I’ve tried to be patient. I’ve tried to be fair. I’ve spoken positively of my local pool. I've tried not to make negative comparisons between it and Thana City’s multiple swimming areas - all bathed in a warm, balmy, sunny 35 degrees glow, edged in 5 star comfort sun loungers, with waiters and waitresses who know me by name serving me poolside delights.
Similarly, I’ve not commented on the inevitable foot-print clad dirty floors of the local leisure centre, or minded its limited (non-existent) showering facilities. Instead, I’ve focused on the friendly welcoming staff - they're brilliant - and the diverse populace who are able to access this facility at different times. I've not minded the 'hour only' slots where the final fifteen minutes is spent lapping the waves with 60 pairs of beady, six year olds' eyes willing me to leave the pool early so that their fun lesson can begin.
I've tried, I really have, but I'm not finding swimming in the UK too much fun. Who is to blame? Well, it’s hard to say, but check what kind of swimmer you are and decide if it could be you.
The Walking Catfish
The Walking Catfish tends to wiggle rather than swim. S/he can be found towards the steps side of the pool slowly moving the length of it whilst chatting to a fellow Walking Catfish. S/he is likely to leave the pool along with other Catfish and head for a cuppa and a slice of cake. The Walking Catfish is a friendly breed of swimmer, but can be problematic to other fish, when the social aspect of walking with friends means that several lanes of pool are taken up and unavailable for actual swimming. Walking Catfish often leave zero room for overtaking by other species, but because they are so nice tend to get away with this.
The Neon Tetra
The Neon Tetra is a friendly fish, always quick with a smile and willing to share its lane with you. It clings to the centre lane and takes its time to travel the length of the pool. It rarely submerses its whole self into the water, preferring to keep its head above the surface so that it can welcome new fish to the water. It likes to squish up against other fish it is familiar with, sometimes without their consent. Outside of the pool it can be found chatting to the reception staff and is always quick with a joke. The Neon Tetra's only fault is its tendency to hover on one spot, thus making it difficult for other species to touch the poolside edge.
The BristleNose Fish
The BristleNose Fish is the master of disguise and one of the most annoying fish in the pool. It is often quite ripped in appearance and approaches the water as if engaging in fast and furious activity is its sole purpose. Hogging the roped off lanes, whilst chatting to other Bristlenoses or poolside attendants, often of the opposite gender, is its actual purpose. One disdainful look from a BristleNose and other species, move out of the roped lane area pronto. Although the BristleNose may often feature on leisure centre promotional flyers and leaflets, looks can be deceiving and after claiming the prime swimming area, it tends to lounge at the peripheries of the lane, thus making it impossible for less high profile swimmers to use this space.
Southern Cave Fish
The Southern Cave Fish enters the pool with aplomb taking a headlong dive into the depths of the water, regardless of any activity occuring at surface level. With no sight, and minimum hearing the Southern Cave Fish is largely unaware of surrounding water users. It only senses their presence through the vibration of shoving up against them with wide flailing arm and legs. The Southern Cave Fish is often an older, very localised male fish who is unaware of any negative impact of claiming the majority of the pool as its own. In truth, the Southern Cave Fish is disliked by all. The BristleNose is disdainful of the Southern Cave's less than perfect exterior, the Neon Tetra dislikes being separated from its 'tribe' and The Walking Catfish is frequently irritated from having the ground taken from beneath its feet as the Southern Cave dives in.
Sea Urchins emit a predatory and spikey aura that makes other fish wary of engaging with them. They often swim alongside the roped area, in an attempt to avoid the Neon Tetra Tribe and as an act of passive aggression towards the Bristlenose, whom they resent for lounging in the prime swimming spots. Most Sea Urchins swim fairly slowly, alternating freestyle and breast stroke, without ever getting their hair wet. but regularly meeting their daily exercise target. Sea Urchins are known for their longevity and secretly aspire to show Bristlenoses how it's done.
I think I probably fit the Sea Urchin type, though I do get my hair wet when I swim. That's another thing, why do UK swimming pools dry out my hair so much? Actually, perhaps I'm a new breed of swimmer completely, deserving of the Grumpyoldfart tag!
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If you are a fish lover, (or concerned about copyright) I've linked the images used so please take a look at the original sites I have borrowed them from.
I've been a little bit lazy with my blogging lately. I'm not sure why. I guess I'm not invested enough to do the background work to get my SEO rankings anything like respectable and I'm too poor, or too mean (not sure which!) to pay someone to do it for me. Also, more importantly I'm still not completely sure what type of blog I want to produce. It's a work in progress. If' you've stuck with me so far thank you very much.
