Every time I head to my local lido I have a completely different experience. There are so many variables; who you are with, weather, water temperature, skin v suit, open to public, personal mood etc. I can’t handle the cold (I’m getting better… Slowly!) so whereas I have my South London SC Lido membership for year round use (it is open 365!) I normally start swimming there end of April/beginning of May.
I spend my winters moaning to Katie that I can’t wait to get back outside and then I spend my summers hoping for bad weather so the lido isn’t over run with joe public. However, I always remember without these glorious days, where the queue trails to the car park, the bouncers (yes they have bouncers.. We are still in toots!) earn their wage and sun tan lotion clouds the water, SLSC members wouldn’t be able to swim there whenever we please.
Tooting Bec Lido Summer 2014
Nothing beats that early May swim when the water burns your face and you feel like you are part of the most exclusive club in the world.
Then comes the public, who are foolishly optimistic about the temperature. A hot June day results in crowds, who often don’t realise that a 25 air temperature doesn’t mean equal water temperature. The below was Katie (spot her if you can) swimming in the lido all on her own on a glorious sunny evening, whilst me and Brian shivered (water temperature was only 14) on the side lines and drank tea (actually B only drinks hot Ribena) and listened to 3 regulars playing guitars and singing. Glorious.
Come August the water temperature is up (currently at 21, which is still the coolest in London) and the people of SW17 love it. A sunny weekend summer day means avoiding the lido until the kids are worn out and have eaten too much ice cream and the water is similar to a glass of warm milk. Heading down at around 5/6 still gives you a couple of hours of swimming and is the perfect way to delay the Sunday night ‘Monday is coming’ blues. Try it…you won’t regret it.
September… How we love you, how we hate you. That time of year where the imminent end of the ‘open water season’ makes you want to cram in as any many long al fresco swims as possible, as soon in order to get any distance in you’ll be confined to the chlorine cage. However, it is like SLSC knows this is coming and eases the pain with members only session 5pm until dusk every day in September. Peaceful, chilly, friendly… I love it.