Last weekend I went to Norfolk. We drove to the beach, my brother, Georgia and I, and it was a pleasant 20 minute walk along a sandy causeway to get to the sea. So the sea did not need to be swum in for it to have been a nice outing, but it was there, and it did give the exercise a certain air of having achieved a goal. I was of course designated swimmer, and they the designated watchers. A 10 minute dip at a little under 7 degrees seemed sufficient to prove the point that the sea had indeed been swum in.
The watchers, watching the sight of a lone swimmer in the sea in February, idly wondered if they could actually be of help if I were to need assistance, and came to the conclusion that a rescue party could probably walk to me. This was true, I could touch the bottom with my hands while still swimming, and further out it was clearly getting shallower for some distance. This is a reassuring circumstance for a winter swim: there it so very much huge flat sea around Norfolk and it’s so big, especially for one used to the Bristol Channel, a short shingle beach and the handy landmark of an unmissable Victorian pier.