Swimming Word Games

I’ve been having back problems for some time so, at the advice of my physio, I’ve foregone the leaping around like an idiot, sweat inducing step and combat classes that I used to do in favour of more sedate exercise. At first I was just walking but recently I’ve added swimming at our local baths which I’m really enjoying and, luckily, doesn’t trigger any back pain.

This is really a blast from the past because it’s where I taught myself to swim as a child whilst my parents were playing badminton in the neighbouring leisure centre, and where we were taken from school for our weekly swimming where we used to dive to the bottom to pick up big black bricks. Weird things you remember from your childhood. We used to go on a coach and there was a bump in the road on the way so if you bounced up and down in your seat (before seatbelts were compulsory) and timed it right, when you went over the bump you flew into the air. I’m surprised the teachers didn’t stop us doing this. Maybe they tried!

Back then the pool used to look like this.

I don’t remember them ever having the white divider across the middle – you could always swim the full length which was thirty three metres. I don’t even remember a barrier to stop swimmers entering the diving board area but that doesn’t sound safe, even for the 80s!

The pool was refurbished a few years ago. It was closed for years because they found asbestos in the roof and these recent visits were the first time I’ve been since it reopened but it’s not really very different. The cafe is no longer there, which is a blessing and a curse really. It always used to smell of delicious chips and those chips tasted amazing when you were hungry after a long session playing in the pool and I still think I can smell them, but it’s a good job they’ve gone because the temptation, I’m sure, would be too much to bear! Apart from that, the only major change is the addition of a wall to transform the L shaped pool into two twenty five metre pools.

I choose to swim in the health and leisure sessions in the top part of the pool in the above photo but the separation means they can have lots of dedicated lane swimming sessions in the diving board end.

My Apple Watch really comes into its own with swimming. I always used to forget how many lengths I’d done previously because my mind would wander but I don’t have to even try to remember now because my watch does the job for me.

Speaking of my mind wandering, I do like to keep my mind occupied whilst I’m swimming in order to not get bored, and this week I found myself playing word games with the words that I could see which, unsurprisingly, were deep water and shallow water, depending which way I was heading. First of all I found myself seeing how many smaller words I could make out of these words, and once I’d exhausted that, I started devising crossword clues for the words I’d found. I thought it might be fun to share some of these in case it might entertain the fellow linguists amongst you.


  • 1) mouse or honey
  • 2) not an apple
  • 3) found in a church
  • 4) unwanted garden inhabitant
  • 5) USS Enterprise speed


  • 1) gentle traverse around a park
  • 2) blue, pilot or narwhal
  • 3) wise adviser to Winnie the Pooh
  • 4) eye protector
  • 5) you can sow them or eat them

Hope that’s provided some light brain entertainment on a grey Sunday afternoon. If anyone wants any answers, shout up.

Underwater World

We are jet lagged! I imagine this is what it feels like to be on mind-altering drugs. Earlier we went to Tesco (through necessity certainly not desire). I generally avoid supermarkets. Life is just too short when you work full time to be faffing around in supermarkets in your free time, wondering how the human race hasn’t become extinct. If it can’t even handle a shopping trolley how on earth does it undertake more complicated activities such as, oh I don’t know, crossing the road or raising a child! Anyway, somehow today, in our multi time zonal state it suddenly became more bearable. I’m pretty sure I managed not to leave my trolley horizontal across the end of an aisle whilst I wondered off to (at length) ponder the virtues of Cushelle over Andrex as is the want of your seasoned supermarket goer, but I was definitely less spatially aware than usual and (joy of joys) pretty much unaware of the irritating foibles of my fellow shoppers. Maybe that’s as a result of post holiday relaxation, or maybe the jet lag. Either way, I shall return to online shopping next week because I’m sure both will have deserted me not to return until our next holiday, leaving me open to the possibility of committing hara-kiri with a carrot should I attempt to enter a supermarket.

We landed back down on earth with a bump today (and not one of a Dreamliner!) As well as braving Tesco, I’ve emptied both suitcases and my beach bag, put the passports away, hung up everything that didn’t need washing, filled and emptied the dishwasher, watered the plants, cleaned the kitchen and straightened my hair (but I drew the line at applying make up – one thing at a time, eh?) Hubby has emptied the bins, cleaned the cats bowls and changed their litter trays and between us we’ve done two loads of washing (including hubby’s uniform ready for his return to work on Tuesday) and now we’re cooking tea. There was a fairy for all manner of domestic chore whilst we were on holiday and I was hoping it might have popped in our suitcase to continue back home, but no such luck!

