One of the best ways to lose weight, get fit and maintain core fitness levels that I’ve come across in the literature on such things is swimming. And when I was a kid, I did a few swimming courses so I had a fairly basic knowlege of how to doggy-paddle my way from one end of a 25m pool to the other (and when you’re seven, a 25m pool is as big to you as an Olympic pool is to an adult, so I was rather chuffed with myself over that one). Of course, I hadn’t been in a pool in 20 years, and there was a rather unpleasant episode when swimming in the sea off Brittas when I was twelve and found myself suddenly out of my depth, heading for deeper water, out of reach of any of the adults there and in a spot of bother with the whole respiration lark. So I had some resistance to the notion of taking it up again, especially since the Japanese are still engaged in “scientific” whaling.

Herself, however, is somewhat more robust in her approach to such things, and since she enjoys swimming regularly (and is actually able to swim rather better than most people in the pool), my resistance was futile. So while we were in Ennissimon recently, I got chucked (well, not literally) into the hotel pool for a half hour. And didn’t drown. So I thought that that wasn’t so bad.

So yesterday we both went to the Countess Markiewicz swimming pool to do it again. This time with goggles. And I discovered that I actually do have a pretty unpleasant, unable-to-breath-with-panic sort of phobia about the water when I can’t feel the pool floor under my feet (something that never happened in the hotel pool). So, being me, I thought a sensible approach was best. In other words, I went down to the deep end and held myself under the water for a while, got out of my depth, generally paniced and made a total nuisance of myself to the people there who were actually swimming in a manner that would keep them from dying, if not actually making it to the Olympics anytime soon (well, maybe if they declared for Papua New Guinea…). At which point herself displayed not only a lot of patience but a fairly good ability at teaching panicing kerrymen to swim (which is harder than it sounds. My people aren’t given to panic much, but when we do, we make up for lost time with gusto). So by the end, irrationally pleased with myself, I managed to swim one length of a 25m pool unaided.

And that may be the most ever written in praise of the least ever done, if you don’t count political party broadcasts.

Nevertheless, I couldn’t keep all the shots in the black the first time I picked up an air rifle either, so I expect it’ll get better if I keep at it. Which I intend to do. I know this – it hurt a *lot* less than when I used to go running. Mainly I suspect because I managed to bugger up my knee earlier in life and running’s not kind to it, but that’s another tale.

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