Christmas dip

I’ve just seen a photo of my cousin’s grandchildren going for Christmas Day dip in the sea!! Good for them!! Well done children!! It was a great photo of the lad wearing a huge grin, wet suit and those swimming boots… do they have a special name? I don’t know, but they look cosy and stop pebbles making you dance as you head to the waves.

I was suddenly taken back to when I was in my early teens, maybe about eleven or twelve when I first went for a Christmas Day swim… or was it Boxing Day, I can’t exactly remember. I was in a great swimming club which was my social life as well as my sport. It was exciting fun to go along to Sheep’s Green on the River Granta (which becomes the River Cam and runs through Cambridge) There were changing rooms – when I say rooms, they were cubicles with wooden doors, open at the top and bottom, and you changed into your costume there. We swam in the river, but I’m not sure you’re still able to… I must ask family who still live there.

I’m sure when we cycled over there for our Christmas swim we had our costumes on under our clothes. I think we pulled off all our outer things and then dived into the freezing cold water – without wet suits or swimming boots, or gloves, just bare skin and black swimming costumes. I’m not sure we stayed in very long, just a quick race around and then back to the wooden steps and out of the water. People were waiting with towels to wrap us in and I feel sure there were Thermos flasks of cocoa, and I’m sure they were laced with rum and there were warm mince pies to gobble down. We must have gone into the cubicles to drag our costumes off our river-wet and cold and sticky limbs, pulled on our tracksuits, wrapped scarfs around us and emerged for more mince pies, and maybe more cocoa. After that, we’d get on our bikes and cycle home… For some reason I had an aversion to hats so I would have cycled home bare-headed… hardy or foolish!

We live by the sea now, and in various places along the coast nearby, people have seasonal dips – according to the time of the tide. Someone’s sister did it this year and posted the fact on social media… there were lots of admiring comments, and ‘gosh how brave’ comments… but I had a sudden urge to have a go next year. I’m not sure I will, but it’s a thought!

My featured image is of me after another river swim, one through Cambridge held in the summer…but there’s my black costume. I’m the middle of the three girls – no swimming cap of course!


      1. Lois

        I’m trying to remember what the other fancy nonsense is… it has a special pretentious name but it just means something is set on fire and the smoke is supposed to impart some ‘essence’… boiled beef and carrots, that’s what’s needed, rissoles, hot pot, kippers!


      2. Lois

        The only flambé-ing should be on Christmas pud – not for the taste but the hilarity of husband trying to set fire to rum/brandy/whatever, burning fingers, on one occasion singeing eyebrows, and then the time the plate tipped…


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