So, I’m going to live vicariously through my past self this evening and tell you about our excursion last week. We decided we’d just do one excursion while we were away, partly because they were flipping expensive but mostly because we really felt the need for copious amounts of lying, relaxing, snoozing and general nothing doing. We looked at the options and toyed with a trip to Chichen Itza, but ultimately we realised that this would’ve just been a box ticking exercise and we weren’t all that desperate to see it. Impressive as I’m sure it is, you can no longer climb the pyramid, the pick up was at some ungodly hour and it would’ve meant spending several hours of our precious holiday on a coach. So, we opted for Underwater World.

Our pick up was scheduled for 7.55am, but by 8.15am we were still lounging in the sun on the front steps of the hotel. I have to admit I was starting to worry, but there was no need, the minibus had got held up getting into Playa Carm (as the locals call Playa del Carmen). There’s a checkpoint to get in and every vehicle is checked. This must be irritating for people coming in for deliveries and hotel staff etc. but it’s for safety reasons and did mean that the hotel felt super secure.

Soon we were on our way down the highway to our first stop which was a cenote, which is an underground lagoon. There are over six thousand cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsular and as there are no rivers in the area, they provide the primary source of drinking water. The water filters through the rocks when it rains and it is crystal clear (until, that is people go in and stir up the silt on the bottom).

We entered the uunderground world down a very steep staircase.


Please excuse the swimwear! I promise I won’t make a habit of posting pics in such attire! You can see the steepness of the stairs and the concentration on hubby’s face to make sure he doesn’t fall down them!

There is absolutely no natural light down there once you’ve moved away from the entrance so for most of the time we had to follow our guide Ricardo’s torch as you can see in this photo.


Luckily nobody asked what would happen if the battery died until after we’d got back to the stairs! Apparently it has happened and they all had to hold on to each other and feel their way around the rocks until they got back! Argh! When we were in the depths of the cave Ricardo turned the torch off and you literally couldn’t see your hand in front of your face!

The cenote is filled with stalagmites and stalactites which are thousands of years old, formed by the water dripping through. You have to be really careful not to touch them because they are very easily damaged.

This is one of the most special things I’ve ever done.

After we scrambled our way back up the stairs we headed back to the highway down the bumpiest road I’ve ever known. Halfway down we suddenly stopped to the cry of ‘tarantula!’ Somehow our driver had spotted this little (big) fellow crawling around at the side of the road.


I’m not the biggest lover of spiders, although I’ve got better since I’ve been gardening more and coming across all manner of creepy crawlies, but I was very impressed by this guy. Now, I’m not saying I want to find one of these in the bath, but I find them a lot less shudder-inducing than the common house spider, because they don’t scurry. They’re too big for scurrying! You can see some scale in the next photo.


Another minibus was heading towards the cenote and they pulled over when they saw the commotion and the driver picked the tarantula up!

Brave guy!

We carried on and headed to our final stop, a beautiful beach where went snorkelling. Unfortunately I don’t have photos because we had to leave our belongings in the minibus because there were no lockers, but imagine Caribbean paradise and you’ll be part way there!

We suited up in our life jackets and snorkels and followed Ricardo into the water. There’s no guarantee of seeing turtles because they’re not in captivity, they’re free to swim wherever they please. Apparently ten years ago you’d be likely to see close to a hundred on a good day, but now you’re lucky to see five or six.

We were reasonably lucky, we saw three.


These aren’t the actual turtles that we saw. Well, they might be, but I didn’t take the photos, they were in a photo package that I bought of the day. They’re pretty close to what we actually saw.

It’s very serene when you’re floating around looking down at turtles, not able to hear anything because your ears are below the water. Very calm.

Sadly some of the turtles are getting cancer because of the chemicals that we, the human race, are putting into the sea. I couldn’t see any evidence of it on the turtles we saw (apparently they get white tumours) but it really makes you realise that we need to change our ways for the good of the animal kingdom, and the planet as a whole. Obviously we need to wear sun protection, but there are animal safe products available. There are alternatives to many plastic consumables.

As well as the turtles we saw two sting rays, an adult (mummy?) and a baby.


Again, not my photo, but a good likeness.

This was an absolutely brilliant day! I’m so glad we chose this over Chichen Itza, we have amazing memories that we can cherish forever.