It's that wonderful time of year again when the British weather toys us in to confusion as to what season it is. Summer for a few days, spring then suddenly winter again - my wardrobe gets terribly confused in May.
But when the Lido opened at Jesus Green in Cambridge last week I couldn't wait to get back in the water and embrace the fact summer was right around the corner. A lido is an outdoor public pool - a completely different experience to a leisure centre - and the one in Cambridge is a gem. One of the longest outdoor pools in Europe, Jesus Green Lido is a mighty 91m long - no repetitive 25m lengths here! As well as the great size, it has piping hot showers and, joy of joys, a sauna. Who could say no?
I may have been a bit enthusiastic on my first outing though - armed with only my Sweaty Betty bikini and a bright pink swim hat and goggles I'm all confidence until the speedster husband observes that most people are wearing wetsuits...and the water is 16 degrees. A very slow and unsure entry later and the calm but crisp waters are the most incredible deadener to the stress and chaos of life outside. Focusing just on my breathing and the long, long lengths the lido offers I make the journey slowly back and forth feeling great pride and freedom in my lack of wetsuit. By 8 laps, I'll admit, my toes had gone numb, at 9 I begun to get pins and needles and by 10 my fingers were also going numb. I make it to the magic 11 - making a kilometre of swimming and make a dash for the sauna which is delicious after the icy depths of the pool.
As the blood rushes back to my extremities a man enters in not just a wetsuit but also neoprene hat, boots and gloves. "Bloody heck! Did you go in in just a cossie?" he asks. I smirk, "Just a bikini." Ah sweet, sweet pride. I feel like a mighty Norweigan warrior. Or one of the old ladies you see jumping in the Serpentine on New Year's Day in their flowery swimming costumes. Maybe somewhere in between the two.
Either way I'll be back. And I won't be in a wetsuit.