Category Archives: Places

A Fish out of Water at Thermae Bath Spa

A Fish out of Water

What I really wanted was to swim in the Roman Baths, but you are not allowed to, so we went to Thermae Bath Spa, as a birthday treat: the water is from the same hot spring. I did have a lovely massage, but the rest was quite strange, like being on a Dr Who set: all these people wandering round in identical dressing gowns, all looking really passive and relaxed. I do not do relaxing so I was the only one paying attention. And the rooftop pool… very strange. Snogging and noodles (the blue foam things are noodles I am told), at an almost un-swimmable 35 degrees. As for the Steam Rooms, well, that is where the alien invasion will begin, you mark my words. They’re all pod people! An interesting experience but they probably have my DNA on file now as a subversive….

On the other hand, I was gawped at today merely because I got into Ullswater. Can’t see why: it was hardly less than 8 degrees.

A Fish out of Water at Thermae Bath Spa

A Fish out of Water at Thermae Bath Spa

 

On Glastonbury Tor, if anyone noticed...

Sunday Morning on the Tor

I passed this one on the way up the Tor this morning, clutching ipad and cigarette close to ward off any psychological or physical effect of being out on a fine Sunday morning, up a stunning natural feature of the landscape with the best views for miles around. He didn’t even say good morning when I passed and wished him the same, which in my extensive experience is pretty unusual for visitors to Glastonbury Tor. I imagine he was distracted, updating a spreadsheet: ‘Tor: done’… ‘Stonehenge: pending’.

On the plus side, I also passed a small child with small brown wellies on. The wellies had faces of Minotaurs printed on the toes 🙂

On Glastonbury Tor, if anyone noticed...

On Glastonbury Tor, if anyone noticed…

January Sunrise, Vobster Quay

January Sunrise, Vobster Quay

I attempted to draw this morning’s swim from memory. Tricky… I am not used to ‘realistic’ landscape stuff and I haven’t got very close to what I wanted, but it was such a lovely morning it was worth a try. At least it might explain one reason why I do not just pop down to the swimming pool.

The water temperature was 7 degrees, the air about -3, the two of us still managed our loop of the lake in about 18 minutes in just our cozzies, though you would have laughed to see us trying to hold our coffees afterwards without spilling them for violent shivering! It’s a phase, it passes…  (the shivering, not the swimming).

January Sunrise, Vobster Quay

January Sunrise, Vobster Quay

A bob in the sea at Clevedon

A bob at Clevedon

Went for a bob in the sea this morning. Couldn’t really call it ‘swimming’ as it was rather like this. Though I did make it almost as far as the first buoy, apparently about 200 metres out, before I decided that discretion was the better part of valour. I am used to the lake at Clevedon, not this stuff, but it was fun!

A bob in the sea at Clevedon

A bob in the sea at Clevedon, with the Pier in the distance

Vobster at Sunrise

Too cold for wetsuits, we better go in without them! Vobster, 16th December

Vobster at sunrise yesterday! Still mist on the water. Ruth and Jim ahead of me and when I looked up to see where they were, all was suddenly blinding golden light.
We had thought if we put on wetsuits we could go twice round. Not making that mistake again! We could, but as Ruth put it: “none of the endorphins, all of the cold!” No shock to the system, but the pinchy cold was appalling on hands and feet. I won’t say l missed the shivering like an idiot afterwards, but next week it’s back to shorter swims in swimming costumes 🙂

Vobster  at Sunrise

Vobster at Sunrise, with Ruth & Jim (there are two heads here and one orange tow float)

Buttermere, by myself

Buttermere, by myself, 28th October

Buttermere, by myself

Buttermere, by myself

The last of my Lake District sketches (for a while). This is me, swimming the length of Buttermere, and somewhat over half way back again. At which point I finally spotted Mum, who I was unaware had followed me along the lakeside on foot for the whole length of the lake (a little over 2K). I wasn’t looking out for her because she hadn’t been going to do that, and she was wearing a nicely camouflaged forest-green waterproof…

I wimped out at this point and admitted that by now it had got a a teeny bit boring swimming all on my own in the cold and the rain. I am not particularly a fan of swimming in wetsuits, but it was only about 10 or 11 degrees, and passing by the torrents pouring off the fells it was quite a bit colder. Walking was a dubious idea, since I did that in cold wet feet with only little plastic ballet pumps on, through a number of merrily gurgling icy streams: with hindsight not the wimpy option, but the company was better 🙂

People have been confused as to how I can draw a picture of myself and have asked whether I have used photographs. This is odd, because nobody is confused when I turn out pictures of fairies and demons. People, it’s very simple: there are no photos and I make it all up 🙂 It did happen like this, but this is only how I think it might have looked.

One exchange between other walkers and Mum is worth relating I think, as some passers-by noticed her watching me:
“Is he with you?”
“He’s a she. Yes, that’s my daughter”
“Oh. How old is she?”
“44”
“Oh… oh dear, that’s the same age as me” …said in the voice of one who was hoping to be told I was something silly and frivolous like 25 😉

The shoes were in the tow-float, by the way – the orange thing that was slightly irritatingly bouncing on my bottom for a lot of the swim, but is actually an awesome object for being visible, and for carrying stuff. The very nice Chillswim people make them.

Up the Dinosaur’s Back, 29th October

image Up the ‘Dinosaur’s Back’ to the top of Blencathra, with nieces/nephews, siblings/in-laws, and Mum who with hindsight may not have fully appreciated what she was getting into! Of such misjudgement are the best stories made. All back safe and sound. Not everyone is in the picture – this is as much as l could scribble in the moment, then a few outlines strengthened and shading added back at the cottage. image The other pic is Georgia, sketched from across a wide table when she was moving around all the time, which accounts for it not looking very much like her. For a 6 year old she can’t half scramble up mountains though!