9/100 – Peterborough Lido

Peterborough Lido is a surprise. It’s big and blue and friendly and the surrounding building, with its clock tower and it’s wrap around sunbathing terrace, is mottled white in the sun. It’s 50 metres long and heated to 25 degrees, which actually feels deliciously cool on a day as hot as the one on which I visit.

Even though there are a few families about and the children’s play area is bustling, there is ample room in the water to swim up and down. Two lanes are roped off for length swimming, but the rest of the pool is so open that I don’t bother using them, instead meandering up and down the main stretch at my own leisurely pace. I’ve got a bad cold, so I probably shouldn’t be swimming and I have to keep my head up from time to time when my breathing gets difficult. I go slowly, taking the time to look about me and notice the particles of water illuminated by the sun rays that break through the surface and the dancing jellyfish reflections that play across the ripples.

The only thing I would change is that there’s a speaker blaring out music beside the pool – such a strange thing. Swimming, for me at least, is about exercise or relaxation or just enjoying the feel of the water, none of which is helped by a blaring base line. But there’s enough space in the pool and the water is blue enough, that it’s not too distracting.

Coloured changing huts line the sides and remind me of the famous Pantone cubicles in Tooting, where I have yet to go on this challenge. The primary colours speak of summer holidays and ice cream at the beach. This lido feels very relaxed and calm – more of a family place than somewhere focused on serious swimming – and as such it feels very welcoming to an outsider with a cold who just wants to splash about for a bit.

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