Wild Swimming

RiverChristina here. There’s a lot of talk about wild swimming these days. It seems to be a recent concept, even though the practice is as old as time. The term just means swimming outside in a body of natural water – lakes, rivers, waterfalls or the sea. The main thing is that it isn’t man-made. The phenomenon is increasingly being romanticised (at least here in the UK) as it becomes more popular, with lots of people extolling the virtues of going back to natural bathing in this way. Perhaps because we were all shut in for so long during the pandemic, the freedom of swimming outdoors seems extra special. And I agree – it is!

Lake oneI’ve long been a huge fan of freshwater bathing in particular – I much prefer it to the briny sea, although I’ll happily swim anywhere. Unlike the ocean, though, the water in lakes and rivers isn’t salty so you end up feeling really clean and refreshed. There is no need for a shower afterwards and even your hair will be extra soft.

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Summer by the Sea

IMG_2789Nicola here talking about the summer holidays and the history of being beside the seaside. It’s the time of year in England when the schools are on holiday and as most people still aren’t able to travel abroad because of pandemic regulations, lots and lots of people are taking their holidays at home, particularly at the coast. The English weather being what it is, this is a risky occupation but a downpour of rain isn’t enough to put the hardy holidaymaker off! I can remember childhood holidays when the beach was so wet with rain coming down as well as the tide coming in that my sandcastles set like cement!

When I was a child (and I know that line makes me sound ancient) we took all our holidays at home, sometimes at the coast and sometimes in the countryside. Coming from Yorkshire, our favoured seaside resort was Scarborough on the east coast but we also visited family in Morecambe. In the 1920s and 30s my grandparents had been amongst the working-class crowds from Bradford who had taken their fortnight’s holiday at Morecambe. Here are my family enjoying an outing to the seaside in 1938!

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A Dip in the Pool of History

Nicola here! Last month we had a heatwave in England and now once again the hot weather is back, the grass has turned yellow and 220px-Tooting_Bec_Lido_20080724
there’s talk of banning the use of hosepipes. Our heat here (up to about 90 degrees Fahrenheit) is nothing though compared to the temperatures elsewhere in Europe and also across the world. It’s not something we’re equipped to deal with (no air con in most homes and other buildings) but at least as an island we have lots of lovely beaches and cool seas. I live as far away from the sea as it’s possible to do in England so I make do with the local swimming pool which is still very refreshing even though it’s a heated pool. Elsewhere in the country, the lidos – outdoor, unheated swimming pools – are becoming very popular again. It reminds me of the Spartan regime of my school swimming lessons which I always associate with the smell of wild garlic because they took place at an outdoor pool in the woods!

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