Dive, Dive, Dive

From a book by Oscar Wilde's dad
From a book by Oscar Wilde’s dad

Maybe it was Katie Taylor‘s victory, making me feel like doing something physical. Maybe it was the weather; sunny after days of mugginess. (Yesterday I broke into a sweat adjusting the phone holder in the car – and I had the blower on cold.) But for whatever reason, I knew it was time to jump in the lake.

Every day I should thank my lucky geography that I live near Lough Corrib. It is not every day I can jump in it mind; far from that. But knowing it is there waiting for when the sun comes out adds greatly to the sum of reasons to get up in the morning.

It’s strange to make a fuss about one of the few lakes in Ireland when I’m not long back from Finland, a country that is mostly lake, but the Corrib is a good one. It’s pretty, dotted with islands covered in trees. It’s vast – with the exception of Lough Neagh in the North, larger than any other lake off the coasts of Europe. But it’s not very deep. Consequently, it can get remarkably warm, even in a summer that’s threatening to drown us all.

I didn’t dive straight in off Annaghdown pier. The water was very clear, and thankfully I could see that it had fallen to dangerously-close-to-large-boulder level. So I sort of gently fell in.

And I couldn’t believe how warm it was. Well all right, more not-cold than positively warm. But after the “It’s OK once you’re used to it” warmth of the Baltic this was almost amniotic. Great for doing some actual swimming practice.

I’m working on the legs. I was never properly taught how to swim with my legs as a kid. “Kick,” they’d tell me, “kick harder!” Well I kicked the living shit out of that water, but I didn’t move anywhere.

The problem is I was quite a literal kid. Hell, all kids are literal. We make the naive assumption that adults actually mean what they say, and are not just blurting out some vague impressionistic nonsense that we’re expected to decode. Adults are very lazy in the way they talk.

Kicking water doesn’t work. Waving your legs up and down, that seems to get you moving forward.


Rain Of Blows For Equality

What The Hairy F**k?

Hmm. You know, I don’t think I should have eaten that leftover chicken. It’s a long time since Sunday, it hasn’t been in the fridge, and the weather has been heavy and humid. Bad for humans, great for bacteria. I had maybe better get to bed here. First have to congratulate Katie Taylor though, on looking set to be one of the first tranche of women to win Olympic gold for boxing.

I don’t like boxing. Sure, I loved to fight as a kid. Hell in the school yard having a fight was a way to get to know people. Talking for boys. But children aren’t strong enough to really hurt each other – adults are very different. A huge part of growing up is learning how to restrain yourself from resorting to violence. And most sports are exercises in this, diverting energy away from conflict and into competition. But in boxing, you just go at it. It’s like they took the basic idea of a ritualised substitute for conflict and said “Hey, let’s try taking out the ritualised substitute bit.” Yes it is a highly formalised, restrained version of fighting, but it still involves a lot of smashing your opponent repeatedly in the face.

Nonetheless it was ridiculous that women were not allowed to smash each other in the face, should they so choose, at the Olympics. You wonder what tortured logic was used to ban them from this when they were allowed to fight with swords and do distinctly more dangerous things. Boxing was just not ladylike. I’ll never understand how they could use that argument with a straight face and still let men figure skate.

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