Wednesday, 14 July 2010


Somehow, in between writing things for the student blog, struggling with novel rewrites, conscripting short stories for potential publication, reading far too much per month, household inanities and various outside activities, this blog has been NEGLECTED!

I was planning a post on the recent Stuart Kelly book launch, but
here is a more interesting one, and here is another more interesting one, and here is a further more interesting one. I suppose, then, I must turn to the topic du jour: swimming.

I have recently been reintroduced to swimming pools after a year-long absence. My feelings about swimming are mixed. Well, mostly I hate it. The Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh went and closed itself down for a whole two years, meaning
Mrs Quiddity and I had to use a nearer and cleaner pool instead. Fume!

The first complaint. Being a spectacle wearer, I resent having to remove my glasses to partake in watery larks. Pools have forever been a hazy blur to me, even darker beneath my goggles, and I am prone to bumping into people. I have no intention of wearing contact lenses, as two thin sheets of glass that close to my actual eye is a repulsive idea. Repulsive!

There are other causes for complaint. Parading around in a pair of swimming shorts in full view of the general public. Showering with the general public. Coming up against other people’s semi-naked bodies. Wearing locker keys on my wrist that chafe. Swimming itself: it is exhausting! Getting my hair wet. Getting into cold water that doesn’t get warmer. Having to get out of the way when athletic swimming Adonises barrel past. Getting splashed by rowdy children. Swallowing four pints of chlorine. Need I go on?

I have given Mrs Q an unfair ride with my complaints. I am unbearable to live with at best, but swimming has pushed me into the realms of the intolerable, and for this I apologise. (Both to Mrs Q and to the poor sods reading this). But swimming is a tough sell for me. When I was a nipper, I had fun retrieving items from the pool bottom, but as a grownup, you just look like a ten-dollar berk (which hasn’t stopped me, but this new pool has less room to toss in).

In the meantime, I plan to go along for relaxing paddles with my glasses ON, when there aren’t too many people around. The hope is that it centres me as human being and lifts me to a new plateau of understanding. Failing that, it will shrink my genitals to a more acceptable size.

Have a wet afternoon!


  1. Art thou King?

    Swimming is gold, though. I love wet hair. Not so much shrunk genitals. And definitely not the combination. But my afternoon was fairly wet.

  2. Who is this King of which you speak? I've never even been to Gjøvik.

    Give me a quiet pool late at night, or preferably early in the morning, and I'm there.

  3. I'm right there with you. Water is so wet. And swimming in it is pointless. Where exactly do these people think they're going? They get to one end of the pool and then come back, and then they swim back to the other side just to come back again. Indecision? I can't get my land-loving head around it.

  4. to: NOT the King of Gjøvik *cough*

    Nearer and cleaner?! The shame!

    So, here's how you begin to enjoy swimming. You go somewhere that you can be COMPLETELY naked in stead of HALF naked. You will feel to smooth, slippery slide of water over all those neglected parts and rejoice that swimming is the best activity EVER. If you can find somewhere to swim in something carbonated, all the better.

  5. The Mexican Gulf sounds like a good place to start. I hear there is a lot of carbon in oil.

  6. Yes! Let us swim in champagne! Near the Mexican Gulf!

  7. How can I not respond to this as I teach kids to swim!
    Swimming is boring. Cold water is nasty.
    Being able to swim opens up safer boat rides, snorkelling, diving, windsurfing, jetskiing and lots of other goodies.

    All - of course- done somewhere far warmer than cold old England, Scotland or Wales!

    Only masochists swim in cold countries.

  8. Quite right, Mike. Though there is always an excuse with me. Fish, salt water, seaweed, whatever. I should run an "excuses" hotline.

  9. Mrs Q says - you mean FIDGE.