Sunday, 29 July 2007

DUBLIN : First Time.

July 28.

Jorney et cetera. Bus-Plane-Bus-Small Bus. Same as journeys always are, but with more pressure to SPEND. Was secretly quite glad we don't have any money - one in the eye for the capitalists...

Arrived at Jenny's (Holly's WONDERFUL ma who is an absolute godsend, a thing of beauty and a joy forever...) in the afternoon. She let us make sandwiches, and took us down to SEA POINT, which is right by her house. Tide out. Paddled. Played in rock-pool. Found ENORMOUS shrimp, which I wanted to cook for dinner. G&J were less certain - apparentlu, Dublin Bay's, like, not completely clean or something. Who knew? Jenny insited G and I get our Togs on (swimwear uniformally known as "togs" here it seems) and Get Out There. Gloria christened her new wetsuit. We waded. We flopped. We splashed. We tried to swim. Cold and calm - fifteen degrees?Tide in-coming. FUlly-dressed man with green umbrella and the bottom of his trousers rolled paddled. Gloria thought he was "looking for poems", I thought he looked like what Vettriano would paint, if Vettriano were any good.

That night, we had Chocolate Malts ad Eddie Rocket's and Gloria laughed and made a note when I said I wished I were blonde, it were the fifties and she were a man.

I make a point of doint my wishing in the conditional tense.

July 29th.

(My notes about today are LONG. I don't have long on the hostel computer. I'm editing as fast as I can...)

Quite a day. Up early after early night. "The sea air makes sleeping incredibly sweet" - Diane Cluck, Monte Carlo. That is my song. "Oh the green wothe botheth": Stephen Daedalus' song, if you recall, and our first swim of the day was under Joyce's tower, now a (closed, it's Sunday) museum in his memory.

FORTY FOOT. (Sandy Cove. Dun Loaghaire - pronounced "Leary". who knows why?)

Rocks, steps with hand rails, used to be gentlemen only, now lets the likes of us in (at swim, two birds?). Joyce's "Scrotum Tightening" water. Gloria prepares for cold with a wetsuit. I prepare by sunbathing before making the descent. GLORIA IS CLEVERER THAN ME. There are a lot of people in, though where the waves grash against the under-water shelf that I believe gives Forty Foot its name, there is a sucking whirlpool.

We get in, Jenny watching so brave faces all round! I strike out towards a flag, but turbulence from the Dun Loaghaire ferry makes turning back advisable; after it has gone down a little, I talk to a local Diving Man about where it might be advisable to jump off a rock. He tells me. I chicken out. Then I see a small boy manage it, and my jaw sets.... Three. Two. One. I am reminded of Gorge Du Verdun, Blue Pool on Welsh Camp, even Mirror Lake, and every other jump in between. There is a wordless moment between jumping and hitting the water. Oh, adrenaline! Jenny took a photo of me in mid-air, which I'll get up as soon as I can : it doesn't look quite as slick as it felt...

Back at SEA POINT. Jenny has lived there since, I think, 1992, but today was the first day she got in! I went in with her while Gloria stayed by the bags, the idea being that we would operate a kind of tag-team. As Jenny got to knee-deep, she announced that she could no longer feel her legs - I have stopped noticing this phenomena, but I becam aware, when she said it, that it was true... I favour a fast entry myself, diving where possible, so I waited to see (I wrote sea!) her safely submerged before heading for the jetty on the other side of the bay-cove-thing. Around halfway across, I became aware of what I was feeling in this incredibly buoyant water. If I stayed on the surface, I could feel the Sun warm on my skin through the cold water! I swam crawl until my triceps hurt, breast-stroke until the burn was gone, then crawl again, and so on. Nearing the jetty, I saw a man in his sixties set out on a surf-board. The people of Dun Loaghaire are incredibly hardy, and their blood appears to be largely sea water : I wasn't the only one swimming these epic lengths accross the bay, but I believe I was the only one finding it difficult! I got out on the jetty and looked back to where I'd come from, attempting to communicate to Gloria, who worries about such things, that I was still alive. I realised at this point that I was overwhelmingly hungry, and the fastest way to lunch was back across the bay...

Gloria joined me as I neared the changing beach (and I must describe the changing shelters better later, or perhaps I'll leave that to Gloria, who is better with adjectives than me...), and she remarked on something I have been thinking about : In the sea, you have to play. If you try to be serious with it, it hits you in the face.

Once or twice in my life, I have been more tired and more hungry than I was emerging from the sea today. Alongside this, however, I was pink and exhilarated, and aware that I was stronger than I had thought - or more determined, at least... I discovered that a kilometre is rather further in the sea than the pool, especially when you're trying to swim quickly so nobody worries!

There are many things I haven't talked about, but I have made a note of some of them, and saved them for later... Cormorants and didused lidos in particular!

Tomorrow: Galway, Connemara, and camping!

Until I get to a computer again,



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