It’s nice to go for a swim in an open-air pool when you’re on holiday. Y’know, Costa del Sol, the Algarve, Holborn…. It was high time to take Eva on her first swim and I thought an open-air pool might have a nice kind of Mediterranean-y feel, so we headed to the Oasis Leisure Centre, just off New Oxford St.
It wasn’t quite warm enough to be the Med. And at 28c, the outdoor pool wasn’t quite warm enough for Eva to be in either. But she did just fine, considering. She was wearing the adorable little swimming cossie pictured above, but we also stuck Reuben’s old neoprene wetsuit on top, which didn’t flatter her hips but did keep her warm. Reuben, on the other hand, was in a moany mood and after trying to escape the changing room several times (“wanna go paddling pool!”), spent most of his time saying “I wanna go hooommmme”. Ungrateful wretch. But even he had moments of happily splishing about. Nathan leaving him clinging to the rail at the side and swimming off probably didn’t help.
So, how practical is al fresco swimming in Central London with two small children? Err, not very. But it was kinda fun. Seeing as it was Eva’s first time, we only stayed in 15 minutes or so, and yes it did take longer to get ready than we were swimming for. As I may have mentioned before, I took Roo to baby swimming classes when he was the same age, and they were mostly a disaster. This time round, we don’t have the time or money to do the same and I’m not really that sad about it. Swimming with a baby is more fun when you don’t have to feel guilty about your child being the only one in the class screaming. And it’s easier to hug her tight and reassure her when you aren’t being told to put them in the “swimming position” and sing “twinkle twinkle little star” to them. Maybe that’s where Roo’s phobia of singing groups comes from…
Anyhoo, it would be definitely be a nice thing to do on a sunny day (which it wasn’t). Eva’s arms and legs felt cold, but her tummy was nice and warm when we undressed her. Incidentally, the “family changing” is what appears to be a disabled loo, unless we got the wrong place. But there was space for all four of us and it meant we could shower and keep an eye on Roo at the same time. It would have been better if he hadn’t been able to open the door while we did so. Lockers were just outside, and our buggy fit quite neatly underneath them, so it was easy enough to store our (copious amounts of) stuff.
VERDICT: Not the most practical swimming experience but fun to do something different.