Sunday, 17 October 2010

Sunday scrapbook

Some seaside pics for Dawn's Sunday scrapbook.
(Will about to launch himself into the warm, deep blue, at Gull Rock, Albany.)
I'm not a beachy-swimmy-surfy type of Australian.(South-West coast, between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin.)
Kids here start swimming lessons when they're old enough to walk — I bet very few of my mates here would even remember a time when they couldn't swim.(City Beach, our best and most beautiful metropolitan beach.)
I was born in England and learned to swim only when we knew we were going to emigrate, as one of my aunts had been to Australia for a holiday and assured me that, judging by the people she'd met, I'd never get any friends, and no one would even speak to me, if I couldn't swim.
This rang true with me, as I recalled being on holiday in Germany in 1967, and feeling very ashamed of myself when friends of the family I was staying with growled at my hosts in startled incredulity: "Sie kann nicht SCHWIMMEN?"
(Eagle Bay, down south.)
So, fearing absolute social ostracism, in the autumn and winter of 1969, I made weekly trips to St Augustine's Baths in Norwich and gradually taught myself to swim. I can still feel my nasal passages contract and my eyes stream at the very memory of that steamy, chlorine-infused fog at the baths.
And when I say I can swim, I really mean I can propel myself while floating.
Of course, Australia is beach crazy, but I made a lot of friends despite my lack of technique, so ya booh sucks to you, Aunty June.
On my first week at my new Australian high school, skinny and pale from the long English winter we'd just left,I got roped into the swimming carnival by a very cruel, heartless phys-ed teacher. Took a day off though. So ya booh sucks to you, too, phys ed Nazi.
Today, I love looking at the beach, and walking along it, and hearing it from my bed at night when we're down south. I don't mind not swimming while everyone else is heading for the horizon in an easy, relaxed crawl.I'll just sit on the sand and take the pics.


Rattling On said...

I hate swimming baths, but love swimming in the sea. What a beautiful place you live in. Did you get the bra?

Lesley said...

It really is very beautiful here - I think we forget that. Its only real downfall is that it's so far away from everywhere, including the rest of Australia.
And yes, I bought two bras. I thought they felt great, but I wore a new one yesterday for the first time and by 5pm, in the car on my way home, I was so uncomfortable that I actually contemplated taking it off when I stopped at traffic lights. It killed me!

andamento said...

What beautiful beaches. If the water was indeed warm I wouldn't mind going in for a float about. I'm not big on swimming baths either - I'd much rather get my exercise out in the fresh air. I have an Aussie friend who lives here having fallen for a Scotsman. She doesn't like it here (she insists on telling us this all the time), plus she is always going on about getting the kids to learn to swim, I can understand why on reading your post.

barbara said...

Such beautiful photos and we had the coldest weekend ever here in Melbourne with hail pounding on the windows and snow on the nearby hills!

Lesley you reminded me of my tortuous swimming lessons and bossy swim teachers - so glad to be way past that time - and I can swim in a fashion ...

Jennifer said...

Gorgeous! And, a toast to all that advice in life ignored without ill result!!

Anonymous said...

Oh man, these photos make me feel so homesick! The water looks so inviting. It is deceptively so here in summer, but it was icy cold I went completely numb. I can fully understand how it would be perfectly normal if you didn't learn to swim in the UK!