Saturday, 24 May 2008

Baptised in the brine

It takes a supreme effort of will, determination and mind over matter to submerge your warm, mammalian body in cold water, but I'm proud to report Theo and I have both done the deed. As it happens, I managed a short dip in the Atlantic in Biarritz last month - in fact, that's exactly what it was. I dipped my body in, almost got swallowed up by the crunching undertow, kicked in slightly panicked fashion to escape the brutal offshore current and just about managed to extricate myself intact. The whole experience was somewhere between exhilarating and terrifying - and the water felt only a few degrees above freezing.
The Mediterranean has supplied a much more mellow swimming experience, although the water temperature is most kindly described as "refreshing". Most of the Spanish wouldn't countenance going into the sea as early as May - but we are made of sterner stuff and have been in two days running. It must be the Celtic blood flowing in our veins. It also helps if there's a pleasant, wood-honed beach bar nearby with reviving hot drinks to help get the circulation going again. And in a real emergency, it also sells spirits. Added to that it's run by Jasmina's mum, Myriam, a very friendly English-speaker and has a stack of British glossy magazines on the counter to flick through while your husband is playing backgammon with a friend (Andy - we persuaded him into the sea with us, but I'm not sure he was all that grateful). We're going back there tonight for a barbeque. With drumming.

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