Swimming Lessons 5

July 5th  2006

Since being invited by the leisure centre manageress to join the 10.30 Monday swimming class I discovered, thanks to a chance meeting in Matalan with the hump back Mr Gearing (apparently their jumpers are the only ones that will fit him), that the class in question is the female equivalent of our men’s oldies class. Evidently the leisure centre powers-that-be have decided in their wisdom to lump us all together, disregarding their previous reservations about the risk of possible hanky panky, rather than take the risk of being sued by Mr Gearing, the dwarf Mr Leeson, the fat fuck Mr Liddiard, the man with the glass eye Mr Pargiter, and the man with the club foot, me.

In the event I chose not to attend the lesson. I knew what would happen. Once the instructor had started to give Mr Leeson individual tuition by towing him across the pool Mr Liddiard would demand the same treatment. What would happen after I don’t know, except that it would be some sort of shambles, but whatever it was it certainly didn’t warrant me having to pretend I have a club foot. (I hadn’t gone very far down that road beyond searching through our charity shop’s extensive range of footwear in order to see if there was anything in Elton John style platform soled boots I could borrow one of. There was one pair, and in only half a size less than my size, but after trying one of them on I found that although I could certainly limp all right, one leg being about three inches longer than the other, I had a job staying on my feet.)

When I say I didn’t go to the leisure centre that isn’t strictly true. I went but I didn’t go inside the building. I wanted to see if my suspicions would turn out to be correct.

The exterior walls of the swimming pool are made of plate glass so it is easy to see inside. I duly took up position outside at 10.30 on the dot and peered within. There were eight would-be swimmers in all, four of them women, the other four being the men from my class, all stood poolside listening to the instructor.

Many women in their sixties and even their seventies can still be quite attractive but the four women I was now looking at were definitely not among their number. That’s putting it as diplomatically as I can. Putting it as undiplomatically as I can they were fat ugly cows. Hanky panky with them would certainly not be on the agenda. A hanky maybe, to dry your tears, but most definitely no panky.

I settled myself to await developments, my nose pressed to the glass to get a better view, when suddenly I heard a voice of authority behind me.

“Hoy! What’s your game?”

I turned to see a security man, presumably employed by the leisure centre, although I’d never seen one before. Perhaps they’re like policemen, only ever there when you don’t want them.

“Bloody Peeping Tom, are you? Sodding Peeping Tom pervert?”

I looked at him in disbelief. It was quite genuine disbelief too, I didn’t have to pretend. “Are you joking?” I said. “Have you seen what’s in the pool at the moment?” I looked through the glass at the group of swimmers. His gaze followed mine. “If I wanted to be a Peeping Tom,” I went on, “which I don’t, I would do my peeping when the pool was full of nubile young sixteen to eighteen-year-old girls, not when it’s occupied by a dwarf, a fat fuck, a hump back, a man with a glass eye and four old women with tits hanging down to their waist. So kindly piss off and mind your own business.

He went. And so did I, very soon afterwards, before someone else who had difficulty minding their own business came along.

So my swimming career has come to a premature end, even before it ever really started. And if I fall in the canal I’ll just have to take my chances.