Swimming Lesson 3

June 20th 2006

The system employed by the local leisure centre to teach ten-year-olds to swim is to first kit out him or her with inflatable arm and leg bands. Having been made buoyant little Brad or Jennifer is then fitted with a shoulder harness attached to a long length of rope. The child then gets in the water and is gently towed across the width of the pool by the instructor whilst simulating the arm and leg movements of the breast stroke. The idea is that over a period of time the child will become less and less dependant on the arm and leg bands, and the harness and tow rope, and will eventually be able to swim unaided.

This is the system now being employed by our swimming instructor, Miss Hobday, to instruct our dwarf, Mr Leeson. Naturally while she is towing Mr Leeson to and fro across the pool she can’t be instructing the seven non-dwarfs in her class, who are left to their own devices. Miss Hobday apologised in advance for this but said there was nothing she could do about it, that another instructor couldn’t be spared, they didn’t grow on trees, and that she had been told by her superiors to devote half her time to teaching Mr Leeson to swim by the ten-year-olds method, and the other half to teaching the rest of us to swim by the normal method.

One of the normal method men, Mr Hall, said that this was patently unfair as there were seven non-dwarfs in our group and only one dwarf, and that to be fair our hour’s instruction should be split up in the ratio 7.1, seven parts going to the normals and one part to the dwarf.

Mr Leeson said that would mean this would give him only seven and a half minutes instruction time per session while the rest of us would have fifty two and a half minutes, which was not only clearly unfair but discrimination against dwarfs.

Before Miss Hobday could make a ruling on this the fat fuck Mr Liddiard complicated matters by saying that he too wanted to be treated like a ten-year-old and be kitted out with arm and leg bands and towed across the pool by Miss Hobday.

There is a little history with Mr Liddiard and Miss Hobday, inasmuch as just before the session was about to begin Mr Liddiard took it upon himself to jump in the pool again, despite having been warned not to do this after what happened to me during our first lesson. Fortunately no one was in the pool this time so nobody was in danger of being drowned, but the resultant splash drenched Miss Hobday, who was standing poolside, transforming her neatly-ironed white top and shorts into saturated and see-through top and shorts, and her neatly coiffed hair into a bedraggled mess. This could well explain what she then said to Mr Liddiard, when he asked to be treated like a ten-year-old and be kitted out with arm and leg bands and towed across the pool, which was, and I quote: “If I can get hold of a four Goodyear blimps for your arm and leg bands and a ten ton lorry in which to tow you across the pool I will do that: in the meantime you’ll have to stay with the others.”

Three of us, including me, applauded her. The man with the glass eye, Mr Pargeter, and the man with the hump back, Mr Gearing, laughed out loud, but then both had axes to grind, Mr Liddiard having previously referred to them, within their hearing, as Cat’s Eye and Quasimodo.

Mr Liddiard, red-faced and fuming, left the scene without a word, and that was the last we saw of him.  Five minutes before the scheduled end of the lesson, Miss Hobday was summoned to the office. Ominously, we didn’t see her again either.