I was splashing along the edge of the pond trying to stay cheery. The first five minutes had been full of underwater shrieks and mad kicking. If I stayed still and silent, I knew the slimy greenery would tie knots around my ankles and pull me under. Because that’s what happens in ponds. I sped on, my arms all of a sudden channelling their inner hulk. Apparently that’s what pure fear does. Amazing. The thought of stopping was too scary, so I kept calm and carried on, as the posters and mugs advise.
The trouble with anything but an indoor pool is the murkiness of it all. And it’s not even a case of adjusting to the gloom. Talking about ‘open water’ sounds fun, doesn’t it. Optimistic and bright, full of vim and vigour, brimming with Summer delight. It certainly looks like that on the surface. Birds flapping overhead, picnickers and trees waving you on… Under the water, however, it is dizzyingly dark.
Realising I needed to get used to this, I challenged myself to keep my head down for as long as possible and keep going in a straight line. My hulk kept going. It was all going fine until my hand caught something. My fright meant a mouthful of water and a face-to-face encounter with a bemused cormorant. I was so embarrassed to have ended up in the lily pads that I found myself apologising to the gathering of birds bobbing about in the shade. Here’s hoping the hulk makes an appearance tomorrow. Enough slime and darkness and the power surge might just return.
We’re not exactly going to be taken down by scheming weeds in Henley. I mean, we’re definitely not going be chased along by a gaggle of geese, or have our toes taken off by fish with fangs… Well, that’s what we’ve all been telling each other on our Facebook group, so now is probably not the moment to burst our bubble. Just watch out for six hulks setting off at 10:15.