Another beautifully hot day. We walk down to the sea for a coffee, sunglasses, suntan lotion, hats. Watch people standing in the sea to get cool, old men playing backgammon, men from the local army base standing drinking beer and eating crisps. You can tell they’re army, because they fold their clothes really carefully before going in the water.
Then I get a longing to paddle myself. Not done that since I’ve been ill and walking with a stick. But it just looks too cool and glorious to miss and there’s a ramp almost to the water’s edge. Thinking just how wonderful it would be to make contact with the sea again and feel the wavelets running over my feet. I realise that I’ve been thinking aloud when my pal says let’s go for it. Hmm I can suddenly think of a dozen reasons not to: fear of falling, putting my socks and shoes on again etc.
But I have so missed paddling and swimming in the sea, I visit the sea as often as I can and look longingly at people who stride into the wavs without a second thought. Or the very elderly ladies who swam early and late every day when I stayed on the south coast last summer.
So we walk down the ramp, gingerly, but so far so good. Taking off my socks provides a small challenge as I can no longer hop about (you try with a stick). Then I take my friend’s arm and tentatively walk the metre into the very shallow sea.
I can feel my feet twitching with delight, it’s a couple of years since I did this and they have missed it as much as I have. It feels like a huge symbolic stride forwards. We stand there for a good few minutes and then walk a few metres paddling. Swimming and water have always been so important in my life, this feels like a big step towards swimming in the pool again regularly and not worrying that someone may steal my stick while I’m in the water (insane, but there it is).
The cool bliss of becoming a water babe again.