Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Swimming Pool

Last November, Diminishing Lucy wrote a lovely blog post about her deep affection for her public pool. I was reminded of her post today as Fam Fibro enjoyed an afternoon at the Fibrotown pool. It was another hot, scratchy, irritable February day. We were all climbing the walls, if a little listlessly. The Builder came inside from a morning of outdoor chores, sweat dripping from his nose, and asked what we all wanted to do in the afternoon.

"A swim!" was the uniform response.

"Inside or outside," he asked, thinking of the joy the boys got from visiting our local indoor swimming complex.

"Outside!" we shouted. I wanted to go for a drive up the road, to a secluded little rockpool we know.

"It's a long drive to swim in a pool," he said.

We decided, instead, to drive five minutes down the road to swim in a pool.

The Fibrotown pool looks almost exactly the same as it did when I used to ride my bike down there with my sisters. The joy of the pool is that it's within riding distance of just about every street in Fibrotown. There are some new benches and a new shade structure, but other than that, it's like stepping back in time (albeit carrying a little extra weight into the frame).

Teenage boys were staging a bombing contest, taking a run-up across the grass and then launching themselves over the lane ropes marking the area for serious swimmers. Fortunately, the serious swimmers stayed home today as not all boys were successful at clearing the ropes.

Little kids in too-small cossies stood for ages at the canteen, trying to decide what to buy for their 80c. Unfortunately, you can't get a Chocolate Paddle Pop for that anymore - but we still had one. Who goes to the pool and doesn't have a Paddle Pop? No-one I know, that's for sure.

We ran into the family of one of Mr7's classmates and stood around in the shallow end, throwing the children between us, to their great squeals of delight. We even braved the waterslides, which I remember from my teen years - though I don't recall them being so high or so fast. Mr4's enthusiasm waned a little after he received a face full of fibreglass, bouncing off one of the high walls around a fast corner. But he's keen to go back 'next time'.

The Fibrotown pool is under threat at present. It is old (see above mentions to my teen years, which we all know are some years ago) and apparently leaking. It also stands on a prime piece of riverfront land. Which does not stand in its favour in the eyes of some, who can see better use for such land.

I remember stretching out a towel on the lush green grass surrounding the pool when I was 15, wearing my first 'grown-up' swimsuit. It was also lush green and was, in true 80s fashion, cut high enough in the legs to reveal my (very serious) hipbones. There may even have been a white belt involved. Maybe.

I hope that my boys have the opportunity to have memories like that of their own. Ideally, without the fashion victim swimsuits in the picture.

{image: via WeHeartIt}


  1. Hello! I think my family may have enjoyed this very pool recently... or one close by... fantastic slides anyway. As someone who did NOT spend a lot of time at outdoor pools as a youngster (thin on the ground in Bonnie Scotland), I adore Aussie pools, especially the older style, with lots of grass and space and a delightful dagginess.

    The family-friendly pool, well worth fighting for.

  2. The other day I was cleaning our bathroom and Boy 1 walked in and said "Mummy, it smells like swimming in here!". And that is why I prefer an outdoor pool. Indoor pools, while good for winter swimming, are smelly and a bit wrong.
    Sad about Fibro Town's outdoor pool. Can they patch the leak with some builder's bog?

  3. Thanks for the memories Al. I learnt to swim (rather well) at that swimming pool. Tony used to know how to get in for free (hole in the fence somewhere) and Ben and i would spend countless hours there during summer (who needs supervision). I remember being terrified of the sharks that I was sure would magically appear from the filters in the middle section and the paddle pops from the canteen. Also remember trudging home from the pool and once home, wishing we could go back.
    I showed the kids the pool when we went back to see Nanna Val and i was surprised by how small it all looked. It used to be massive and somehow its shrunk :).

  4. Sounds like you need to launch a 'Save our Pool' campaign :) Love that you are creating these same memories with your boys.

  5. @Shauna - I know what you mean - the deep end used to feel 12 metres deep...but it's not really. Sad.

    @Seana - you may well have been there by the sounds of things. Ageing waterslides and all!

    @therhythmmethod -I know what you mean about indoor pools. I don't like them. They make me think of plantar warts and fungus. Which is not exactly what you need to have in mind whilst swimming...

  6. When we go home to visit the folks we now take our kiddies to the local pool. It reminds me of hanging out with my friends in my teenage years, many, many years ago. High cut swimmers were going on there too....YUK!!!

  7. How wonderful! I can't help picturing your pool like the one in the Drumstick icecream commercial, where everyone bites the chocolatey plug at the bottom of the cone in unison.
    I'm sure I am WAY OFF, but I like this thought ;o)

  8. Ahh, Al. Between your pool and mine there are some seriously feel good pool memories.

    I am cranky and upset about our local pool - yet another chunk of green grass land has been carved off.

    As a child there were paddocks at one end for frisbee and footy. As a teen there was less. About 10 years ago, one of the paddocks was eaten up to acomodate a new library (to replace the perfectly good old library?). And now I see MORE cordoning off tape.

    I am on a climb to a high horse, I know, but these pools are civic facilities that are being robbed from our children.

    I feel like Meredith in Sea Change.

    I am so glad you and your boys had such a good time.


  9. That post took me back to the Parkes Swimming Pool. Everyone in the town could walk there. I spent most days of summer lying on the grass, covered in Reef Oil baking in the sun. I remember so many fun days had there. It is still there and from what I believe, still going strong. It would be sad day if they closed it down. I hope they don't close yours before your boys get to have the memories we had of our local pools.

  10. I remember spending many happy summers at the Port Pirie SA pool after it was built, then moving on to the beach at pool closing time each day. There were three pools, the big one, a kiddie pool with water up to our thighs and a baby wading pool, with water only up to our ankles. Sometimes my brother and me would ride our bikes to the Crystal Brook pool instead because theirs was deeper and had a diving board.

  11. I loved going to the pool. So much fun to be had! I remember Dad teaching me to swim (had a lazy left arm) in the shallow end while Mum supervised young TICH in the baby pool. Your green togs were tres stylish (definitely a white belt) - you would need a Brasilian to wear them these days! Our local pool has just been closed due to old age and leakage. We hope they are doing a 'reno' but they might be pulling a swifty. Has put a dampener on the swimming lessons at our place :(

  12. Ah yes, I remember reading this and commenting, have photos of whizzing children and husband... next time I visit, will have a waterproof camera to film whizzing through the water slides. Thus we find out small pleasures.

    Sad to say that I am very similar to this pool in being old and leaking. Too much info!!

  13. You're so right - chocolate paddle pops.


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