This time I went straight for the "medium" swimmers lane, which only had 4 people in it, and managed 4 lengths before I had to stop for a breather. This is better than one length, which was my previous Record For Not Stopping.
Breath regained, I was on the verge of resuming the remaining 36 lengths I'd set myself when I was hailed from the fast lane. Looking round (and assuming from the tone of voice it was someone I knew), I was surprised to find a round bald face (well, technically it was a bald face with a bald head on top of it as I suppose most faces are bald unless they wear beards or mustaches, and that counts for women as well as I know only too well- although not from direct personal experience you understand) that I didn't know at all smiling cheerfully at me.
"Hello," he nodded. "How are you?"
"Fine thanks," I said, thinking he'd obviously mistaken me for someone else, which is easy to do when your hair is wet and you are wearing goggles. I pushed off from the deep end and was mid-stroke when he called out: "Do you swim for a club?"
Now, if you had ever witnessed my swimming you would know what a laughable suggestion that was. Otter-like in the water I am not. I've only just learnt that I can keep my eyes open underwater with goggles on and still see, for pity's sake, and (as we have already established), I have to pause for breath at the end of lengths and I wear a pink vest because I get cold.
I am also Too Old To Be Taken In By Flattery.
I once had a Real Live Stranger approach me in a shop, produce a bunch of flowers and ask me out. I thought he had perhaps escaped from the local asylum, but no, turns out he was a politician's son (which may be the same thing come to think of it). His line was "I think you are beautiful. Would you like to come out for a drink with me?" I looked round to see if any of his mates were sniggering behind the cheese aisle, but there was no one there. I was so impressed at the sheer audacity of it (I've always liked people with balls, metaphorically speaking) that I said yes. I was also secretly Rather Smug because I'd just got divorced and was mother to a young child and feeling a bit Scrap Heapy as a result, and he was six years younger than me. Tee Hee). The date was a complete and unmitigated Disaster, but that's not the important part of the story. I tell you this to illustrate that Frank Talking goes a lot further with me than Nonsense Flattery.
Going back to swimming, I think my face must have registered immediate suspicion because the Bald Man hurriedly added: "It's just that I've seen you in that Pink Top before."
Oh God (I thought), I've only been doing this a couple of weeks and I've already picked up a Swimming Pool Stalker.
Do swimming clubs stipulate the wearing of pink lycra tops? I don't think so. In all my time swimming in public pools I have never once seen anyone else wearing a pink lycra top.
I opened my mouth (and then closed it, because water nearly went in and I don't like it when that happens) so instead I mumbled something about feeling the cold, then fled before he could say anything else.
He wasn't going to give up that easily though. As mentioned before, he was in the fast lane (actually, he was in the fast crawl lane, which is like supersonic speed when compared to my Sedate Breast Stroke), and as I swam up to the shallow end, (enjoying the Correct Use Of Goggles), I witnessed a Frightening Sight. Which was a sizeable wobbling belly followed smartly by a pair of short stubby hairy legs slicing through the water (this sounds like a misnomer, but believe me, they sliced).
It was The Bald Man. He overtook me and was
But I was ready for him: I didn't make eye contact, turned round (holding the rope with wedding and engagement ring uppermost in what I hoped was a prominent display) and continued swimming. This nearly killed me, but it was worth it not to get trapped again talking about pink vests.
I completed my remaining 36 lengths needing fewer and fewer stops (how does that work?) and felt I'd got into a good rhythm and could have done 50 lengths (steady there girl). I swallowed no water (let's call it water please, even though my daughter insists it is mostly pee and sweat- Yuk) and also got none of it up my nose (unlike last time when my I got my Entire Hydration Quota For The Day from the pool).
I felt very virtuous, and had also observed the Bald Man chatting up at least three other women during my swimathon, which I felt rather relieved about as I thought it let me off the hook.
When I got to the showers he suddenly appeared beside me and started talking about my vest again! (I hasten to add, these were the rinse off showers, not the nudey ones- can you imagine!).
I mumbled something about poor circulation and then instantly regretted it as he settled down for a Nice Long Chat About Medical Things (why does this always happen to me? Do I give off Healer Vibes even when I am showering at the pool???). I made the mistake of prodding the shower button again just as he ran out of breath for talking, which meant I had to stand there for another few seconds because I couldn't waste the water. In rising desperation and to get him off medical things I asked him how many lengths he'd swum.
"Thirty six," he said proudly. And then added in a rather patronising voice "that's half a mile," just in case I wasn't married to a man who maps every exercise distance strictly and lets me know the conversion rate between km and m.
"HUH!" I thought (but I didn't say it), "I've done forty."
Luckily, the shower decided to run out at that point so I was able to make my escape, followed by (what by then sounded like) a rather chilling call of: "BYEEEEE! See you next time!"
Something must be wrong with me because I got home, changed into running kit and went straight out for a run. It must be all those endorphins.
This afternoon Mrs B came over for a walk. You'll remember Mrs B? She was the one whose daughter was having Flute lessons with the teacher who inveigled Mrs B into babysitting for her daughter at the same time for no money and no reduction in the flute lesson fee. At the time we were all Shocked To The Core about this and wondering what the outcome would be.
Well, I am happy to report that Mrs B has now kicked the teacher into touch and her daughter is having lessons with Someone Else.
And finally, onto moths.
The box last night yielded a Grand Total of ten.
Yes, that's TEN.
Ten Whole Moths, with six different species.
To put this in perspective, in the heady days of July and August it was not unusual to get upwards of 300 in the box of a night.
However, I am Not Complaining, 1) because I love moths and it is always a Joy To See Them regardless of numbers, and 2) because despite there only being ten in the box, four of them were of the same new species, Lunar Underwings, which have three distinct varieties, thus demonstrating how hard it can be to ID these little things. Two of the three varieties were present. They take my moth count to 287 different species this year. Will we reach 300 before 2014, that is The Question.
Here they are...
And then, giving an Excellent Demonstration of the Moth Ability To Play Dead...
"Oh My God! You've killed me!"
"No, actually I got that wrong. Turns out I'm perfectly fine"
Off to cook supper now and re-fuel after all that exercise.
Have a good evening all
ps- Hello to my Husband who is reading this on the train home! x