Bracing, that’s the word. Bracing. No it isn’t. Arctic. That’s a better word. Arctic, with a hint of polar.
It’s our villa’s swimming pool. So tempting after an hour or two on the Tuscan griddle, yet icy enough to cause all manner of breaths and oofs and oaths and screeches once the water tickles above the knees.
The trick is to get in and keep getting in until there’s no more in to get. Dangling a tentative foot, taking your time, easing yourself in, all these leave enough wiggle room for your body to talk you out of it.
Yesterday I managed fifteen lengths (the pool’s about 12m) before my body started shutting down inessential services and my fingers turned yellow (I have the circulation of the M25 on a bad day). Today I achieved twenty lengths, at least one of which was accompanied by a heat-seeking guided beetle of some kind. Not coincidentally that was a length swum freestyle. Bit of front crawl, bit of backstroke, bit of gay flap.
I doubt I’ll keep up this rate of progress. I am by no means a fast swimmer, despite my otter-like nature, and I think I’d be in danger of icing up after about 30 lengths. I don’t want to end my days a danger to shipping; or worse, Leonardo di Caprio.