We made it! 1.4 mile charity swim in open English sea water. Drank a fair bit of the Channel, aching now and smelling of saline but feel I’ve done my bit. The worst part was putting on the petroleum jelly. In a wetsuit you end up with squelchy armpits, yet still rustling as you walk. Gek. Adam wasn’t well enough to swim, his lower gut in revolt, thus revolting. He felt that swimming with a brown, bubbly trail behind him might not have been totally fair on the other swimmers. At least we’d have had a wide radius to ourselves. So Thunderguts drank tea and watched rugby as we plugged through the freezing sea. Think I’ve missed a life lesson somewhere.
The health and safety warnings beforehand didn’t concentrate on the likely causes of distress such as hypothermia, drowning or oil slick inhalation but on the less likely things. They had, for example, warned us not to bump into the summer in front. As if that’s likely. Facing forward, eyes open, high respect for my own safety, I’m not going to speed up to the point of applying nose to foot. Unless the ever-so-slightly faster person were to stop and reverse. That could be tricky. Multiple body pile up on the main aquatic highway from pier to pier. Or if only 2 of us became entangled, we’d end us as a bizarre octopus-like creature with two heads but no ink sack. Instead there should have been a warning about being crashed into by the swimmer behind. All sorts of untold damage could occur to my foot if someone applied their face to it.
Warnings are everywhere now. The bike in my spinning class has a large sticker which says Exercise can cause injury or even death. Not fantastically encouraging, although this warning, if it’s going to be there at all, should be complete. Broken nails happen all the time, also blisters and chaffing. In fact only the other day the girl was admitted to hospital with rotting of her muscles caused by over engorgement of her muscle compartments. Also, last Tuesday a man slipped quite close this machine…no, not there… further to the left…yes, there. It would require a largish sticker, about poster size, but would have the advantage that by the time one had read it, the class would be over. Hey presto! All possible injury avoided. Except eye strain.
Some of the most dangerous pastimes seem to carry no warnings at all. I cannot remember the last time that I was warned that the plane on which I was booking a ticket could potentially crash, cause discomfort from extended periods of sitting, or cause psychological distress from having to use the toilet after everybody else in the small flying sardine tin. However, perhaps they feel that the warning for the dangers of flying is completely covered by calling the place that planes land terminal.
Alison Gardiner July 2012.