& swim

a bigger splash
Pool @ Le Colombe d'Or, St Paul-de-Vence, France.
Pool @ Le Colombe d’Or, St Paul-de-Vence, France.

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to take a dip.

Purely architectural reasons, I’m afraid.

That is, the building practices of the 1930s have let me down. I can’t think who else to blame. Dolphin Square, where I swim every morning, was a purpose-built block from the 1930s, the “largest self-contained block of flats in Europe” so they said. 

Dolphin Square, London SW1
Dolphin Square, London SW1

The thing is, I have history with Dolphin Square – fucksakes, anyone worth their salt has history with Dolphin Square – politicians and their mistresses, members of royal families, spies selling and receiving secrets: the list goes on and on.

Anwhichways, back in the late 1980s, when this sort of thing was still possible, I was given the key to a studio flat in Dolphn Square by D***** C*** in exchange for £100. In those days all you needed was a central London address, access to a phone booth, a Pager, and a PhoneCard – and you were sorted. Living in Dolphin Square was like one long luxury-cruise. There were restaurants and bars, a shopping arcade, interior gardens, and sports facilities.

It was life lived triple large.

In the morning cashiered colonels, and divorced debutantes would wander the hallways, and haunt the shops in their dressing gowns.

The joy, though, the joy of Dolphin Square was its swimming pool.

The swimming pool and its bar – where the Happy Hour would attract the more louche residents of the Square to imbibe, and let their hair down in a fashion that would have been found unseemly elsewhere in London.

But I’m drifting way from the point … which is swimming.

So, I have been swimming at Dolphin Square – on and off – for over twenty years now.

In between I have swum in:

> the River Thames

> the Carribbean, with crack-dealers

> the South China Sea, with recovering heroin addicts

>  the Atlantic at Miami Beach

> in Mexico, with horses

> in Haiti

> in, of course, the south of France

> not forgetting the Hotel Zagherella in Sicily

>  nor the beaches of Morocco.

Nowhere, though, is as important as my daily swim at Dolphin Square. And, now they have fixed the problem with the roof, I can swim agin. Every morning. For half an hour.






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