Thursday, September 02, 2010

Total Disappointment

Saturday, 4th September. The Great North Swim. A mile in Windermere, in the Lake District.

I've been training for it since December - a mile several times a week - and was nervous but really looking forward to it.

I'd got the entry pack, the swimming cap, spent some of the afternoon looking at the map of the route. I decided I'd write a blog post about it as we're going to the Lake District tomorrow.

So I clicked on the site and at first I could hardly take in what I read there. They have postponed it because of blue-green algae in the water compromising swimmer safety. For "postponed" read "cancelled" as I doubt they'll be able to reschedule this summer.

The same thing happened a few weeks ago with the Great Scottish Swim, but there'd been no warning that this might be the case with Windermere, and I must say I think they've left it a bit late to tell us. Though they have now emailed me and texted me as well as putting it up on the website.

I am absolutely gutted. In fact, it's really quite interesting to analyse the level of disappointment I feel.

When did I last feel this much disappointment? I can tell you precisely when. I was fourteen and there was a production of Hamlet at the old Leeds Playhouse, and the actors were supposed to be coming to talk to us at school about it.

I had been asked to welcome them, and to make a little speech. I'd seen the production and loved it, and was totally stagestruck.

Then, in our English lesson on the morning it was all supposed to happen, we were told, very casually, that the director had decided that they needed an extra rehearsal, and so they wouldn't be coming.

Very bad of the director, as a matter of fact, to call it off at such short notice - or indeed, at all.

So we were told - - and I was immediately asked to read the role of Julius Caesar in our English lesson, and I couldn't read through my tears, and the teacher just didn't seem to understand why at all.

We're still going up to the Lake District - the bed and breakfast has been booked for months - and plan to have an enjoyable weekend.

And I'm giving myself a bit of a kicking, because I know this isn't a tragedy. Oh no. I know what tragedy feels like, I've been there. I know what grief feels like and I've been there too, and sadness - and this isn't those.

But it's disappointment, and I've forgotten over the years just how bad that can be.

I would have loved to have done the Great North Swim in my twenties, when I could really swim, before the big tragedy of losing my baby and the illness that followed, and the DVT in my leg. And somehow this, in my fifties, was going to be my way of getting it back - to put it melodramatically, reclaiming a bit of the youth that I lost, and perhaps that's why I'm so deeply disappointed.

But as usual, having wallowed a bit, I'm going to try to go for my usual Pull Yourself Together and Move On. In a while. I have got a lot fitter. I used to swim a mile in an hour and twenty minutes and now I can do it in fifty-six minutes. It's been good for me. I've loved it. I'll carry on swimming.

Oh well. There's always next year.


Anonymous Milo said...

Oh I am sorry to hear that. There really is nothing worse than when you've been looking forward to something for so long and suddenly the rug is pulled from under your feet. Can leave you feeling bereft.

All the practice you have got in has been extremely good (health wise) and you never know, it may get rescheduled for this year. I wonder if there are any other swims in other parts of the country you could do instead?

8:20 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor Daphne - your disappointment is palpable. It's a strange emotion when one encounters it so infrequently. And you’re right. It's not tragedy, or grief, or sadness... but it's still very real... and those of us who have followed your prepartions quite understand your need to wallow before you pull yourself together.
You can at least congratulate yourself on your improved fitness, which could well have gone some way to recapturing some lost years. (If a cigarette can reduce your life by the time it takes to smoke it, surely a mile swim must extend one's life by far longer than the time it takes to do it.)

8:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Daphne!

What an awful surprise, and such a shame. You've put so much effort into this; it's so unfair!

8:30 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry - I know you were looking forward to this (well, apart from the wetsuit and the underwater gnomes)

Julie paradox

9:10 pm  
Blogger Jennyta said...

Really sorry to hear that, Daphne. You have imnproved your fitness and stamina, I'm sure and that's good but, just at the moment, it doesn't quite compensate for the cancellation, I'm sure. Hope you will be able to do it next year instead.

9:36 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

British Gas Great Salford Swim 2010 - Online Entries

Not quite Windermere... but still open for entries, I believe

10:09 pm  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

I'm sorry to hear of your disappointment. Over here a 61-year-old woman has announced she wants to swim from Florida to Cuba (90 miles of open ocean) with no shark cage. Maybe you could make it a bit of a contest? Plus you would get to come back to your beloved Florida and your palm trees, even if only briefly. I hear there are palm trees in Cuba as well.

11:52 pm  
Blogger Daphne2 said...

I am so sorry for you Daphne, you have every right to feel disappointed. You really should have been told about the cancellation before it was posted on the website. I do hope the can reschedule even if it is not until next year.

6:59 am  
Anonymous Ruth said...

Your disappointment is entirely justified and probably proportionate but I hope it doesn't overwhelm you for as long as you have been training. Wallow away, enjoy the sights and sites on your weekend in the Lake District and curse those blue green algae. I bet they're ugly and miserable.

8:27 am  
Anonymous jay - said...

Oh no!! I can WELL understand how disappointed you are! And yes, it can take us right back to being children again, can't it? It's the same gut-wrenching, bewildering, empty feeling, no matter what age you are.

I do hope they manage to reschedule. Meanwhile, you at least have the comfort of knowing that this time, the disappointment is for your own good, not a mere whim, or the appalling rudeness of deciding that a bunch of schoolkids weren't very important.

Blue-green algae can, and does kill. Dogs have dropped dead after a swim to prove it. :( But they certainly should have let you know that it was growing and they might have to postpone. It's most inconsiderate.

9:21 am  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

I'm gutted for you too Daphne. I thoroughly expected a long post on September 5th or 6th about how you'd battled through the pain and cold barriers to complete the Windermere swim. I can see why the swim would have had a significance for you that other swimmers wouldn't have even guessed at. But you're right - there is next year, fingers crossed.

10:52 am  

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