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.

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