Sunday 4 December 2016

The Angel who saved my Christmas

Published 04/01/2016 | 02:30

Making a splash: Some of the Christmas Day swimmers who braved the elements.
Making a splash: Some of the Christmas Day swimmers who braved the elements.

It was a small Christmas miracle. Christmas morning at Seapoint. Any hope that the rain might have put off Christmas swimmers was dashed by the crowds. But we got parking and the wife and kids got somewhere to stand and in I went. I swam around a bit trying not to look down on the Christmas amateurs who made a big palaver out of getting in and out. I don't whoop when I get in. I walk methodically in, not thinking about the cold. The cold is all in your mind. Until after 20 minutes or more when the insistent bite on the tips of your fingers and toes can't be ignored.

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I don't look down on the others mainly because I am conscious that I am fairly low on the pecking order of these things myself. I am a Johnny-come-lately to the sea also. And Seapoint isn't my regular haunt. But the smugness of knowing that I was in the day before, and I will be in the following day again, and that I am largely feeling no pain, does warm me a little.

After I got out we drank a bottle of vintage Champagne I got from a rich man's cellar for doing a favour once. It had been planned weeks before with a friend, to mark a turning point. It was the end of a shit year and next year, which is going to be better, began here. So we had a tailgate party in the rain, with Champagne and chocolate Mikados and mince pies.

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