Thursday, 19 September 2013

Getting Chatted Up At Swimming, An Update On Mrs B's Flute Dilemma, and Moth Numbers Are Falling :-(

I was in the pool by 8.40, having dropped L at school and then spent ten minutes sitting in a stationary motorway queue behind a boy racer (who thought both he and his car were a good deal cooler than they actually were). He insisted on revving his engine every few seconds even though we clearly weren't going anywhere. Did he think it would intimidate the folks in front to Hurry Up? (more likely he was making sure the engine of his car was still there and hadn't dropped out). 

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 lurking waiting when I reached the other end.

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...

 Lunar Underwing

Lunar Underwing

Lunar Underwing

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"

Dusky Thorn

 Rosy Rustic

Rosy Rustic

Off to cook supper now and re-fuel after all that exercise.

Have a good evening all

CT :-)

ps- Hello to my Husband who is reading this on the train home! x


  1. I can't abide lurkers of any sort - especially wet ones with hairy bits hanging out. It's bad enough being in a semi-nudey vulnerable swimming pool situation as it is, let alone being forced into conversation with a semi-nudey lurker. I think you should take immediate measures to dissuade this damp type. I am thinking a pair of housebricks and some strategic slamming together thereof. But then I am running out of oestrogen, so am not feeling particularly disposed towards lurkers at the moment.

    My own lurker was the mother of a child who was in the same year as my daughter at school. One day, after we had dropped our respective sprogs at school, she followed me home and some how ended up inside my kitchen drinking coffee. Took me more than 10 years to shake her off, and even nowadays (my daughter is 25) this woman still tracks me down occasionally on the interwebbly and tries her cunning stalking ways again. I use the aloof disinterested method to dissuade her. My life is too short to be sucked back into her needy ways again.

    Arm yourself, me deario - can one buy purchase tasers??

    1. Do tasers work under water? Presumably if not they will work in a shower. I can see I shall have to get a different colour vest to fool him.

      Goodness, your stalker is remarkably persistent. Do you think if you subjected her to a blast of low oestrogen induced grumpiness she might back off permanently?

  2. What a nightmare! I have a female lurker that traps me for an hour at a time in the street telling me, in excruciating detail, every awful aspect of her life. I try and hide now, or walk very fast with a purpose, glancing at my watch. Not as bad as one of the opposite sex though, and there's no getting away from someone in a pool....

    1. People just don't take the polite "I don't really want to talk to you" hint do they, so you end up having to be rude just to get some peace. I did feel a bit vulnerable standing there in my cozzy in the shower with a strange man overly insistent about chatting to me!

  3. Oh dear, this baldy chap sounds rather intimidating! The swimming pool isn't really a very appropriate place to strike up lengthy medical conversations! I do hope he desists!

    1. I can see I am going to have to be brusque if it happens again. "Pools are for swimming in, showers are for showering in. Neither is for chatting," I shall say, and then phone my husband to come and rescue me :-)

  4. Hi CT That was hilarious reading although for you not nice at all. I think you do not know your great magnatisim!!! Hope it works out next time. Loved seeing the moths

    1. ....Or he thought I looked so shabby I couldn't possibly be married and would jump at the attention....

      Dear Old Moths, I never tire of them :-)

  5. A hilarious story, though perhaps a little creepy, I didn't know people like that actually existed in the 21st century :-)

    10 moths is similar to the number I was recording back in April but like you say it is more than compensated for by a variety of species, especially if one of them is a new one.

    1. I think perhaps the kindest interpretation is that he was a man with little social awareness. Chatting to women showering in their swimming costumes when they are complete strangers to you is slightly odd behaviour.

      I've just found a Buff Tip caterpillar on the patio- have you seen one before? They are HUGE- 60mm

  6. Hilarious tale about the swimming pool stalker but very sad and creepy :( People like this never seem to take the hint. A similarly bald customer assistant in a chain store I occasionally visit always tries to "chat me" up - shudder!! Son and daughter think its hilarious but at least I can escape as he is usually trapped behind a till :)

    Love the Lunar Underwing. Must get my trap out this weekend with warmer weather forecast and more importantly dry weather. Had so much overnight rain last few weeks trap has been unused.

    1. It's funny how many of us seem to have had this experience- are we right in assuming them to be stalky/ lurky types, or does it mean we're just anti-social?! I think anything that makes you feel uncomfortable probably isn't healthy. Hoping NOT to see this man again!

      I loved the more complex patterns on the second and darker LUW. Had never seen them before. Not sure how often my trap will be out now- starting college on Monday which may limit time.

  7. Really not appropriate to be chatted up whilst exercising...even worse that he pursued you in the shower! However it made very entertaining reading for a Saturday morning.

    1. I know- creepy! I'm trying to think charitably but it's not really working :-)


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them. CT.