19/05/2016 by Carl Reynolds
Humming Chris Stanton’s catchy Formby-esque tune, I stroll down the leafy lane up the side of Tooting Bec Lido, about to enter the Emperor of British Lidos.
An hour earlier I’d been lapping in the marbled marvellousness of Marshal Street baths as part of my ongoing training plan, thinking about why it was so crowded at 3pm on a Wednesday afternoon.
In contrast, as I walked into Tooting it was virtually empty. Recognising a face, but not remembering her name (and vice versa) I had a chat with a long time habituee about her river swimming and the merits of Brockwell Lido over Tooting – their sauna is still open!
And then I was in a pool several times larger than the one I’d just been in. Coming from a year of swimming in the sea it was odd. No rocks, stones, sea weed, fish, crabs, seals! Instead a seemingly ever expanding tank of clear water with the odd horizontal black line.
I shared the first bit of my swim with one other and then I had it all to myself. And I thought about the myriad times I had swim here, the friends I’d made, the cakes I’d eaten and the absurdity of doing tumble turns at the end of a 100 yard pool.
Towards the end I spot Longpela – who I’d arranged to meet – with guru JJ. Stripped, showered and back in dry wear we played a version of boule, laughed, joked and nattered about matters spiritual for a while. Hugs all round and we were off. A reprise of the wonderful days I had. Thank you Tooting Bec Lido and all those who swim in you and lifeguard you. X