Wednesday, 31 January 2007

The ladies who don't get their hair wet

The ladies who don't get their hair wet swim every morning. The pool opens at 6.30 and they begin to arrive not long after that. They are of indeterminate ages. Sometimes they seem older but then sometimes you get a glimpse of someone much younger amongst them. They address each other by their first names and know all about each others husbands, children, grandchildren, pets, illnesses and hobbies. If one is missing for more than a few days the others are concerned and there is much discussion in the changing rooms. They know the faces of all the regular swimmers and I think they give some of us nicknames! If someone unfamiliar comes in there are a few whispers and mutterings as they eye them up and see what kind of swimmers are. The ladies swim for a while and then they get changed and meet together in the bar area to have tea or coffee (unless one has to rush off to an important appointment). They share stories and laugh and joke and then they all disappear off to their day-lives by 9.00 and the place is as if they were never there except for their laughs as they walk down the hall towards the exit. They sort of drift in and then breeze out and drift in and breeze out every day....

Tuesday, 30 January 2007


Norma is a grumpy old woman now. She can only move in the morning after sitting in front of the warmth of the radiator for an hour or so. This relaxes her stiff old joints enough for her to ease herself up and move towards the kitchen. Her movements are hampered by the fact that she is not thin. Norma has lived for food and this weakness has taken its toll. When she walks her stomach is not far from the floor and climbing up onto the sofa is usually only possible on the third attempt. Having lived to a good age Norma devotes what remaining time she has to gaining as much pleasure for herself as she can. She contrives to get as much food, as much fuss and attention and as much comfort as she can. Any other treatment (like having to wait too long for food or not having a comfortable radiator or lap to sleep next to during the times when she is not eating) she considers to be gross neglect. Very occasionally she remembers what it was like to young and races madly around the garden, only to stop a few seconds later and contemplate her surroundings before running in to the safety and warmth of indoors as soon as possible. When Norma is happy she purrs so loudly you can hear her all around the house but she snores like a trouper and can fart worse than a man after 10 pints of lager. Norma has been with me in two homes and been by my side longer than any man I have known.

Monday, 29 January 2007


This morning I went for an early swim, but even at 7.00 the pool was busy! Before 8.00 the pool is lane swimming only and divided into fast and slow lanes. I am too slow for the fast lane but on some mornings too fast for the slow lane! In the fast lane people swim without stopping, and tumble turn at the end, and do alternate lanes of front crawl, breast stroke and butterfly, sometimes just kicking their legs with a float in their hands.Their heads are always in the water. In the slow lane the women sometimes swim and sometimes walk, and often talk to each other as they go up and down. They don't put their heads or face in the water. I am frowned upon in the fast lane because I am too slow and tutted at in the slow lane because I splash a bit and the ladies get their hair wet. I wish they would create a middle lane for those of us who don't want to swim too fast but who don't mind getting our hair wet!
What does a 48 year old woman want with a Blog! I have no idea. People say it is like a diary that you share (which seems strange to me as I thought diaries were rather private things); or a way to share messages and stories with people that you don't see very often. We shall see...