Here I am striding out of the sea at Broadhaven in Pembrokeshire in early April. I think the sea looks rather idyllic, all that blue... but most people who've seen this photo just think it looks cold.
It was idiotic. But it was fun. I've always been daft about water; I have a tendency to think it is my element and I don't have enough fear of it. I am going to reform.... I'm building up to the Great East Open Water Swim in June, and I am going to go in rivers and lakes and seas with others around...
I've been in the River Cam twice now (11.5 degrees) with some very wise people in support. They are giving me so much advice (in tiny chunks, so I don't get overwhelmed) I'm beginning to think I might finally learn whatever it is I need to know. Although I'm not sure if I needed to hear their first reaction to the swim I've signed up for: a long pause, then '....Brutal'.
When I started writing this I thought I might list my mistakes with rivers and seas and lakes but in the end I decided against it. I didn't want you to think so much worse of me. The trouble is, all those times were such wonderful adventures, in the company of some of my very best people. Would I want to leave those adventures out of my life story? People are very ready to condemn risky behaviour; lots of people feel entitled to tell me off when they hear I swim in the river for example, but don't we all take the risks that make sense for our lives? What would life be without risk? Perhaps I haven't learned how to learn from my mistakes after all. Maybe I'm with Peter Cook.
Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in their 'Frog and Peach' sketch:
Dudley: Do you feel you've learnt by your mistakes here?
Peter: I think I have, yes, and I think I can probably repeat them almost perfectly. I know my mistakes inside out.