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The Baths – Father & Son & Father & Son

September 3, 2013

I probably spent every day of the school summer holidays here from the late 1960s until 1977. We never called it the “pool” – it was “the baths”. And the baths were situated in the Rec which was at the bottom of my road, Florence Road. Of course, it was unheated. We would prove our hardness by running straight from the clothes kiosk and jumping straight in. Anyone, who dangled their toes in the baths first was just a great big jessie. So many rites of passage took place here:

My first snog.

My first fight with the metal clothes baskets as our weapons.

My first futile attempts at diving from the hight board.

My first time for combining ten lengths of the pool with a mammoth cider session.

My first reckless attempts to swim a whole length underwater.

My obsession with being a Mod and turning up every day during the suumer of 77 in full parka and two tone suit.

My addiction to warm Panda Cola.

My embarrassment at the school swimming gala of going from 1st to 3rd in the relay on my leg.

Scabby the local homeless dog, leaping over the wall and diving into the deep end.

My Dad, getting cramp, every time he went to the pool.

My Mum, turning up one day at 5pm with the Sunday roast that had sat on the table for four hours

Saving up my pocket money to buy a pair of Mark Spitz trunks from Edgars Gentleman’s Outfitters.

I can still smell the smells to this day. One of the smells is both reassuring and slightly un-nerving. By the time we had Steven in 1995, Southall Baths had long gone but in our first summer together, I took him to Uxbridge open air pool (also unheated). As we got out, I was hit by the smell on me. It was my smell. It was the smell of my Dad after he came out of the pool 30 years earlier.


From → Personal Stuff

One Comment
  1. Deri Parsons permalink

    I have similar fond memories of our local ‘baths’ in Caerphilly in South Wales. I dip into your blog on a regular basis and I wish you and Steven well in your struggles.

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