Dipping into the Family 8mm Film Archive again for some swimming related hilarity to celebrate my rekindled love of swimming.
By the time I came along in the early 1970s, Dad's enthusiasm for recording our lives on 8mm film had dwindled. I can hardly blame him - he now had 4 children and precious little time for such nonsense. The movie camera was retired to the back of the cupboard and life proceeded apace.
The upshot was that there was no footage of me and as a typical youngest child, I registered my displeasure at this grave injustice loudly and often. Eventually, I wore my parents down and a suitable opportunity presented itself in which I could be captured in celluloid glory - our cousins were visiting and I had mastered (in my mind) freestyle. We were off for a day at the pool!
I remember this day so clearly - the smell of chlorine and hot chips with vinegar, the sound of the water sloshing into the overflow drain as I held onto the side of the pool, spluttering after swallowing an unseemly amount of water, the baking feeling of lying on hot concrete with wet togs on; and the squirming as mum caked our faces in the dreaded zinc cream.
While Dad was on camera duty, it seems that Uncle Brian was on 'pulling my eldest sister, S, out of the pool on demand' duty. Everyone is playing true to character - all the mannerisms are there - S is still a good diver, my elder sister, B, is still a comedian, my brother, C, still has that fabulous smile, although not quite so much hair, and I still sit like that from time to time and grin like an idiot.
It is now clear to me why I could never swim in a straight line - I seem to be unaware that I have a right arm - it just kind of flails around not contributing to forward motion at all. I'm pleased to report that my style has improved over the years.