Swimming Lesson #8

Today, breaststroke again. I think this is a vote of confidence in my freestyle, or an admission that while it’s scrappy, there’s more benefit to be had from.improving other strokes right now.

Today we started with kicking, which I got immediately, and then it turned out that was lucky coincidence and we spent half an hour trying to restore my beginner’s luck.

The thing that I’m really struggling with is that you kick back with your heels in a big circle, then pull both your feet back in as you glide forward, and then kick again. So it’s a stomp rather than a flick, and I’d keep forgetting and try to point my toes, and if you do that you don’t go forward at all, and then sometimes I’d stamp rather than point, and inexplicably I would make forward progress.

This is not to completely describe the multitude of incompetencies I displayed. There was the time I started off without breathing out, and slowly but surely descended to the bottom of the pool. I suppose that’s a good demonstration of bouyancy.

I didn’t drink much of the pool, but I also really didn’t get the hang of breathing. With freestyle I feel I’ve got more than half a chance of getting more air than water into my lungs when I need to. With breaststroke I forget to exhale underwater, and it’s only when the horrible sounds of things creaking in my sinuses distract me do I realise I need to come to the surface.

It’s not exactly amphibian grace with which I move, I’m trying to say.

However, once I tried putting the breaststroke and the kick together, we made some forward movement. If I could just get from one end of the pool to the other without needing to breathe in, this could actually be a calmer and easier thing than freestyle. Until then, there’s going to be quite a bit more gasping and spluttering.

Swimming Lesson #7

The skies turned the colour of a dead trout and lightning began to arc at 5 this evening, and the deluge hasn’t stopped by 530 when I tried to get a car to my swimming lesson. The rain hadn’t stopped by 6 when I finally managed to get in a car, and the rain hadn’t stopped by 730 when I finally got a car back from the swimming lesson. Had every car been dissolved by the rain?

(On the way back, I was forced into taking GrabShare, which is an even more aggravating experience than being driven around in the back of a car by somebody who trusts an unreliable satnav. With GrabShare, they collect two or three riders from disparate places, so now the inconvenience is at least squares. You have drivers who don’t know where they’re going, riders who don’t bother to be ready in time to be picked up, and you always get picked up last "because it was convenient." Convenient for who? The person who isn’t standing in the rain like a berk?
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Swimming Lesson #5

While I was in Portugal I swam ten lengths of the pool almost every day. Because I hadn’t figured out breathing before I went on holiday, that meant holding my breath the whole way, coming up for air and wheezing, then going back again. So today it was good that we moved on to combining freestyle with breathing. Continue reading “Swimming Lesson #5”

Swimming Lesson #4

Although with every photo I look more sketchy, I think I’m improving. My instructor asked me if I’d been practicing this week and that explained my increased competence, but I think it was the dual function of not having four cups of coffee before my lesson, and making a sustained effort not to tense up. Oh, and the goggles. The goggles were the best $15 I’ve spent in months; they aren’t painful to wear, and I can see clearly underwater, and after an hour in the pool my eyes aren’t stinging and refusing to focus. So that was nice.
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Swimming Lesson #3

I didn’t have a brilliant night’s sleep – possibly I was frightened about oversleeping and missing my flight back. I had worried myself unduly by not paying attention to timezones; although the return flight took off at 8:40am Singapore time, that was 9:40 Bangkok time, so I only needed to get to the airport by 8, which meant I only had to get out of the hotel at 7, not 6. Still, security and customs seemed to take an eternity; it was relief that I crammed myself into the plane and snoozed to Singapore, where I was immediately embroiled in meetings. Which is a roundabout way of saying I was already tired and stressed before my Grab driver came to pick me up (10 minutes late) and whisk me over to Swish for my lesson.
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Swimming Lesson #1

I learned to swim ten or fifteen times during my childhood – and forgot how to swim that many times as well. Looking back, I realise that trying to persuade a delicate child that it was enjoyable to bob around in an overchlorinated, chilly pool of preadolescent piss was quite obviously a non-starter. A bit of stress might make you pay attention to your task; constant revulsion, coupled with a fear of drowning, is probably counterproductive to any pedagogical mission.
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What I Learned This Weekend

When recovering from a night of heavy drinking, I breathe too loudly. Apparently.a night of heavy drinking

I can run all the way from my home to the start of the Parkrun, and still run 5k in less than 25 minutes. I think this means I should be able to tackle another marathon sooner rather than later. Also, somewhat strangely, I believe this may have lessened my hangover today. Hoorah for heightened metabolic rates and clearing the booze out quicker.

The slide in the children’s garden at the Botanic Gardens is utterly terrifying. Or it wasn’t designed for a terribly hungover man sliding down it on a Sunday morning while his daughter demands he go faster.

Martin Martin Is On The Other Side started out strong, and then achieved lift-off about forty pages from the end.
My mind was pretty blown by the end. Or again, that was the hangover taking effect.

I should never be disloyal to Ronin.
Yesterday we went to a new coffee shop, just opposite our flat, and paid twice as much for scrambled eggs as we would at Ronin, and they were only half as good. I’m now pretty sure that if you can make good scrambled eggs, you don’t need to adulterate them with feta cheese and chilli peppers. Whereas if you can’t make good scrambled eggs…

La Serpiente does like the running stroller, if you give her a treat first.
Last week she lasted less than a minute in the running stroller. This time, after a topical application of ice cream, she was constantly shouting “Ready Steady Go Daddy!” and called out to me “This is fun” as we careered along.

Children sleep (eventually).. We’ve had seven nights now of La Serpiente going to sleep and not waking up in the night to disturb us. I think that’s enough to hope we have a proper habit instilled her. Although all hell may break loose next week when she has to deal with jet lag…

Storytime at the Children’s section of the National Libary (on the basis of one observation) doesn’t always involve the most exciting of books. Yesterday, we got to hear somebody read a book about how you should always obey your parents and not act independently, written without any thought of drama, excitement or interesting language. After a few minutes La Serpiente showed her good taste by getting up and running around the library again. I kind of wished I’d stayed outside leafing through programming manuals.

But… there’s still some very odd books in the library.. Like The Tiger Than Came To Tea, La Serpiente’s new favourite. I’ll be going into more detail on this when my brain and eyes are working again.