Friday, 14 March 2008

Open Season?

Today we've had the kind of early spring weather that might beguile the brave and the foolish to test the waters of the Granta; today, I spent trawling charity shops for a fancy dress costume - the theme is Wes Anderson, and I shall attend as a Tenenbaum.

Let me tell you about yesterday - when it rained, when the weather was grey, and when Ema and I decided to go running. The plan was to cycle out to Granchester meadows, run to Granchester and cycle back - I can't at this point in time remember WHY we were going running, so don't ask. Just before we pulled out of New Hall, however, I noticed that my back tyre was very flat. Again I forget precisely why, but we decided that, having not run in about a year, we should just go all the way to Granchester, on foot, from there. We did admirably well - by the time we reached the second meadow, Ema's left ankle, my right, her left knee, my right, were complaining rather loudlym or at least inducing us to do so. And then Ema, bright spark, piped up:

"We should have just gone swimming, you know."

Pause. A beat. Me:

"Do you want to?"

We headed back to the swimming hole, running to keep as warm as possible before we got there. Speed seemed important: the longer we took, the more time we had to talk ourselves out of it. We stripped to our underwear, eliciting cheery waves and side-long glances from dog-walkers, cyclists etc. I jumped in, landing up to my knees in slime and up to my neck in the coldest water I have felt since the Alaska Strait. Ema jumped in. I was laughing maniacally - so cold, so far from able to feel my skin, so very, very happy. We swam - Ema breast-stroking as I beat out a spidery crawl in an attempt to get some kind of circulation going - about half way round the first bend up-stream (I wasn't going to risk cramping and getting dragged into the deeper water toward the Newnham Riverbank Club) before we had to emerge.

There is nothing like the feeling of the wind on your body after a swim. It is so warm and, in a strange way, soft. Rain water broke more or less unnoticed on our strange pink all-over raincoats. We walked back along the grass and it wasn't until we stood still to change that my foot, cut very slightly climbing out, actually warmed up enough to bleed. We walked back to Newnham in running gear and wet hair (mine hanging down, hairband bandaging foot)to beg a can of coke from Alison and stay the risk of Weils disease - of which I continue, in Deakin's memory, to be terrified.

Back up to my house for curry and cake.

I don't think I'll return for a week or two - it couldn't have been more than fourteen degrees - but it all felt very wild, and very beautiful. Spring is here, and I have high hopes for the season.


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