again) left their (negative) mark by vandalising some areas around the pool.
Worst hit was the sauna that the youngsters tried to break into - they must have been armed with crowbars or some kind of heavy tools as they managed to rip off the architrave and parts of the insulation of the door to the sauna...

According to lifeguard Brian they were caught on CCTV and are quite young of age ... The police was to come around later in the morning to assess the situation.

The good news, however, was that the pool was open for business and we could swim to our hearts content .. well, swim as many lengths or stay in as long as 10 Celsius allows one to stay in, knowing that there was no sauna at the end of the swim! For some, like Alex it was 12 lengths! Sue swam 10 .. Vince and I swam 4.
It was the most gorgeous swim I have had in a long time! The water felt so soft albeit a bit cloudier than usual. As I was coming down my 4th length I felt the purest sensation of total bliss - the combination of gliding through the water, feeling 10C water on my body, relaxing more with each stroke and extending my body as much as I could, I experienced 100% enjoyment and total happiness. It may just have been for a fleeting moment but I was very aware of it and I am still treasuring the moment. I could have stayed in for at least another 2 lengths but I wanted to keep it at that and finish on a real high! Besides I also anted to avoid getting chilled right to the bone.
Not having the sauna truly brings back this "pure" feeling of cold water swimming. The sauna definitely adds another dimension to the whole cold water swimming experience, specially if one gets back into the pool after a good "cooking" in the sauna. Not having that luxury on the other hand represents nothing but a simple variation to the wonderful exposure of cold water swimming.

But before even going over the sauna to inspect and record the amount of vandalism that took place I spotted more Lido Art which caught my eye!

A bewildered and upset John Barker
inspecting the damage to door of the sauna

more damage to the side window

Lido Art

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Bertie, The Dapper Duck

What a lovely sight. Bertie, the dapper duck is back. Apparently (according to Brian) he has already been before this year ... it must have been at a different time ... cause I haven't seen him ... I missed not seeing Bertie and his entourage or more like harem until now ... he is normally accompanied by Gertie and sometimes even Flirty! Today, however, he was on his own, sleeping at the edge of the pool (railway side of the Lido) when I arrived. The pool was empty and the surface of the water beautifully flat ... very enticing indeed!

I had to creep up ever so slowly and softly to catch him having a snooze ...
I managed on the first shot ...

... wanting to get Bertie more full frame he inevitably woke up .... looked around...

... got closer to the pool's edge ....

and went for his early morning swim too -
not sure for how many lengths he stayed in? :)

probably for not as many as Alex did :)

Alex as always powering up and down for a total of 12 lengths ...
Mr Bubbles cut back from his mile (in march) so he could take photos too and not run out of time

Batch standing tall, sizing up the competition -
he and Sue had already been for a run around the common

Batch may be the faster runner .. which I'm actually not sure about as Sue seems to be an all-rounder... but faster swimmer than Batch she definitely is! She even plays hand tennis with Jonathan, Nick and Chris and has been known to "thrash" them :)

Sue on her first stroke after having pushed off ... again ...
she swam a total of 12 lengths today

Come on Batch catch her ... if you can...

Saturday, 26 March 2011

The Dive Of The Day

The water temperature is certainly moving in the right direction and creeping up quite nicely. The lifeguards measured it at 10C - Can that be a trusted source of information though ..?! where is David? oh yes, he's in Madeira ... must be much warmer there, I'm sure ... but what is the water temperature REALLY here at the Lido?! Let's say it's between 9C and possibly 10C and just get on with it, is what I told myself. Specially as when I arrived around 9.30am the pool was heaving with swimmers! Up and down, up and down the length of the pool they swam ... I set myself the goal to swim 10 lengths in March - But was it going to me today? I only swam 6 lengths yesterday and then stayed in longer as I was also taking underwater shots. I simply can't resist not taking pictures ...! Anyway, today I was going to see how I felt ... I ended up swimming 8 lengths and (again) taking photos, followed by a good time in the sauna and jumping back in for a further 2 lengths. So 10 lengths it was albeit with a welcome interruption :) But I did help Batch make it to his mile! He told me that I pulled him along on his last two lengths and that he couldn't have done it if it wasn't for me ... It's funny because as I was about to push off on my 3rd length I saw someone push off just ahead of me and cross over to "my lane" which meant I had to delay my push off and redirect further left .. I soon overtook that swimmer who turned out to be no other than Batch (I recognised the float he has between his legs!) - All is well, I helped Batch which is great - you are welcome Batch and gratulations on your Mile in March!

As I was leaving Egg was getting ready for his dive ... which I caught spot on

Along came James Cash ... who also performed a great dive ...
but the best dive was yet to come ...

... I asked James to stay in the water and for Egg to dive over him
which undoubtedly made for the dive of the day!

April 1st "Diving Belles" take note!

