As a year round swimmer on the other side of the Thames to the Hampstead ponds and a regular visitor to the ponds, I (Manda) was keen to go see “The Ponds”, a film documenting a year with the people that swim at the Hampstead ponds. There have been a lot of showings of the film in north London (understandably) but none in the SW London hood, until someone set up a viewing via the Our Screen concept with Odeon.
Our Screen allows joe public to decide to put on a movie and then it needs to reach a certain level of tickets sales before it proceeds, so when I bought my ticket 8 tickets were needed for it to go ahead. Fortunately it well exceeded the number of sales needed so on Sunday 3rd February I ventured off to Wimbledon to watch the film.
Hampstead Ponds are based within the Hampstead Heath in North London. The Ponds consist of 3 ponds; men’s pond, ladies’ pond and mixed pond. They aren’t massively but sufficiently sized for ample outdoor swimming especially in winter when the water is freezing.
I would love to write an in-depth critical review but I will leave that to the critics because this film moved me in so many ways that I couldn’t care less if it is a critically sound movie.
Every time a swimmer was on screen they would often end by saying they don’t think they have explained why coming to the ponds or being a cold water swimmer is so special BUT THEY DID…. THEY REALLY DID. The unexplainable addiction is often so hard to articulate but everyone who walks in those cold water swimming shoes (/crocs 😉 ) understood every word they said.
You learnt how the ponds have healing powers, whether that be through the friendships created, the pain numbing coldness or allowing you time to just think away from the hectic word we live in and I think there in lies the beauty of it all.
and there I shall end it as you just need to go and see it for yourself!
I will be encouraging everyone I know to go see it and if you get a chance or fancy setting up a screening yourself then do!