Sunday, 20 January 2013
Writing from snowy London with the temperature hovering below freezing, it's amazing to think that I spent most of Christmas Day in a bikini. If you grew up in the Northern Hemisphere then suffering through sweltering heat on Christmas Day is probably as alien a concept to you as spending Christmas Day in a swimming pool might be. These are indeed photos from Christmas Day on which the mercury hit forty degrees and our family Christmas celebrations involved a pool party at my sister's place. Having grown up with Christmas and New Year falling in summer I always associate this season with swimming, the smell of sun cream, the aroma of meat sizzling on the barbeque, icy cold drinks and jumping in and out of the pool to check on how Australia is doing in the cricket.
Although the heat wave we had over there was described as record breaking, this was Christmas as I remember it. It has only been in recent years that December in Perth has served up relatively mild weather. My memories of growing up in Perth is the month of December being full of sun scorched days when it often remained hot enough at night to go the beach and indulge in some night swimming to cool off.
This Christmas it was one of those kind of days. Searing heat for which only immersion in cool water for long periods at a time can bring relief. It was so hot that even the dogs were eager to get in on the pool action...
My childhood memories of summer revolve around pools. For years we had a sparkling swimming pool at the end of our back garden that would beckon enticingly on hot summer days and provide my siblings and I with hours of free fun. No iPads, smart phones or social media to entertain you in those days! We entertained ourselves with races, competitions to see who could hold their breath underwater longest or do the most somersaults, as well as inventing a series of tournaments conducted while mounted on daft looking inflatable pool toys.
One Christmas we were given pool ponies, large jelly bean shaped things in garishly bright colours with cartoon like grins and googly eyes painted on as faces. You straddled the dip in the centre and had to remain upright and afloat, then kicked your legs and paddled with your hands to move. No mean feat! But once you got the hang of it there were endless pool pony races to be had. We came up with a type of pool pony jousting competition where each contestant would start from the opposite corner of the pool, make their way into the centre and then, on getting close enough, proceed to try and shove the other person off their pool pony into the water by whatever dastardly means possible.
Happily adulthood has not dampened the affection my siblings and I harbour for blobbing around in pools on floating pool toys. Although the tournaments these days have become slightly more civilised - pool pony battles have been replaced with poolside margarita drinking, wine tasting and oyster eating competitions (fiercely competitive mind you - snooze and you lose in my family when it comes to shellfish!)
These days there are also some high tech toys to be had alongside the humble inflatable pool toy. Namely waterproof digital cameras! Hours of fun to be had photographing pointless silliness underwater...
This was a Panasonic camera my brother brought along and I'm quite tempted to get one for my next summer holiday! Mr V might have won the most somersaults underwater competition but I think I won spookiest underwater hair.