Last Friday, due to a use-it-or-lose-it day off I decided on a day trip to Chester. Three trains, a place I’d not been to before (other than aged twelve, of which I’ve very little memory) and a little online research revealed the existence of Chester City Baths. Built in 1901, looking like an interesting building and with a pair of open swimming pools.
I enjoyed the journey there, mainly because of my phone, the 4G and Twitter. Going on a solo trip is not what it was, there’s always someone to talk to, someone liking your photos or saying ‘Have a great day!’ Thanks Andy, Stella, Ewan, Frances, Dom and Wendy.
I did walk most of the walls in the rain, I went in a café for a cup of tea and a pair of real-buttered crumpets just because I wanted to use their toilet. It was ‘dog friendly’ (the café not the toilet) but not that welcoming to a person. A man came in with a dog. It was welcomed and fussed over. It sat under a table nearby and gave off its doggie-fumes. I’m allergic to all dogs except FlashDogs so I left.
I walked on until I found the pool. Having a map of the world right down to every street corner in the palm of your hand is the best. It was still only half eleven. I’m such an early bird. I went inside and there was man mopping the floor. He told me the Atlantic didn’t open till twelve and that was lane swimming but the Pacific was open now. These pools sound massive! I paid my four pounds (it was seven-fifty in Ilkley so that seemed like a bargain) and was shown the way.
There were a fair few swimmers already in and a row of changing cubicles each side.
‘Just leave your stuff in the cubicle, it’s perfectly safe.’
Of course it was. I changed quickly and got in.
Swimming in a strange town what seems like a long way from home is weird. Then, once in the water you feel like you’re even further. Instead of keeping your rucksack, with everything in it, in sight, phone in pocket, etc … suddenly, you leave everything behind. Purse, train ticket, phone, flat keys, all your clothes, the lot.
I think I have security issues. It’s the thought of being stranded in a strange town in nothing but a damp swim dress. Why would this happen? One of those times you have to give yourself a talking to.
As I swam I was trying to work out how many lengths of a 19m pool I need to swim to equal a hundred in a 15m one. I needed my phone or at least pen and paper for that kind of calculation. In the end I did 73 lengths, which is 91 in my VVV pool. All swimming. No opportunity for walking the pool as the deep end was 6ft 4.
It was busy but I felt okay about taking my place among the regulars. They all waved to each other as they came in. The ‘over heards’ were great. I remembered some for Twitter later …
Two men pottering up & down the pool talking about scurvy, Liverpool and ‘Have you heard from Mackenzie about the post office? He still thinks it won’t happen.’
‘If it’s a monkey it’s Tony and if it’s a baboon it’s Bob.’
A woman who thought it was a good thing to leave your costume on a hot radiator so it went all baggy and you thought you’d lost weight. Nowt like a baggy costume, is there?
‘All my whisky’s been hidden.’
And some I can’t remember.
At the end of this four day weekend I realised I’d swum 332 lengths, done Zumba and Aqua Fit classes, cycled six miles and walked about five. Sounds such a lot. I find exercise so easy these days, I have so much energy that it didn’t feel like I did much at all. Amazing! #TheImpossibleThing