Wednesday, 30 May 2007

A Dry Spell.

Exams. Must avoid sneezing in them. Jesus Green pool is open. I have not been in yet.

Which makes me do This:


Over in a week.



Monday, 21 May 2007

Diane Cluck.

And the three lonely things poking up from the water
are her nipples and her nose as she floats on her back
And the sand is deserted except for me standing
I stand as the landmark to keep her on track
So the ocean wont pull her away

-'Monte Carlo', Diane Cluck.

In the water yesterday I sang this at Gloria because it was true.

And she says she didn't get any presents...


My Birthday

The sun was (almost) out. The college gardens were beautiful. Present: Jordan and Iona. Presents: none. Even though it was my birthday. My 22nd. Back in the eleven times table and feeling groovy.

The water was, for the second time this year, like cool balm. Breaststroke, backstroke, whirled marbly clouds, lying completely still and calm on my back trying to remember King Lear. Failing. Throwing and catching Charles Olson quotations across the pool with Jordan. 'An epic that refutes epic!'

Tell you? Hah! How should I tell you
how to manage the swimming?

And ineffable wet bliss moments. And Jordan in Snoopy pyjamas. And Iona being a beautiful diver. And then apple tart and arguments.

So.... Ireland.

Saturday, 12 May 2007


I must swim tomorrow. I have had a Slight Cold - little more than the odd sneeze, but with so much work to do just now, getting ill is not viable. I am rather bored of terra firma.


Wednesday, 9 May 2007

I did the double today - an hour of Parkside Pool and twenty minutes at Emmanuel. I think something should be said about indoor swimming arrangements in Cambridge. Parkside is, as public swimming pools go, rather nice (though Jordan disagrees, her preferred adjective being, I believe, 'scummy'). It is always clean, and has Slow, Medium and Fast lanes (and I would just like to point out here that it isn't the speed, but the quality of the swimming which counts). I like the fact that it is public, and thus All Sorts of people swim there (Even people who aren't Cambridge students! How novel!), or don't swim there, as in the case of a Larger Lady last week who just stood at the shallow end of the slow lane, looking rather upset.

Ah, Parkside, full of the complex politics of overtaking, variable speeds and styles and accidental thigh-stroking. I have been going once a week with the superfit Chris, who does breaststroke like he's trying to outrun a torpedo, since October. Until about February, 7am means DARK. In deepest winter, 8am is still struggling. Swimming in what feels like the middle of the night, in a box of light and water and wood and splash, is not unpleasant, but does feel very artificial and therefore rather Wrong, and I am glad for the coming of British Summer Time and the edging of our tilt towards the sun.

It is, however, becoming something of a social hub. Today saw three friends, two acquaintances and one ex-supervisor. This is too much. There is something galling about being lapped by someone you love: even more galling is to be lapped by someone who taught you everything you know about French versification. It's also quite warm, giving people license to swim incredibly fast (there were some butterflyers this morning - something I very much frown upon.). Water should be COLD. It should be something to fight against, and then conquer, enjoying it softly yielding etc etc, but never quite yielding, always with some trick up its sleeve. You understand me.

To this end: Emmanuel. Pool opening times have been extended, and Eddy and I plopped in just after three, in light rain. Lucy, attendant beneath umbrella, read us Petrachian sonnets in the original. Roger Deakin writes well in 'Waterlog' about how every swimming experience is different, even down to the yield and texture of the water on different days. This was certainly the case today. Tickled by drizzle, the water felt less solid to get into, and looser. After a length of us whooping with cold, it was sure, steady breaststroke and backstroke for a good quarter of an hour. I cannot breaststroke in Parkside - it's boring - but in Emma pool you can see the waves your arms create breaking over and over into the pattern of back and forth peaks and troughs you set in motion when you jumped in. Steady beats in that unsteady surface. Arms smoothing. I became almost hypnotised.

Realising we were frighteningly warm, we got out and headed home for tea and baklava.

As I write, it is 6pm, the rain is pouring down and I'm rather tempted to go in again.

(Jordan has a cold, but will be fully operational, I trust, tomorrow).


Tuesday, 8 May 2007

We have booked our flights.

They are not wet or cold

We hope

We fly July the 28th!


Sunday, 6 May 2007

In Honour Bound...

I have a friend who is tied to the code of the A.F.N, or "All F***ing Night". The principle is simple: he will receive a message stating a place, followed by those three portentous letters. He must then make his way to the specified endroite by as close as possible to noon on the next day; there follows twelve hours of drinking. Yesterday, he jumped ship mid-afternoon, and headed from Cambridge to, I think, Camden. I have yet to hear from him.

I, likewise, seem to be honour bound. I must drop everything when one of my friends (and the only people for me are the mad ones, quoth Kerouac) sends me one simple word: "swim?". So it is that at quarter to seven on a warm but distinctly overcast evening in early May I am heading to meet Blackbenz, Blair and Braude, to submerge myself in the Granta.

It is a Sunday, afterall. What better time for worship?

Aqua Vitae. Uisce Beathe.




Tuesday, 1 May 2007


"Aaaaaahhhh. Aaaagh. AAAAAGH!"


"wowowowowowow!" (possibly "owowowowow!")

"my... balls are... walnuts."

(Things people shout when jumping into Emmanuel College pool.)

* * *

Made it down early this morning! Gloria, Eddie, Lucy, Ben and I.

Lucy's ill so she went inside and came back with tea for when we got out.

First time I've been in in the mornings - 8.45 isn't a time I normally register - but am feeling rather wonderful about the day now.