Swimming for Putney-Holborn Oasis
Xmas is a bummer. Party, party. And then some more. Yesterday it was lunch in Lambs Conduit Street with the two lawyers and the journalist. Ok that’s cool , before I can slip in a swim at the Oasis on the edge of Covent Garden and Bloomsbury.
This is fine and dandy because this is an outdoor heated pool. Not quite on the Russian thermal scale but not bad for the centre of the city. £5.30 a bit more than most but that OK, the changing room has Sky News. Just what you need, another rerun of our bombing raid on IS. Come on lads, we are bombing the shit out of them and they haven’t surrendered yet, the critters.
But I’m here for a swim. There is an indoor pool-but who is that for? In the wind its 10 degrees not even my Bondi Iceberg speedos can warn me up. But soon I have walked the walk and I am in the pool. 26 thats Ok but swimming crawl means the body is some in part out the water. It takes some getting used to, But I’m off,it’s a 27 meter pool. And soon I am in the groove. Three lanes because there were only three swimmers in it, I go in the fast lane.
The life guard is so cold he just sits there all wrapped up and obviously as shivering and miserable as a pigeon in a gale. What would happen if he had to save someone. With all those clothes on, no chance.
But after 30 lengths there is a change of guard. A lady with a fine mane of hair. She immediately comes to the end and tells me I am too slow for the fast lane. This I have known for some time. All around the concrete blocks of the 1950s housing and the basic offices close in on a dull day
This is all a far cry from David Hockney’s West Coast pools with their perfect boys and dream design,a long way from hotel pools in Bangkok and Hong Kong where the blue sky and matching water with babes who lunch make for some kind of fantasy. Here its old ladies , chunky guys and the architecture of East Berlin.. This is not summer in the city,this is winter, but hey, when you swim for Putney, home of champions, this is what you do.