There was this post about the cold water challenge three of us set ourselves in September: Could we swim in the open air unheated pool without wetsuits through the winter? Then last week, the Beast from the East dropped the temperature and raised the question could we rise to the ultimate challenge in the snow?
The air temperature was minus three, the water was one degree but both the pool and sky were an inviting blue.
For those that asked, no the changing cubicles are not heated and are open to the elements. But this helps – you get acclimatised and your core remains constant. Strangely the two moments of biggest shock are when you’re changing into a cozzie on the cold concrete floor(why-the-f***-am-I-doing-this-I-must-be-mad) to when you’re changing back again from a soaking wet swimsuit and you’re feeling fine – your whole perception of temperature and what cold is has changed – it is literally mind altering, though it helps that there is a sauna to run to to warm up for a good twenty minutes, but you’re still walking around in the wet in silly temperatures..it’s a large pool.
Oh how we laugh in the face of adversity!
The temperature categories for cold water swimming are anything above five degrees is cold water, five degrees and below is ice water. This was the first time we’d actually swum with ice.
Sophie heading in – there’s no hanging around – commitment is the name of the game.
Adding a little bit more magic to a special day: The life guard serenading our swim!
We only effing did it!
If you’d told me in the summer that this is what we’d be doing in the snow, I’d never have believed you. But this bonkers, wonderful, incredible experience has steadily proved that anything is possible: You don’t have to be the best, the fastest, or the winner…you just have to do it. And preferably with a great mate.
Laters, Kate x
This school year and certainly the start of 2018 has been tainted by the unavoidable: Our eldest facing the horror of Year 6 secondary school exams. A hideous time and one of the horrible consequences of living in London where there are too many children chasing too few places.
As a parent you can make the decision whether to join the pressure party or take a more fatalistic approach – for many reasons, our choice is the later. But even the choice of a relaxed attitude is not without it’s mental fuck ups: Guilt, doubt, even fear – We chose this school route for them – nobody put a gun to our heads – and when the kids are lining up to go into another exam it’s not easy to stand firm against a serious onslaught of questioning anxiety.
A shining light during this time has been our weekly cold water swims at the open air lido in Tooting. Started at the beginning of September as a conscious way to replicate and appreciate what the kids were going to go through, it was meant as a challenge – could the three of us swim through the year without wetsuits? We’ve watched the saturated colours of summer turn to the stark realisation of winter, leaves turn and mists fall.
We kept going, even when it meant swimming in the sea in October.
Each week is the unspoken question – is this the week we fail?
And each week, as we emerge newly pink it’s like we’ve been fitted with a new coat of bespoke armour ready to face the world: Bulletproof mate, bulletproof.
It’s been a joy, a pleasure, life affirming and life saving.
I swear our blood is a different colour now.
Laters, Kate x