Saturday, 30 July 2011

Raving not drowning.....

Sometimes my blogs come easily and almost seem to write themselves. My tendency to attract bizarre incident, or my enjoyment of weird observation means I can literally hear words and sentences as events unfurl in front of me. At other times, I feel stuck in the mundane and have nothing to say of any consequence.

Due to the pressures of work and struggling with some kind of virus for a couple of weeks I've not felt much like writing. I've been suffering from a prolonged lurgy for nearly six weeks and despite two courses of antibiotics I was beginning to think I might never shake it. However, yesterday the clouds of illness began to clear and arriving back from London at around 3pm I decided I deserved to finish early for the week and would take an opportunity to go for a swim.

Mel and I joined David Lloyd in Cheadle a few weeks ago, which is probably half a mile from our apartment. It is expensive for a gym but we figured that would be more likely to make us go and so far that theory is holding up pretty well. My exercise of choice is swimming and the pool there really is great. I try to get up early and swim half a mile or occasionally go late at night when things quieten down a bit. On this occasion, I had no idea whether it would be busy or quiet.

The car park had loads of spaces which is rarely the case. As I walked through reception it did seem quieter than normal though the outdoor pool was full of kids enjoying a bit of rare sunshine with their parents. I say enjoying they were screaming their heads off but I think thats the same thing.

After a quick change I walked through to the pool to find it completely empty. I've never seen this before and made a mental note that stealing an hour in the afternoon would be a great time to take a swim.

Due to the aforementioned lurgy my swimming opportunities have been a little limited over the last few weeks but I was soon back in my stride and had completed twenty lengths in no time at all. I noticed the pool attendant placing a CD Player on a small table at the side of the pool and a couple of old people getting into the pool. I carried on about my business but on my return length I noticed a few more senior citizens loitering around the pool. By the time I had finished another length there was a massive gathering of grey hair, milling around, spilling into the pool and speaking in hushed tones . I stopped to investigate and was struck by the feverish, wide eyed expressions on their faces. They started to pile into the pool whipping the water into a white foam as they strode through the pool like a herd of antelope crossing an alligator infested river.

The crowd was predominantly female but with a few old men scattered throughout looking slightly awkward but equally enthusiastic. They started to take positions and one or two were limbering up and I could feel anticipation building. A slick of floral perfume and deep heat was now skating across the surface of the water and I could taste it strongly with each stroke to the point where I had to give up my swim and simply watch.

The excitement built further and their eyes became focused on the entrance to the pool, the limbering up became more frenetic. A few innocent swimmers came into the pool , took one look at the gaggle of OAP's, turned on their heels and left again.

Suddenly their moment arrived, the door opened and the minciest man I have ever seen came catapulting through the door in a green leotard charging down one side of the pool. The golden throng were ecstatic, clapping and cheering as he flounced his way around the pool and toward the CD Player. He acknowledged his parish and theatrically bent down to press play on the CD Player. Three seconds of silence only served to rebuild tension until suddenly the music burst into life as KC and the Sunshine Band advised everyone to celebrate good times. The instructors adoring public didn't need asking twice, they were on their toes and off before you could say 'oh for gods sake' and I realised that this aqua aerobics class was a regular fixture. These people knew the drill, for the next hour this was their pool and there was no song too cheesy for them.

The instructor was also in his pomp. Strutting like a deranged cat he prowled up and down the side of the pool making eye contact with each of his subjects and throwing me a look that made it clear that this was now his manor and I was on it.

His dancing and instruction was simply unbelievable, simultaneously feeding instruction and demonstrating the action with a face so serious that I suddenly burst out laughing. It was made clear to me by his congregation that it was not a laughing matter. They reciprocated his seriousness and mirrored his showy dance movements hampered only by the resistance of water and the flexibility of their ageing joints.

I was literally transfixed, I've never seen anything like it. The music went from terrible to unforgivable in no time at all and I quickly realised there would be no more swimming for me. The instructor was in full flight now though and was stood right next to the pool exit. I decided to make my way over there and time my exit to make minimum fuss. However, just as I completed that thought the instructor decided to mark the end of Van Halens 'Jump' with a leap on the spot. Which would have been perfectly fine were he not at the side of a pool and wearing trainers, he landed and skidded in one action, attempted to catch himself from falling on a hand rail and ended up on his arse. However being the true professional that he is he rolled over and back onto his feet just in time to seamlessly start dancing to Joan Jett and the Blackhearts 'I love rock n roll'.

His adoring public barely seemed to notice though I did see a few people turn round the other way presumably to stifle their laughter. I did no such thing and let out an almighty belly laugh as I exited the pool. I scampered for the exit and resolved never to chance a daytime swim again during the week.


  1. I note you can even buy those foam 'woggles' (as they call them) in the pound shop now... because they really help with aqua-aerobics don't they...

    Thanks for the heads up about not popping down to David Lloyd - I feel it'd age you 30 years as soon as you stepped in the door!

    You will now note you have a pop up ad down the page advertising 'Swim At Home' know those ones which are 6 ft x 3 ft and you don't even get anywhere...

  2. I saw that ad, it's always the way that each post encourages the most inappropriate ads.

    I have now obtained a timetable for the aqua aerobics classes and also ear and nose plugs to prevent me accidentally imbibing fleur-de-fleur perfume from the surface of the pool.

  3. And did you really take their photos!! Do tell!!
    Another good laugh!

  4. No I'm not brave enough I'm afraid Viv though I might do so in the future if I pluck up enough courage.....they probably wouldn't even notice!

  5. Like being trapped in Cocoon.. Thank Christ Steve Guttenberg didn't show up...