Almost there. Only five days to go until the lovely lido opens up once again for a season of procrastination down in SE24.
The staging of the Art Deco Fair on Saturday signalled that the new lido season is almost upon us. There has been a slight delay in opening up the waters of Lake Brockwell this year, with the lure of a Bank Holiday Monday lido swim being put back until Friday.
“Technical difficulties” (waiting for a pool plant part to arrive from Germany) means that the Best Day of the Year in South London will have to wait until all that political posturing of May 6th is out of the way.
Purification in the waters of Lake Brockwell, the morning after the dirty deed has been done, seems like the perfect cure for the political hangover to me.
And so I walked through the creaking lido turnstiles on Saturday, settled up for a lido season ticket (£150 – £1.20 a swim every day through until October, and no increase on last year,) and then was welcomed back into the lido community with my happy, smiling summer friends all around.
Lido historian Peter Bradley was the first to greet me. We exchanged tales of the misery of our winter months, and the loathsome practise that is being pent up inside an indoor pool. Time to break free, time to embrace the tepid waters of Lake Brockwell.
The lovely Brockwell Lido Users Group had set up stall poolside. It is worth remembering that events such as the now annual Art Deco Fair wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for BLU and the campaign to breathe life back into the lido almost a decade ago.
Blimey – has it *really* been that long?
The Herne Hill Society were very friendly, even in the rare moment of mild frustration found within the most peaceful place in South London. An angry (ish) young blogger asked about the bodge job of the Herne Hill junction outside Brockwell Park. Almost an hour of debate followed, some appeasement and even a handshake at the end – lido life has that kind of calming effect on you. More on the Herne Hill conversation to come…
The pool itself was looking resplendent. Clear, blue water and a temperature of around 15 degrees to give you that perfect May 7th kick up the political backside. I have already rehearsed my choice of political phrase to unleash, as I dive in for the time and my head explodes with the harshness of the water. You need some kind of physical release, and my local politician of choice is lined up to receive the verbal assault.
The typography art installation by Gethin and Myles looks even more intriguing now that the water has entered the pool. The beautiful lettering, lovingly painted within the basin of the lido, is barely visible from above. Goggles on, heads down, and I think a few swimmers are in for a pleasant literary surprise, come that first chilly bathing on Friday morning.
The Fair itself wasn’t simply a commercial proposition. Other artistic installations were in place poolside. A plastic cup and a piece of string style communication system stretched across the width of the pool. Pick up a cup, and you were rewarded with some history of the lido’s past, with stories told from the many lido voices throughout the past seventy years.
A Mouse Trap style board game was also in place, which resulted in a figurine of a chap diving into the water. The lack of a German pump didn’t seem to bother the plastic fella.
A periscope was also by the side of the pool, replicating the view from the lido as seen from 20 meters above. It seemed perfect that the mirror focussed down on a bikini bra that was positioned in perfect range for closer inspection.
Daniel and Duncan at @TheLidoCafe had their busiest day of the year. The sun always seems to shine on Art Deco day, and I feel that the two brothers at Our Cafe by the Water are in for something of a very special summer.
So yep – almost, almost there. Fifteen years of lido life, and one final epic summer of arseing about by the pool to come for me. I’m going to make the most of it, come rain, shine or even *eek* work.
Golden days I tell you. Golden days.