Spring is on its way and the local pool is getting busy again. This restored 1930s pool is open today (rather than bulldozed back in the 90s) due to 18 years of campaigning by the local community, and every time I tiptoe into the lukewarm water, and daydream my way through twenty unhurried laps, I silently thank them. Well, actually, I don’t, but I should. We all should. I will do so now. Thank you, London Fields User Group, for all your hard work. The pool is lovely.
However. It’s human nature to quibble, and so, with no real authority in the matter apart from a lot of time spent in assorted swimming pools, I present my ‘it’s just a suggestion’ suggestions for a happy Lido experience.
- Shave at home. Not in a shared outdoor shower. This isn’t because I ‘have a problem with body hair,’ as the shaver accused me when I pointed out it was neither the time nor the place. Hey, she was the one shaving, not hairy-legged moi. Some activities are best confined to a domestic bathroom, that’s all. And I would have said the same thing to that blonde girl clipping her toenails on the 242 bus a few years back, except that I had my glasses on that day (I am more assertive when the person I am ticking off is just a misty blob).
- While on the subject of the showers: lads, a bit of shower gel is fine. But extended sessions of ‘lower-region’ washing, front or back, are not. Hands where we can see them!
- A warning to all short-sighted swimmers – although your glasses are in the locker and the world is just a pretty blur, people can still see you. Just something to bear in mind when you’re staring at someone’s transparent bikini or stunning abs or whatever (this is a reminder to myself as well.)
- Please don’t blow your nose in the water, or the shower. If you’ve got a cold, you probably shouldn’t be swimming anyway.
- Try not to swim directly under a person if you want to get somewhere in a hurry. It’s very discombobulating to suddenly kick a hairy head at the bottom of the pool (and probably not very nice for the person being kicked either). Just stay on the surface and make your way calmly around them.
- Avoid the pool-lane equivalent of tailgating. Yes you’re in a pool, but the usual rules about personal space still apply, and it’s not polite to headbutt someone in the bottom because you think they are going too slow.
- Obviously, if you are in the fast or medium lane and people are swimming past you in an agitated fashion on a regular basis, it’s probably a good idea to change lanes. A lot of those so-called fast lane swimmers crash and burn after five laps, so just move aside and come back when it’s empty again.
- If the lanes are busy, don’t lurk at the end chatting with your mates. It’s really annoying. Just go to the non-lane part of the pool.
- A lot of ink is being vented on that poor, ragged complaints book about People in the Wrong Queue. It’s sometimes suggested that ‘pool attendants should really control this.’ The pool attendants are paid about £6 an hour to save lives in an emergency, not to mediate disputes about who should swim where. If the person in front is swimming slowly, go past them or change lanes. If it’s really bothering you, ask them to move to a slower lane or come back when it’s quieter and the kids are at home (like all winter). Saturday afternoons in high summer are no time for Lane Fascists. Especially those hardcores in full-length wet suits (you know who you are).
- I think that’s all. Happy swimming.