It was a sunny summer Sunday when we loaded our car with a picnic and headed off to the Cotswolds.
We paid a princely pound to the parking attendant and took our space in a field with an ice cream van.
Friends and families feasted and frolicked on the banks of the Thames and we made our way amongst them.
Like them we had come out to enjoy nature. Like them we sat in the grass to enjoy some lunch. And unlike them we stood up at the end of our meal, squirmed into body-length neoprene and hopped into the river.
The passers by, I knew, would not object to our bobbing heads floating down the river. We’d met them on previous occasions and they and their dogs simply made bemused enquiries or carried on walking as if swimming in the Thames were perfectly natural (and, by the way, it is).
The picnicers, I figured, so recently our peers, would find us odd at least and offensive if not, as we interrupted their otherwise normal afternoon’s fun but they too simply smiled and struck up conversation.
We scrambled to the side of the river time and again as motor boats and rowers went past. These people, surely, would object to our presence on their river, causing them undue stress and navigational hassle. Instead, they said, “We’ve been expecting you”, and smiled, word of our approach having travelled downstream.
But Ah!, the fishermen, they would certainly protest. Getting in the way. Tangling their lines. Disturbing the fish. But not even the anglers got angry, preferring to let us know how far it was to the next lock and the end of our afternoon, adding in passing: “They’re expecting you”.
Day 4: Sunday 31st July, church near Inglesham to Buscot Lock, 2.5 miles (total swum: 10.2 miles)
Next swims: Sunday 7th, Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th July