You’re not going to swim in this weather?

Swimmers views regarding the weather can be as capricious as the weather itself. We love water, but not when it falls from the sky. We dislike being rained on, but agree that swimming in the rain is lovely. We complain about a cold wind, and are delighted when it whips up a bouncy sea. We look forward to the warming water and when it warms, spend all summer looking forward to it getting cold again.

Much of this contradiction can of course be explained by the contrasting sensations of standing on the shore looking at the water, and actually being in the water. It’s described by that eternal truism: “It’s lovely once you’re in”.

And thus is was that when Stella arrived through intermittent heavy showers and said she didn’t expect anyone would be swimming on a morning like this, her surprise that we intended to do so was matched only by our surprise that she had come without her swimming kit because she thought we would not be.

Expressing some regret that she hadn’t brought her kit, I suggested she swim regardless. The beach and seafront was largely deserted; Hilary briefly considered a skinny dip in the cause of moral support. Stella said no, she couldn’t swim even in her underwear because she hadn’t got it on… because… oh, wait… because she was wearing a swimming costume!

The bare essentials of Stella’s swimming kit having therefore been re-established and the rain having mostly abated, we steeled ourselves and pattered down the slipway to the water. We looked at it dubiously. Estuary water, the colour and clarity of builder’s tea, sloshed around our ankles. And uninviting as it looked, we got in anyway, with the profound conviction that being in the water was infinitely more enjoyable than standing looking at the water, in a light drizzle on a cold April morning.

And it was.
Of course it was, it always is.

"You're not going to swim in this weather?" digital drawing of swimmers on a rainy Clevedon Beach, with the pier behind, by Nancy farmer
“You’re not going to swim in this weather?” digital drawing of swimmers on a rainy Clevedon Beach, with the pier behind, by Nancy farmer

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