A pier juts out from the terrace of “The White House” restaurant, said to be one of the homes of Laurence Durrell when he lived on the island of Corfu. Boats clink a little way out and the water is deep and dark and cool. Evening is coming on and the light is gradually washing the colour from the sky.
I feel self-conscious diving in, in front of all the fully clothed diners who are enjoying an evening meal just metres away, but once I’m in the water that vanishes. The water here in Corfu is not just clear, but richly salty, stinging your nostrils and coating your skin and hair, settling into your lips so you can taste the salt as you breathe.
A friend and I swim out to the boats, hold on to the white buoys floating at their edges, dip and dive under the gently rippling surface. Albania, as always, settles down on the horizon, smaller from water than land but always there to orient you, to place you firmly in your part of the picture. The sky blushes with evening and we swim back to the wooden jetty, hauling ourselves out up a slippery metal ladder, salt-washed and ready for dinner.
I’m raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society. Please sponsor me at http://www.justgiving.com/swimbonnieswim