|How are you not cold? (Photo: Kevin Meredith) via The Telegraph|
The seas around Ireland are not quite as cold as in this shot yet, but there's a definite nip in the water. And of course in the air afterwards when you try to get dressed but suddenly your fingers are claws and nothing pulls on properly.
On Sunday we went swimming in an inviting-looking sea but it took only a few shaky breaths to realise it's wetsuit time. For us that is. For some of the older swimmers where we go, the water is only ever bracing or nippy never freezing.
When I say older we're talking into their 70s, even one 81-year old who swims three or four times a week. Not a scrap of neoprene in sight.
These people are simply inspiring. Men and women, they trot down the jetty, hang their bags off a rock, pull on a swimming-hat, and stroll into the water as if they're on a Mediterranean beach. There's no squealing or screaming, no splashing just a small business-like dip of the head under the waves and they're off.
They may not swim the long distances the triathlon-addicts who share the beach do, but they come every week rain or shine. They smile and laugh at younger folk, and are always ready to share their wisdom on jelly-fish or the tides. No question is too stupid, but they can't refrain from a gentle dig at how we dress for their beloved sea.
Do you swim outdoors in the winter, or move inside to the lanes of a swimming pool?