All the advice I've read about being a successful blogger says to write what your audience wants to read. However, I think when I started this blooging malarkey I'd had a more 'write what you want to write' approach in mind. A kind of online diary I guess - the musings of a middle aged mum. Heaven fobid that I tell the whole truth! Sticking with this approach means, of course, I won't get lots of readers as the blog isn't focused enough, but it makes me happpy to share what I've been thinking about, so that's what I've decided to continue to do.
This week I've been spending time back in Broughton and just chilling with family. It isn't wild, but is very lovely. In the gaps I've managed to read the memoir, 'Somebody I Used to Know'. I came across it online as I follw Wendy Mitchell's blog, 'Which me am I today?' She is a woman who (or is it whom?) I hugely admire. Diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers, she has set about showing the nation that her illness is just like any other, something you live with and maange rather than a reason to give up on life.
Wendy is something of a force of nature. In all honesty, I bet she is a real 'go-getter' and would scare the pants off me. She gave an animated interview on Jenny Eclair's and Judith Holder's 'Older and Wider' podcast which I really enjoyed and inspired me to learn more about her (episode 20 I think). In her book she shares how she travels up and down the country, raising awareness about dementia and meeting both like minded people, and also people, who need educating. Significantly, she describes her emotions of living with the illness and how she manages the difficulties it imposes. She is very frank and honest, so consequently it is a really moving and powerful read.
I've actually recently reviewed the book on my goodreads acccount if you're interested. As an aside, if you haven't come across goodreads, I can't recommend it enough. It is a great way of keeping tabls on your own reading and getting recommendations from others. You can follow your favourite authors, share reviews and all kinds of book related things. I'm completely addicted to it - wild woman that I am!
I actually recently reviewed a different book, Sally Magnusson's Where Memories Go, also about dementia, on the goodreads site. Strangely they are the only two books I've given a five star rating this year. I guess it is because I think they so successfully fill the gap in the market for intelligent well-written social commentary on this emotional topic. Where Memories Go focused on sharing the author's story of how she helped care for her mum with dementia. It was a hugely insightful and inspiring text to read.
So, if you're not sure what to read this summer and you do like memoirs, these are two great reads on an under explored topic. If anyone else has any recommendaitons for other interesting summer reads I'd love to hear them. My next pick is going to be a novel I think. In the meantime, happy reading and happy summer holidays!
My dad's had a bit of time of it this last year with his health, so we've been vey grateful to have the NHS to draw upon. I'm a huge advocate for nursing staff particulary and feel they are incredibly underpaid and undervalued by our government. We have had some amazing care and attention given to us so because of this I've been loathe to criticize the NHS.. thus far.... We've also had some pretty rubbish experiences though and every now and then it is very hard not to have a sense of humour crisis about some of the things that have happened to us. However, rather than just write a long (and it would be long) list of 'issues', instead I'll sum up in a couple of paragraphs or what I'd do if I ran the NHS!
Actually that's probably not as insignficant and facetious as it sounds. I do feel that the NHS has reached such a crisis point of probable underfunding and definite understaffing in some areas, (along with very poor deployment of staff in others), that patients very often feel that they are a nuisance and that is at least in part created from the vibe they get from the people attending to them. Many staff members are legitimately at the end of their tether, so consequently when using the service the patient senses that the staff are 'hard done by'. There's no wonder many older people don't want to 'bother their doctors'. Obviously most staff are kind, caring, down to earth, we get it and of course you should fight your corner for your family type of people, but I've also lately encountered a few of the othes who unconsiciously emit the negative vibe! There's the:
But they're relatively few and far bewteen and are countered by the:
Anyway, I''ve wittered on enough. For anyone who knows me, I guess it makes a change from listening to me spout about what I'd do if I was in charge of education! (By the way, I know my comments are naive and it's not really that easy to fix the greatest free medical service in the world, but I'm trying to fulfil my June challenge of not overworrying and analysing!) But just to finish . did I mention that THERE IS A HUGE MAJORITY OF WONDERFUL HEALTH CARE WORKERS WHO DO WONDERFUL WORK in the NHS. (Bother, think I've just failed my June challenge!) I do like to be fair though. If I did rule the NHS I would definitely give 'those wonderfully caring and nurting vocational types' a 100% payrise. I'm sure the Bankers' bonsues would cover it! Is the NHS Nifty, Healing and Successful? Well I'd like to think it would be if I ruled the world!