James is apparently training to row the channel with another bloke

towards the end of my swim I had the pool almost entirely to myself
so I ended up taking pictures of myself

I love the bubbles!

and then there was Jonathan ...

... who soon stopped!

and then there was this lady
(whose name I sadly haven't remembered when we met a few weeks ago... sorry)
she swam widths

in a bikini!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Here Comes The Sun and Other Things

The sun brings hibernating cold water swimmers such as Bettie and Dr. Andy back to the Lido -and how lovely is that!

I was just lining up my camera to take a head on under water shot of Margy swimming towards the shallow end .. when she suddenly stopped! She got in the deep end and swam her first length of 2011 - She's still not feeling 100% after a nasty cold.

Nick who got in with Margy up the top end
decided to play and float on his back for his second length

Betty is simply amazing and a true inspiration!

Mark geting in hoping to swim 6 lengths...

or maybe even 8 lengths - he started off pretty dynamically

I was behind the ladies changing rooms door lining up a photo through the glass when Lucy suddenly appeared (perfectly framed) just as I released the trigger :)

Life's a beach ... well, so is the Lido!

I had fun catching some arty reflections ...

and other bits and bobs...

... floating around

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Freshly Painted Trademark

The Lido is looking better and better by the minute - these brilliantly painted doors great each swimmer as if it displayed a big welcome sign!

Admittedly the sun shinning on the doors also adds to the vividness and simply enhances the friendly reception given to each and every one of us the minute we walk through the wiggly passage and out on to the huge expanse that is "The (Tooting Bec) Lido".

the magnificently freshly painted doors (pure trademark) of the Lido

Bridget is back at the Lido! She moved to North London for a few months ... but soon found out that she was missing these necks of woods too much ... specially the Lido - here she is again - easing her way back into cold water swimming - swimming 2 widths was a good start.
welcome (home) Bridget!

Hilary too, was enjoying her morning swim

back and forth she swam ... lots of lengths ...

... and finishing off (in great style) with a few widths thrown in for good measure!

is it an optical illusion, or is Alex less buoyant than usual?

here Alex is dynamically attacking the water - not so buoyant after all!

interesting head on shot of Mr Bubbles - blowing lots of them ..!
you can see why he simply IS Mr. Bubbles
I think he probably blows bubbles for fun as well as creating some with his arms :)

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Baking Soda Bread In Wendy's Kitchen

After having finished my blissful swim I quickly cycled over to Wendy's Kitchen to bake Soda Bread. I was amazed how (relatively) easy it is to make ... and it took almost no time at all ...
All I had to do was to bring the ingredients, my camera, my recorder and carefully watch Wendy's every move ...

My work started later at home putting it all on the boo and the blog :)

here the detailed account of it all:

let's start with the necessary ingredients and "tools of the trade".
wholemeal flower (you can also use white flour - in fact we used half and half)
buttermilk, baking powder, salt, yoghurt ( which we ended up not using .. but topping up with regular milk)

250gr of wholemeal flour

to which Wendy added 250gr of white flour

Wendy's friend Helen suggested we also put a pit of oatmeal into the mixture
to add a bit of bite to the bread.

all of it got transferred into the mixing bowl

to which Wendy added 4 tea spoons of baking powder - baking powder contains bicarbonate of soda - which I didn't know :)

now for 10gr of salt ( better you measure the salt with separate scales - you don't want to end up with too much salt)

.add the measured salt to the mixture

add 300ml of buttermilk - this pot only contained 285ml ... Wendy made up for it by adding milk which she first poured into the empty buttermilk cup so to use up all available rests that might have stuck to the wall of the cup.

start mixing it all together

finishing off by using your hands ... you'll get a good feel of the dough

separate into two same sized roundish parts

place them both on a baking tray -
they don't have to be perfectly round - leave looking "rustic"

use a knife to make a cross ...

... cut almost all the way to the bottom of the dough

time to pop it into your preheater (gas mark 6 - 200C) oven

set your timer
Wendy started off by setting hers to 20 minutes -
we ended up adding 5 min to that - for a total of 25 min.
time to have a browse around Wendy's garden .. et voila ...

time's up and the 2 lovely loafs of Soda Bread are done

final test to see whether they are really done : turn the bread on its head and gently tap the bottom - it should sound hollow

perfect - now let them cool down

Wendy in her element - another great piece of baking!
She kindly rolled the freshly baked soda bread into a tea towel and handed it it me ... it was still a bit warm .. by now I was really hungry - the lovely smell didn't help ;)

I cycled home as fast as I could !
10 min. later I took the 2 pieces of soda bread out and broke 2 lovely pieces off

Shirley was still home (she had been for a run and was famished too!) Shirley had her piece with homemade butter and pure, pure Austrian) honey - I had mine with homemade butter and Carl Reynold's homemade marmalade - simply DELICIOUS!

Thank you Wendy!