Sunday, 2 June 2013
Gosling at the Ladies' Pond
The last baby gosling at Hampstead ladies' pond! Sniff. Its siblings were eaten by dogs. The life guards said 2 more weeks and it should be fine - ie, strong enough to fly away when chased by a pack of labradors. They're also keeping the gates closed to deter goose-crazed dogs.
The ladies' pond is one of those magical London sanctuaries: a swimmable pond fringed by reeds and weeping willows. It's smaller than the men's pond but more hidden and atmospheric. Every time I go, I half expect a badger to cross the water in a rowing boat or a hedgehog to wash its socks on the bank, Beatrix-Potter style. Last year I even saw an electric blue kingfisher.
The only downside: the water is pretty chilly right now.
My thoughts when I went for a swim this morning:
1. (on the ladder, testing the water with my toe) Fuck this is cold.
2. (still on the ladder) Why am I doing this?
3. (jumping in) Aaaaaaah
4. (first ring) Brain-shock
5. (second ring) My skin is on fire. In an ice-fire kind of way.
6. (third ring) There's a goose nesting in the ring. Nice.
7. Wah! A mandarin duck just swam past my nose. And a gosling! That's a gosling! Careful, little gosling, labradors are not your friends.
8. (last buoy) Blue-green, silver-green, sun-dappled green, yellow-green, brown-green. Sunlight on pond water. Duck feet kicking up silver sparks.
I have dived into a Monet painting and am swimming around in it.
9. (swimming through the painting) This is even better than that trip in Thailand when I thought the jungle was a symphony and I was conducting it.
10. (climbing out) Please London keep the Hampstead ladies' pond alive forever and ever.
See you at the pond! Once you're in, the water is lovely.