Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Preparing To Take The Plunge

The weather is changing - blustery and autumnal but still with a warm wind - and Rainy City is living up to its name. However, we've committed to swimming in Salford Docks on the 26th, so we signed up at the watersports centre for Saturday morning's open water swimming session to familiarise ourselves with the water and a part of the course.
Saturday's session will start at 6.30am!! so we nipped down to watch the Monday evening session to prepare ourselves (didn't have time on this occasion to jump in).
The training takes place in Ontario Basin, which is where the Great Swim finishes
 and here are some people getting in ...ulp... look at those hardy souls in shorty wetsuits and those brave boys in their trunks...eek! I will be in full wetsuit, possibly two hats and at this point I'm wondering whether I'll wear the swim socks I bought in January. I do like the feel of the water on my feet though, so maybe not, we'll see.
I hope the organisers will have cleared these guys out of the way
they were looking a bit territorial...
Niamh from Words A Day visited my blog and mentioned The Handless Maiden by Vicki Feaver. There is a poem in this collection called The River God which is a great poem, but here's one by Stevie Smith which I believe Feaver was nodding to when she wrote hers. 
He is another character I'm hoping not to meet while I'm swimming...

The River God
I may be smelly and I may be old,
Rough in my pebbles, reedy in my pools
But where my fish float by I bless their swimming.
And I like the people to bathe in me, especially women.
But I can drown the fools
Who bathe too close to the weir, contrary to rules.
And they take a long time drowning
As I throw them up now and then in a spirit of clowning.
Hi yih, yippity yap, merrily I flow,
O I may be an old foul river but I have plenty of go.
Once there was a lady who was too bold
She bathed in me by the tall black cliff where the water runs cold,
So I brought her down here
To be my beautiful dear.
Oh will she stay with me will she stay
This beautiful lady, or will she go away?
She lies in my beautiful deep river bed with many a weed
To hold her, and many a waving reed.
Oh who would guess what a beautiful white face lies there
Waiting for me to smooth and wash away the fear
She looks at me with. Hi yih, do not let her
Go. There is no one on earth who does not forget her
Now. They say I am a foolish old smelly river
But they do not know of my wide original bed
Where the lady waits, with her golden sleepy head.
If she wishes to go I will not forgive her.

Stevie Smith
from Modern Women Poets ed. Deryn Rees-Jones

...see what I mean?!