Sunday, November 28, 2010

Jobsworth At the Pool

Last January I was very proud of myself, in a slightly "this is bonkers but I'm doing it anyway" kind of way, when, on several occasions, I went swimming when the temperature was minus 4 degrees Centigrade outside.

Of course, in the pool it was lovely and warm - about 30 degrees - and I really enjoyed it.

This morning it was minus 7. MINUS SEVEN! That's really very chilly indeed. Because it was so very cold, all the snow was very crisp and pretty, and Early Morning Sunshine Outside the Swimming Pool was beautiful. Ah! If only I'd had an easel and a set of oil paints and brushes with me. Oh yes, and some artistic ability. Oh well.

Again, in the pool it was lovely and warm. The swimming starts at half past eight on a Sunday. Because I'd driven really slowly, in case of black ice, I didn't get into the water until twenty-two minutes to nine.

There were very few people in the pool - you may be surprised to learn! - and I really enjoyed the swim.

A mile is sixty-four lengths. I was quite pleased with my speed - I'm really not a fast swimmer, and I swim breast stroke which is quite slow anyway - but by half-past nine I had done sixty-two lengths and therefore I knew I'd complete the mile in under an hour, which always pleases me. When I started swimming a mile, a year ago, it took me about an hour and twenty minutes.

Then, suddenly, exactly at half-past nine, one of the attendants spoke to me.

"You have to get out now. The adult swimming finishes at half-past nine. It's family swimming now."

Somehow she made the word "adult" have the same connotations as in "adult movies".

I looked round to see who else was in the pool.

There was:

a) A man with a little girl

b) Me

So, firstly, I thought, there is NO WAY that I am getting out of this pool until I have finished my mile.

And secondly, I thought, this is absolutely ridiculous.

I did the extra two lengths and then I got out and went to find the attendant who was chatting to the other attendant.

"So what is this new rule that I have to get out at half-past nine?" I asked sweetly but with just a touch of Inner Schoolmarm.

"They've just brought it in," she said. "Adult swimming finishes at half past nine."

Now then, anyone who had actually observed the swimming on a Sunday morning would have noticed that, once parents with children arrive, the adult swimmers have always tended to keep out of their way at the far side of the pool - and there were never more than a few of us anyway. It's really never crowded at that time - and I know, because I have been on nearly every Sunday morning for the past year.

I looked at the pool. One man, one child.

"I can see why you needed me to get out," I said, "That poor man wouldn't have had room to move, would he?"

"Ah, well, it's the - - "

"Yes, I know. It's the rule. And you didn't make the rule. I think I'd better get in touch with the person who did. Goodbye."

I know a Jobsworth when I see one and, okay, she was quite young and was just enforcing the letter of the law.

Sunday morning has always been the one time when I'm not heading off to work afterwards and so can swim as long as I like - I've been using that time to build up to swimming a mile and a half.

So I'll be writing to the Leisure Centre Manager. It's a long hard business, trying to get the world sorted.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoy the fight Daphne!
And you could email your MP to ask him to vote against double BST while you're at it (happening this week)... unless you think it's a good idea.
I can't imagine anyone over the age of about 50 voting in favour. Alas, we are now largely represented by the under 45s.

2:07 pm  
Anonymous Leisure Centre Manager said...

Dear Ms Franks,

It has come to my attention that on the morning of Sunday November 28th you did petulantly disregard a clear instruction from one of our highly-trained lifeguards to vacate the pool.

This wilful action was in direct contravention of pool regulations which have been instituted to quell the growing menace of leering local paedophile activity.

The lifeguard in question, Miss Kylie Sidebottom of Otley was so distressed by your high-minded refusal to follow simple instructions that she had to take the rest of the day off work and is now receiving counselling for her distress. A child who was in the pool at the time under the protection of a parent was also traumatised because, allegedly, you looked over at that side of the pool in a leering manner.

Your case will formally be brought to the attention of Leeds Leisure Services where you will be entitled to legal representation.

Yours faithfully,
J. Savile (Leisure Centre Manager)

2:37 pm  
Blogger Daphne said...

Lucy - I'm still trying to work out what double BST would mean! Every year the clocks going forwards and backwards confuses me.
Leisure Centre Manager - - I wasn't petulant. I was very, very dignified. Well as dignified as it's possible to be whilst wearing a swimsuit and goggles, anyway.

2:51 pm  
Blogger Jennyta said...

All I have to say is that Miss Kylie Sidebottom didn't come to me for counselling. :(

4:41 pm  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

Into each life some rain must fall.

As a longtime Information Technology Specialist, my advice is to work backward from the new quitting time. If you want to swim a mile and a half, start a half-hour earlier (BST or no).

You should be aware that Leisure Centre Manager bears a striking resemblance to one Church Standards Watchdog who left a comment recently on a post of mine. He is really YP or, more formally, LP of Y, LPY for short, which is pronounced "loopy"....

7:16 pm  
Blogger Daphne said...

Ahhh Bob - - but that's the problem. The pool doesn't open till half past eight, and now I have to leave it at half past nine, so I only have time to swim a mile. Sighhh.
As for Leisure Centre Manager - I did wonder why he had a Humberside accent.

7:18 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

Grrrrrr! Humberside? There's no such thing! It's East Riding of Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire! ....Oops! I think that inadvertently I may have been hoisted by my own petard!

12:44 am  

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