Sunday, October 03, 2010

One Pound Seventy Pence

The swimming pool was remarkably empty this morning. It's been that way all week. Apparently the limit for numbers - so says a notice - is a hundred and four.

If there were a hundred and four people in the pool it would be simply unbearable. This morning, there were about a dozen.

Great for me, of course - in my lane there was me, and a girl in her twenties who swims faster than I do in spite of swimming with the most terrible stroke I've ever seen. Every time I see her I want to ask her why on earth she doesn't have some lessons and become a really good swimmer. But I digress - - -

So I'm in the middle lane - - in the fast lane was my friend Jo and about three others. Everyone else - including my mother - was in the slow lane.

So that's about a dozen people in one of only a handful of municipal swimming pools in a city of six hundred thousand people. It's not very many, it it?

I know it was half past eight on a rainy Sunday morning - - but even so. There used to be more.

So what's happened to them?

They have started charging people over sixty to swim, that's what's happened. It used to be free if you had a Leeds Card.

It's only one pound seventy a time - - but a lot of these older people used to come every day, and now they come a lot less frequently, if at all. They simply can't afford it.

Now I know we live in times of austerity, and this would seem an easy way of generating a bit of money for the Council.

It's a shame, because like my mother, the pool is a place to socialise as well as to swim for a lot of people. And swimming keeps them fit. I think the lack of swimming will cause a greater cost to the National Health Service a few years down the line. I think it's a really short-termist approach.

But, of course, that money will come from a different budget, and nobody will ever discover what difference the swimming, or lack of it, has made to these people's health. I think it's a real shame.


Blogger Dumdad said...

Who makes these petty decisions? I think you're right that the cost to the NHS will be much higher but no one will ever really know. Meanwhile, bankers award themselves ever huger bonuses, Tony Blair buys his umpteenth house . . .

11:39 pm  
Anonymous David Cameron said...

I applaud Leeds Council for charging the over sixties to swim and will soon be instructing them to close all municipal pools as we fight back against The Deficit! You will, of course, be able to swim for free in the River Aire or that large duck pond in Roundhay Park. The days of free lunches are over I'm afraid.

12:42 am  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

What the hell is David Cameron doing in your comment box? He's an absolute *!?*! or as The Communist might have said, a *!*?$! The ConDems' planned assault on the working people of Great Britain amounts to class warfare. Swim for Justice!

12:40 pm  
Anonymous Nick Clegg said...

I must support David on this issue. In Sheffield we have introduced all sorts of innovations to encourage the use of public swimming baths, such as the dry pool. Removing the water makes for a more comfortable and less demanding user experience, as well as saving on the water rates.

Alas, the number of citizens using the pools continues to fall, as in Leeds, and such civic amenities are no longer required by local taxpayers.

And that is why we are losing them, not to save money or anything like that. The funds released will be reinvested in the London Transport system which will be a boon to the people of the north come 2012. If there is anyone left.

2:03 pm  
Anonymous Ed Miliband said...

Thought I'd join in, even though no-one ever remembers which one I am.

8:31 pm  
Anonymous Norman Wisdom said...

I've got nothing left to say Mr Grimsdale!

8:48 pm  
Blogger Daphne said...

Dumdad - yes, yes, ongoing unfairness. Makes me want to move to France - - oh, you thought of it first!
David Cameron - I SO wish the Communist was still alive. He'd read the complete works of Marx to you until you begged for mercy and opened the pools again.
YP - I know. Flaming politicians eh? They get everywhere, don't they? But hey, free speech and all that.
Nick Clegg - remember those Spitting Image puppets of the two Davids? Think about them carefully and let me give you a clue - - you're not David Owen.
Ed Miliband - I'm sure you're a nice bloke and everything but I can't remember who you are.
Norman Wisdom - you're a true gent, and I'm glad you're posting on my blog. I hope you've gone to a Better Place with no Mr Grimsdale.
Mrs Thatcher - - I know you're reading this, but don't even THINK about leaving a comment. There are limits, even to free speech.

11:56 pm  

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