March 08

Fabulous oldies swimming team

Everyday I go swimming at around 7 AM at the fabulous Orpington Swimming Baths. This daily routine has literally changed  my daily life, and helps me start the day with a spring in my step.

Most of us struggle to get out of bed and I still do, however for me now the lure of a big fresh swim and a chat with the 6:30 AM  fabulous Oldies Olympic Chatting Squad at this gigantic swimming pool has literally transformed my mornings. I just love it at the pool we don’t stop laughing and a lot of the fab oldies in the pool don’t actually swim, they walk up and down the pool chatting about life, practicing for the Olympic Chatting Championships in 2016.

I have been going to this pool for 2 years and  I swim the alphabet, this is 26 lengths. You may say: ‘What do you mean you swim the the alphabet?’ Well, I find counting  lengths soulless and boring and I always used to forget how many lengths I had done.

Then, one morning I was chatting to the very sexy and very posh Derek, an 84 year old playboy who used to be a lawyer and he said: ‘Dunc, try swimming the alphabet. I was taught that in the Navy in World  War II  to keep fit and I still do it daily, 70 years later. This  top tip from Derek has been such great advice and made swimming lengths so much more bearable. I find once I get to the letter K I am at the top of the hill as such and the rest L -M -N -O -P -Q  is like swimming downhill.

I have met such an incredible group of wonderful people at the pool, most are 65 plus and most of them are such characters. I do not think in my 55 years of life have I ever met such an incredible group of people. It’s a TV show or documentary waiting to happen. The fantastic people of Orpington Swimming Baths.WEB OLDIES-18WEB OLDIES-15

Anyway, today I photographed a few of these characters and i will be photographing more of them. People are never really photographed at their swimming pool especially nowadays as it’s  NOT ALLOWED. Yes, candid photography of human beings has been CANCELLED for ever. This new ruling everywhere in every swimming pool and many playgrounds in Great Britain is an absolute tragedy.

Some of the best photographs of people are at our local swimming baths.

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The reason for this is when we go swimming we, as humans, do not have our masks on. By this I mean the clothes and makeup we are at our purest form, just in a swimming costume. I believe we are now not documenting part of our social history. It was only a few years ago that a parent could photograph their children swimming and playing around at their pool, capturing those treasured moments of childhood which one day, in the future, become mini-heirlooms.

Anyway, I could go on and on about this, so here are the photos I took this morning at my pool, I asked 84 year old Derek to pull his muscles in the showers, and he looks just fantastic. Then I snapped 76 year old Terry and the biggest character and disabled big Jon by the side of the pool here  and the gorgeous Katya and Dave – The Chippy.

Katya, who daily wears her Christmas antlers, is 56 and 3 years ago had a stroke and was in a coma for 4 months. Yes, 4 months, and when she finally woke up she could not walk or talk. She had no use of her left arm and the local council put her in an old people’s home to die.

Katya, with just incredible determination, has somehow had a rebirth. She learned to walk and talk and become the angel of the pool.  She is the most amazing free spirit I have ever met and I absolutely adore her, she has also helped me be a better person.  So look at these people, all ordinary locals, and I bet you would love to have a coffee with them. You could just pop over to Orpington one morning or better still: Go to your local pool. There will be amazing people to meet there too, as there are amazing people to meet everywhere , you just have to say a few words … HELLO THERE! HOW ARE YOU TODAY?

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