Monday, August 09, 2004

the crawl

Victoria warned me of over-eloquising my brief stint in the water this weekend, so I shall be careful and say just this. The sea is not quite as cold as it looks. Not quite. It's got so hot in Brighton in recent weeks that ordinarily sane men get driven to unforeseen lengths. The other week I sat by Chichester canal on my lunch break and half considered jumping in; so it's perhaps no surprise that after several hours of packing on Saturday (like Vik Blackwell, we're moving flat) I decided to go for my first swim in the English Channel. It was so pleasant that I did it again yesterday.

The actual shock of putting my shoulders under was not quite so great the second time around, but on Saturday it was startling. What's really hard is controlling your breathing; I ended up literally gasping for a good 30 seconds; trying to slow down and breathe normally but instead making these horrendous 'cccrrrrrggggggghhhhh' noises. Happily I had found a quiet spot where my hyperventilating could go unnoticed. That done, it was much warmer than I imagined, especially if you keep splashing about (yes, I realise other people swim. I merely splash about, that's fine).

None of which answers this question; every time I go to the beach I spy people who, like me, have their lofty ideas about a pleasant paddle in the water ruined by the fact that are largely incapable of doing so without darting straight back out of the water, crying "Jesus, that's cold!". And yet there are always plenty of toddlers playing unselfconciously and happily in the shallows, without raising so much as the slightest objection. Why is this? Have we just grown up, grown soft?

No comments: