I got up at the normal time and treated myself to poached eggs on a ciabatta roll. I needed a decent breakfast today as I was off to the cold-water swimming championships at Tooting lido.


Cate gave us a lift to tooting, this saved messing around with trains, timetables and other complications. It had threatened to rain but the treat receded. Even so the chances of the water warming up from 1.5 degrees was quite remote.

First Event

My first event was the 90-meter freestyle. I worked my way round the briefing, changes and holding stations being guided my marshals all the way. The whole event is really well organised and the processing for each race is undertaken with clockwork precision. There was a woman with a camera by the side of the pool, she asked me for a reaction when I entered the water, I told her that that would be easy. Then she asked me not to swear, I told her that that would be much harder. When instructed, I slipped into the water. This was a new level of cold, a deep bone penetrating cold that moved all the air from my lungs in one big yell. The first two widths slipped by but I faded on the third. The cold grabbed my ankles and slowed me down. I was so happy to get out.

Second event

This time I was prepared for the cold, this was just a dash to the other end. I was still a little chilled from the first event but that didn’t stop me trying to give it my all. I came in my usual position of not last. After leaping out of the pool I headed to the hot tub via a drink of hot Ribena. I’ve not had hot Ribena since the last time I was here. In these conditions, it tastes like nectar. I lingered in the hot tub a little longer than was strictly necessary

Third event

I’m rubbish at breast stroke. I I raced myself I would come last, that is how bad I am. I’d entered the head up breast stroke just to be a part of the event and for the hats. You are encouraged to wear a hat for this event. The bigger and more outrageous the better. Mine was a pathetic effort compared to some of the others. I came last, I didn’t care, I was wearing a hat.


There was a long gap between the head up breast stroke and my next event so I took advantage of the hog roast stall. They were selling massive pulled pork sandwiches, dripping with apple sauce and topped with crackling. This was food heaven as far as I was concerned. All the major food groups were ignored in one sandwich.


The last event was the relay. We had a team uniform for this. Cate had found some garish fish scale leggings for us to wear and she had a matching swimsuit. We topped the whole ensemble with the most hideous latex unicorn head. There were many comments. Time and Cate swam with the head, it made navigation “interesting” as they couldn’t see out of it. The marshals apricated our efforts.


Tom and Cate had to dash off, I bought a print to remind myself of the event and Tim filled himself with pulled pork and waited for the presentations. Once Tim had got his medal we headed for the train station. The hailstorm hit the second after we entered the station we took this a s a sign and missed the train we intended to take by seconds.


I got home and sat on the sofa. The heating was on but I felt cold and tired. The hungers hit and I started a rampage through the kitchen. Soup was defrosted, tins were opened jam was slavered on corn cakes. Nothing would satisfy the hungers. Eventually the need for sleep overcame the need to eat.


I woke up on the sofa in the early hours and dragged myself to bed. I was still hungry but needed sleep more.


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