It is SO hot that the only place I want to be is in the water. So much so I am determined, even when I take the wrong exit and end up stuck in traffic going the wrong way on the M25, looking back at the lake in my mirrors, that I am going to get there and get in. I finally manage to get out of the traffic and to the water’s edge. The heat has made me feel insane and I’m aching to get in. Instantly, the water washes me clean. The fluster melts, the panicky heat dissolving in the clear and silky water that stretches away ahead of me. It is startlingly warm – 24 degrees – but still a welcome adjustment from the cloying humidity of the air. I strike out for the buoys that mark the designated loop with desperation. My quick-coming breath calms me, letting me push the stress of the day out through stretching muscles and a heaving body. Soon, I let the speed go and I look around. The water is deep and dark. There are pylons and you can hear the motorway – it’s not entirely idyllic, but it’s a small slice of freshness amidst the chaos. I flip onto my back and just float, watching the way the whisps of cloud twist above me. A safety kayak watches me. I complete the loop, smiling, and he comments on how happy I look. It’s simple – the water has instantly made me human again. I do another shorter lap as the lake is closing soon. Before I get out, I go down the slide. It’s a long metal one that ends in the lake, a big hose at its top to run water down its length. It’s mostly children using it, but I don’t want to miss out. I look out over the lake from the top. The sun is setting over the trees leaving a smudge of orange on the water. The slide journey is fast and ends in a moment of suspension before a big splash, a sudden immersion to see the surface from the other side.
I’m raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society. Please sponsor me at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/swimbonnieswim