Postcard From Torquay (2)
We’ve just got back from a morning at Shoalstone Pool in Brixham. There was a sign on the car park announcing that the pool was closed today for cleaning. Having traveled all the way from Cowley for a freezing, saltwater experience, I thought we can’t turn back now, so descended the steps to the pool. There wasn’t a soul there – no staff, no swimmers, so taking our bathing caps in hand we decided to brave it and if anyone noticed us, we’d pretend we hadn’t seen the closure notice.
Its been two hours since we got out of the pool and I’m still shivering. Although I announced there would be a prize for the first person to fully submerge themselves, only Steven, me and two of the support workers had the balls. Funnily enough, within 30 seconds of entering the water our balls disappeared and haven’t reappeared since. Steven gets confused by this – “Dad, Steven Neary’s willy isn’t there anymore”. Disconcerting but we save the day by a quick burst of one of Take That’s lesser known hits – ” Scrotums ain’t here anymore”.
Somewhere in time, Steven became a lot more fearful about things. I’ve got photos of us at the same pool when Steven was seven. He was bombing down the ramp and just launched himself into the icy jellyfished water. Today, he got all anxious by the steps down to the pool and then spent about 10 minutes, up to his knees, reassuring himself – “Its alright Steven. Water will be hot in a minute”. It does feel like this anxiety started after 2010, which I guess is not surprising as he spent a whole year living in fear.
I find it quite sad though that some former pleasures have disappeared off his agenda. He’s already said he doesn’t want to do the theme park tomorrow, whereas prior to 2010, a ride on the log flume would be one of his annual highlights. I remember coming down the flume at Blackpool pleasure beach in 2009 with him singing ” The Time Warp”as we catapulted off the final drop. Carefree.
So this afternoon we’re sticking to a normal Monday routine. He’s listening to a Take That compilation tape at the moment and is planning a Mr Bean DVD straight after. He has allowed one concession to breaking the routine – we can have a barbecue tonight instead of spaghetti hoops.
And whilst Steven is enjoying Mr Bean in America, I’m going to jump into the fridge to warm up.