After the tropical temperature and astounding clarity of Corfu’s blue waters, British beaches are a shock. The wind is high in Hastings and the sea is whipped into a frenzy, waves knocking against the shingle and pulling back again with a sucking noise. I run to the beach from the B&B in my changing robe, and sit with my back against the wall of the raised promenade for shelter while I pull on my swim socks and gloves. And then in I go.
Its gaspingly cold after what I’ve been used to and the churning surface is closer to grey than to anything else. Still, I have to ocean to myself and the lines of the horizon, of the sky and of the cloud that hovers above it are solid and peaceful. I’m cold but I’m awake, kicking and pulling myself up with the rise of the waves to avoid a face full of foam.
I strike out one way and then the other, going against the waves first so they can push me back to shore when I’m tired. I don’t stay in long and when I get out my skin is red and wet and vivid. Swimming can be so many different things, each swim different from the one before and that one different from the one after. It might be a big change, and the colourful water and clearly displayed fish of Corfu were wonderful to experience, but I admit I have missed the cold and I’m glad to be back in it, even in this wind.
I’m raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society. Please sponsor me at http://www.justgiving.com/swimbonnieswim