Escape London, in a pair of speedos…

21 Sep

Escape London recently decided to return to his pond weed roots.  He went swimming.  It’s a commonly known fact that swimming has always been the second best thing a human can possibly do with their clothes off.  Apart from the obvious, swimming sits upon a watery throne as the single most free-spirited pastime us mere mortals can enjoy.  After-all when you’re in water, you FLOAT.  It’s like flying without the horrid inevitability that a face full of earth awaits your fall.  When swimming, WE’RE in control.  Touch the bottom?  It’s our decision…(although having been programmed from a young age to fetch rubber bricks from the depths of a pool, we invariably head straight down within seconds…)

An essential part of our childhood development

Escape London would recommend finding your own patch of wild water to lay claim to and explore.  Sharing a pool with 10,000 screaming, over-excited children, intent on drowning one another soon loses it’s appeal, generally after you’ve ‘accidentally’ elbowed 3 of them in the face.  Admittedly, Escape London feels slightly guilty for his hatred of children in swimming pools, they’re simply unable to repress their absolute delight at the sheer volume of fun surrounding them.  It’s different for adults, over the years the International swimming pool code has slowly woven it’s way into our very existence…we have learned to accept that running on pool side will never be tolerated, bombing is unfathomably frowned upon and petting must only be attempted if both parties are absolutely positive the coast is clear.  Whoever designed that sign is a cruel, but brilliantly effective fun tyrant and has power beyond their own reckoning.  Imagine if our highstreets adopted a similar approach:  ‘Will Patrons kindly refrain from: Pillaging, Pissing, Vomiting, Smashing each other’s face in, Setting fire to other people’s property, Shooting people in the back of the head’ etc posted every 10m down our roads…all our government would then require is a task force of highly trained whistle blowers, dressed in bright uniform and sitting in high chairs, to instil the fear of God into those foolish enough to break the code.  Just a suggestion.

The Internationally recognised rules of swimming-pool engagement

Does going for a swim at your local pool really COUNT as Escaping London?  Escape London will leave it with you to decide.  Obviously it’s preferable to head for the wilderness, swan-diving  from perilous cliffs into crystal clear coastal waters and away from the beady eyes of the fun police.  It’s here that the International Swimming code of conduct is forgotten, left to disintegrate like the skank around a pool filter.  You can run, jump, flip, scream with glee, play fight, pet away like sea rabbits and generally laugh in the face of the fun tyrant and his cronies.  Escape London likes to jump off things whenever the chance arises, water or no water, it’s fun and worth noting that our jumping careers are finite…imagine looking back on our lives, nestled uncomfortably in our wheelchairs, wistfully wishing we’d jumped more often, contemplating wheeling ourselves straight off the edge of our nursing home balcony, attempting a 360 somersault before drowning in the pond below.  Our final moment of conciousness a fuzzy image of the ‘no bombing’ sign before our corpse is feasted upon by ravenous Coy Carp and tadpoles.  Yearning to do this for no other reason than an intrinsic guilt for not having stuck two fingers up at the fun police while we had the chance.  So go wild-swimming, go before the closest we get to a good dive is being dunked in a bath by a burly, slightly perverted  nurse with anchor tattoos.

Keep jumping while you still can!

Escape London is not claiming to be David Walliams, nor is he a Big River Man like Martin Strel (please check this guy out, he’s an absolute hero) http://www.martinstrel.com  …but he simply enjoys the feeling of being in water.  How great is swimming?  It’s difficult to express in words exactly how high the levels of excitement climb.  Imagine the sound of the 10,000 afore-mentioned screaming children, echoing around the cavernous confines of your local pool.  These ensnared bellows, bouncing from window to wall, mixing into a frenzied cacophony of unhinged, red-bull fuelled hysteria, go some way to achieving what plain words cannot.  Swimming is fun in its purest form.

David Walliams is a massive advocate of Wild Swimming...great inspiration

Escape London was confronted with a diving pool the last time he attended a public baths.  As mentioned earlier, the only thing that beats splashing around in water, is splashing into water.  Diving from a great height, with reckless abandon whilst simulataneously attempting to look cool whilst flying through the air is not easy.  Unless you practise.  Escape London dived so many times, that the highly unfashionable short-shorts (handed down from his father around 10 years ago) were stretched down below the knee.  That’s how good diving is… Even Escape London’s trunks were unable to maintain their composure.

Swimming wild, or ‘Free Swimming’ wins hands down though.  There’s something undeniably invigorating about swimming in the wild…It makes you feel alive.  There’s a certain fear that comes with swimming into the ocean, way out of your depth and with no clue as to what lays beneath, it heightens every one of your senses.  There’s the panic, the spasm inducing alarm that comes from brushing against an unknown object when out at sea…it’s a ridiculous level of fear, of helplessness that wont vanish until you’ve smashed 25 of your finest ever front-crawl strokes to reach a perceived saftey.  Yet when relaxation arrives and you find yourself floating gracefully on your back, gazing at the blue sky overhead and looking to the shoreline in the distance, you really do feel amazingly free.  The slowly undulating waves, the uninterrupted sound of nature and a proud tingle in your muscles from the physical exertion are hard to topple.

Swimming = happy

Don’t just take Escape London’s word for it though…There are various websites, societies and associations that cater for every wild swimmer’s desires…Check out a couple here: http://www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com , http://www.wildswimming.co.uk .

These guys will help you plan your next wild swim in great detail, from deciding on the right kit, the location, the time of year and recommending hidden gems for you to explore.  This time of year is actually ideal for a spot of wild swimming, the English sea is the warmest it’ll ever be having been heated throughout the Summer and the crowds of school children are back where they belong…leaving us with miles of beaches, coast line, rivers and lakes to ourselves.  So, get the speedos and wesuits on and get out in the wild for a free adventure that’s hard to beat.  And remember, whenever you get the chance…flip the Fun Police the bird..

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One Response to “Escape London, in a pair of speedos…”

  1. Borut Strel October 4, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    Hi Dan, this is a great article and i hope Londoners enjoy reading it! Love swimming=happy. All best, Strel Swimming Adventures

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