Lido Love No.4 Tooting Bec
Let me tell you about the time I was merrily front crawling my way up and down Tooting Bec Lido. I was, for want of a better term, in the swimming zone. I was concentrating on my breathing to take my mind off the fact I think I’ve broken my toe and it was agony, my goggles were misting up. Something brown and small came into my line of vision just as I had exhaled and was returning my head underwater. My heart stopped for a very long millisecond as I thought “Is that poo?”. I managed to avoid a clash with the small brown thing by swimming down to the bottom of the pool, where my heart stopped for a second time as I thought “Did I just nearly swallow poo?”
As I surfaced three children were getting a scolding for eating their chocolate ice-cream cones at the poolside and an embarrassed Dad was plopping into the pool to retrieve the dollop I mistook for a number two. Oh how we laughed and laughed (while all the time I was crying inside).
Tooting Bec Lido is framed by trees and beach hut coloured changing cubicles, I was half expecting a Punch and Judy show in one of them. I got the impression from my two hours there this is a Lido that serves, and is well-loved, by its local community. There are no lockers (although they can keep valuables safe for you) so you have to trust that some clever sod won’t run away with your clothes. This was second nature growing up in Devon where we left front doors unlocked, but in London it was harder to leave my belongings out in the open. It’s a brilliantly huge 90m pool so even with kids splashing around there’s more than enough room to get an uninterrupted swim in.
Just as I arrived home last night I put on the radio while I unpacked a sopping wet towel and nursed my bruised and battered foot, not Lido related I must stress, just my own clumsiness. Tom Ravenscroft played a track from Darren Hayman’s Lido album (London Fields, one I have yet to visit). It was the perfect homecoming, a sign from Neptune. Or whoever the God of Lido’s may be.
|People doing serious swimming:||16|
|Men grabbing their danglebobbins a lot:||0|
|Women swimming in sunglasses:||0|
|Kids doing classic “bombing”:||17|
|People dipping their toes with iPhones in hand:||10|