Swimming for me is not head-up breast-stroke but head-submerged crawl. Air snatched in during a brief twist of the head; used air bubbled out into the water. Power generated by windmilling arms and flicking legs. Initially crawl is difficult to co-ordinate (especially the breathing) and exhausting to maintain. Once learned it is graceful, powerful and efficient. One is never tempted to resume breast-stroke.
To enjoy crawl’s benefits it makes sense to create targets. Before I had to give up pool swimming I did a mile twice a week. During holidays on Karpathos I swam a mile from Diafani to the beach at Vananda. I’d sit for fifteen minutes then swim back. The best exercise for an ageing body like mine.
I cheated a bit. There was more to see in the water and I used a snorkel, mask and flippers. But this was more than just snorkelling. Walking the (admittedly twisty) coast road to Vananda took about half an hour. I could swim it in forty-five minutes.
Sea swimming, as I say, has its own entertainments. Long distance pool swimming can be mindless but there are diversions. Mental arithmetic calculations about what’s done and what remains often emerge automatically.
I’m rotten at sun-bathing.
WIP Second Hand (52,851 words)
They’d just emerged from The Vanishing… (which) had disturbed them both. Just look at me, Francine begged silently, let me catch your eye, let me throw out a signal, a gesture. Let us decide – sideways if you like - what needs to be said, pick words we’ll agree on and that will comfort us.
But in the end he did better… slipping his arm round her waist and drawing her to him. “It’s not the movie, it’s the idea we can’t get on with.”